CBC

Welcome to CBC, Ed Newton!

I cannot tell you how excited I am to introduce you to our new Lead Pastor at Community Bible Church, Ed Newton. I met Ed about 4 years ago when he came to speak at CBC’s Mancation Retreat. I actually take pride in “finding” Ed as a friend had recommended him as a gifted communicator and as I heard him speak online I immediately shared the links with Chris Emmitt.  It wasn’t much more than a month or two later that I met Ed at the San Antonio airport. I guess you can say, “we met on the internet.” That actually happens to me a lot.

Ed wasn’t what you would typically expect for a preacher getting off of a plane. He was wearing long basketball shorts, a tank top and flat-billed cap with hair down to his shoulders. It didn’t take much more than 30 seconds after meeting Ed that I felt like his best friend and just wanted to hear more of his stories and thoughts on life and ministry.

He, Chris Emmitt and I went to lunch, played some basketball and began the drive to the middle of nowhere where we almost ran out of gas at one point. We had an adventure to say the least. It was entertaining to see the men first notice Ed with somewhat of a look of shock when the skater kid was handed the microphone. Again, it didn’t take Ed much more than 30 seconds to have the 500+ men gathered fully attentive to every word.

The depth of Ed’s message combined with his relevant communication style and genuine care and passion immediately engages anyone who hears him speak. I don’t use this word often, but Ed is truly an anointed communicator of the Gospel.

A little more than a month ago I got a call from my friend and pastor, Robert Emmitt, asking me what I thought about Ed Newton coming to Community Bible Church and transition into our Lead Pastor role. I had the same response that Robert tells me most others have had as well that know Ed, extreme excitement!

 

So, in case you have not heard, Ed Newton will be transitioning in as the new Lead Pastor at Community Bible Church in San Antonio and Robert Emmitt will be transitioning into his new role as Pastor Emeritus.

Ed is a visionary leader with a deep anointing as a Gospel communicator to lead the church as One House from the pulpit and send them out into the world on mission. Over the past couple of weeks as we have prepared for this transition it becomes more and more clear that God has been preparing both Ed and CBC for such a time as this. I believe with great confidence that Ed is God’s anointed leader for this next season of Community Bible Church’s history and our best days lie ahead!

So, the question that you are likely thinking: what’s Robert going to do? Well, this is the great part. Robert’s not going anywhere! He is staying at CBC as the Pastor Emeritus and will be marrying, burying, preaching as needed and volunteering where wanted. For those of you who are Community Bible Church members you will likely see Robert all of the time in his familiar role on stage preaching as well as other less familiar roles like greeting at doors, having fun at VBS or swinging on ropes at camp. Maybe the swinging on ropes isn’t so unfamiliar.

If you are a church leader you might be pessimistic about this transition and if this can really work. To be honest, at most churches I don’t think it could. At Community Bible Church I believe it will for one key reason: humility. Robert Emmitt and Ed Newton are the two must humble leaders I have ever been around. These two men have been so uniquely gifted as leaders and communicators where pride could easily entangle them. That is not the case and as they both continue to lead with great humility. Out of that humility and mutual respect for each other and their new leadership roles I believe God will do a greater work than we have ever seen.

Ed, welcome to Community Bible Church and San Antonio! You’re going to love the Spurs, the Rodeo, Shamu and Mexican food! San Antonio is said to be the biggest city that feels like a small town as everyone is so friendly. More than this great city, you’re going to love Community Bible Church. This church is filled with some of the most generous, loving, servant hearted individuals I have had the privilege of doing life with. I am so excited about locking arms with you and pursuing the Great Commission through the Great Commandment together!  

To learn more about Ed Newton and this transition at CBC click the button below! 

Launching the New CommunityBible.com

Yesterday we launched the new CommunityBible.com after almost a year of planning, developing and populating. It has been a roller coaster ride to say the least as we began the journey to build a new site from a brand new perspective. I want to give you all a look under the hood at some of our intentionality behind the site as we began this process and have come to this point of launch.  Here are some of the core functional shifts of this new website:

  1. Guest Experience - through our Analytics tracking we were able to find that 40% of our traffic were first time visitors from the San Antonio area. We wanted to optimize the site for them first, thinking through what the guest will need to experience from checking out our website to attending a service. We established this through simplifying our homepage experience while also amplifying the first impression through the motion graphics and creating a clear primary call to action to Plan Your Visit to one of our worship services. 
  2. MultiSite Infrastructure - one of the biggest changes in the life of our church is moving from a 1 campus mega church to a MultiSite church. With this shift organizationally our website infrastructure had to change and we needed to create an infrastructure that communicated the uniqueness of all of our campuses in a unified way. We established this through the campus selection at the top of the website with identical primary navigation for each campus. We are eager to see how people navigate the site in this new way!
  3. Simplicity - being a church of 20,000+ with multiple campuses and services in multiple languages both online and in person is naturally complicated.  While we were a 1 campus church our existing website had grown to over 300 pages and that is after we attempted to simplify it a couple of years ago. It happens and I know that what we are launching with will likely expand in the coming weeks and months. We were able to simplify the site significantly from 300 pages to 60 at launch. That came with many arm wrestling sessions, but we got there and believe this simplified navigation will significantly enhance the website experience for both our visitors and our members.
  4. Database Integration - this was the biggest challenge for me. In the past I have worked around our database, but I grew up and came to the understanding that we needed to prioritize database integration with our forms, our group connections, and our giving.  Honestly, this is where we still need to work moving forward as we must create a seamless experience between our website and our database to best engage our congregation in the most connected way. I think we took some great steps forward though in this area.
  5. Unified Language - in the past each ministry area submitted content and we edited for grammatical changes, but this time we hired a copy writer to rewrite every piece of content using unified language and establishing a conversational tone to every word on the site. This might be the most under noticed aspect to the site, but possibly the most effective addition that we made.  

There are probably many other details that I'm leaving out, but these are the first 5 things that come to mind as I think through the past year and look at the site that just launched. The truth is, the site is only launching and this is just the beginning. We already have a list of updates that we will begin working on tomorrow and a list of new developments that we will start working on next week. Websites should always live in a state of "Beta."  So, our website is not done, but I am glad to announce that it has officially launched!

I would love to know your thoughts and any questions that you might have about the site.

I want to also say a special thank you to the Innovation and MarCom teams at CBC and to PlainJoe Studios who did an incredible job building out this site together. Thank you to everyone involved in this project and to CBC for entrusting my leadership with this critical ministry resource.  

Celebrating 5 Years at Community Bible Church

It's hard to believe that it's been 5 years since I first joined the staff at Community Bible Church!  5 years ago I had an unexpected lunch with Robert Emmitt and Chris Emmitt, which quickly led to a 90 day contract to launch an experiment called CBC Online.  90 days later I had a full-time job and the adventure began!  

As I look back over the past 5 years here are some of the highlights that stand out to me:

Honestly, I could go on and on as it's overwhelming to look back on all that God has done over the past 5 years.  I can without hesitation say that I am a different leader and a different man because of my time at Community Bible Church.  That has far less to do with the things I have done than it does with the people I have done it with.  The church staff at CBC is second to none and the privilege to lock arms with these servant leaders has been an incredible blessing.  As I look at the staff I have been privileged to lead on the Innovation team, I am so humbled as they have so passionately served the church and followed my lead while working behind the scenes so diligently.  More than anyone else, I have been most impacted by these three leaders that I have served under:

  1. Robert Emmitt (Lead Pastor) first entrusted me and empowered me.  He allowed me to lead while clearly casting vision and direction and making sure I had the resources needed to thrive.  His encouragement and motivation have inspired so many of our initiatives over the past 5 years.  Robert has taught me how to move fast and remain flexible while staying focused on the mission God has called us to.
  2. Chris Emmitt (Executive Pastor) has directly led me and supported me beyond what any leader could ever dream possible.  Chris has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and helped me see a bigger picture of ministry opportunities that I often missed because I was lost in the technology.  There is no one in this world that I enjoy white board ministry dreaming conversations with than Chris Emmitt!
  3. Trey Moore (Elder) has mentored me in more ways than I can describe.  Between early morning breakfast meetings or late night conversations after basketball, Trey has taught me so much about technology, innovation, leadership, and family.  Watching Trey lead with such passion and humility has been the greatest model that I could follow to lead innovation at CBC.  

One individual that I can't leave out from mentioning is Sean Metcalf (Education Pastor) who has been the greatest friend and partner in ministry than I can begin to describe.  From countless lunches to the quick pick me ups in the hall, Sean's constant encouragement has meant so much over 5 years.  We couldn't be much more different from our personalities, our outward appearance, and the technologies that we prefer (Sean uses a Dell without complaining).  Despite our personal differences our ministry minds couldn't be any more aligned and it's been an honor to serve alongside Sean for the past 5 years.

The great news is, it's only been 5 years and I believe we're only getting started!  I might be living in New York for this season, but my commitment and love for Community Bible Church is no less than it has ever been as I continue to serve the church with my whole heart and believe our best days are ahead!  I'm humbled by all that God has allowed for me to do, but I'm most focused and excited about the next 5 years and all I'm believing God to do!  

 

Moving but NOT Leaving

New York
New York

I have some BIG news that I'm excited to share with you all.  We are moving our family to New York!  To be more specific we're moving to Brooklyn.  We're exchanging our 2 story house on a cul de sac for a 2 bedroom, 700 square foot, 3rd floor walk up apartment in Park Slope.  Our lives are about to radically change!

As I have shared this news with others, the two questions that I immediately get is: What are you going to do in New York?  and Are you leaving Community Bible Church?  I am absolutely not leaving CBC.  I will continue to serve Community Bible Church as the Innovation Pastor remotely while traveling back to San Antonio monthly.  I will also continue in my role as a consultant with various ministries and organizations around the country.

Now, to the more important question that I continue to get: WHY are we moving to New York?

There are many reasons, but first and foremost this move is about our family.  This has been a dream that Katie and I have had for many years since we first went on a Spring Break mission trip to New York while dating in college.  We fell in love with the city and have been inspired by it in so many ways over the years.  We love the culture, diversity, energy, creativity, and so much more!  We desire for our daughters to gain a perspective of this world that we believe can only be gained my entrenching ourselves into the culture of the city.  Katie and I desire to gain the perspective for ourselves.

Our move to New York is not just about our family though.  Over the past year I have been meeting with a life coach and clarifying my calling.  Honestly, I feel that I'm very much in the middle of my calling, and it sounds far fetched, but I feel called to make a global impact with the gospel by maximizing technology.  As I look at all that God has done through OnlineChurch.com over the past 4 years I am humbled and overwhelmed by the global gospel impact that we are making, but also continue to believe that God is just getting started!  It is my goal to maximize our move to New York to dig into the city's culture of diversity and innovation.  New York is a magnet for innovators and thought leaders that I plan to be very intentional and strategic to engage.  The city is the most diverse in the world and considered by many to be the "Capital of the World."  As I strive to reach the world, I must better understand it and the uniquenesses of all cultures to more effectively impact and influence them with the gospel.

So, how did this all come about?  About 6 months ago Katie and I began to discuss and pray about this move as a serious option.  I'm not a risk taker and very much a realist, so to be honest I was very pessimistic initially.  Along the way God began to confirm this leading and open significant doors.  Most significantly were conversations with my pastors Chris Emmitt and Robert Emmitt.  While both were understandably surprised, their openness to the idea and support for our family has been overwhelming.  4 years ago they took an incredible risk on me as a leader and have empowered, encouraged, and invested in my beyond what I can describe.  I can't tell you how blessed I feel to be able to call them my pastors and my friends.  From conversations to various practical details coming together it is clear to us that God is at the center of this move.

Now, the adventure begins.  The Budget truck has been loaded and I will hit the road in the morning.  I promise to update this blog regularly about our move and the inspiration that I gain both personally and professionally.  I ask that you will be praying for my family throughout this transition and for God to move in a powerful way through this step of faith that we are taking.