(photo courtesy Mike McDaniel)

(photo courtesy Mike McDaniel)

This weekend the Summit commissioned 108 people to four North American church plants. Over the next few weeks we’ll be seeing these folks move to D.C., Wilmington, NC, and two locations in Durham. Our Summit Network has been training up the lead pastors of these plants, preparing them in part for the rigors of planting a new work.

In full disclosure, not all people on stage were covenant members of the Summit. We were missing some of our covenant members who are going, and in their place Grace Park Church and Waypoint Church both had part of their core teams that were there. But the majority of people standing on that stage have been an integral part of life at the Summit. We’re sending pastors and interns, worship leaders and elders, First Impressions and Summit Kids volunteers, college students, older people, younger people, married couples, singles…you name it, they’re going. People have given up jobs, sold homes, given sacrificially, and poured out their lives to see the gospel go forward in new places.

At the Summit, one of our plumblines is We send our best. We don’t want to be guilty of hoarding talent or gifts; we recognize that God gives us great people so that we can give them back as a faith offering elsewhere. But while we’ve said that now for several years, this weekend I felt it in a real, tangible way.

Two of the men standing on that stage represented the best of the best. Josh Lawrence and Clayton Greene have been my fellow pastors, team members, and personal friends for the last several years. When they made the decision to be a part of The Bridge Church in Wilmington, they represented 50% of my Connections team. One-half. Two out of four. However you do the math, that’s a chunk of “best” that is heading out.

2Musketeers

Josh was my First Impressions Director in our Brier Creek South venue, and held down a side role as my Special Events Coordinator. That’s a lot of hats for a guy workin’ intern hours. Nobody thinks through the logistics of an event and gets volunteers where they need to go quite like Josh. He was the calming force to crazy moments, the unsung hero of all kinds of behind the scenes magic, and just simply got the job done. In addition to that, he served as the small group leader to my two oldest sons for several years, so Josh is a part of our family’s fabric.

Clayton was the First Impressions Director in Brier Creek North, and the evil genius behind a tremendous amount of the “why behind the what.” Clayton has suffered through – and subjected me to – hours upon hours of conversations on why we do what we do, how we do what we do, and how we can do it much, much better. We’ve never met a whiteboard or a blank sheet of paper that we couldn’t fill up with ideas we just knew would change the world. I never walk away from a conversation unchallenged or discouraged. He gets guest services at the heart level like no one I’ve ever seen, and he wants to do whatever it takes to help people take a step towards Jesus.

Send our best? Yes we do. My buddy Ethan Welch, lead pastor of The Bridge, is getting the cream of the crop, as is Waypoint, Grace Park, and Restoration City Church. Whenever we send our best, we are making a sacrifice. There’s no way around it. There are tears. There are losses. There are real, gaping voids that are left behind.

But here’s why sending our best is vitally important: I’d rather give away good people than get greedy with good people. I’d rather see the gospel take root in new places than just build a deep bench of talent in RDU. I’d rather lose geographically-close friendships if it means seeing friends use their gifts to do some serious damage for the kingdom in another city.

We’re called to send. It’s in the DNA of the Christian, and it’s in the mandate of the gospel. So if we’re called to send, why not send our best?

I love my church.

Yesterday I celebrated the fifth April 1st on the blog. That’s right. In case you have the spiritual gift of gullibility, you were the victim of the annual Connective Tissue April Fools’ prank. (Seriously, people. You really should click the link at the bottom of the post.) Contrary to what you read, there are no plans to upgrade our First Time Guest bags. Keurig machines? Come on. Car washes while you wait? Not likely.

My favorite response of the day? Had to be the tweet from former WonderIntern Aaron Coalson: “sadly i was torn b/w trying to figure out how to win that iPad and why we didn’t give it 2 the poor.”

But I digress. You can read the “why” behind the bag here. And as tongue-in-cheek as yesterday’s post was, it might’ve raised the question: what actually goes in the bag? While that changes from time to time, here’s the current inventory:

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The bag itself. We only use this bag for First Time Guests. That’s it. That way, when we see someone carrying it, we know exactly who they are. (We currently use Promo Direct as our bag supplier.)

Welcome brochure. This very simple brochure highlights only five things: our age graded ministries (Summit Kids, Summit Students, Summit College), our Small Groups ministry, and Starting Point, our newcomers event. Why five? Because we didn’t want six. Seriously, I find that too many welcome bags at too many churches contain an implausible number of next steps and enough ministry brochures to kill a small forest. We decided to narrow the focus to just those things that cover the broadest range of people, and keep Al Gore happy in the process.

Gospel booklet. We’ve used various books / brochures over the years to encapsulate the good news of Jesus to newcomers. But when our pastor wrote his own version of the gospel we decided to capitalize on it. :) Thanks to the generosity of Broadman & Holman, we are able to put a sample chapter of J.D.’s Gospel in every bag. (Within the next few weeks we’re going to be replacing that with an updated booklet that J.D. recently wrote.)

Summit acrylic tumbler. This is the “gift” in the bag. We intentionally chose a big chunky cup in a flat bottomed bag so that guests would have to keep it out of their pockets or purses, thereby making the bags visible. I reckon we could’ve had the same effect with an inflatable raft.

Starting Point rave card. Yes, we mention Starting Point in the welcome brochure. But because that’s our primary next step, we want to make sure guests know it’s important. The card is the only thing that’s not already in the bag. Our FTG volunteers talk about Starting Point with the guest and write the next date in white space on the back of the card before they drop it in.

So that’s it…what’s in the bag. What about you? What goes in your guest bag? Comment below.

 

By the way, if you enjoyed yesterday’s post, here’s a trip down April Fools’ Memory Lane…

If you’re a regular reader, you know that Fridays are usually reserved for archived posts. But that was before @MichaelMears tweeted this question yesterday:

Are you gonna blog any on connecting new peeps at Easter & follow up? Just an idea :)

Y’all know I’m not one to back down from a challenge. Unless it involves push ups. Or sit ups. Or chin ups. Or licking a scorpion. But give me a free idea for fresh content and I’m on that like stink on a monkey. So here we go, thanks to Michael…


Easter is over. You’ve put your good suit back in the closet, you’ve had your Sunday afternoon coma nap, and you’ve finished off the last of the leftover ham sandwiches.

So what now?

What do you do about the stack of guest cards that are sitting on your desk, waiting on your Monday morning arrival? How do you follow up with the people God sent your way? What’s the best way to turn a first time guest into a returning guest?

  1. Get good information. One of the cardinal sins of ministering to guests is getting them to your church, but not knowing they’re at your church. Prior to your first Easter service, remind your First Time Guest Team the importance of capturing good information. “Bob” written on a card is not good info. Get email, phone, address, family members’ names, whatever. Oh, and make sure it’s legible. [our guest info card]
  2. Provide a reason for them to leave their information. Some guests like to remain anonymous. While you should honor that, you should also make the information capture as painless as possible. We try to do that pre-service at our First Time Guest tent. It’s outside and in the way so that people (a) have to walk past it and (b) feel like that’s a “safe place” to find out where to go next. We also give ’em a gift bag as an incentive to stop by. And finally, we let the guest know that leaving their information means that a pastor will follow up via phone call or email to see how their experience was. We try to offset fears of someone showing up at their house on Monday night. (We also capture information in the service on a tear-off card, but the tent provides a face and a conversation and facilitates a friendship.)
  3. Send an immediate follow up email. If you can get a team of volunteers to enter information into a database as it comes, great. Many church offices close the Monday after Easter (ours does). In full disclosure, we probably won’t be able to get all of that info entered and finalized until sometime Tuesday, but you should strive to be more awesome than us. :) We use MailChimp and a pre-formatted email complete with links to our website, Starting Point event, etc. MailChimp keeps you from being blocked as spam whether you’re sending a few dozen or a few hundred emails.
  4. Make a phone call. This is such an easy “touch” that so many pastors leave out. I’ve made thousands of 2-3 minute phone calls in ten years at the Summit, phone calls that generally pay huge dividends in helping a guest feel like a huge church isn’t so huge. The purpose of the call is simple: I thank them for coming, ask about their experience, and invite them to a next step. My goal is always to be off the phone in three minutes – but that’s in honor of their time. If they have questions or want to talk more, I’ll spend whatever time necessary. [sample phone script]
  5. Provide a next step. For us, that’s Starting Point, and we specifically scheduled it for two weekends after our big Easter rush. We’ll pull out all the stops to get everyone to that event, which highlights various on ramps into the church, from small groups to service to baptism to covenant membership. Your next step might be a welcome reception, or a new believers class, or a party, or whatever. But provide a quick way for people to further connect.
  6. Empower your people to do their own follow up. Most of this weekend’s guests will be there at the invitation of a friend or family member. If you’re a pastor, your job is to equip them to do the work of the ministry. Don’t cheat ’em. Encourage them to take their guests to lunch and discuss what they’ve heard. Remind them to invite their guests to return again the following weekend. Or provide a resource: challenge them to study the gospel of John with their unbelieving friend, or to go through a deeper study like Christianity Explained

I’ll bet you know an item or two I’ve left out. I want to hear from you. Comment below!

Other good content from around the web:

On our First Impressions Team at the Summit, we try to get by with just a very few rules: never be rude to a guest. Serve where you’re wired.

Never feed ’em after midnight.

But there’s one rule of thumb that we encourage at every turn. We talk about it when you start to serve on the team. We talk about it when you go through training. We talk about it every few months as seasoned team members go through some refresher training.

It’s the rule of “attend one, serve one.” Attend and fully engage in one service, then serve and fully engage in another. There are four reasons why we promote that:

  1. It creates a better experience for the guest. If there’s one thing that our guests’ arrival time has in common, it is that there’s nothing in common. We have people who show up 20 minutes early, people who drag in 20 minutes late, and people who will get there right on time. Having a fully-functioning team for an entire service allows us to greet guests regardless of when they drop in.
  2. It allows a better experience for the volunteer. A volunteer who’s asked to serve and attend the same service is a disjointed volunteer. They are never sure when the cutoff time is where they can got into the worship service. They’re always “on call” throughout the service. They always feel like they’re missing something in the service. And they never…never…are able to balance that schedule in a way that works for them. Or for the demands of their role.
  3. It gives consistency across the board. There’s not much that’s sadder than a church that pulls out all the stops for the “:15 before” crowd, and then just stops for the “:15 after” crowd. We’ve found that the guests who are late are usually late for a good reason: stalled car, cranky kid, WWIII marriage battle before church. If anyone needs a good first impression, it’s those folks.
  4. It creates space for a stronger team. We obviously don’t need a 100% staffed team for 100% of the service time. That’s why 20-30 minutes into the service we scale back to a skeleton crew. 6-12 people will stay in place to cover the necessary bases, and the rest of the team will retreat to “Volunteer Headquarters” (VHQ) for food and conversation. It’s a brief oasis from a busy morning that allows relationships to foster…something that can’t always happen when you attend and serve the same service.

I recognize that’s just one model. It’s just our model. If your church only has one worship service, that’ll make it considerably harder for people to attend one, serve one. Some churches with multiple weekend service ask volunteers to serve every service, but serve one weekend every 4-6 weeks. The point is not the model, the point is determining how you allow for the four principles outlined above.

Oh, and how about those that just can’t attend one, serve one? How about people with unpredictable work schedules or folks who depend on others for a ride? Well, we have allowances for those cases (but don’t tell anyone at the Summit I told you that). However, they are allowances…not the rule. We do everything we can to give people an opportunity to serve, as much as they can serve. But we always challenge them back to the four principles above, and we always push back against the perception of “I’m too busy.”

What’s your model? And what are the holes you see in this one? Comment below.

I believe in the local church. I love the spiritual body of believers that God assembles in cities and towns and neighborhoods all over the globe. I love the diversity, the community, and the viability that the local church provides.

I’m a fan of the local church. I’m also a fan of biblical covenant community (translated: church membership). While you won’t find the words “church membership” in scripture, you’ll find the fingerprints of it all over the Bible. We were created to belong. We were meant to identify.

We talk a lot about the will of God in our lives, so I’ll let you in on a little secret, if that’s what you’re searching for: if you are a Christ follower, it’s God’s will that you be a member of a local church

Maybe not this church, but a church.

But there’s a reason I would say that you shouldn’t become a member of this church. Ever. There’s a reason you absolutely should not join any church that’s larger than a couple of dozen people. You should not pass “Go.” You should not collect $200.

If you won’t join a small group, the Summit Church is not the church for you.

I get it. I understand that small groups take up precious time out of your week. I understand it means you’ve got to make new friends, and some of those friends are odd ducks. I know that it means there’s another cadre of people in your span of care.

I also understand that we don’t actually require that you join a Summit small group in order to join the church. Some might disagree with that philosophy. I might agree with some of your disagreements.

But that’s why I tell people all the time, if you’re not planning on joining a group, don’t join this church. Don’t join any church that’s bigger than the cast of Downton Abbey. Run…don’t walk…to another church. Somewhere smaller. Somewhere where you can be more visible and more known. This joint is too big for you to feel like you can find community among thousands. We weren’t designed that way as humans, and it won’t work that way at this church.

If you join a church but don’t join a group, you’ll eventually fall through the cracks. That’s not a prediction, it’s a promise. You’ll come in enamored by the size and quality and the pizazz of your brand new church, but quickly find that you can’t know and be known like you’d hoped. A crisis or sickness or need will take you out, and there will be no one to shepherd you back in.

I can’t promise that joining a group will guarantee smooth sailing for life, but it’ll be much smoother to be one out of twelve than one out of thousands.

There’s a spot where you can join both a group and the church, as well as get on a ministry team, find out about baptism, meet some new friends, and eat chicken sandwiches (I love chicken sandwiches). It’s called Starting Point, and you can RSVP for a future event right now.

Groups: they’re what you’re wired for.

This weekend the Summit played host to representatives from a couple of different church staff teams. They were spending time with us in order to observe some of the ministry initiatives they’re intending to launch soon.

All weekend long, I’ve watched our teams in action. They’ve shared content, traded tips, provided insight, and cast mountains and mountains of vision. I’ve been proud of them, not just for their generosity, but because it’s so obvious that they simply ooze the vision that God has placed in their hearts.

We give away content, ideas, and strategies like crazy, and there’s two primary reasons for that:

  • It’s probably not ours to begin with. Pastor J.D. reminds us all the time that there are very few original ideas. We all stand on the shoulders of those who’ve blazed the trail before us. I recently re-read a friend’s book and was a little shocked by how many of his ideas had somehow become “mine” over the years (oops). Why would we be selfish in the way we share when so much has been shared with us?
  • It sharpens our own focus. When I have to share the “why” of a ministry model with another church leader, it forces me to review the rationale of that model. Sometimes it’s left wanting. Other times we find a way to tweak it and make it better. But in all cases, talking about it creates a better product in the end.

The Kingdom of God cannot be populated by hoarders. We can’t build our own silos and refuse to share the abundance that God has graciously given us. Whether you’re a pastor or a plumber, a ministry leader or a management analyst, you have skills that someone else can build on. What will you give away today?

 

By the way, if you serve in a role related to guest services or covenant membership, I’d love to hear from you so we can collaborate on some content. If you haven’t made contact through our Connections Ministry survey, you can start that 90 second process here.

In yesterday’s post, I talked about the importance of defining the win when it comes to pulling off a large scale event. Knowing the event’s nature, the budget you have to work with, and the mechanics of the event itself will do plenty in helping you prepare. But for those of us in the guest services world, there will perhaps be no greater component to event planning than getting the right volunteers in the right places.

That’s why step two of the Dancing with the Elephant series is to develop your systems. Specifically, your systems for determining, inviting, assigning, and training volunteers. Again, using Christmas at DPAC as our model, here are the systems and steps we followed to make sure we had the right vols in the right spot:

1. Figure out which teams are needed, and how many on each team. In a new venue, this is a key question, and we had to do a couple of walk throughs and a few days of plotting to figure out the answer. Facility layout determines volunteer need, and a facility the size of DPAC was certainly no exception. Using floor plans, seating sections, numbers of doors, physical location of parking garages, and even the street layout of downtown Durham, we determined that each service needed 153 First Impressions volunteers broken down into 12 sub-teams.

2. Hand pick your team leaders and key volunteers. My right hand man through all of Christmas at DPAC was Josh Lawrence, a First Impressions intern who oversees our Brier Creek South Venue as well as assisting with special events. Josh was the official FI Team Director at DPAC, though I was also there to offer helpful annoying suggestions.

We then asked full time pastoral staff to serve as team leaders for four out of the five services, since that was the staff expectation for DPAC anyway. While it’s true that meant we overlooked our seasoned, every-week FI volunteer leaders, I knew that many of these folks would be out of town and/or couldn’t commit to that expectation so soon before Christmas. (One benefit to this was that we only had to train one set of team leaders, rather than five sets of team leaders. And the longer that leader served, the better they got at anticipating every need.) So we went to particular staff and asked them to be head over particular teams, and then we spent time making sure they knew what we expected of them (more on that later).

But then we asked our seasoned volunteers to serve on their normal teams as much as they could. Having their expertise meant that the DPAC services carried the same DNA as a regular service at one of our campuses.

3. Push service opportunities and plug the spreadsheet. We started inviting people to serve at the same time we began promoting DPAC (about four to six weeks out). Volunteer sign up happened on the Christmas at DPAC website, which pushed volunteers to a Wufoo form where they could choose the service they wanted to work as well as pick between the Summit Kids or First Impressions teams. This form closed 48 hours prior to the first event to give us ample opportunity to place all the last-minute sign ups.

And then we began populating the DPAC Volunteer Spreadsheet, which was a panoramic view of where we needed volunteers. Our rule of thumb was that we wouldn’t staff any team for any one service more than 50% full until all of them reached that halfway point. Further, volunteers couldn’t choose the specific sub-team where they served. Allowing that creates tons of confusion and alterations for “special circumstances.” We’ve found that it’s easier to address those individual needs after the initial assignment, rather than giving too many options at the outset.

One more thing: we kept the spreadsheet on Google Drive, which gave all of our volunteers real-time access to the frequent edits. Only Josh and I had editorial rights, but anybody could view the changes as soon as we made them, using the original link they’d been sent.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate. By the time Christmas at DPAC was over, not one single person said they’d suffered from a lack of communication. :) Volunteers received an automated message as soon as they signed up, letting them know we had their information and would be in contact at least one week prior to the event (that gave us a window to make changes and refine teams up to the last minute). Once the initial assignments had been made on the spreadsheet, we sent another email with a link to both the spreadsheet and a four page document of detailed instructions on everything from guest services philosophy to dress code.

In addition, we sent a couple of brief reminders and updates just prior to both days of DPAC, letting volunteers know of some pertinent last-minute changes.

For team leaders, they got all of the information above, plus a 28 page leader guide (I’m not even kidding) to get us all on the same page. That guide included specific instructions for each team, facility maps, and volunteer placement grids for seating, entry doors, and sidewalk teams. We also asked all team leaders to meet the day prior to the event to do a two hour walk through and orientation at DPAC. In turn, they took that information and trained their teams when they showed up prior to their shift.

5. Prepare for every contingency. As with any event, we knew there would be moments where we’d have to roll with the punches. But we did everything possible to make sure we anticipated every punch before it landed. Here are a few key areas that helped all five services run smoothly:

  • Count on an 80% retention rate. Lots of people get jazzed up about signing up to serve at a big event, but we’ve found that only about 80% actually surface. Whether it’s sickness, forgetfulness, or last-minute schedule changes, we knew that we needed to plan for that drop off.
  • Not all services get all teams. The timing of a Christmas Eve service means that a lot of people want to attend on Christmas Eve, but few want to serve on Christmas Eve. From the very beginning we knew that we might have to scrap a few teams for the 2 PM and 5 PM services and reassign those volunteers to more key teams (you’ll see that reflected on the volunteer spreadsheet).
  • Make sure vols know where to go when they get there. Nothing is more stressful than having 153 volunteers seek out the FI Director to ask “Where was I supposed to go?” That’s why we had predetermined meeting spots for each team. But we also had a Volunteer Headquarters (VHQ) in the main lobby, where vols could go to check their coats and purses and ask any questions they had. Our ladies who staffed that VHQ knew every location of every team, and had real-time access to the volunteer spreadsheet so they could both find the vol’s spot and sign up anyone who walked up willing to serve.

Other posts in this series:

In my role at the Summit, one of my hats is to help run point for some of our larger-scale events. Things like Church at the Ballpark, The Gospel Summit, and Christmas at DPAC fall to a team of us who are responsible for executing everything from publicity to registration to guest services to worship to Advil that’s passed out like M&Ms on the day after the event.

Now I’ll lay all my cards on the table: I’m a big event guy. I love ’em. I love the intensity, the excitement, the planning, the process. But I’m also a perfectionist and a procrastinator, meaning that I hate pulling the trigger on a system before I know it’s going to be flawless. And that’s the death knell for event planning.

That’s why I’ve spent a lot of my nearly twenty years of ministry tweaking and refining systems to help pull off events of this nature. Working through what works and laying aside what doesn’t has been incredibly helpful to making each event run a little smoother, and each planning process go a little easier.

So for the next few days, I’d like to share with you some of the resources that have assisted in eating the elephant of large scale events. For this particular context I’ll be specifically dealing with the guest services piece of the puzzle, and using our recent Christmas at DPAC event as the practical model. (WARNING: if you’re not a logistics nerd like me, you’re not going to enjoy this. Spend the next three days watching this video of a basset hound puppy instead.)

Step one: define your win.

I mentioned that I’m one of the members of the large events team. I’m not the team. That means that I have peers and superiors that I start communicating with months before the event. And in those initial meetings, I do everything I can to figure out what the scope of my role will be. Am I solely responsible for guest services? Am I responding to a pre-defined environment, or am I designing the environment? Will there be other hats I’ll wear on the day of the event (emcee, etc)?

Knowing what I’m responsible for and what my team will be in charge of goes a long way in planning for all contingencies. There are three primary factors that guide my questions:

  1. What is the nature of the event? In August, I didn’t know if Christmas at DPAC would be primarily a congregational worship service, a band-led musical performance, or an hour long dance recital of performers dressed like Frosty and Rudolph. Getting feedback and intention from our worship team helped to inform what the “feel” of our guest services team should be.
  2. What is my budget for the event? Dollars drive design. I need to know if I’m working on a shoestring budget that will buy a few sandwich trays for our volunteer team, or a massive budget that will bring in a pastry chef to make personalized monogrammed homemade cinnamon rolls for every attendee. Example: our 2011 Christmas Eve service was held at our main campus, which meets in a warehouse. It was overly familiar to our people and very non-Christmasy. So we opted to rent some artificial snow machines to make it feel a little more festive as people came in. For 2012, the event was at the Durham Performing Arts Center, a very sleek, modern, fancy-schmancy facility downtown. Snow machines – though nice – would have been complete overkill. So we said no to snow and used that money elsewhere.
  3. What are the mechanics of the event? When we did Church at the Ballpark, it was one massive service for 7200 people. Christmas at DPAC, however, covered two days’ worth of five services with 1800-2000 people each. One event required one large guest services team. The other required multiple teams with multiple schedules. in addition, every venue requires different needs. The ballpark featured our largest to date baptism services, which meant we needed to have hundreds of baptism counselors available. But DPAC required multiple levels of seaters and door greeters for a multiple-level facility.

There are probably dozens of other smaller scale questions that I’ll also ask: Food or no, and am I responsible? Are we feeding volunteers who serve a several-hour stretch? How many attendees are we expecting? Where does our nose end and our venue hosts’ nose begin? How much time do we have for set up and tear down? If we’re renting a facility, what parts of the facility will be off limits? Is it theoretically possible that I could theoretically be late for the Christmas Eve service because I theoretically have to make a mad dash to a theoretical store and buy one more theoretical last minute Christmas present for my theoretical wife?

Defining the win at the very beginning goes a long way to making sure your piece of the puzzle fits into the overall event picture. I’d love to hear some of the other questions you ask when defining your win. Please take a moment and comment below.

Other posts in this series:

As I type, we’re wrapping up day one of Christmas at DPAC, and getting prepared for two more services on Christmas Eve. It has been – in short – amazing. Freakishly amazing.

Our First Impressions Team has been in top form and have made me so, so proud. Our Summit Kids Team has served with class, skill, and thousands of Goldfish crackers. Our Production Team has never been slicker. The Gospel was shared 152 different ways: if you didn’t hear it, it wasn’t for lack of God speaking.

And our Worship Team?

Aw heck…our Worship Team.

I knew exactly 1.5% of the program setup before the first service launched at 11 AM Sunday. I was blissfully ignorant of what was to come. And then I snuck in for a few minutes at both the 11 and 2, but then sat through the 5.

So how was it?

I can’t explain it. Nobody can. But good grief…they absolutely tore the place to pieces. You need to understand that I’m a man with zero musical talent. When I sing it sounds like a flock of howler monkeys with emphysema have been shoved into a wood chipper. But I’m pretty sure I know when I hear something that sounds good. And they did.

If you read this early enough on Monday, you oughta join me at DPAC for the 2:00 or 5:00 services. Officially, the free tickets are sold out. However, if you get there an hour before service, there’s a good chance the box office will hook you up. It’s worth a shot.

And speaking of shots, here are a few of my faves from day one. Big thanks to Brett Seay for sneaking me a few…

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