This article is from Brett Curtis and covers the usages/applications of Genesis video conferencing in YWAM San Diego / Baja. They have come across companies that have gone bankrupt and a used video conferencing unit is going for USD 1,000 which is an incredible price.
See how your training school, your mercy ministry projects or your leadership and organizational development can be strengthened by being better connected. Steve Goode
How to Use Your Genesis Video Conferencing System
Over recent years the use of GENESIS video conferencing equipment at our base has significantly enhanced and improved how we operate to the point where 30+ other centers have asked us to help them get the same equipment and reap similar benefits. A friend suggested I write about how we use the technology so others may be inspired. The bottom line is it is cheaper than you think (just over $1,000 for a used unit), and easier to use than you think too.
- Leadership Devotionals. Two to three times a month we gather those from around our region for a leadership devotional and bring in an international speaker for 30 minutes and end with a short Q&A session. This gives staff and students an appreciation of the international scope of YWAM that otherwise would rarely happen unless they attend conferences. Usually it is only leaders who go to these events when it is often our new staff and students who need it.
- International Exposure. I spent 20 years in Mercy Ships as a Director/CEO of two of the ships and had the advantage of my crew and students exposed to different cultures on a regular basis. It wasn't difficult for us to have a world perspective on things few others enjoyed so regularly. Now I am off ships and working on land in San Diego and Northern Mexico we have to bring the world to us. Without an international exposure we can tend to look inward too much. Our GENESIS network really helps this factor.
- Operations Call. Each week I call together those who report to me for an "Ops Call". This regular focused meeting shapes the way we do life in San Diego/Baja. It is great to get people solving issues and thinking together, especially when we are spread out over four locations an hour's drive apart. It sure saves drive time!
- Link Up AMERICAS. At least once a quarter we convene a large online gathering called Link Up AMERICAS where 20+ bases from Canada to Chile come together to be inspired and encouraged. We typically arrange for one of YWAM's senior leaders to speak. 5. Video streaming. Recently Loren spoke to all the bases in the Americas and we had over 200 individual locations linked up together.
- One Voice. Ever been a part of a global worship event where 9 worship bands from around the world all play together and worship at the same time? Lausanne puts these on and they are called One Voice and have been very encouraging for our staff. Several times God has spoken to people in far off places and they have shared a word just for us in Mexico. How awesome is that! I can just imagine Jesus watching us all from across the earth giving honor to him all at the same time! If your base has never been a part of this you should! Each time it is historic.
- Intercession. Sometimes a base in our region goes through a particularly tough time with a natural disaster or a crisis of some kind. It becomes deeply meaningful to them when we simply gather to intercede for them. They are so encouraged.
- One Global Classroom. During each school we run here at San Diego/Baja I ask the school Directors to choose at least one week to share their best teacher with at least one other base in the world. Hopefully a smaller out of the way location with just a few students that does not have the financial ability to pay for some of the main stream speakers we are so often blessed with.
- Fireside Chat Q&A Sessions. I also ask the school Directors to select some of their speakers who are particularly gifted at staff training to gather a couple of other bases for a fireside chat type meeting and simply give the speaker an hour for school staff to ask questions about what they would do in various situations. There are tremendous takeaways from this each time.
- Draw from the experiences of others. Sometime you are able to share experiences about issues your base has gone through as you have grown. Whether it is setting up or growing your Board, shifting over to a new accounting system, how you have developed resources or programs/schools etc, things to watch out for as you develop. Young leaders really grab a hold of these type meetings. Simply receiving input from a seasoned leader directly tailored to your leadership team's needs is invaluable. We have connected several times recently with Tom Bloomer as we have sought to grow our U of N campus and degree program. Using GENESIS for Tom to spend an hour with our leaders has helped us head off some unforeseen problems we may not have seen coming if it were left up to us. So pick an issue you need help with then ask someone who has walked ahead of you to spend an hour with your team. We do it once a month and it has changed us.
- Encouragement Made Easy. Lynn Green addressed our leadership council recently and gave us a word of encouragement. He was thinking of our situation regarding the Swine Flu, the reported violence and the current economy and the effects these elements are having on teams now hesitant to come to Mexico. It certainly was a good time to hear his advice. He was sitting in his living room in London chatting to us on the Pacific Coast of USA/Mexico as if he had flown all the way specially to deliver his 20 minute thought. I am sure Marti appreciated him not having to get on a plane for that. We sure appreciated him popping in to help us think through a few issues.
- Desktop Applications. There are free desktop applications out there that work and link in with your GENESIS system. If you use a MAC, google the word "X Meeting". Download it for free. For PC users look up "Polycom PVX". Once installed you can enjoy connectivity with your team while on the road. If your outreach teams are on the road ask them to pop into your community meeting and bring a report back to the base each month they are gone. Sure improves the connection and helps minimize the "out of sight out of mind" feeling.
- Helps new OPLOCs establish faster. Once most locations get planted they enjoy the honeymoon phase for a short time then shortly thereafter tend to feel isolated. Some say it is normal in our YWAM world but it doesn't have to be. If you have planted a new work somewhere recently like we have, or are about to, consider sending them with a GENESIS unit. It really helps them continue to draw from the strength of your sending community. Personal one on ones with you as the leader can continue; the team can share experiences back to your base during a community meeting where many of their friends are, inclusion for prayer and intercession to a larger body are all good ways to encourage a new team in the field.
- Personal one on ones. These video conferencing systems are great for one on ones with a new team in the field. Enabling them to connect back to the friends/family when missing each other is so much better face to face on a big screen than on the phone or Skype. Great for leaders of the field team to try and recruit others back home to come join them, or if they need a pastoral meeting with someone about a sticky situation they are facing.
- Personal Fundraising and Accountability. We have staff that can sit down with a remote team and encourage them with their personal fundraising goals, techniques, and plans. An individual might choose to set up a monthly connect with one of your pastoral staff to help them grow, be accountable, bounce ideas off, improve their newsletter before it goes out, set up a call plan, do a role play if some are really nervous about calling potential supporters for the first time. A YWAM ministry called Go Teams led by John and Jane Ray has helped us in this area. They are more than happy to spend an hour with your staff one on one via GENESIS.
- Make it accessible. Set your unit up in such a place that it can be used like a public phone or TV. It is so simple you don't need a special tech to turn it on. You use the power button! Can you turn on your DVD player? Then you can turn on your GENESIS system. Gone are the days where you hear "Oh my GENESIS tech is on outreach or vacation we can't do anything". The other day I came into the location where our unit was set up and friends who were missing each other on different YWAM bases were catching up with each other and were chatting freely during the evening hours -- AWESOME use of the equipment. Why not, IT'S FREE and so personal!
- Regional Leadership Teams. If you are a regional leader then this is really sweet technology to use as it will force more, shorter focused meetings face to face which are always more productive than long drawn out ones because you only get to see each other once a year. Read the book Death by Meeting, it will inspire you.
OK I think this is enough to get you going. I am sure you will find many other ways to help your center stay connected, pastorally encouraged, and linked to the international world of what YWAM is doing globally.
If you would like help getting a unit let us know.
Written by Brett Curtis -- YWAM San Diego/Baja