Launch Lessons

Launching new things is hard.

Changing the way people do things is hard, too.

I just launched a new system to manage church communication and ministry promotion at Southeast. The software is really new, and we're beta-testing it with a few other churches. It's a brilliant system, and removes me from the center of the request process. I still manage the system, but now people don't have to ask me for promotion.

I'll talk A LOT more about this software when it officially launches. Right now, I want to recap three big concepts from my launch presentation/training.

Image from Louie Mantia


I should have started here. When describing the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams compares it to the fictional Encyclopedia Galactica.

"First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."

Every new change or transition should be preceded by those two words in large, friendly letters.

It's just a change.

It's not the end of the world.

Don't panic.


Everyone needs to know that you're not out to get them. You are for them. You are on their side. You want them to succeed.

In other words, "I'm wit'chu."

I've spent months investing in the ministry leaders. I had a lot of emotional capital. It feels like I cashed it ALL in on this change. Possibly because I didn't explicitly state this at the start of my presentation.


Cast a clear vision of the better world the change will provide. Compare it with how terrible the world is now. If you think about how Steve Jobs always introduces a new product, he starts with telling you how bad it is now, then he presents you with a vision of how things can be better. And, of course, his product will take you there. It's a necessity in this better world.

I talked a bit comparing how things were and how they will be on my end, but I missed explaining how this new change will eventually make their lives better.

At the end of my presentation, I think I just left them feeling like all they'll get is a bunch more work.

In the new software we'll be in a better spot to promote more things. They won't get bumped if another ministry comes along asking for promo in an ad channel they picked. We'll be able to do better and more interesting things with their requests. They'll now have more of a voice in the process.

Yeah. I missed all that.


It's far more important to cover these vision items, than it is to train on the new system. The training can be done later, one-on-one, or in larger groups.

My time ended up being far shorter than I had planned on because of some technical issues. I didn't spend enough time on the vision because I moved on to training on the software.

The shocking fact is, I don't think very many of them heard any of my training. They were all freaked out by the change and trying to understand how it will impact them. Now, I'm still going to have to train people on how to use it.

Neglect the training in favor clarifying the vision.