Tech In Church Podcast

Planning Church Work with Tech Tools and the Right Strategies with Caleb Miller Ep 2.08

May 09, 2023 Jeanette Yates and Nina Hampton
Tech In Church Podcast
Planning Church Work with Tech Tools and the Right Strategies with Caleb Miller Ep 2.08
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever wondered how church communicators keep up with all their responsibilities but still have time to focus on the things they love?

It’s a life that’s hard to imagine now but is still possible to attain. With the help of tech tools and the right philosophy, soon enough, you’ll see the results of what it means to be a focused church communicator. And it all starts with planning what we can do with the time that is given to us.

There’s no better person to shed light on this matter than Caleb Miller. He’s our CXO and a resident tech expert. Caleb, along with the Text In Church team, will take us behind the curtains and show us how we should strategize church work based on sound philosophies and strategies.

Specifically, this episode highlights the following themes:

  • A guiding philosophy to a better serving of the people and the church
  • The importance of deliberately managing your time, energy, and activities
  • Why you should continue evolving your working processes

Most churches really struggle to communicate consistently with their people and that can leave them feeling disconnected. Text In Church is an easy-to-use 2-way texting system created for churches to connect with their members and guests beyond Sunday mornings to make them feel known, noticed, and loved.

Text the word, CONNECT, to 816-429-9396 to start your free 60-day trial of Text In Church today to see just how easy it is.

Tech in Church Podcast

Text in Church on Facebook

The Tech In Church Podcast is a Text In Church team production. For more information about this podcast, go to For more information on Text in Church, visit

Caleb Miller  0:00  
I completely have the philosophy of service that we are in the business to make people's days better. We're not there to just answer your question and move you along. Like, I want every interaction that you have with Texan church, you, I want you to come away. Like wow, that was the best service experience I've ever I've ever had. So that's really what keeps me going. It's like the drive to make it better. Because if somebody doesn't have a good experience, I want to analyze that whole situation, figure out what pain point happened along the way. Let's iron that out. And then let's keep on moving forward to provide the best experience possible for people.

Caleb Miller  0:42  
Hello, and welcome to the Tech in Church Podcast, where we talk to everyday church communicators who use simple tech tools to go from frazzled to focused. I'm Jeanette Yates and I'm here with my co-host, Nina Hampton. We believe you should spend less time worrying about technology and more time doing what you love in your ministry and in your personal life.

Nina Hampton  1:00  
In today's episode, we're taking a another peek behind the curtain, kind of asking the question, how does the Text in Church team get it all done? And so today, we have actually asked Caleb Miller, our CFO, and resident tech expert about the tech tools that he uses, how does he stay focus while having one of the scariest calendars on our team. So Caleb is going to give us some practical tools about time management, and just some strategies that he uses to organize his life and make sure that he has a healthy work life balance. So Caleb, welcome!

Caleb Miller  1:32  
Welcome to the podcast. Welcome back.

Caleb Miller  1:34  
Yes, thank you so much for having me.

Nina Hampton  1:36  
He refers to himself lovingly as the best podcast guest that we've ever had. So I'll let him.

Caleb Miller  1:41  
Yeah, I mean, I heard it was a rumor, but mine was like the most downloaded and listened to, last season, right?

Caleb Miller  1:46  
I'm sure that's true. 

Nina Hampton  1:48  
It is. I won't talk about me. 

Caleb Miller  1:50  
I might have been the one who was spreading that rumor too.

Caleb Miller  1:53  
You just started a rumor about yourself. Okay. So Caleb, I'm really looking forward to this episode today because I want to know all your secrets. But I really think that maybe I have figured one out. I think maybe one of the tools that you use is like you're super techie. So you've built some sort of clone machine, right?

Caleb Miller  2:12  
Oh, that would be good. But that is not the case in my system. And it's actually not all technology too, if you can believe that, too. So there's a good balance there.

Nina Hampton  2:21  
I don't believe that it's not technology. I don't believe that you don't have a body level. I don't believe that there's not a Metaverse version of you that's working around the clock. I don't believe that. Yes. In all seriousness, your role has expanded a lot. I think that me being who I am on your team, I have had like a front row seat to it. And so I've watched your calendar become one of the scariest in the company. It wasn't when I joined the team, and it is now. So what are some ways, as you've gone through that transition, that you've learned to manage your time? How have you grown into that role? And how are you like sustaining because you're killing it? Like I can say that I know, I don't like to give you too many compliments too often. But you're killing it. You're killing it at your role. How did you grow into that? And how are you doing it sustainably? Like what are some things that you've learned along the way?

Caleb Miller  3:08  
Well, first off, thank you for those compliments. I don't believe that I am the best at time management, it is something that is, at least for me definitely learned. It's still a learning process that I'm still in. If you ask anyone, especially my wife, I'm not the most organized person in the world, she might have several things to say about my organization. But so when I started at Text in Church, I started as a part time support person, there wasn't really much need for time management that time that was pretty much like, Hey, this is every day responding to people's questions about Text in Church. And it was that way for the first few years. And then once we started building out our team, things got to become a little bit more complicated managing people, we started doing support and success. And then we started doing more product things in my role. So as things kind of evolved, I kind of found that I was not managing my time very well. Things would get left behind things would get the ball would be dropped on a lot of things. One of the things that has really helped me manage my time better is a book by Lee Cockerell, who is the former executive vice president of Walt Disney World, which we can talk about Disney at the end, if you guys have a little bit of time. But reading his book has really helped me manage my time better. And a lot of these concepts and tools that I use have come from that book. Some of them are from other sources. But going through a course on time management, I think is really beneficial to anyone, any kind of position either. Like even back when I was doing support, it probably would have been a good idea to go through those things. So I would say at any stage of anybody's career that is like the number one thing that you should do is go through some kind of time management course. But I would definitely recommend Lee Cockerell's.

Caleb Miller  4:49  
I love that you said that because one of the things that we've talked about with every single person we've interviewed so far is they're multitasking. They're several hat wearing plates spinning doing all the things juggling. We can probably work at Disney with all those skills.

Caleb Miller  5:05  
I mean, I know I think so. But learning time management is good for anybody, not just when you're at the top of the organizational structure or something like that, that we can all use time management, especially church communicators that probably have 10 or 15 other roles at at their work. Okay, so you talked about a book and a course, that really helped you a lot. But let's talk about because this is for those of you who do not know, Caleb. He is a genius when it comes to tech and integrating tech, integrating tech a with check, be all the tech. So I want to know.

Nina Hampton  5:46  
I can't surprise him with anything like if I'm like, Hey, I found this thing. Isn't it great? He's like, Yeah, I found out about that six months ago, and I actually told you about it. You just don't remember. Like we've actually had that conversation many times.

Caleb Miller  5:58  
Yes. So Caleb, I want you to talk about maybe some of your favorite tech tools or technology that you use to manage your time or maintain some sort of time management like even though you are still a work in progress, as you say,

Caleb Miller  6:13  
Yeah. So I would say there's like really three areas to managing your time effectively. And the first one of those is actually isn't technology. We'll get into the technology here in just a minute. But the very first thing I use every day, Michael Hyatt Full Focus Planner. I think that planning out your day, non-technology wise really gets your brain set up for what you want to accomplish in the day. That is where I keep track of all of my daily goals. Here's what I want to accomplish in the day, also where I can take notes in that planner, when I'm done with the day. I'll take anything that's left over in there and put it into Monday. So our team uses Monday for everything. If you don't want Monday as a project management tool, but it can be used for many different things. We use it for our internal help documents on the member experience team. We use it for our development team to keep track of all their projects. Marketing team uses to keep track of their projects. I have my own board in there that I then keep bigger projects and a running to do list. So they don't have to transfer that every day inside of a written down planner. So I keep both of those. I keep a digital version and a paper version. But I also segment my time on that board into what area I'm working on. Whether that's product member experience, if I need to help marketing with a task, I can divide up my time, see where I'm spending my time and also divide up my days during based on those tasks as well. So I see that I have, I have roughly 10 to 12 hours worth member experience work. Here's where I'm gonna schedule those in my calendar. And I would say the third piece of being really time efficient is automating anything and everything that you can, Monday is also really good at this. So Monday, you can build automations. I use Zapier all the time to build out automations if there's a repetitive task that I have to do. That's probably the thing that drives me the most crazy is repetitive tasks. So I'm going to find a way no matter what to automate that tasks. And I would say that is where we can save a ton of your time throughout the day is through automations using tools like Zapier Monday, make a bunch of those you can set up automations to take the load off of what you're doing every day. And then you can focus on bigger tasks.

Nina Hampton  8:17  
Okay. We don't talk every day, but we interact every day. And I thought that I had a handle on how you manage your time. And I don't. I've learned now that I actually don't know what you do to manage your time because I didn't know that you had Monday board that you segmented all your time. I didn't know that it's secret.

Caleb Miller  8:34  
None of us knew about it. I was apparently I was watching your face when he was talking about that. Because I was thinking the same thing. Like I needed that board for myself. I was like.

Nina Hampton  8:45  
Man, I thought I kne.w I don't know. And I feel like I need to get my life together now because I'm not doing that. Don't get me wrong. We talked about. Now we talked last week, Jeanette about the things that we use and Reclaim saving my life still when I have my own rhythms and I think what's important in this is to do what works for you. But I feel like what you're doing Caleb would work for me. Yeah.

Caleb Miller  9:05  
Well, I will share with you. I can make the board public. So everyone can see what that kind of strategy is there. So I can share those, share those with you guys. But I would also say that I probably haven't shared it that much. That is a relatively newer process. I've only been doing that for about six months, because everything was all paper and that became a little overwhelming. I feel like there's a good balance between, you know, handwritten paper and technology. I think that you have to have both of those to have an effective system. Because even when it was all digital, I felt like the day-to-day stuff wasn't being tracked as well as like day-to-day is best on paper. Long term planning as best electronically. So I've been doing that for about six months and that's where I think the balance is really started to work out there.

Advertisement  9:48  
This episode of the Tech in Church Podcast is brought to you by Text in Church. Most churches really struggle to communicate consistently with their people outside their church walls. It makes their people feel disconnected. But there is a better way, Text in Church is an easy to use two way texting system created specifically for churches to connect with their regular worshipers and guests beyond Sunday mornings. This makes them feel known, noticed and loved. And right now you can try Text in Church free for 60 days. Simply text the word connect. That's C-O-N-N-E-C-T to  816-429-9396. If you are ready to keep more guests coming back, boost your weekly attendance and encourage more people to grow in faith, then text the word 'connect' to  816-429-9396 to get started with Text in Church today.

Caleb Miller  10:52  
So Nina, I know you have the next question. But I did just want to have a little follow up here. We're real journalists here at Text in Church. So the board that you use to kind of manage that time, does it replace your Google Calendar? Does it integrate? Do you have a zap between your Google Calendar and that Monday board? I'm kind of curious about how that works. Because like Nina said, we use Reclaim to kind of do some of that habit tracking and stuff. But I'm just wondering how that might work with your Google Calendar. Let's say.

Nina Hampton  11:21  
How it translates from like, I have a thing to do to I need to then schedule that time to do that thing.

Caleb Miller  11:26  
Yeah. So I think  that typically happens at the beginning of the week. I do not have any automation set up for that. I will go in and make re-occur not reoccurring, but I will make calendar appointments for the tasks that I am doing block off time. But no, I do not have any kind of. I do that manually. Because I want to assess exactly what I want to be doing in the week. First, I probably could set up an automation for that. So I feel like that's an out. I feel like now that's a challenge that I need to do. So I need to figure that out. 

Jeanette Yates  11:53  
Please do that for us. So that way, when you share it, then we will know. 

Caleb Miller  11:57  
There you go.

Nina Hampton  11:58  
So as you have obviously all of these things to keep up in the air to make. Like you said, at one point in time, you weren't dropping balls, right? Because there was just so much that was on your plate to do. And amazingly. So I mean, the impact that you've had on Text in Church in the last five years. 

Caleb Miller  12:15  
Six years. 

Nina Hampton  12:16  
Six years. Okay, that's fine. Very casual. And then six years that you've been on the team. Obviously, there's not a single person on the team that doesn't feel your impact. Like, period. There just isn't. So what is it about your job that keeps you from drowning in the like, in the to do right? Like, what is it that you love about your job? What keeps you going? What propels you? What is it? Talk about that a little bit.

Caleb Miller  12:39  
Yeah. Before we get to that, though, I think these are like the nicest words you've ever said to me before. So I'm glad we're recording this whole thing. So I can. I'm gonna cut these pieces back and then just play them when you're in meetings and things like that. So.

Nina Hampton  12:52  
No, just like, add them to Apple Music. And then you can just have a playlist because I'll never say them again. You guys don't know this. Caleb and I are enemies. What I'm doing right now I'm saying the things that I have to say he actually paid me before the podcast to say these things.

Caleb Miller  13:05  
This is not true, y'all. Let me tell you how it really is. These two work very well together. They work very closely together. So they're like siblings, almost. So they love each other to death. But also, they're frenemies. So they're kind of like they've got this thing going on. So but yes, Caleb, I do think positive affirmations by Nina is going to be one of your new routines. You got to work into that schedule. Your focus playlist.

Caleb Miller  13:32  
Yeah, sorry to derail this whole thing. Let me get back to your questions, though. What parts of my job keep me going? That is actually a great question, I would say, I really enjoy making an impact in people's lives. So like, every single time, somebody, one of our members comes to us and says how great their experiences, like that just fuels my fire. So like, I want to do whatever I can do and whatever our team can do to provide the best experience that somebody that somebody has. Because our team, specifically the Member Experience team, I completely have the philosophy of service that we are in the business to make people's days better. We're not there to just answer your question and move you along. Like I want every interaction that you have with Text in Church, I want you to come away, like wow, that was the best service experience I've ever I've ever had. So that's really what keeps me going. It's like the drive to make it better. Because if somebody doesn't have a good experience, I want to analyze that whole situation. Figure out what pain point happened along the way. Let's iron that out. And then let's keep on moving forward to provide the best experience possible for people.

Caleb Miller  14:39  
Well, I think that church leaders listening to this right now. They can identify with that, because we don't call it customer service in the church. We call it discipleship. We call it ministry. But the same thing we want everybody that encounters any communication that comes from our church to be so supporting the mission of our church, which is to make disciples so and to share the love of Christ. So I think there's something to be said about when you're thinking about whatever technology you're going to use or whatever tool or platform or whatever it's like, okay, well, that's the tool, but what's the why behind it? And that will help guide you. So thank you for sharing that. Caleb. Okay, so this is the part where you get to talk about what you like to do outside of work. And I mean, I think I know you pretty well. Are we gonna talk about Disney now?

Caleb Miller  15:33  
We are. That's why I was trying to hint at the beginning because like, I've just been waiting for this question. This is the only reason why I did the podcasts. I'm like, I get to talk about Disney in a public forum. Let's let's do this!

Nina Hampton  15:43  
Hopefully this gets you a sponsorship. Hopefully this makes me like a sponsored.

Caleb Miller  15:47  
That'd be great. I just need to start everywhere I go. I'll have my own affiliate link in there. You know, they can I can send people there. Yeah, but what I like to do outside of work, is that Disney so my wife and I live right outside of Orlando. And that's what we typically like to do on weeknights, things like that weekends. We like to go up to Disney Universal, have some fun, walk around, get some exercise in and people watch and all the fun things you get to do at Disney. So Jeanette and I are both from Florida. So Nina I'm very sorry you don't get to experience the awesome Florida weather that we've been having last few weeks. But just being outside walking around, there's like a nature preserve near us. So just being out in the beautiful Florida nature is what we like to do outside of work.

Jeanette Yates  16:29  
So I just have to jump in here real quick as a fellow Floridian, I don't live close enough to Disney to have it be like in my nightly act. Like I just got a target. So the fact that like you can just pop on over to Disney just on a weeknight just like oh, let's go have dinner at the whatever. Mad Hatter something. I don't know. I don't know what restaurants are at Disney. 

Nina Hampton  16:50  
Can't relate. 

Jeanette Yates  16:50  
Yeah. But anyway, that is really cool. And I'm kind of like, I'm a little jealous that you can do that. Even though I don't consider myself like a super Disney fan. But if I could just go hang out there whenever I wanted. I might become one.

Caleb Miller  17:05  
You can come down. Well come down on Friday. We'll go up there. We'll have some fun.

Jeanette Yates  17:10  
Yeah, let's do it.

Nina Hampton  17:11  
They have all the whatever highest secret club member of Disney you can be Caleb is that. So? Yeah, I'm like, I was like at this point. There's got to be like a portal in your house somewhere that just takes you straight to there. Like that's how involved you are.

Jeanette Yates  17:26  
That's the next tech tool he's working on. 

Caleb Miller  17:27  

Nina Hampton  17:28  
And you know what, just for the record, I may not have amazing Florida weather, but I have Kansas City Barbecue. And that's all I need in life. So I'm good. Kansas City Barbecue in Kansas City. Okay, like, I'm good.

Caleb Miller  17:38  
Kansas City Barbecue is great. But it can't compare to all of Florida. You have one thing. All of Florida is the best. 

Jeanette Yates  17:46  
They also have the good football team.

Nina Hampton  17:49  
We just had the Chiefs. We have the Chiefs. We do. We have the Chiefs. Yeah, I know that you don't care about that. The rest of the world does. So I will continue in this wonderful month of March, I will continue to remind everyone that we won the Super Bowl. So. 

Caleb Miller  18:06  
Interesting. Okay. 

Nina Hampton  18:07  
And on top of that the draft is here next month. Okay. What like? Yeah.

Jeanette Yates  18:11  
Very exciting.

Nina Hampton  18:12  
Anyways, very exciting. So with that, as we're wrapping up, right and talking about all the things so what advice do you have? What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling to transition into their role? We have a lot of church leaders who listen to this. And I mean, thinking about Josiah Peterman. Right. Like he went from being youth to connections to all the things, whatever the church needed. And so as people grow into those roles, what advice do you have to somebody who's struggling to do that?

Caleb Miller  18:41  
The biggest piece of encouragement or advice that I could give in in transitioning roles would be to...The first thing I would do is have some kind of expectations or goals set up. I believe that you can't do a job well, unless there is clear defined goals, metrics that you can set to succeed in your job. Even if those aren't exactly set in stone, and you need to move them later on down the road. You need to start with those. Get expectations from whoever, whoever's leading you. If you don't have anybody leading you, you can set your own goals and expectations. And I would say set those as markers for your success. So you can see how you grow in your role. The other piece of advice, I would say, and I think it goes back to the time management. Well, A is is time management. Like go ahead and start doing time management as soon as you transition into your new role documenting. I think a part of time management as well as is documenting where you're spending your time. It's not just here is I'm doing my best to do this in all these things in my time, but also, where am I spending my time? Where can I free up time out? Where can I delegate things where can I set up automation, but then also at the same time is being able to just this is more speaking to myself here is just being able to do something so if I've I have a task on my plate and I'm like no nervous about it. I'll put that lower down on my time management scale, because I'm like, I don't really, I don't know how I'm gonna do this. I don't know what it's gonna take to do this, like you just got. I think there's a book called like Eat the Frog! You got to like just take it on, and just do it head on. So those would be my pieces of advice or setting metrics. It's kind of time tracking and time management. And just don't put off the things that you need to get done.

Jeanette Yates  20:24  
So one of the things that I have heard throughout you say, throughout this episode, throughout this interview, is, when you're talking about time management, you're talking about specifically focusing and planning and being strategic about your time. And that struck me as I was thinking, and maybe our listeners can relate to this.  I'm thinking, well, how often do I feel like, I'm in control of my time. So when you were talking about like putting the stuff in Monday, every week, or every month, and how you're like, Well, I don't want it to be automatic hooked up to anything, because I want to decide how much time I'm going to give to each one of these different roles or duties. And I was like, You know what, I wonder if it's a matter of even just reframing and saying to ourselves, I do have, I can manage my time because I am going to be in charge of it. So within, we do have work hours, right. But we can manage the time in those hours. So we may not say like, might not be able to say that about our whole lives and our other roles, but we can at least start to manage our own time and dictate our own strategies and where we're going to spend our time when we're working. So I think that's something that I'm taking away from this episode. It's reframing my mindset on what exactly it means for time management to actually be in charge of it.

Nina Hampton  21:49  
And I think the other thing too, is that like, it's not a matter of just, and Jeanette, you and I, kind of mentioned this briefly whenever we interview anyone. But it's not just a matter of finding a tool to solve your problem. You need a strategy. First, you need to think about your 'why.' What are you doing? What is it that? How are you going to do this before you ever get a tool before you ever get something that's going to work for you? What is going to be your philosophy, your personal strategy that you're using behind it? Because if you don't have that, and you just try to use some tool to do it for you  that's not the job of the tool. The job of the tool is to implement whatever it is that you have the mindset to do.

Caleb Miller  22:30  
Yeah, and I would also say it's also like an evolution. So like, I've probably changed my process 15 times in the last five years. Just don't get discouraged as you go through those things. If something's not working for you, that's okay. Don't give up. Let's try to tweak it find another solution. I think it's like an ever evolving thing as more things get put on your plate. Because whenever you start doing time management, while you'll get more responsibilities, so then things need to shift. So you just have to. It's like a constant revolving thing that just needs to always be updated, always to be improved. And just to never give up on it. Yeah.

Nina Hampton  23:05  
No, that's great. That's a really good point.

Caleb Miller  23:07  
Well, Caleb, we do appreciate your time that you budgeted in for this today. Thank you so much! And like we've been saying, like Nina just said, remember, this is not any of these episodes that we do this, or any of the tech tools that we talk about. We love a tool. But that's not the goal. The goal is not the tool. The goal is what the tool helps you do. And you've got to have that strategy first. And as I always like to say, from the time I taught fitness to when I was helping churches, figure out there social media strategy, or whatever, hey, listen, no exercise is perfect. No tool is perfect. It's not going to work unless you use it. So find the exercise you're willing to do. Find the tool that's easy for you to use and actually helps you achieve your goal. achieve your mission achieve your strategy. There are so many great tools out there. And if you don't use it, though, it's not going to work.

Nina Hampton  23:59  
I would even say the same about strategy. No strategy is good unless you use it.

Caleb Miller  24:03  
Yes, implementing the actual strategy. You can know this strategy, but if you're not implementing it doesn't do it again. Remember, no tool, no strategy. No.automation replaces you. Only you can do the things that God has called you to do. Tools don't replace you, but they do help you do more of what you love to do in ministry and in your personal life.

Nina Hampton  24:33  
Thank you for listening to today's podcast episode. If you want to see a full list of Caleb's tech tools, strategies and books head over to our show notes at And remember to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen so that you can spend less time worrying about technology and more time doing what you love in your ministry and in your personal life.

How Caleb has grown in his challenging roles
Insights into improving time management
Caleb’s favorite tech tools and key areas for time management
A mix of digital and paper technology for planning
What makes Caleb continue impacting Tech in Church
Caleb, Disney Universal, and his life outside of work
Best advice to church leaders transitioning into different roles
Why you should document your time management activities
The need to continue evolving at church and in the ministry
Episode wrap-up