Stan Coker is the Founder & CEO of Brushfire Technology, who has recently partnered with Hillsong Church to form Hillsong Technology. We sat down with Stan to discuss how this came about, his role as Founding Partner & COO of Hillsong Technology, and what the vision is for the future. It’s pretty exciting.
This is the second part of a two-part interview with Stan Coker, CEO of Brushfire and Founding Partner of Hillsong Technology. If you missed the first part you can read it here.
Hillsong Technology is a new and exciting venture, how did this come about?
VERY slowly! I’ll change my answer to a more diplomatic one. Deliberately and with much thought.It absolutely is the product of more than two years of talk, planning and the building of a remarkable friendship between our organisations.
After getting to know Rob and the rest of the team and in so many ways sensing the like-minded work ethic and vision for the global church I felt like we could come together to do significantly more than what we could do alone, and Rob shared with me really early on that he had a belief that he and his team were equipped for and desired to be part of something that strengthened not only Hillsong and its campuses around the world, but The Church as well.
What made this particular opportunity unique?
I’ve always believed the industry I serve and love deserves the best, and I have no doubts God expects and deserves our best. I’ve always hesitated biting off too much beyond Brushfire and have turned away a number of projects along the way. This is a chance for us to be part of “more” in every sense of the word. We can be connected to a larger community, create more solutions for technology for churches and overall have the chance to fulfill a desire to be in relationship and partnership with some really amazing people.
I’ve definitely hit this point in my career that it just about has to be fun – no way I want to take steps back. This is going to be fun to see what God does through us all. I hope everyone that comes into the community we seek to build knows that our hearts are pure and our interests lie beyond ourselves. We want to be a part of the solutions that everyone is going to need as technology rapidly evolves and churches look to capitalize on the connected world we live in to bring more and more people to Christ.
For you, already running your own technology company, what do you see as the opportunities by partnering with Hillsong and all the complexities that that brings?
I like the word choice: complexities. Hillsong is an established, global machine and with that comes a host of challenges – the smaller boat (Brushfire) turns much faster than the large ship; but the sincere beauty of Hillsong is its commitment and love for Jesus Christ that centers it.
If I had to pick just one word for the secret ingredient for Hillsong Church it would definitely be relationship. Their relationship with Jesus first, and secondly their love and commitment to each other. I see it over and over again in multiple countries and all of the cities in the United States where I live. They’re spread out, but they really care about each other. Most of the leadership have spent a lot of ministry time together and they trust each other. Rob and his team have embraced us in a similar way and we all see trust as the cornerstone of this partnership to form Hillsong Technology.
I believe Brushfire will be a better, stronger, more thoughtful organization as a result. The framework and strategy we’ve worked up is designed to build the foundation and create additional success for all involved and at no one organization’s expense.
What is your hope and expectation for Hillsong Technology? How do you think that is going to be achieved?
I admit I’m brimming with hope for this venture. I’ve recently discovered that my optimism and general lack of cynicism have possibly waned in these last few years. So, it’s been exciting to see people come together for a cause that can’t be seen as anything but bigger and more important that each of us as individuals to see if we can’t shift the thinking a little when it comes to church tech. We’re going to have to really hone our juggling, project management and presentation skills. If we can convince others outside our normal ecosystem that we are 1) just here to help and 2) in need of their voice in coming up with the proper answers….we might have chance.
Why should churches or people who are Christian and passionate about technology engage with Hillsong Technology?
Church has never been looked upon as the source of inspiration for technology. What a shame to have to say that since we are a massive, globally connected body of humans with a (mostly) singular purpose. And, our leader is the ruler of all things. We should and can be better. I just don’t see how that happens without creating a holistic, altruistic approach. I see us all working better together..setting aside ego and pretense. I envision this as being a place to have your voice heard and your ideas considered.
John Maxwell said years ago that our ideas are like bubbles; easily popped and almost always by people to which we are closest. That really stuck with me because I certainly have seen people easily dismissed and marginalized for the absolute worst of reasons. Hillsong Technology creates a place where all ideas are heard and considered and where we can work together to make a tangible, effective difference for all churches.