The Story of TrainedUp

This post has been adapted from episode 14 of our podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast here or read the transcript below. 

Kevin Fontenot: Hey there. I’m Kevin Fontenot, and I’m here with Scott Magdalein. We’re your hosts of The Thriving Ministry Team’s Podcast, where we talk about all things related to church leadership, discipleship, and training. On today’s episode, we’re going to dive into the story of TrainedUp as a company, doing things a little bit differently. But want to get out a great podcast episode for you. Scott had actually messaged me earlier this week because it’s been a couple weeks since we’ve dropped a new podcast episode, asking if we were still doing it. And you can rest assured, we are still doing a podcast. And this is going to be a good one that’s going to come out next week. Well, it’s going to come out when you’re listening to this, but you get the idea.

Scott Magdalein: Yeah. It’s been a little bit, I think because we’ve been really busy with stuff. TrainedUp has been growing a lot, and a lot of ministry leaders are sort of discovering and realizing opportunity with online training and what they can do with it, how to impact their ministry in a positive way. And so the podcast has kind of got shuffled to the side while we’re actually serving real live ministry leaders every day, so apologize.

Kevin Fontenot: It’s a good problem to have.

Scott Magdalein: Yeah. It’s a good problem. Of course, all of our raving podcast fans are sorely disappointed, I’m sure. But we’re back and we should be able to stay on a pretty good schedule over the next six to eight weeks, I think. We’ve made some changes internally that will help us to better schedule and better serve ministry leaders without having to sacrifice time from the podcast.

Kevin Fontenot: That’s really good. I’m excited for all the changes that we’re doing at TrainedUp. And I thought this was a great time to kind of dig into the story of TrainedUp just because we’re doing so many changes internally at the moment.

Scott Magdalein: Yeah. It’s really exciting. It’s a good time to talk about this, not just because of the changes, but also because of the stuff, where we’ve been. We’ve learned a lot about what ministry leaders are doing. We’ve just got a lot of data that we haven’t talked about and haven’t even begun to put out there to help ministry leaders just with the process or the thought process of moving toward either online training, or even just thinking about: How can I do training better? I mean, for us it’s not always about online training. Sometimes it’s just about ways to improve their volunteer leader training in their church where they are, without even adopting a new tool. We’ve just got a lot of data from the last couple of years to share. I’m ready to share it.

Kevin Fontenot: Awesome. I’d love for you to start at the beginning, and tell us a little bit about the backstory of how TrainedUp came to be.

Scott Magdalein: Okay. Well, let’s see. I was on staff at a church. And we were having a challenge in training our volunteers. Honestly, it’s the same story I’ve heard from 100 ministry leaders since I’ve started TrainedUp. We had training meetings that weren’t being attended. We had a congregation that was geographically spread out, and so it was hard to get people to those training meetings. We were kind of re visioning and we had new bylaws, new vision, new branding, and a lot of new processes for things like readers and children’s safety policies and stuff like that, so a lot of new stuff in a church that we were trying to turn around, a 75 year old church we were trying to turn around.

Scott Magdalein: And people were faithful people, really Jesus loving people. But it was a long drive, and most of the time when we had a meeting, it was a weeknight during the week because we had Sunday night church, and we had Wednesday night church. And so Sunday night and Wednesday night we sort of out of bounds. And so trying to get people there in the middle of the week with the rush hour at the end of the day was nearly impossible. We’d have 10%, 15%, 20% of the people that were supposed to be in the meeting actually show up for the meeting, which means the meeting was almost useless. It’s almost like completely a wash to even have that training meeting.

Scott Magdalein: And I’d be going to coffee meetings early in the morning, or having special phone calls or video calls with people to try and train them individually, get them up to speed. And it just wasn’t working. So then I tried to go to email. I was like, “Well, if people aren’t showing up to meetings, I’ll just write emails,” and then I realized that people don’t read long emails. And there’s also no way to know who did and who didn’t read those emails without some special tooling. And then it’s weird because you’re tracking people’s email interactions, which is kind of weird to me.

Scott Magdalein: Anyway, I figure, let’s try video after about a year of trying to different things. Let’s try video, so I tried YouTube. Uploaded some videos to YouTube, and it was a positive reaction, but I still didn’t get a ton of participation. But the positive reaction was, they got the information without having to show up. But I still didn’t know who was and who wasn’t interacting with the video. I didn’t know if they got it. And so there was a gap between, I could get them the information in a way that was engaging and accessible to them. But I didn’t know who was actually engaging with it without going to each and every person and asking them about their training.

Scott Magdalein: Next step beyond YouTube was then to take YouTube and put it into a place where I could then track who’s watching and who’s understanding the stuff. That was beginning of TrainedUp where I was using YouTube videos with a very basic, roughly put together WordPress website with a login thing and a form inside of the website. And so we were tracking. They’d watch a video and answer the questions in a form. And I would get an email when they answered the questions. There’s like a Wufoo form or something. And that was the beginning of TrainedUp. Of course, I refined it and built it. Then I found some plugins with WordPress, and I built it up a little bit more. And it kind of became this thing bigger than what I had originally planned.

Scott Magdalein: Some other pastors liked it, so they kind of rebuilt it for them. It wasn’t a thing that a pastor could sign up for. They just asked, “Can we use this?” So I built out a WordPress site for them with the same plugins. That was the early days. That was back in 2015, late 2015 was that first version. It wasn’t even a company then. It was just me helping, me doing my own training and helping some of my pastor friends to do their training as well.

Kevin Fontenot: That story that you shared is one that we hear over and over again. We got a message yesterday that you had shared, where someone had just thrown a training meeting. 25% of the people actually came to the meeting.

Scott Magdalein: Yeah. Yeah. I was chatting with her. She had previously tried TrainedUp earlier this year, maybe late last year. And they tried it, and they spent one month on it. They imported a couple of courses from our library, but didn’t share it with any learners. And they were just kind of trying it out, and they canceled. No big deal, that happens. Some ministry leaders are just sort of curious. They’re not ready to go, they’re just curious, and that’s fine. But what’s funny about it is, fast forward six or eight months, or whatever it is, and they’ve had a couple of training meetings in a couple of different ministry areas. And every leader in the church is frustrated with low attendance at training meetings.

Scott Magdalein: And so in the message she sent, she said, “The question was asked. What can we do to increase training engagement?” And her response was, “Boom. TrainedUp.” And so she said it was a no brainer. They signed up for trained up and they’re already got courses, creating courses in it, importing courses, getting learners in. They said they’ve already had success with it. Honestly, it’s a cut and dry success story of somebody who was having a difficult time with training meetings, and then switched … Not switched necessarily, just started implementing TrainedUp as another option for training, and immediately saw training engagement increase in their ministry.

Kevin Fontenot: That’s really awesome. One of the things that I love is, I’ve been here at TrainedUp for a little over a year and a half now, and it’s changed a lot since I first came on. Can you walk us through some of those changes and kind of give us an oral history of TrainedUp.

Scott Magdalein: Yeah. It has changed a lot. I think you probably agree. Our mission hasn’t changed. But how we function and how we work, how we serve ministry leaders has changed. We still focus on helping ministry leaders build thriving ministry teams through training. Kevin, when you joined, you’ll remember I’m sure, the tool that we had was so rough. It was still the original tool that I had built, like an extension or some mutated version of the first thing that I had built in 2015. And it was so rough and so many bugs. It was just rough. Anyway, we had a good number, we had a handful I should say, of churches using it still. But it was not a great tool. Most of our helping of ministry leaders was really through coaching and talking to them about training. And every once in a while, somebody would sign up for our rough version of TrainedUp at the time.

Scott Magdalein: When Kevin came on, I think that same month I said, “Okay, guys. It’s time to rebuild TrainedUp. It’s going to be a three to four month project to rebuild it from the scratch, from the ground up. Completely new code base with a completely different paradigm for how we’re going to do online training.” In the past, the first version of TrainedUp was, you had to build all the content yourself. It was a process. It was difficult to build the content. Not only did you not have access to pre done content that was relevant and professional, but also, you had to build … And so you build your own content, but the content builder was so clunky that I had to do training, extensive training for people on how to use the course builder.

Scott Magdalein: Anyway, the two big things that we tried to solve with the new version back in middle of last year was make it really easy to get started, so the big part of solving that was to create good training that people can use right out of the box without having to worry about planning any training or creating a course. Getting started fast was important with low overhead. And then the next thing was being able to create custom content as easy as possible. And so that’s where we went into and re imagined the course builder process, made it just a couple of steps with some form fields for things like course title and module title stuff. Really simplified it and added in the ability to, this did not exist at the time, but add in the ability to upload your own videos, link directly from YouTube or Vimeo, and then the big one, which has been super popular, is recording video with your webcam right into your modules.

Scott Magdalein: And those two things, a really simple course builder and the ability to pull in courses from a standardized library of professional content was a game changer, not just for our business, but for making it really easy and making ministry leaders really successful with their online training. Those were the two big things that happened in the three or months after Kevin joined. And Kevin, you were a big, huge, significant part of that rebuild, the redesign, the design process, and then of course how we talk about it and how we market it. Kevin was a God send right when you joined as we were in that inflection point of rebuilding.

Kevin Fontenot: I feel like I wasn’t too involved in that, but I’ll take it. Definitely on the marketing side of it once we were relaunching. But one of the things that you said there is something I want to dive into a little bit more because as we were planning and relaunching the tool, we really didn’t have any expectations of how people were going to use it, how they were going to come on board with it. And so we had this idea of creating the record from webcam functionality. And we had our library of content inside of there. But again, we were kind of all under the impression that people were going to be hiring us a lot to make videos, and so we created the video production service inside of TrainedUp. And year and a half later from launching version two in April of 2017, it’s amazing how few people have taken us up on that.

Scott Magdalein: What’s funny is, it’s one of those things where you make a lot of assumptions when you’re building something new, and especially when you’re building something for other people to use. You make a lot of assumptions about what they’ll want and how they’ll use it. And those assumptions, it’s one of those things where you learn. And I guess if you’re listening and you’re a product person, you’re thinking about building a tool for other people to use, beware of your own assumptions because they can really lead you astray.

Scott Magdalein: Now thankfully, this was not something that led us astray. But it definitely was a wrong assumption. We assumed that people would want a service to be building or creating professionally produced videos for a church. And it was priced reasonably. It was like $100 per video, which is really inexpensive. That included lots of help with script writing and script editing, and then producing, editing, and then taking those videos and actually uploading them to your course for you. It was a completely done for you service. All you had to do was really just give us the topic and some content fodder for the scripts and we take it from there.

Scott Magdalein: But in reality, we had maybe four or five churches take us up on it over the last year, which is just so small. The reason for that I think is because our churches realize, and also, we realized, so we kind of stopped talking about it. We realized that the best training is personal training, and especially when it comes to your church’s language and something specific to your church. The best training is sitting there watching the ministry leader that I see every Sunday when I show up. She’s the one whose got the T-shirts or got the name tags for me to put on my neck. That’s the person who I want to train me. And so I think ministry leaders also realize that personal nature of the training, it being a person I know, is a big part of engagement and a big part of feeling like you’re a part of a team and a community and not just a cog in a machine.

Scott Magdalein: We have backed off of talking about that because we have been really pushing ministry leaders to muster the courage to sit in front of the webcam and just talk out their own training instead of having a professional team do it.

Kevin Fontenot: That’s one of the things I love because when we launched in April 2017 with the new version, we had really stripped it down to a bare minimum. We created the things that we thought made the most sense for training, and then really relied on talking with ministry leaders, with pastors that were using the product of what should be in it. And I think that’s been a really fun process for me, just being able to work with our product team, work with Jared and Scott to figure out what is important to have, what isn’t important to have. I know I’ve definitely lobbied for things way too early on features that I thought we needed that we had to wait a few months to actually get in there because there were other things more pressing. Can you walk through kind of that process of what it looks like to prioritize different features inside of TrainedUp based on what our customers are actually wanting?

Scott Magdalein: Yeah. That’s part of really the fun part of building something that other people use. There’s pitfalls, like making assumptions about what people want, or building the wrong thing, or building it the wrong way, or even just having the wrong language that makes people not understand a certain feature. But then there’s a whole bunch of fun stuff. The fun thing is, it’s a big puzzle. It’s a big kind of problem solving task. Right? I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one of those things where you have to break out of the room together with a team. Have you been to one of those before?

Kevin Fontenot: I haven’t been to one of those. But I have done a few puzzles in my days.

Scott Magdalein: Well, there’s these cool things where you go to this place, and you pay 50 bucks a person. And they lock you in a room. You have to pay 50 bucks to get locked in a room with your teammates or whatever. And then there’s all these clues, and you have to figure out a puzzle, like a multi part puzzle to get out of the room, to find the code to get out of the room, or find the key to get out of the room. And it’s really fun. It’s a great team building exercise. But the process of building a product like TrainedUp, or anything that other people use, is a big room that you’re locked in, and you’re trying to work out how to get out of it together.

Scott Magdalein: And so there’s so many small decisions. There’s, of course: What features do you build? When do you build them, if you’re going to build them? Some features that customers request are not great feature ideas. It’s just an idea, maybe something they want at the moment. But it’s not the best way to actually solve the problem for the majority of customers. And so knowing when to say no to a customer is honestly a skill that I’m still trying to … Or maybe a discipline. Maybe it’s a discipline I’m still trying to hone, because when a customer asks for something, it’s like, “I want to make the customer happy,” but sometimes making the customer happy means helping them be successful. And a different feature or a different way of solving that problem is better for that customer.

Scott Magdalein: The other hard thing is working together as a team. Like Kevin said, you have ideas for what we should build. And we all have different ideas. And as the team grows, we have more ideas in the pot. And so a big factor in building something good for ministry leaders is: How do we come to a conclusion on the best way to solve the training challenge and different aspects? Now we’re into the minutiae, the small nuances of training. How do we solve those nuanced challenges for ministry leaders? And what’s great about it is that I don’t have all the answers, and Jared and Kevin, none of us have all the answers individually. But together, we have a lot of honesty and conversation, a lot of transparency and freedom to push back and just say, “I think that’s a bad idea.” And we come out the other end of that sausage making process with pretty good sausage.

Scott Magdalein: I was on a call yesterday with a pastor. He was saying something about, he likes the way something was built. And I said it was a big process to get that built that way. He said, “Yeah. I imagine the sausage making process was tough, but the sausage is delicious.” I was like, “That’s a great way of complimenting TrainedUp, I guess.”

Kevin Fontenot: Yeah. One of the things that I really love is that we’re not just talking about a handful of people anymore that we’re serving. And when we have those conversations with customers, they’re requesting a certain feature, it may make complete sense for them in their context. But one of the things that I love that we’ve prioritized is building products, building features, building content for 90% of churches out there.

Scott Magdalein: Yeah. And that’s really part of the challenge too because churches are so diverse. The concept of a church, I guess, if you’re an outsider, you may not have been a part of a church, or especially not part of a church staff. You might think that pretty much all churches have the same challenges, but it’s so not true. Every church is so different. And so the challenge of serving such a diverse group of people unified by mission and unified by even the commands in the scripture to equip the saints for the work of ministry and that sort of thing. But they all do it so differently that building a tool that works for so many different contexts is a challenge, but a fun challenge to solve.

Scott Magdalein: And also, I think a testament, not to pat ourselves too hard on the back, but I think it’s a testament to how the way the tool is built and the way that we’ve designed it, the decisions that we’ve made, there is such a diverse group of churches using TrainedUp. Just about every spectrum of the Christian, Orthodox Christian world, even we have some Catholic churches on the far right. We have a lot of … I say far right. Just on one end. We have a lot of Baptist churches, a lot of AG churches. We have lot of arc churches and [inaudible 00:19:32] churches. All of these churches in different realms, different doctrinal kind of veins. They agree that training is important and they find that TrainedUp as a tool is useful and willing to invest their time into building it, invest their people’s time into learning with it. It’s a really cool experience.

Kevin Fontenot: Scott, you and I are a lot alike. I’m an INTJ. You’re an ENTJ. We both founded and started a ton of companies, kind of side projects that we’ve done. And church training is not one that I would’ve thought of myself, had I been looking for an idea of a product to create. Why focus on something like that over things like church websites or so many things that are more obvious in the church world?

Scott Magdalein: It kind of started with me just solving my own problem. I told that story earlier, but just solving my own challenge of training my own volunteers. And it kind of spread by accident, if you will, from there. But as I poured into it, as I spent more time talking with pastors about how they do training and realizing that not only is this a tool I can give to other pastors, it may be a business that I could build and provide not just a value to pastors, but also a living for my family and maybe some employees too. I realize that it’s a really unsolved challenge. And it’s one of those rare spaces where it’s practical when you talk about it with people, especially with ministry leaders. They get it immediately. Most ministry leaders don’t love the way they do training right now. They’re not super successful with it, but it’s the only way they’ve ever done it.

Scott Magdalein: And there’s not a whole lot of solutions out there for it. And so when I went into it, most of the conversations I had with pastors was, they’re trying to build their own, or they’re trying to use YouTube by itself, or they’re trying to do email with video, or some sort of hacked together thing. And the story was, I’d just tell them, “Man, I tried the same thing. And I imagine it’s not working for you just like it didn’t work for me when I was doing just YouTube or just email.” And of course, almost every conversation was, “Yeah. It doesn’t really work much better either.”

Scott Magdalein: The problem is there to solve. I had the problem. I’m familiar with the problem. And honestly, I’m not a whole lot really familiar with church finances. I think the church website problem has mostly been solved by things like Square Space or some of the faith based website builders out there. But the church training thing just wasn’t solved well. And there wasn’t a whole lot of options for churches to be able to do online training in a way that’s accessible, accountable, and affordable as well. That was three As, accessible, accountable, and affordable. You could tell I went to Bible school.

Kevin Fontenot: You can always tell when you’re talking to ministry leaders because the idea of avoiding alliteration always doesn’t [crosstalk 00:22:19].

Scott Magdalein: You slipped that in too. You slipped that in too. It’s inevitable.

Kevin Fontenot: But I purposely did it to make light of alliteration. One of the final things I want to touch on is just kind of our company culture at TrainedUp. I think that we do things a lot differently than other companies do, especially in the church world. Could you talk a little bit about that, Scott?

Scott Magdalein: Sure. As far as culture goes, I come from … Culture is a learned thing. Culture is not something that just you’re born with it, or you just kind of step in, and you have an idea for culture. Culture is learned. And also, culture can be accidental or purposeful. I learned some of the stuff that I care about and some of the things I intentionally shape for the staff, the team culture at TrainedUp, from my time at Life Church and from my time at Treehouse, so two companies that were both kind of influential for how I think about and how I want to run my own team. And so what I learned at Life Church was meaning and vision. Vision is only backed by meaning. A vision is not super compelling if it’s just revenue numbers and [inaudible 00:23:26] numbers. Or at least it’s not compelling to me. Maybe that’s a millennial thing. But I want my vision, mission for my company to be meaningful.

Scott Magdalein: And so we spend a lot of time talking about the ministry leaders we’re serving and how we’re helping them to be successful with training in their ministry and how that’s improving their ministry overall. What I learned from Treehouse is that you don’t have to work five days a week to be able to get a good job done. And so we work four day week, Monday through Thursday, normal work hours like 8:00 to 5:00 or so. And we have flexible work, so from a staff culture or policies culture, we have unlimited vacation time. There’s no clock in, clock out. Take all holidays off. There’s no … What am I trying to say? There’s nobody watching when you’re at your desk and not at your desk. We try to keep it … Not that we try to keep it casual, we try to keep it trust based.

Scott Magdalein: My team is not going to worry that I’m going to be looking over their shoulder, making sure that they’re getting their work done because they know that I trust them. I think that trust goes a long way in a staff culture where I think people do better work when they feel like they’re trusted, and they can own a space and move forward with it and not be micromanaged or have their hand held all the time to get something done. I think that also, people feel the weight of trust. And I think that weight of trust helps them to do better work because they want to honor that trust, generally. Of course, that doesn’t work for everybody. Some people need more of a hands on approach to being managed. And those people just won’t work well at TrainedUp, honestly.

Scott Magdalein: We’re hiring right now for a couple of roles as we grow. And a big part of, even more so than hiring for specific skills, is hiring for things like teachability, and for humility and compassion and empathy with customers. And a big part of it is working independently because I am not going to hand hold or micromanage anybody on this team. I just can’t do it. And we can’t do it on a small team either. What’s funny is that on church staff, most church staffs are having just enough employees to get the job done. And yet, a lot of times, the pastor still kind of micromanages that staff, when he’d free himself up a ton if he would just let his staff people run, give them a lot of trust. Trust, but verify that whole concept. Let them run, but keep tabs on them. Ask how they’re doing. Ask if they need help. Take things off their plate, but let them have trust and let them run. And I think that you’ll see that the high performers, people who really do a good job, will do even better in a high trust environment.

Kevin Fontenot: Dropping bombs of wisdom here.

Scott Magdalein: Dropping bombs. Actually, I’m going to interrupt. This is going to make our podcast a little longer, but I think it’s important. That’s what I try to do in this culture wise. I think that’s what I try to do from my perspective. But a little detour here, Kevin, I want you to, from your perspective from somebody who came in when the company was already created, never knowing me before. I mean, you and I interacted on Twitter before you came in, but it we didn’t have a big background of trust built up already. I want you to tell me what your experience has been like from a culture perspective and from getting inserted into kind of an existing team, and also building something from scratch, building something new and having to … All the things. Give me your experience that you’ve had.

Kevin Fontenot: Yeah. I’ve done a ton of stuff in my career. I’ve done IT work. I’ve done my own businesses on the side and a lot of retail and customer service, like early, early on, like in college and things like that. But one of the things that stuck with me across every position that I ever worked was the focus on customer service. And that’s one of the things that I know is a big reason that I’m where I’m at with TrainedUp, is just our focus on helping customers and helping the churches that we serve. And it’s great because I’ve worked on church staffs. I’ve went to Bible college, those sorts of things.

Kevin Fontenot: But it’s a big difference between doing the work of ministry and helping ministry leaders do the work of ministry. And so it’s been a really cool thing for us, just to get really close to the customer. I’m on websites all day every day. And I do a little bit of consulting on the side to help other businesses to focus in on being customer first through things like conversational marketing and chat based. And I think that’s been one of the biggest things that I’ve seen at TrainedUp, is just our focus on that, by getting really, really close to the churches that we work with, really close to those pastors. We have open line of communication at all times. People can jump on our website all the time. And we have dozens of chats every single day with those pastors. And it makes us a better company because of that.

Kevin Fontenot: And one of the other things that I really love about TrainedUp is just the ability to be open and honest and transparent about anything that we’re going through. We have a lot of great discussions, sometimes heated discussions about things inside the product, how we think things should work. Sometimes I’m the voice of dissent. Sometimes Scott’s the voice of dissent. Sometimes it’s someone else on our team that has the dissenting opinion. But we always hear that out and try and make light of it, try and figure out how to understand why they have that certain idea of a different idea that someone else on our team has.

Scott Magdalein: Yeah. There’s a good collaboration spirit, I feel like, on the team. And really, that’s something you have to actively cultivate a collaborative spirit. Again, trust is such a big thing because people aren’t going to share their opinion, people aren’t going to give their ideas if they feel like they’re going to get shot down, if they feel like they’re not heard, if they feel like they’re not a key part of the team. People just aren’t going to include their ideas. And you can’t have that collaborative spirit, you can’t build the best product, you can’t lead the best team, you can’t have strong ministry if people don’t feel like they can voice their opinion, especially dissenting opinion. It’s easy to voice a, I agree, that looks good.

Scott Magdalein: But if you have a dissenting opinion, it takes some courage on that person’s part. And that courage can only come from if they feel like they’re trusted and safe in that place to be able to explain or come out with that dissenting opinion, so I’m glad you feel that way. That’s good. We’ve been working hard to cultivate that.

Kevin Fontenot: Definitely. We jump on probably a call, at least a 30 minute call every day at some point, discussing something or another.

Scott Magdalein: And what’s great is … Here’s the other thing. I’m going to pat myself on the back. I have a very clear view of my own fallible decision making. And so I’m very open to … In the past year, and Kevin, and as we’re having more people, very open to their opinions or their input. And we were just on a call earlier this week that I had a big plan, and I wanted to go this big direction. And Kevin was like, “I’m not sure about that.” I was like, “Oh, man. You’re probably right. Shoot.” And so it’s really helpful to be able to have those people that I can explain my idea to somebody, be excited about it. And then if they say, “I don’t think it’s a great idea,” not feel like they just popped my balloon or let the air of my tires. I can still feel like we’re still heading the same direction. We still have the same values. We still see things, see the world the same way. But Kevin has a good perspective. Kevin has good thoughts and is an intelligent person and can provide really good feedback to me, and I’m not always right. It helps with that collaborative environment.

Kevin Fontenot: One more question from me before we wrap up. What’s next for TrainedUp as a company that serves churches?

Scott Magdalein: Okay. What’s next for TrainedUp is from a team perspective, we are hiring so that we can serve churches better. We’re hiring a couple of advisors to help churches kind of figure out what kind of training they want to do with their church, if they are ready for online training or if there’s some changes or adjustments they can make to their existing training. Those training advisors, two of those guys are coming on this month. One of them just started this week. And then the other one is starting next week.

Scott Magdalein: We’re also going to be adding a customer success. I don’t know what we’re going to call that role, but it’s customer success. Essentially, when churches do decide to jump on with TrainedUp, that person is going to be doing onboarding, helping them get to know the system, helping them implement the system, helping them plan courses if they want to start creating their own courses, and just better take care of our existing customers. Essentially, we’re doubling the size of our team from three to six this month and next month.

Scott Magdalein: Beyond that, from a product perspective we are making some changes on the backend, some significant changes on the backend that are going to help us build more, better features in the future. And we’re also going to be making some changes, or adding some new features that I think are going to be pretty exciting. I don’t want to give it away though. There’s always the chance that-

Kevin Fontenot: You can’t share the secrets. Don’t share too many secrets.

Scott Magdalein: We have a lot of product development planned that I think will be exciting for our ministry leaders.

Kevin Fontenot: Otherwise, I’m not going to have anything to market for a couple months.

Scott Magdalein: Exactly. Oh, oh, oh. Okay. There’s one more thing. Sorry. I forgot to mention we are bringing on some content partners that are going to be contributing to the already extensive TrainedUp library, but expanding it in new directions with some content partners that I can’t share, again. That’s another thing, it’s a secret. I can’t share it.

Scott Magdalein: But the library is going to be expanding with some specific types of content that I think are going to be highly relevant to some churches that do specific types of ministry with specific organizations.

Kevin Fontenot: It’s almost like you have some existing input with some of these organizations that you may already be using at your church, TrainedUp may become a little bit more valuable to you in your future.

Scott Magdalein: This is as much as we can reveal without having to virtually … If we told you more, we’d have to kill you kind of thing.

Kevin Fontenot: But we’re not going to do that because we love people and love the Lord. Right? Well, that’s going to do it for today’s episode of The Thriving Ministry Team’s podcast. And if this intrigues you about what we do at TrainedUp, and you’re thinking through this as you’re listening, yeah, I do have that same training problem that Scott and Kevin are talking about, head over to We’d love to have a conversation with you. Like we said, we have chat on our website. Scott and I are there all day. We love getting to engage with ministry leaders, so if you have questions about this topic, you just want to get in touch with us, head over to

Kevin Fontenot: If you want to give online training a try, go over to We have a bunch of different pricing plans based on what’s going to be affordable for your church and your ministry. Use the coupon code thriving, and you’ll get half off your first month of TrainedUp. And even then, if it doesn’t work out, we have no contracts, zero commitment. And if you’re in that first month, you can request a refund from us and we’ll gladly give it, no questions asked. Head over to, and we’ll see you guys next week.

Scott Magdalein

Scott is the founder of ServeHQ and has over a decade of experience as an Executive Pastor, Worship Pastor, and College Pastor. You can chat with him directly using the widget at the bottom of this page.

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