The Internet's Best Practices for Ministry

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Welcoming Guests and First Impressions

The sermon starts in the parking lot, and the impression you make for your guests on Sunday morning during the first 10 minutes will be indelible.

Technology and The Church

Leveraging technology for ministry can be an incredible blessing. But it can also be fraught with problems and pitfalls. Learn how to use technology well.

Vision and Leadership

Our God longs for leaders to request of Him to do that which they cannot. Faith filled vision, leadership and risk are key ingredients for ministry.

Preaching and Communication

You know and understand how challenging it is to communicate. It is hard to get and capture people's attention. Learn how to communicate effectively.

Creativity and Innovation

Being creative means asking the right questions and making new associations. Discover new and creative ideas for your ministry.

Four Mission Trends To Be Thankful For

missionaries
excerpted from Radical.net

1. Disasters and Crises – This may seem like an odd way to begin a list of things we’re thankful for. We certainly aren’t suggesting that these situations are good or that there is no need for further help, but in all the bad, we have great reason for praise. In what seems to be an increasingly tumultuous world, God is working in amazing ways. The displacement of people in the Middle East is forging bridges between peoples that have long been opposed to one another. The Lord is using such moves toward unity to spread his gospel across ethnic divides.

2. Chinese Church Explosion – This is not a new storyline, but its steady continuation ought to give us even more reason for praising God. The church in China is rapidly growing. Many now believe that there are more Christians in China than registered communists (87 million), and based on current growth rates, there could be “250 million Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world.” Keep in mind that this is happening in a country governed by the Chinese communist party – the world’s largest atheist organization. The party is now being forced to adapt and/or change its strategy for “controlling” Christianity.

Why It's Important To Embrace The Imperfect

I am a recovering perfectionist. Which means that I’m in process and am constantly struggling with demanding that everything be perfect. I imagine that you are one too.

Yet, if you are going to be an effective leader, you will need to give yourself permission for the imperfect.

When you give yourself permission to allow the imperfect in your life, you will then release yourself to greater productivity and leadership. Practically speaking, when you embrace the imperfect….

You will be released to delegate. Yes, it’s true, no one will be able to do what you do, the way you do it. When you delegate to others, there is a good chance their deliverables wont be perfect. Yet if you are paralyzed by the need and demand for the perfect, you will miss out on the opportunity to delegate. The truth is, leaders delegate. Delegation done right, multiplies your time and allows you to do only the things you can do, as a leader. Release the need for perfection and lean into delegation.

You will be able to act and move forward. Too often we don’t get a project out the door and “ready to ship” because we don’t think it’s ready. We dawdle. We stall. We procrastinate. All because we are waiting for the project, product or program to be perfect. We want all the bugs to be worked out. Yet that will never be possible. Waiting for the perfect, only leads to procrastination and often times missing the moment to seize opportunity. Don’t strive toward perfection, get that project or program out the door. And as you do, you will be able to create a learning spiral, in which you will learn from your mistakes or missteps, you then can adapt, change or tweak, and then continue to re-release and press forward. Perfection will never be discovered in the laboratory, it will only be found when your project hits the streets.

You will find freedom. Perfection is an illusion. Believing that we can achieve it stems from our need to control and be in control. And when we are honest with ourselves, we know that in life, there is very little that we have control over. All we can do is be faithful to work hard, do our part and to do our best.

Embrace the imperfect and find freedom.

Making A Joyful Noise Unto The Lord - Infographic

Whether accompanied by organ, handbells or electric guitar, or not accompanied by an instrument at all, Christians have used songs and music to worship God throughout history. In the infographic below take a look at musical instruments in the Bible, the history of music and worship and how different denominations of Christianity use music today.

5 Strategic Ways To Effectively Empower Your Team

Empower
As a leader, you want to help your team members become leaders themselves. That should be one of your top goals - to reproduce yourself and to leave a legacy. A good leader is outward focused - looking to see how they can build and develop others. In order to do this you have to empower your team members so that they can exercise those leadership opportunities.

Here are 5 ways you can empower those around you.

Tell them what you want (in terms of outcomes), not how to get there (avoid micro-managing the process). You will empower people by giving them clear and concise outcomes but not instructing them in every detail. They must bring their own unique gifts, creativity, energy and experience to the project’s success.

Give them the information and resources they need. Don’t withhold the resources needed for them to do the job well. That may entail giving them the necessary people, money, facilities, or information.

Let them know that failures are not fatal. Avoid creating a culture of fear or a culture that is risk adverse. Let them know that the issue isn’t about failure, it is about failing well. Which means that they learn and grow from their failure.

Over time move them from delegation to ownership. - You want to be intentionally moving your team members to a point where they have ownership over a responsibility or project rather than merely receiving it as a delegated assignment. When a person has ownership it means that they start being intentional. They begin anticipating and planning toward the future and their next steps. When they own it, they are captured by the vision and mission of the project. Giving them ownership is essential.

Praise them publicly - Give them credit and do it publicly. Praise them in front of others, and be specific about why you appreciate them and the job they’ve done.


How To Make Any Church Hip And Relevant

cool church

Need to make your church hip and relevant? Need to bring the crowds into your church this Christmas? Then perhaps this strategy maybe an option for your next church promo. (enjoy a little humor today)

One Issue That Is Keeping You From A "Grace" Church

Tithe



guest post by Jeff Anderson

Pastor, do you call yours a "grace" church when it's really not? Do you tell you people that the bible does not require anything of them, but you still give them a high bar to clear in the area of giving?

Do you tell your folks that Christ is about relationships and not regulations, yet you still give them one last rule? Do you tell them that Jesus loves them no matter what, yet remind them every week of the one thing that might change God's treatment of them?

I'm talking about the tithe.
This post isn't a tithe rant. I deal with the subject more thoroughly elsewhere (see my 2,000 Gifts E-Paper). But what I am talking about is being straight with your people. You can't have your cake, and eat it too.

You can't boast that you're a church that avoids religion, while holding onto religious traditions. You can't tell people you're different than other churches because you've abandoned church rules, but then tell them they must tithe a tenth of their incomes. It's hypocrisy to cuddle up to folks with your grace words and then hold the tithe standard over their heads like it's somehow tied to God's happy smile.

It's time that churches start talking straight on this matter.
If the tithe is the only rule standing in your church, then let’s hear it - Folks, we have abandoned all the rules in the bible except one. And here's why.

Or if you truly believe in the all-grace message and wish to rethink your tithe posture, lets hear that - Folks, we're afraid we've been holding a certain standard over your heads while trying to preach a grace message. It's time we revisit this matter and all get on the same page.

You'll find just how supportive and understanding your folks will be. They appreciate honesty and humility. They're tired of the bait and switch with mixed messages - especially when it involves money!

When you tell people that there are no biblical rules, then you surprise them with the one-size-fits-all, ten percent clause, it's confusing. When you preach a heavy message of grace then make them feel guilty if they don't tithe, it just flies smack in the face of this idea that grace abounds with regard to our spiritual choices.

If you're a grace church, teach what the bible says about giving and put them in position to act on the grace. Or if you absolutely believe the tithe is the golden giving standard for everyone, then make sure you use the "grace" word selectively and appropriately.

You may think I'm hammering the tithe-teachers, but I'm not. I understand the tithe topic is a doozy and not everyone agrees about it the same way. I don't plan to settle that debate. All I want to do is encourage teachers, leaders, pastors to be thoughtful and clear with their words and messaging…and to show their true colors.

If you're on the read team, wear red uniforms. If the blue team, wear blue. Don't pretend to be on one team but wear another team's colors.



JEFF ANDERSON speaks and writes about walking with God, with an approach to discipleship that combines scripture and story. He’s the author of two books, Plastic Donuts and Divine Applause (January 2015).

Jeff began his career working as a CPA for a Big Six accounting firm, then became a day trader in the stock market. Following that, he joined Crown Financial Ministries as vice-president for North America Generosity Initiatives. He now speaks, writes, and consults with churches and ministries. Jeff and his wife, Stephanie have four children.www.DivineApplause.com

An Advent Reflection - The Power Of Hope

“On this side of eternity, Christmas is still a promise. Yes, the Savior has come, and with him peace on earth, but the story is not finished. Yes, there is peace in our hearts, but we long for peace in our world. 
Every Christmas is still ‘a turning of the page’ until Jesus returns. Every December 25 marks another year that draws us closer to the fulfillment of the ages, that draws us closer to . . . home. 
When we realize that Jesus is the answer to our deepest longing, even Christmas longings, each Advent brings us closer to his glorious return to earth. When we see him as he is, King of kings and Lord of lords, that will be ‘Christmas’ indeed!”
- Joni Eareckson Tada, “A Christmas Longing”

I love this thought by Joni Eareckson Tada. It reminds me of the wonderful hope found in Christmas. Just as the season of Advent reminds us of the expectancy that the nation of Israel had of the promised Messiah, we, as the Church, have an expectancy as well.

It is an expectancy that Christ will come again and set all things right. The first time Christ came, He came as a Lamb, yet when Jesus comes again, He will come as a Lion. Knowing that Christ will come again as conquering King to rule, bringing with Him justice and peace, gives us tremendous hope.

Christ's return gives us hope, that despite our current circumstances, this is not the end of the story. You may be going through tough circumstances right now. Perhaps it's a job transition or maybe it is a health concern or even a troubled marriage. Even as tough as it is right now, there is HOPE.

Hope is a powerful thing. It sustains us. It moves us forward. It helps us to persevere.

May God fill you with His love and give you hope this Christmas

Communicate Well And Don't Put People To Sleep

MacBook
A couple of days ago we discussed "7 Simple Yet Powerful Ways To Improve Your Presentation". As a follow up to that post, especially concerning the statement on avoiding, "Death by Powerpoint", here is a great infographic to further illustrate. Follow these simple rules, and you will be guaranteed to have powerpoint presentations that will be set apart from most - and your audience will call you blessed.

Powerpoint Infographic

(ht: Youth Ministry Media)

The Daily Benefits Of The Gospel

“God did not give us His gospel just so we could embrace it and be converted. Actually, He offers it to us every day as a gift that keeps on giving to us everything we need for life and godliness.
The wise believer learns this truth early and becomes proficient in extracting available benefits from the gospel each day. We extract these benefits by being absorbed in the gospel, speaking it to ourselves when necessary, and by daring to reckon it true in all we do.”
— Milton Vincent

7 Simple Yet Powerful Ways To Improve Your Presentation

speaking


You have a task before you. You've been asked to give a presentation at a conference or at a professional meeting in front of your many colleagues. You now have to craft and prepare an informative yet compelling presentation. One thing you are certain of, you know and are confident with the material. That is not the problem.

The problem and issue is "HOW" to share it. How to package the presentation in such a way that is compelling and engaging for your audience? Here are some tips that might help.
  1. Share real and authentic stories. Avoid just sharing facts and information. Share inspiration. Stories compel and captivate your audience. They are more likely to remember your story than facts and figures.
  2. Entertain as much as inform. Have fun and use humor with your presentation. If you are enjoying your presentation it is likely your audience will too. 
  3. Avoid "death by powerpoint". You can see these posts HERE and HERE that discuss in more depth the issue of using powerpoint properly. But suffice it to say, don't fill up powerpoint slides with wordy text and outlines that you end up reading to the audience. 
  4. Set expectations at the beginning. Forecast for your audience what you are going to cover and your presentation's expected outcomes. 
  5. Don't abuse the time. Don't go over your designated time. People will stop listening to you once you go long and abuse the time you have.
  6. Provide your audience with at least one tangible takeaway. You must answer the question for your audience, "So What?" In other words, what difference or improvement will what they just heard make in their life. 
  7. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repetition is the key for your audience to learn. Repetition makes what you said, STICKY!

How To Create Shallow Small Groups In Your Church

Shallow Small Group
These videos are a classic and been around for a few years, yet after watching them again I think that they are still very relevant and make a salient point - that too many of our small groups are simply shallow - they aren't intentionally helping to make and equip disciples of Jesus Christ.

The best small groups that I have discovered for my walk with Christ have revolved more around serving together than meeting around onion dip and chips in someone's living room.

How do you experience small groups? Has it been frustrating or rewarding?

Video #1


Video #2 

A Sonship Which Comes Only By Promise

Sonship

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)

We are not the sons of God by nature in the sense here meant. We are in a sense “the offspring God” by nature, but this is very different from the sonship here described, which is the peculiar privilege of those who are born again. The Jews claimed to be of the family of God, but as their privileges came to them by the way of their fleshly birth, they are likened to Ishmael, who was born after the flesh, but who was cast out as the son of the bondwoman, and compelled to give way to the son of the promise.

We have a sonship which does not come to us by nature, for we are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Our sonship comes by promise, by the operation of God as a special gift to a peculiar seed, set apart unto the Lord by his own sovereign grace, as Isaac was. This honour and privilege come to us, according to the connection of our text, by faith. Note well the twenty-sixth verse of the preceding chapter (Gal. 3:26): “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

As unbelievers we know nothing of adoption. While we are under the law as self-righteous we know something of servitude, but we know nothing of sonship. It is only after that faith has come that we cease to be under the schoolmaster, and rise out of our minority to take the privileges of the sons of God.

Adapted from Charles Spurgeon, “Adoption—The Spirit and the Cry,” as published in The Sermons of Charles Spurgeon: Sermons 1-200 (Vol 1 of 4)

Salvation Impossible Through Us


We are now in the second week of Advent, here are some thoughts during this Advent Season:

Mark 10: 26, 27The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

From all appearances, salvation seems impossible when one thinks of a holy and perfect God being united and reconciled to sinful man. And the truth of the matter is, that is impossible. Because of our sinful condition we stand separated from God. If left to our own resources, we are doomed, with no hope or solution. Salvation is impossible through us. Yet God did the impossible. God helped bring about reconciliation by uniting himself with man through the incarnation of Jesus. The incarnation is Emmanuel, God with Us. That is what the prophets of old anticipated, the promise of the coming Messiah. The incarnation is what we celebrate during this Advent Season.

Jesus, being fully God and fully man accomplished what no person could. Because Jesus is God, holy and perfect, living a perfect, sinless life, He didn’t have His own sins to pay for. Therefore Jesus could pay for your sins on the cross. Yet also because Jesus was eternal God, He could go beyond just payment of sins for a single person, rather His death could pay the penalty for the sins of the world. (John 3:16)

Prayer: Jesus thank you that you accomplished the impossible and willing came to earth, became man and dwelt among us. Thank you that you lived the perfect life, that I was unable to live and willingly went to the cross - to the pay the death penalty that I justly deserved.

(pictured above...Jesus and the rich young ruler)

Quotes To Encourage And Inspire


Wanted to share with you some quotes that have been inspiring and encouraging to me. Enjoy these today.

If you're breathing and you know Jesus, you're a missionary.
- Alvin Reid

No amount of activity in the King’s service will make up for neglect of the King Himself.
Robert Murray M’Cheyene

My deepest awareness of myself is that I'm deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.
Brennan Manning

Christ is not valued at all, unless he is valued above all.
- Saint Augustine

Regret looks back. Worry looks around.  Faith looks up.
- John Mason

Removing all risks from your life renders faith unnecessary. Faith requires risks!
- Ken Mahaynes

Don’t mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get faked out by being busy. The question is: Busy doing what?
-  Jim Rohn

Rescued From Our Brokenness

We see the evidence of our broken and hurting world everywhere. The images that confront us and we see of that broken world are powerful. Yet even more powerful than any brokenness, hurt or pain, is the rescue and hope that comes through Jesus Christ. I trust this video will bless you today.

Wade Into The Gospel Pool


I love this description of the gospel.
The Gospel has been described as a pool in which a toddler can wade and yet an elephant can swim. It is both simple enough to tell to a child and profound enough for the greatest minds to explore.
 -Tim Keller

A perfect truth of the gospel is that it is accessible to the simplest of minds and yet causes angels to gaze at it’s infinite complexities. That is the DNA of the gospel!

Most Popular Facebook Posts This Past Month

Facebook Church

Here are the most popular Facebook posts from the past couple of weeks. Don't forget you can get more helpful, engaging, inspiring and fun content by joining Ministry Best Practices' social media communities on Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter - @BestMinistry
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#GivingTuesday


Shoppers and retailers have their Black Friday and Cyber Monday - but as Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give". (Tweet This)

#GivingTuesday is a day set apart to break us away from the self-absorption of constant consuming, and turn our hearts toward radical generosity.

With that intention, Ministry Best Practices is participating in #GivingTuesday on all of our social media channels and partnership sites.

Our highlighted charity during #GivingTuesday is Christian Medical and Dental Associations of Atlanta - www.CMDAatlanta.org

Consider giving to CMDA Atlanta or your favorite charity today!

Giving a gift of $20 will help bring needed medical care, in the name of Jesus, to children around the world. You can visit - www.CMDAdonate.org to give.

Thank you for participating in #GivingTuesday.

CMDA Atlanta medical providers serving the homeless

To learn more about our work and mission, you may want to take an opportunity to view this video below which highlights our work and medical outreach in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.