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.

Why Has My Congregation Stopped Singing?

stopped singing

guest post by Jennifer Shaw:

As a full-time Christian speaker and musician, I visit many churches of various sizes and denominations each year. I often seem to have the same conversation with frustrated pastors and worship leaders, and even with members of the congregation. It starts with a question like, “Why aren't our people singing in worship anymore?”

I've observed several trends in contemporary worship services that are contributing factors. Here are the top five reasons I give worship pastors about why their congregations may have stopped singing:

1.  Your worship team isn't worshiping. That may seem basic, but you can't lead people in worship if you aren't worshiping yourself. Many times I see teams who are under-trained and overly concerned about making sure they know their notes and words, or they are performing and hoping everyone will notice how great they are. We need to have the right motivation for being up front, and that is to serve others with humility and lead them into a place of worship.

2.  They cannot hit those notes. Most singers are taught to find the best key for them, and many leaders are trying to do radio songs in the radio key. The vast majority of people in a congregation can't hit those notes, so they end up switching octaves constantly which is frustrating and causes people to stop participating. The most comfortable range for most Americans is between middle C and the A above (major sixth). This may not be the best range for you as a worship leader, but we make sacrifices because our goal is to lead others in worship, not just to stay where we're most comfortable or in the key that makes our own voice sound the best.

3.  They feel disconnected or extraneous. Having spent years in the theater, I totally appreciate how much lighting can set an emotional mood, and as a musician, I know that excellent sound is very important. However, church is different from a performance. If lighting or sound is taken to the extreme, it can make your congregation feel as though they are watching a show. Lighting and sound should feel inviting and inclusive, bringing people into this corporate thing we do called worship.

4.  They don't know that song. It may sound silly, but so many churches do brand-new songs with no introduction whatsoever. I've been to many churches where the worship pastor got excited about new music and every piece on the entire worship service was new! This is just discouraging for your congregation because they have no idea what's going on. When I was the music director at our church, our band had over 300 songs in rotation at any given time and introduced new songs often - but you should introduce it first, either by playing it one week as an opening or offertory, or by teaching them the chorus so they can at least join you for part of it.

5.  You broke the mood. Transitions between songs are so important. Try to move on seamlessly, and if you need to change keys and/or tempo between songs which happens often, find a musical segue or give a Scripture or a short prayer thanking God for what you just sang about or are about to sing while your band transitions. Making the worship flow through the entire set allows people to enter worship and stay there.

May we all seek wisdom and vision from God so that we can worship with excellence and lead our people to sing again.

Jennifer Shaw is a Telly Award-winning singer/songwriter, speaker, author, and five-time Billboard Top 40 recording artist. She holds a Masters Degree from the Manhattan School of Music, was a former professor of music at Cedarville University, and served as the music director at her church for over twelve years. She has been privileged to lead worship in congregations on four continents now, and loves bringing people into God's presence. Please visit www.jennifershaw.com.

The Compass & The Clock – Using Your Time Wisely

Compass Clock

guest post by Dr. Nathan Baxter

If you want to be successful and truly experience your full potential in life, you must master your use of time.

Don’t tune me out! This isn’t the same old time management lecture.The starting place for improving your life always begins with the compass, not the clock.

Your compass is your internal navigating system that tells which direction you are going. If your compass is off, or if you’re not paying attention to it, the results can be painful. Leadership is hard, but it’s much harder when you are not sure if you’re headed in the right direction!

So, let’s ask the question: Do you really know where you are going in life and why you want to go there?

A normal life will have seasons of extreme clarity as well as times when life feels a little fuzzy. Sometimes, we can wonder if the work we’re doing is really worth it.

Which season of life are YOU in right now?

2014 is winding down. Will you invest 30 minutes today, thinking about where you want to go next year, and how you are going to get there?  Take a sheet of paper and write down these four questions:

  • WHERE do I want the ministry to be on December 31st, 2014? (Be clear and realistic)
  • WHERE do I want the ministry to be on December 31st, 2015?
  • WHY do I want to get there? (Your personal motivations)
  • HOW will I get there? (Personal milestones and outside help)
I’m looking you in the eye, and asking…   Will you invest some time and start this list right now? (Before you move on to the next email or blog)

As a leader, if you don’t know the answer to these questions, how can others follow? If you don’t lead yourself well, how will you lead others well?

Time keeps on ticking whether you manage it or not.  The real secret is to learn how to do a better job of managing yourself so that you focus your mind and your energies on what matters most.
Reconnect with your compass. Only then can you start using the clock wisely to move toward your God-given potential.


Dr. Nathan Baxter, founder of Lead Self Lead Others, has been leading teams and helping people move their stories forward for over twenty years. Nathan earned his Masters of Divinity Degree with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry and Leadership Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before starting his Executive Coaching career, he served for 28 years in full time ministry, filling the roles of Youth Pastor, Senior Pastor, and Executive Pastor. www.LeadSelfLeadOthers.com

How To Unleash Your Creative Sparks To Find Fresh Ideas

Creativity




This PBS video below echoes some of the themes we have covered before here at Ministry Best Practices, 

5 Ways To Spark Creativity

Where Are You The Most Creative?

29 Ways To Stay Creative

3 Simple Rules To Help Sustain Creativity

4 Phrases That Will Kill Great Ideas Forever

Ways Your Mother Lied To You About Creativity

As we've said before, creativity isn't about merely finding or discovering something never thought of before, rather it is about making new and fresh associations with what we already know. Watch the video below and be inspired! 

from the video producers:

Creativity has always been essential for our cultural growth, but there are still many misconceptions about this elusive process. 

Not the left-brain/right-brain binary that we've come to believe, being creative is considerably more complex, and requires a nuanced understanding of ourself and others. Being a powerful creative person involves letting go of preconceived notions of what an artist is, and discovering and inventing new processes that yield great ideas. Most importantly, creators must push forward, whether the light bulb illuminates or not.

Verses And Quotes To Inspire You To Be Grateful

Be Grateful



We have a lot to be thankful and grateful for. Yet in the midst of difficulties and problems, we may not find our heart naturally gravitating toward thankfulness. Yet being in a state of thankfulness puts our heart in a place where we are able to recognize and trust God in the middle of our difficulties.

Here are several quotes exhorting us on why gratitude should be the centerpiece of the Christian life.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. - G.K. Chesterton (Tweet This)

God wants to see prayers that are filled with genuine praise and thanksgiving for what He has done in the past. He wants our hearts to be filled with awe and gratitude for His blessings. He wants us to set up memorials in our hearts testifying to the provisions He has given us. - Michael Youssef

Yes, give thanks for "all things" for, as it has been well said "Our disappointments are but His appointments." - A.W. Pink (Tweet This)

Here are 20 Bible verses reminding us and exhorting us on being thankful and grateful:

1. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

2. Psalm 107:1 - Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Tweet This)

3. Ephesians 5:20 - Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

4. Colossians 3:15-17 - And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

5. James 1:17 - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

6. Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7. 2 Corinthians 9:15 - Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (Tweet This)

8. Psalm 106:1 - Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

9. Psalm 105:1 - Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!

10. Colossians 3:15 - And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

11. Colossians 4:2  - Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

12. Psalm 118:1-18 - Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. …

13. Psalm 20:4 - May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! (Tweet This)

14. Psalm 30:12 - That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

15. Colossians 3:17 - And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

16. Romans 1:21 - For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

17. Psalm 100:4 - Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

18. Isaiah 12:4-5 - And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.

19. 1 Chronicles 29:13 - And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. (Tweet This)

20. Philemon 1:4 - I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers. (Tweet This)

And here is another reminder on just how blessed many of us are - reminding us always to be thankful.

Thankful Infographic

The American Church Is Facing A Herculean Challenge

Bible





The Herculean challenge for the church is unchurched America. They pray, own Bibles and are 'spiritual' but nearly half still see no value in attending church. 

excerpted from Christian Today:

New research by the Barna group paints an interesting picture of those who are aware of the church and even think positively of the Christian faith, but who, for whatever reason, feel that actively being a part of church is not for them.

'Churchless' is the title of Barna's latest research into understanding today's unchurched and how to connect with them.

The research reveals that the number of churchless Americans has risen sharply since the early 1990s, when only around two out of 10 adults were churchless.

That figure rose to three in 10 in the early 2000s and today now stands at nearly half the adult population (49 per cent).

Those who do not currently have never attended church make up 10 per cent of the population but a far higher figure is the de-churched - those who were once active in church but are no longer - who make up exactly a third of American adults.

Eight per cent of the population are "minimally churched" - they attend church "infrequently and unpredictably".

"Not too many years ago, church attendance and basic Bible literacy were the cultural norm. Being a Christian didn't feel like swimming against the cultural current. But now?" said Barna.
"Churchless confirms that the world has, indeed, altered in significant ways during the last few decades. It's not just your imagination."
In total, there are around 156 million adults and children in the US who are churchles, with more than half of those born between 1984 and 2002 being unchurched, compared to just a third of those born before 1946.

And Barna warns that much of what is reported as "church growth" is actually little more than "transfer growth", where people just change from one church to another, and not from non-Christian to Christ-follower.
"If churches hope to grow by discipling new believers, we must improve our ability to attract those who are intentionally avoiding a connection with the church," said Barna.
The younger the person is, the more likely it is they have never been to church and are 'post-Christian' - lack any Christian identity, belief and practice.

But the door hasn't been completely shut, with two in three unchurched Americans describing themselves as spiritual, and six in ten churchless adults saying they prayed in the last week.
"The truth is, most of them are already looking for a connection with God," Barna said.
Three-quarters of unchurched Americans say they own a Bible and two-thirds said they tried to grow spiritually in the past month by talking about faith with friends and family, or by watching religious TV programming.

The research reveals the scale of the challenge facing the church, as 99 per cent of the unchurched said they were aware of Christianity and over two-thirds (69 per cent) said they had a favorable view of the faith. And yet nearly half also said they see no value in personally attending church.

The Most Important Question To Ask During Conflict

Conflict With Friends
"When you write a very angry letter to a friend who has hurt you deeply, don’t send it! Let the letter sit on your table for a few days and read it over a number of times. Then ask yourself: “Will this letter bring life to me and my friend? Will it bring healing, will it bring a blessing?” You don’t have to ignore the fact that you are deeply hurt. You don’t have to hide from your friend that you feel offended. But you can respond in a way that makes healing and forgiveness possible and opens the door for new life. Rewrite the letter if you think it does not bring life, and send it with a prayer for your friend.”
 – Henri Nouwen

Great advice from Henri Nouwen. Friends are a tremendous gift from God and yet real friends will at times offend and wound us (and let us not forget that we will wound them too). So although it is important to bring truth as you confront and address that friend, it is also equally important to bring grace too.

Email and texting has made it too easy to send out, at light speed, angry and thoughtless words. Take time. Sit prayerfully on your words and don't forget to ask the question, Will what I am about to say bring life to me and my friend?

8 Social Media Trends Church Leaders Can't Ignore


Below are 8 social media trends moving within the church. These trends show how church members are using social media to proclaim Christ, grow in their faith and even deal with church conflicts.

from Thom Rainer:

  1. More church members use social media to encourage others in their churches. These words of encouragement are typically directed toward pastors and church staff. The good news is that these tweets and posts seem to be more frequent and pervasive.
  2. Church members increasingly use social media to point others to interesting articles related to Christianity and church life. Indeed, I am encouraged to see many such visits to my blog and to other sites that include information on faith and church life.
  3. Though in the minority, an increasing number of church members use social media to attack and criticize church leaders. I recently read a scathing attack on a pastor. It was filled with venom and vitriol.
  4. More non-Christians are viewing such attacks as normative for Christians. They thus have no desire to associate with Christians or come to our churches. I have heard from many of these non-Christians myself.
  5. A number of church members are using social media wisely to share the gospel. I have been greatly encouraged to read many tweets and posts that point readers to articulate and loving presentations of the gospel. May their numbers increase!
  6. Church members are using social media with increasing frequency to share prayer requests. On more than one occasion, I have seen a prayer request spread virally. It is very encouraging to see the power of prayer on this modern medium.
  7. Some church members use social media as means to share activities and ministries in the church. Indeed, social media has become one of the primary forums to invite others to the church by letting people know what is taking place in the congregations.
  8. While the use of social media by church members is overwhelmingly positive, the toxic users of these forums still get an inordinate amount of attention. It’s the “car accident syndrome.” Traffic slows down to see the havoc created by the accident.
Your thoughts? Are you seeing similar trends and usage within your church and among your members?

Following Jesus Is Not For Wimps

Wimp
When I travel down to central Florida to visit family, I find myself in the heart and epicenter of the retired world. During one visit while browsing in a local shop I saw a funny and clever t-shirt that said, "Getting Old Ain't For Wimps".  And while that sentiment may be true, I think that it is even more certain to say that "following Jesus" ain't for wimps either.

You don't have to be a Christian too long to know that being a follower of Jesus isn't easy.
It's messy
It challenges us
It provokes us
It is not always simple
It calls for surrender
It demands that we die - to ourself

G.K. Chesterton wrote this very insightful thought:

“Christianity has not so much been tried and found wanting, as it has been found difficult and left untried.” (Tweet This)

So how do we follow Jesus when it is so hard, difficult and challenging? Contrary to popular practice, the answer to following Jesus isn't found in trying harder, gritting your teeth and striving. 

Rather following Jesus is simply about relationship and rest.  It is about leaning into Him and resting in Him with complete surrender and trust. It is about knowing the truth and efficacy of the gospel when it says that in Jesus we are found completely righteous, accepted and loved.

We are to rest and trust in that reality and truth. This is why I appreciate Jesus' invitation in Matthew 11:28-30:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Internet Facts That Will Astound You

Internet Facts
from Host Advice
Despite thinking most of the World we live in embrace the Internet with many people using it on a daily basis on their mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. You will be surprised that out of the 7 billion people who inhabit the Earth just 2.4 billion actually use the Internet. What’s even more jaw-dropping is that 1.7 billion of the Internet’s users come from Asia, which shows that they have positively adopted this technology.  
So what do we use the Internet for? Well it’s no second guessing that social media tends to be up there at the top and every 60 seconds 72 hours of YouTube video is being uploaded, which really shows you the extent of the YouTube platform as it continue to grows. Especially if you look at the stat showing over half of the traffic on the Internet is that of media streaming and file sharing. It shows us that people have a lot to share and a lot to see, from family photos to family videos it’s a great way to share previous memories with relatives that live in other countries.
Internet Facts 2014

The Definitive Guide To Doing Ministry Over The Phone

Talking On The Phone
Certainly a lot of ministry is done in-person and life on life. Yet still a lot of ministry is done over the phone. For instance you probably find yourself one the phone for these and other reasons:
  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Getting and securing appointments
  • Certain types of counseling/prayer and advice
  • Raising funds and financial ministry support
  • Coaching team members
  • Following up on new visitors to the church 
Therefore when you are on the phone, there are certain best practices that will help make that conversation more successful.

Although this infographic focuses on the exercise of selling over the phone, there are many pieces of advice and nuggets that are definitely worth considering even if you are making a ministry call.

For instance, smile when on the phone, actively listen, don't ignore the importance of body language during the call, and examples of using positive language.

See the rest below.

(ht: Reddit)

How You Can Fix These 10 Team Motivation Killers

Lack of Motivation
What kills your motivation at work? Or perhaps the better question to ask is that as a manager, ministry leader or direct report, what are you doing that is killing the motivation of those on your team?

Internal team communication service Weekdone has come up with an infographic below listing out 10 motivation killers and their fixes.

Some of the more egregious motivation killers are having unnecessary or unfocused meetings, leaders who micromanage and not creating a culture that allows the freedom to fail.

Don't worry about which of these below that you may be guilty of, they can be corrected and fixed.

Teamwork Infographic

(ht: Reddit)

25 Evidences Of A Backslidden Condition

Backsliding

The term "backsliding" may not be in vogue these day. For some it may even seem to be considered archaic. Yet regardless of the term you want to apply for someone who retreats in their faith, the issue and concerns are nevertheless real and relevant.

Too often we hear of public evangelical leaders, our pastors, Christian friends, and others who profess Christ yet succumb to a pattern of grievous sin.  Or perhaps we hear about someone who had at one time claimed faith then all of a sudden they deny it. We ask ourself, how did they get there? (or perhaps a more important question is, how is it that we won't go there ourselves?)

Backsliding is not an overnight journey, rather it is a slow progression.  It is a sliding back and away from Jesus, the cross and the means of grace  - to a state of religious outward conformity but with no inner spiritual life that matches it.

In his book, Revival, Richard Owen Robert lays 25 evidences of a backslidden condition. He expounds on each in greater details, but below are just the main points. Consider them seriously.

1. When prayer ceases to be a vital part of a professing Christian’s life, backsliding is present. (Tweet This)

2. When the quest for biblical truth ceases and one grows content with the knowledge of eternal things already acquired, there can be no mistaking the presence of backsliding.

3. When the biblical knowledge possessed or acquired is treated as external fact and not applied inwardly, backsliding is present.

4. When earnest thoughts about eternal things cease to be regular and gripping, it should be like a warning light to the backslider.

5. When the services of the church lose their delights, a backslidden condition probably exists.

6. When pointed spiritual discussions are an embarrassment, that is certain evidence of backsliding. (Tweet This)

7. When sports, recreation and entertainment are a large and necessary part of your lifestyle, you may assume backsliding is in force.

8. When sins of the body and of the mind can be indulged in without an uproar in your conscience your backslidden condition is certain.

9. When aspirations for Christlike holiness cease to be dominant in your life and thinking, backsliding is there. (Tweet This)

10. When the acquisition of money and goods becomes a dominant part of your thinking, you have clear confirmation of backsliding.

11. When you can mouth religious songs and words without heart, be sure backsliding is present.

12. When you can hear the Lord’s name taken in vain, spiritual concerns mocked and eternal issues flippantly treated, and not be moved to indignation and action, you are backslidden.

13. When you can watch degrading movies and television and read morally debilitating literature, you can be sure you are backslidden.

14. When breaches of peace in the brotherhood are of no concern to you, that is proof of backsliding.

15. When the slightest excuse seems sufficient to keep you from spiritual duty and opportunity, you are backslidden.

16. When you become content with your lack of spiritual power and no longer seek repeated enduements of power from on high, you are backslidden.

17. When you pardon your own sin and sloth by saying the Lord understands and remembers that we are dust, you have revealed your backslidden condition.

18. When there is no music in your soul and no song in your heart, the silence testifies to your backsliding.

19. When you adjust happily to the worlds’ lifestyle, your own mirror will tell the truth of your backsliding.

20. When injustice and human misery exist around you and you do little or nothing to relieve the suffering, be sure you are backslidden.

21. When your church has fallen into spiritual declension and the Word of God is no longer preached there with power and you are still content, you are in a backslidden condition.

22. When the spiritual condition of the world declines around you and you cannot perceive it , that is testimony of your backslidden stance.

23. When you are willing to cheat your employer, backsliding is apparent.

24. When you find yourself rich in grace and mercy and marvel at your own godliness, then you have fallen far in your backsliding.

25. When your tears are dried up and the hard, cold spiritual facts of your existence cannot unleash them, see this as an awful testimony both of the hardness of your heart and the depth of your backsliding.

(taken from Revival, Richard Owen Roberts)


We Are Not Our Own - Video

Coffee
What is our only hope in life and death?

That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ. (Tweet This)

Romans 14:7–8  - For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 


Lord, here am I; do with me what thou pleasest, write upon me as thou pleasest: I give up myself to be at thy dispose…. The ambitious man giveth himself up to his honours, but I give up myself unto thee;…man gives himself up to his pleasures, but I give up myself to thee;…man gives himself up…to his idols, but I give myself to thee…. Lord! lay what burden thou wilt upon me, only let thy everlasting arms be under me…. I am lain down in thy will, I have learned to say amen to thy amen; thou hast a greater interest in me than I have in myself, and therefore I give up myself unto thee, and am willing to be at thy dispose, and am ready to receive what impression thou shalt stamp upon me. O blessed Lord! hast thou not again and again said unto me…‘I am thine, O soul! to save thee; my mercy is thine to pardon thee; my blood is thine to cleanse thee; my merits are thine to justify thee; my righteousness is thine to clothe thee; my Spirit is thine to lead thee; my grace is thine to enrich thee; and my glory is thine to reward thee’; and therefore…I cannot but make a resignation of myself unto thee. Lord! here I am, do with me as seemeth good in thine own eyes. I know the best way…is to resign up myself to thy will, and to say amen to thy amen. 
Thomas Brooks (1608–1680). An English Puritan preacher, Brooks studied at Cambridge University before becoming rector of a church in London. He was ejected from his post, but continued to work in London even during the Great Plague. He wrote over a dozen books, most of which are devotional in character, The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod (from which this prayer is taken) being the best known. From "The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod" in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, edited by Rev. Alexander Balloch Grosart, Volume 1 (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1866), 305–306.

(ht: New City Catechism)

The Simple Yet Powerful Formula To Achieve Success

Vince lombardi


Success Formula: Task + Relationship Excellence = Results  (Tweet This)

This was legendary coach  Vince Lombardi’s leadership secret. Talking about John Eisenberg's book That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory - author Michael Lee Stallard unpacks how important that formula is for leaders today.

from Michael Lee Stallard
Great leaders focus on achieving BOTH task excellence and relationship excellence. This dual focus produces sustainable superior performance. 
Managers who are solely task focused eventually burn people out. Managers who are solely relationship focused don't set sufficiently high performance standards and challenge the team to accomplish them. 
However, managers who focus on task and relationship excellence inspire their teams to work together to reach their goal. When the team does reach the goal, the resulting sense of pride inspires, engages and energizes the team to keep performing at the top of their game.
Pastors and ministry leaders are no different in our need to focus on task and relationship excellence. Pastors are called to be shepherds and to make meaningful relational connections with the people we minister to. We are called to love and serve the flock. Yet at the same time we must be able to lead and to push forward operational objectives and goals. Always challenging our people, staff & volunteers, to meet and accomplish goals is important if the church is going to achieve the mission that God has called it to.

Yet, as ministry leaders, if we don't have the ability to do both of those things well, our ministry will be out of whack.

If we focus on tasks at the expense of ignoring relationships - people within our ministry will be seen and used as merely tools, stripping them of their humanity. They will be treated as a means to accomplish our goals and tasks rather than as the unique individuals and image bearers that God has made them.

If we focus on relationships at the expense of ignoring tasks - then we will become a rudderless organization & church, never pushing beyond our comfort zones and simply moving and operating within the path of least resistance. Without striving to accomplish goals and tasks, your ministry becomes "purposeless".

The key is to then do these two things well TOGETHER. As ministry leaders we don't simply just wear our "tasks" hat with no regard to relationships or visa versa. We must hold these two important objectives together- always honoring the people and relationships while at the same time always intentionally moving forward with purpose toward accomplishing our necessary tasks.

(ht: Fox Business)

APP Of The Week - Doulingo


Do your ministry endeavors ask you to travel overseas or are you involved in cross-cultural ministry right here at home? If so, perhaps you've needed to learn a new language. Then let me suggest Duolingo. Duolingo is a fun (and FREE) way to learn a language online.

You can learn from your desk or laptop computer or go mobile with your iPhone, iPad, or Android device - and your language progress syncs between the platforms, so no matter which device you may choose to use, you always get to pick up where you left off.

Duolingo is effective, too. Check this out from their website:
An eight week study was independently conducted to assess the effectiveness of Duolingo as a language learning tool. The participants took one university placement Spanish language test at the beginning of the study and one at the end. The improvement of language abilities was measured as the difference between the initial and the final language test results. 
The study estimated that a person with no knowledge of Spanish would need between 26 and 49 hours (or 34 hours on average) to cover the material for the first college semester of Spanish. Since a one semester university course usually takes more than 34 hours of work, this study suggests that Duolingo is more effective than university.
You’ll encounter a variety lessons, including opportunities to speak, listen, translate, and answer multiple choice questions. Plus, you’ll get feedback on each lesson so you know how to improve.

Make sure you check out Duolingo!

 

44 Apps That Will Make You A Productivity Powerhouse

Productivity Toolkit


From to-do lists to time management to goal-tracking to file storage, here's a look at 44 of the best apps to help ministry leaders organize and be more productive.

Some of Ministry Best Practices' favorite apps on the list are:


(ht: Entrepreneur)

40 Ways To Stay Creative

Light Bulb Creative


from Daily Infographic

Being and staying creative is important in all areas of your work and personal life. Everyone can be creative in any type of job and situation. Creativity comes in all shapes and forms, but sometimes we don’t feel inspired or cannot make the right decisions. Well there are things you can do to refuel, recharge, and increase your creativity. This infographic has 40 methods which you can use to stay creative.

Creative Infographic

The Default Setting Of My Heart

Love Me

I think about myself. Actually I think about myself a lot! Thinking about ME is my default setting. I don't have to work hard to think about me and to focus on my own needs, agendas and wants. And yet even when I am serving others, the temptation in my heart is to still make it all about me.

I imagine that you aren't too different than me. So then how do you and I inoculate ourselves from believing and behaving in ways that are self focused, self centered and selfish?

David PlattAt the risk of oversimplifying a solution, we are able to die and abandon ourselves when we fix our eyes on Jesus and the cross. When the gospel and all that Christ accomplished for us becomes a daily reality - it invites us to open our hearts and be captured and comforted by His great love for us. When this happens, it gives us the freedom and power to take our eyes off of ourselves.

Yet how do we make the gospel a daily reality? One way is by being a "repenting repenter". Turning away from my sin, selfishness, pride and the "idols of my heart", and turning to Christ and the cross. Repentance must mark our life. This was the great discovery of the Reformation.

"So began the Reformation, and at its heart lay Luther’s great discovery: Repentance is a characteristic of the whole life, not the action of a single moment.” Sinclair Ferguson, The Grace of Repentance (Tweet This)

When we live out repentance, it propels us to Jesus and the reality and beauty of the gospel, and therefore makes what Paul said to the Philippians a reality for us.

Philippians 2:1-11

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.