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.

The Blessing Of The Advent Season

Season of Advent

Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent and the beginning of the advent season. Perhaps you are not that familiar with Advent, let me have pastor and theologian Mark Roberts explain:

The time before Christmas is Advent, a season of preparation for Christmas. Christians prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Savior, and we look forward to our Savior’s second coming even as we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word advent us, which means “coming” or “visit.” In the season with this name, we keep in mind both “advents” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come. 

Advent reminds us of our need for a Savior, or as Dietrich Bonhoeffer emphasizes, the message of Advent becomes an urgent sermon of repentance to the world.

So the whole of the message of Advent becomes an urgent sermon, calling men and women to repentance. Before Jesus came John the Baptist, and we must not over him. For the whole of the early Christians, Advent was a time for repentance, not for rejoicing. All the hymns that we have sung speak of this and it seems to me that it is right that we should have sung with repentant hearts. But now it is true that in three days, Christmas will come once again. The great transformation will once again happen. God would have it so. Out of the waiting, hoping, longing world will come in which the promise is given. All crying will be stilled. No tears shall flow. No lonely sorrow shall afflict us any more, or threaten. The One who helps us is there. He, who never leaves us alone, is there.

As we begin this Advent season, I offer you this Advent Prayer for your devotion and worship:

Gracious God,
Send us your grace this Advent Season,
so that we can prepare for your coming.

Touch our hearts with longing,
so that we can better love and serve you and each other.
Fill us with hope that we can be transformed by your Spirit,
and so help transform the world.

Give us the peace of knowing that you came to share,
our human life and redeem us for the sake of love.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus,
whose kingdom we seek. Amen.

Great readings for your celebration of Advent:

Five Critical Keys To Casting A Clear Vision

Casting Clear Vision
excerpted from Mike Riggins and Support Raising Solutions:

How clear is your ministry vision? Is it 20:20? Or is it closer to 20:200?! The most important piece of our support raising is the crystal clear sharing of our ministry vision with our prospective donors. Here are five keys that will bring much needed clarity to your primary role in support raising—that of being a vision caster:

Results, not strategies, speak to people’s hearts! It is easy to talk about all our grand ministry schemes and ideas, but lose sight of actual results. Changed lives are what really matter to our prospective partners! Yes, vision casting is about painting a picture of a preferred future, but make sure you also include the stories of lives already touched for the sake of eternity. Remember—you don’t take God anywhere. He is already at work touching lives and drawing them to Himself long before you ever arrive on the scene! So make sure you are telling about the work the Lord is already doing. It will validate your vision when you can show your prospective partners it is God Himself who is at work.

Leave the ministry language at home! Most of us hold tightly to our ministry lingo, like: “Unengaged People Groups,” “Missio Dei,” or “Urban Plunge.” Not only do these cool phrases take a lot of time to explain in your support appointments, but they can leave your prospective partner feeling like an alien on another planet, an outsider that just can’t quite connect. Do the difficult work of making your presentation easy to understand and embrace. Vision casting is simply building a verbal bridge that spans from where they live life to where God has you.

Leave room in the vision for them!Make it clear there is need and space for the involvement of others in your ministry. For your prospective partner to truly engage with you, you must mentally and emotionally help them cross the bridge you create for them. Your vision can either give them a clear incentive to make that journey or it can leave them feeling stranded as a spectator on the other side. Invite them in a clear and compelling way to be a part of fulfilling your vision in more ways than just their checkbook.

Don’t talk as if your thing is the only thing!Because of the strength of our calling and the passion God has given us for it, sometimes it is easy to talk as if our vision is the only thing God is doing and the only thing people should be giving to. Shane Bennett, editor of the Mission Catalyst, writes that some missionaries arrogantly describe their ministry as if “God has given up on alternatives and that their thing is it!” He encourages workers to instead communicate that their ministry is “a good one on a table full of good ones.” The Lord is working through others just like you all across the planet to bring people from every tongue and tribe to Himself. Passionately cast a compelling vision for your work in such a way that invites the participation of others, but make sure you don’t convey that the hand of God is solely on you and your ministry!

The focus shouldn’t be on you! The central figure in your vision should be God and his redemptive activity, not you! A natural tendency is to see ourselves right in the middle of everything involved with the vision we are casting. Recently, during my commute home, I had a person tailgating me and I was constantly keeping a view on him in my rear-view mirror. Not only did they stay right on my tail, they were swerving back and forth too. Thus, I had to keep adjusting my viewing angle back and forth to see them. But as I strained to keep them in view, all I saw in my mirror at times…was my fat face! Casting our vision to others can be just like that. We must be careful or we end up seeing too much of ourselves and what we’re doing in the picture and not enough focus on what God is doing to fulfill the vision. Keep in mind it is His ministry and He has graciously invited you to participate—not the other way around!

(ht: Support Raising Solutions)

Happy Thanksgiving

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation
Every year, I re-read Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation. It is a great reminder of the heart of the holiday that we come together to observe and celebrate as a country.

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation that follows is taken from the collection of Lincoln's papers in the Library of America series, Vol II, pp. 520-521.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

Abraham Lincoln

Jordan's Song

We wanted to bless you today with beautiful and moving song composed and performed by 92 Keys called Jordan's Song. Jordan’s Song is in memory of Jordan Zappia who died unexpectedly at 16 months and is dedicated to all families who have lost a child. Jordan’s Song is an original composition created by 92 Keys and filmed in Boise, Idaho. You can read more about the song, story and project HERE on their website.

How Do Pastors Feel About Their Job?

excerpted from Christianity Today:

Though pastors are stressed by overwhelming ministry demands and low salaries, only one percent abandon the pulpit each year.

In a first-of-its-kind study, LifeWay Research surveyed 1,500 pastors of evangelical and historically black churches and found an estimated 13 percent of senior pastors in 2005 had left the pastorate 10 years later for reasons other than death or retirement.

"Pastors are not leaving the ministry in droves," said vice president Scott McConnell.

Still, pastors say the role can be tough:
  • 84 percent say they're on call 24 hours a day.
  • 80 percent expect conflict in their church.
  • 54 percent find the role of pastor frequently overwhelming.
  • 53 percent are often concerned about their family's financial security.
  • 48 percent often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle.
  • 21 percent say their church has unrealistic expectations of them.

"This is a brutal job," McConnell said. "The problem isn't that pastors are quitting—the problem is that pastors have a challenging work environment.

"Churches ought to be concerned, and they ought to be doing what they can."

Here are some fascinating infographics and statistics from that report. 

Read the entire report overview HERE

Christian Universities In America - Infographic

The United States has a long history with Christian universities. Let’s take a closer look at the history behind and the current state of private, Christian colleges in the U.S.

Strange Glory - A Life Of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the most fascinating and engaging person of faith from the 20th century. Not only is his life and story intriguing, but his theological writings are compelling as well  (Life Together, The Cost of Discipleship). Bonhoeffer left a tremendous legacy behind, that the church and His people, including myself, are still benefiting and being blessed by today.

If is for those reasons that I was so excited to be able to read Charles Marsh's biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Strange Glory. Marsh is a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia and and director of the Project on Lived Theology.

Of course as I read Marsh's book - I couldn't help but have in the forefront of my mind one of my favorite books, Eric Metaxas' account of the life of Bonhoeffer. Yet due to Marsh's strong research skills and attention to details, he does a great job in distinguishing his account of Bonhoeffer's life from other well known biographies. 

In Strange Glory, Marsh takes the time to engage and explain the complex theological issues that shaped Bonhoeffer and the issues that he confronted. Also Marsh's portrayal of Bonhoeffer is not a flat and two dimensional account, rather Marsh is willing to illustrate and paint a vivid picture of Bonhoeffer's emotional complexity. Another positive and enduring feature of Strange Glory is also Marsh's willingness to go into detail concerning the dissidence and conflict that Bonhoeffer faced between his pacifism and his actions to kill Hitler.

Marsh's book is definitely a worthy account of a man that was - and continues to remain - a giant of Christian faith and thought.

Disclaimer, I received a promotional copy of Strange Glory in exchange for writing an objective review of the book.

4 Reasons You Need To Re-think Your Coffee Consumption

It’s complicated.

No, not my relationship status. I’ve been (very) happily married for 17 years.

With coffee. Or, more accurately, caffeine.

On the one hand, I love coffee. The different varieties and their subtle differences. The taste. I even roast my own and love geeking out on all the best equipment. (That I can afford, anyway). Nothing wrong with all that.

On the other hand, sometimes I’m not sure who’s in charge. I’ve had headaches and gotten grouchy when I don’t get my morning joe. I’ve been late to meetings - and even church - in an effort to fit it in.

Maybe your relationship with coffee is complicated, too. Let’s talk about 4 reasons why it’s critical for us, especially as ministry leaders, to consume our coffee (or anything caffeinated) thoughtfully and responsibly.

[I’ve included some simple ways to break free from our caffeine addiction - without giving up coffee - in this short (and free) download].

What’s At Stake

As disciples of Christ, our entire lives belong to him. Our bodies and coffee included. So there’s more at stake than you might think.

1. Your health is at stake. I’m not cracking down so much on the amount of caffeine you consume. Experts seem to think that adults can safely enjoy up to 400 milligrams each day, roughly equivalent to 4 brewed (8 ounce) cups of coffee. The bigger concern here is that, as busy ministry leaders, we can push and push. And push. We can skimp on the 7-8 hours of sleep we need every night, do too much, and use caffeine to top off our (empty) tanks.

2. Your credibility is at stake. The people we serve rightly expect us to live lives of greater integrity than the average Christian. Paul said, for example, that ‘every athlete exercises self-control in all things… but I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified’. (1 Corinthians 9:27) If he didn’t exercise self-control, he couldn’t ask others to listen to what he taught. Neither can you. If caffeine owns us, how can we encourage others to be owned by God?

3. Your fruitfulness in ministry is at stake. If you’re like me, you got into ministry because you wanted to change the world for God. The results are up to God, but we should expect to see some fruitfulness from our efforts, right? John the Baptist told his listeners, for example, to ‘bear fruit in keeping with repentance… every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire’. (John 3:8,10) But if people don't respect us, they won't listen to us, and the fruit of our ministry is in jeopardy.

4. Your relationship with God is at stake. I know, I know - it sounds like I’m being dramatic. I’m not… suggesting that your salvation is at stake. God’s got that, regardless of how much we fail (see Romans 8:28).

But the quality of our relationship with God is related to the choices we make, just load in any relationship. If we’re routinely missing out on sleep in an effort to accomplish more, for example, that’s a deeply spiritual, gospel issue.

As ministry leaders, we can be a lot like much of professional, corporate America, relying on what we do to find our value. Instead of what God has done once and forever in Christ on our behalf. ‘He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior’ (Titus 3:5-6).

This is the heart of the Christian life. If there’s one thing we - and the people we serve - need to get and grow into - it’s this. With God’s help, we’ve got to lead out here. And not just in theory (I believe this), but in practice (I believe this and show it by the way I live it out, however imperfectly).

With God’s help, we can. There's way too much at stake to let coffee get in the way.

Let’s live it out: Describe your relationship with caffeine. If ‘it’s complicated’, in what ways could it be more healthy?

Bryan Stoudt is a pastor in Philadelphia, and blogs about learning to follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world at He is absolutely crazy about all things coffee. If you want 8 simple tips about reconsidering your relationship with caffeine, you can get them with this short (and free) download bonus.

Photo Credit: Noelle Buske via Compfight cc

A Must Read For Those In Ministry

Dangerous Calling
There are few books that I would insist are must reads for those in - or going into  - vocational ministry - but Dangerous Calling is one such book.

Here are some reviews:

“Few would regard a pastor’s role as a dangerous calling, but few people are as qualified and insightful as Paul Tripp to penetrate the snares and potential pitfalls associated with pastoral ministry. Fewer still would prescribe such gospel based and local church rooted remedies. This excellent volume should be read, re-read & applied.”
—Terry Virgo, founder, Newfrontiers

“Dangerous Calling is a dangerous book to read. It is also a book every person in ministry should read. It will cut you to the heart and bring massive conviction if you read it with a humility and ask God to expose sins deeply hidden in your soul. It cuts, but it also provides biblical remedies for healing. I would love to put this book in the hand of every seminarian who walks on my campus.”
—Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

You can read a sample chapter HERE

You can buy the book HERE

5 Barriers To Your Church's Growth

Here is a list of the classic growth barriers every church will or is currently facing.  Under each is a quick summary of Nelson Searcy’s thoughts on each.

  • When a room reaches 70% of its seating capacity, it’s full.
  • Most churches face growth barriers when attendance reaches 65, 125, 250, 500, and 1,000.
  • It is better to grow to 300 or 400 before starting a second service.
  • If the church leaders have stopped maturing spiritually and progressing personally, the congregation is not far behind.
  • Warning signs include stale sermons, the congregation’s passion waning, and the halt of staff and church growth.
  • Churches stop growing when they become inwardly (instead of outwardly) focused.
  • Healthy churches should have a 5:100 ratio of first-time guests.
Weekly Worship Service
  • To keep your service strong, always try to look like a church twice your size.
  • Hiring staff is truly a faith issue. Many pastors want to put off staff hires until they have the money in place to support the positions. Sounds like a practical plan, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work. You will never have enough money in advance to hire the staff you need.
Read the entire article HERE

4 Facts About Seminary Debt

Student Debt
Being called into vocational ministry and going to seminary to prepare for that call can be a wonderful blessing. I have fond memories of my time in seminary. Yet there is another side to the coin - the cost of seminary and the mountain of debt that a student can incur to finish seminary. If you are a student considering seminary (or know someone who is) here are 4 important facts to be aware of.

1. A majority of seminary students will take on debt
2. Seminary students already bring lots of debt with them from the undergraduate education
3. There is a lot of regret with seminary grads in regard to their debt and what they didn't know
4. Ministry jobs don't pay enough to adequately repay that debt

None of these facts alone should dissuade you from going to seminary, but you should at least be aware of the financial issues and count the cost (literally!)

(ht: Seminary Scholarships)

Want To Create Awesome Visual Content For Social Media?

Visual Content
You probably are well aware that using eye-popping visual content for your church/ministry on social media channels increases engagement with your audience tremendously. If you have any doubts, look at these statistics below. According to HubSpot:

  • Facebook posts that feature photos account for 87% of interactions on the site. (Source: eMarketer)
  • Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets than those without. (Source: Buffer)
  • Even tweets that only have a link to a photo or video receive a boost in retweets averaging 35% and 28%, respectively. (Source: Twitter)
  • In 2014, 70% of marketers planned to increase their use of original visual assets like infographics and memes. Visual content also ranked first among content types marketers want to learn more about. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Of course the key to designing and sharing great visual content is knowing the appropriate dimensions necessary for each individual social media site (btw, does a great job in helping you keep to the necessary image sizes)

Below is a helpful infographic which outlines the various social media image sizes.


Is your church asking too much info from first-time visitors?

When a first time visitor comes to your church, how much information do you ask from them? You may assume that because someone has visited your church that they are willing to simply divulge as much information as possible to you. Yet a first-time guest to your church may not be as willing to do so as you think, in fact, many first-time visitors may be simply there to check out your church with relative anonymity. Or perhaps there is general concern that divulging too much information may invite unwelcomed communication from the church - communication that they are not ready yet to receive.

So the question is, how much information should you request from a first-time visitor? What information is enough?

What information does your church ask of your guests and visitors?

How To Create Quality Videos In Just A Snap

Animoto has been one of my go-to video creation app for years. It has been an invaluable ministry tool, allowing me to share the many ministry stories in a powerful way. What I love is that Animoto simplifies video editing by limiting the number of customization options and making most of the editing decisions for you. What it delivers for you in the end is a very professional looking video with impressive results.

Here are some details:
Compatible with iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch (iOS 7.0+), Android (version 2.2+), and an online version available here. 

Pricing: Free to try, with plans starting at $9.99/month. But if you are a nonprofit you can apply for their FREE nonprofit license here.

Additional paid features: HD videos, longer videos, video downloads, cloud storage, more photos and videos to upload

Here is a short tutorial using the app:

1. Add photos and videos.
With just a few taps of your finger you can insert your preferred photos and videos from your camera roll. You cannot capture photos or videos from within the app.

2. Select editing style.
Add filters and embellishments to your video by choosing a style theme from the list of provided options. The theme you select will determine how your clips are processed.

3. Select soundtrack.
Animoto provides song options for your video. If you choose to not use a track provided by the app and instead opt for a song you purchased for your personal use, ensure that you are following all copyright laws when you upload your video for the public to view.

4. Add captions and titles.
Animoto prompts you to include copy for intro and outro titles. You can also add text to your photo and video clips by writing captions for your visuals. In addition you can insert title screens with custom messages throughout your video.

5. Animoto generates a preview with automated editing.
Once Animoto generates your video, you can make minor changes to your design.

6. Save and share.
Share your video via Messages, email, Twitter, and Facebook. If you upgrade to a paid version, you can save your video on your device. Although the FREE nonprofit license will automatically give you those features for your church or ministry.

Here is a sample video that I created from a medical mission trip to Haiti using Animoto.

Working In The Clouds Or The Dirt?

Working Dirt
What kind of leader are you? Are you the kind that always likes to work in the clouds - loves the big picture, generating new ideas, loves to cast vision and motivate others? Or are you the kind of leader that so often works in the dirt - loves building systems, achieving goals and is energized by the details and the process?

As a leader you may gravitate to one or the other of these emphases. Yet as a leader we are called to do both...sometimes having to operate in the clouds and sometimes having to operate working in the dirt.

So how do you do them both? The infographic below has some great tips for not only starting to generate ideas (working in the clouds), but then making them flourish (working in the dirt).

12 Unfortunate Reasons Why Churches Neglect Church Discipline

excerpted from Chuck Lawless at Thom Rainer's blog

Here are the twelve (8 posted here) unfortunate, yet true, reasons why churches neglect church discipline.

  1. They don’t know the Bible’s teaching on discipline. I can only guess what percentage of regular attenders in evangelical churches even know that the Bible teaches the necessity of church discipline. This topic is one that some pastors choose to avoid.
  2. They have never seen it done before. Some of the reticence to do church discipline is the result of ignorance. Frankly, I admit my own ignorance when I began serving as a pastor 30+ years ago. If you’ve never been part of a church that carried out discipline, it’s easy to let any of these following reasons halt the process.
  3. They don’t want to appear judgmental. “Judge not, lest you be judged” takes precedence over any scripture that calls for discipline, especially in a culture where political correctness rules the day. Judging, it seems, is deemed an unchristian act.
  4. The church has a wide-open front door. Church discipline is challenging to do if membership expectations are few; that is, it’s difficult to hold someone accountable to standards never stated in the first place. The easier it is to join the church, the harder it is to discipline people when necessary.
  5. They have had a bad experience with discipline in the past. For those churches that have done discipline, the memories of poorly done discipline seem to last long. They remember confrontation, judgment, heartache, and division – with apparently no attempt to produce repentance and reconciliation.
  6. The church is afraid to open “Pandora’s box.” If they discipline one church member, they fear establishing a pattern that can’t be halted as long as human beings comprise their congregation. To put it another way, they wonder how many members will remain if they discipline every member with unrepentant sin.
  7. They have no guidelines for discipline. For what sins is discipline necessary? At what point does church leadership choose to make public a private sin? Rather than wrestle with tough questions, many churches just ignore the topic.
  8. They fear losing members (or dollars). We hope no congregation makes decisions based solely on attendance and income, but we know otherwise. Sometimes churches tolerate sin rather than risk decline.
Read the last 4 at the original post

3 Keys To Raising Support Before Groups

excerpted from SRS blog

Here are three keys to help direct you as you engage with groups during your support-raising journey. But, understand you will not have near as much time making a presentation to a church or group as you would in a one-on-one appointment. The average amount of time afforded missionary presentations at churches is a whopping 7.5 minutes! Here are the keys:

1. Maximize what does work well with groups:
  • Cast vision for your ministry – This is your primary task throughout your support raising, whether with groups or individuals. Though a crowd won’t be able to experience you moving to the edge of your seat and leaning in as you enthusiastically share about your call and vision for this ministry, they can still sense your passion as you describe your ministry and where God is leading you.
  • Inspire with stories – Groups have little tolerance for “information dumping” so don’t spend precious time talking about the detailed strategies or the demographics of your assignment. Focus on people! Tell stories about individual lives that have been touched by you or the organization you’re joining. Leave them thinking about a specific person whose eternal future they have a chance to invest in.
  • Challenge – Make it clear where they fit into the picture you have just painted. No need to appear “needy” or use emotionally manipulative language. Just let them know you are called to a God-sized task and you recognize there is no way you can accomplish it without a solid team of God-called ministry partners standing behind you and holding the ropes.
2. Minimize what does not work well with groups:
  • The ASK – Remember in a group the basic axiom is, “everybody’s business is nobody’s business.” So don’t be surprised or disheartened when you don’t get the same type of response from a group as you do making the ask in face-to-face appointments. In a group or church talk clearly about how you are funded through ministry partners, and that you would like to opportunity to talk to many of them more personally about how they can be a part of that team.
  • Building Relationships – Raising support will always be more about relationships than money, and a group presentation is a great way to spur interest in you and your ministry. Have fun creating a “buzz” about all that God is doing! Leverage their newfound interest into immediate and specific ways they can get involved. Ideally, have sign-up cards that will gather their contact info so you can personally follow up with each one. This fosters the relational connection that is so important to developing lasting ministry partners.
3. “See the trees in the forest!”— recognize the potential a group holds:
  • Connect with and cultivate key leaders – Even though you may have a friend or advocate in a certain church, the pastor is both shepherd and gatekeeper and needs to be respected and included. Additionally, missions committee members (and other influencers who know about your work) are important connections to nurture.
  • Bless them for what they are already doing to support missions. You won’t be the first or only missionary they are associated with, so before you invite them to do even more, start off by thanking them for what they are already doing to advance the Kingdom…even if it doesn’t directly benefit you. Gratitude begets generosity, in your spirit as well as theirs.
  • Identify smaller sub-sets within the group you can also approach. Enlist the help of an “insider” who knows the various affinity group that operate within the larger assembly you are addressing. These may be Sunday School classes, home groups, men’s or women’s bible studies, youth ministries, etc…Whether or not the large group or church chooses to support you, these smaller groups sometimes yield even greater responses. Just remember as you are make your presentations you are always seeking to channel these potential partners into individual appointments.
read the entire post HERE
subscribe to Support Raising Solutions HERE

5 Tips To Help Turn Volunteers Into Superstars!

Ok, sure you've recruited your volunteers, they've signed on the dotted line but NOW WHAT?

Now you have to TRAIN them! Training though isn't just ONE and DONE, rather it is an ongoing process and investment into your volunteers.

Continual training and development is very important. Because it not only helps with your volunteer's overall enjoyment and performance but it also helps in retention. Remember, it takes less energy to continually equip your volunteers than it does trying to recruit new ones.

But it's not enough just to train, you need to do it well! But how?

1. Make sure your volunteers know your ministry's overall mission. Never assume your leaders know your goals if you haven't told them (or told them recently) what they are. People who don't know how they fit into the big picture quickly lose their enthusiasm. Also, always tie your training in to a specific ministry goal or part of the ministry's vision.

2. Leave time at the end of each training session to make sure they understand what you taught. Encourage and beg them to ask questions about what they're learning. Never end a training time without asking them to repeat, somehow, what they've learned. Group activities can help reinforce spoken teaching.

3. Tell your volunteers where they can get more information on a training topic. Refer your leaders to printed, websites and online video resources that can give more in-depth information on a particular topic.

4. Don't assume your volunteers "got it" the first time. Don't be afraid to hit a crucial training topic more than once. For example, if you train your volunteers on building relationships with teenagers, hit the same topic at your next meeting with a lab experience or roll play. Repetition helps makes training STICK!

5. Give your volunteers something to take with them that includes the important training tips. It's important for your volunteers to have an ongoing reminder of what they learn in training meetings.

Visual Inspiration To Motivate And Encourage Your Faith

Here are some quotes, made visual, that will challenge and inspire you. These quotes are frequently posted on Ministry Best Practices' social media sites, therefore consider LIKING us on Facebook and FOLLOWING us on Twitter. When you do follow us on our social media sites, you'll be able to get considerably more thought-provoking and inspiring content throughout the day.