The Internet's Best Practices for Ministry

Welcome to our site. Our mission and dedication is to equip leaders for innovative ministry. Explore. Read. Share.

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.

Missional Small Groups


‘Missional’ is a term that is used frequently to describe churches that reach out to their community in word and deed ministry. A ‘missional’ church has an outward focus in their mindset–and in all their ministries. What makes a small group ‘missional’? Tim Keller lists six ways:

  1. its members love and talk positively about the city/neighborhood,
  2. they speak in language that is not filled with pious tribal or technical terms and phrases, nor disdainful and embattled language,
  3. in their Bible study they apply the gospel to the core concerns and stories of the people of the surrounding culture,
  4. they are obviously interested in and engaged with the literature and art and thought of the surrounding culture and can discuss it both appreciatively and yet critically,
  5. they exhibit deep concern for the poor and generosity with their money and purity and respect with regard to the opposite sex, and show humility toward people of other races and cultures,
  6. they do not bash other Christians and churches.

Keller contends that if a small group is marked by these ‘missional’ traits then seekers and non-believing people from the city will be invited and will come and will stay as they explore spiritual issues. If these marks are not there it will only be able to include believers or traditional, ‘Christianized’ people.

from Tim Keller, “Cultural Renewal.”


Related Posts:
History of the Word, Missional
Being Missional Made Easy
12 Marks of a Missional Church
2 Missional Diagnostic Questions
4 Missional Movements of the Suburbs
Being Missional Where You Live, Work and Play

(ht: New City Church)

5 Kinds Of Pastors


When a church is “looking” to call a pastor, in reality there are only five “types” of pastors out there.

A disclaimer before proceeding. These five types or paradigmatic pastors don’t cover varying theologies, beliefs, doctrines, or even tribal affinity. These categories are talking about five kinds of “Christian” leaders based on “how” they lead. This is a behavioral/personality typology that should be helpful in choosing a pastor for your church.

Each of these types carries positives and negatives, and most likely no one fits into only one category but rather has roots in one and branches that spread into one or two others, we're all mixed bags."

Here is the summation of the article of the 5 Kinds of Pastors:

The five archetypes of pastors are:
  • Catalytic 
  • Cultivator 
  • Conflict-Quelling 
  • Chaplain 
  • Catatonic 
Here’s a brief description of each.

The Catalytic Pastor: The catalytic pastor is wired to stir things up. They’re gifted in the prophetic and tend to be charismatic leaders. These pastors have lots of energy and are focused on the mission of the church … that is, reaching the community for Jesus Christ. In the “right” church, they’ll grow it without a doubt. In the “wrong” church, they’ll create conflict, they’ll be frustrated, and they’ll either burn out or they’ll move on … assuming they’re not fired first. Catalytic pastors are ideal church planters but often lack the finesse and patience for church transformations (except in those VERY rare churches that are truly willing to do anything to reach the community for Jesus).

The Cultivating Pastor: The cultivating pastor is wired to break up hard ground, plant seeds, nurture the fields, and are both willing and able to bring in a harvest. They’re gifted in big-picture understanding, systems analysis, and systems manipulation (in a good way). Because of their systems understanding and their patience, they are able to cultivate change and transformation over time. However, they’re tenacious and are used to getting their way in the long run … because they know how to deal with obstacles that get in their way. Cultivating pastors are well suited for church transformations in churches that can afford to effect gentle change that takes significant time … as many as seven to ten years.

The Conflict-Quelling Pastor: The Conflict-Quelling pastor is exactly the type that the name implies … they’re the guys and gals who are natural or skilled peacemakers, mediators, and/or conflict managers. These pastors are wired differently than any of the other pastoral types. They’re not catalytic and they’re distinctive from chaplains. Instead, these folks can walk into a congregation and in short order assess the situation and instinctively seem to know who the major players are. They are affable and able to build bridges. They tend to be quiet and reflective … when they speak, they do so with conviction, wisdom, and certainty. Conflict-Quelling pastors make excellent interim pastors and/or troubled-church pastors.

The Chaplain Pastor: The Chaplain pastor is wired for peace, harmony, and pastoral care. This is the type of pastor that has been produced by seminaries for several decades, though a few … a very few … seminaries are retooling. Chaplain pastors eschew change and value status quo. They don’t want to stir the waters; rather, they want to bring healing to hurting souls.

They are excellent listeners and tend to be good networkers within the community, primarily so they can extend their ministry, but also so they can refer those in need to oasis’ of help. Chaplain pastors don’t grow churches. In fact, a Chaplain pastor will hasten a congregation’s demise because they tend to focus on those within the congregation rather than in bringing new converts to Jesus Christ. Churches that have very little hope of transformation and church growth do well with Chaplain pastors who serve as hospice care.

The Catatonic Pastor: This type of pastor is, frankly, either lazy or sick. There are far too many of these pastors. They take refuge in their offices ostensibly to do sermon preparation, create brochures, sum up numbers, and so on, but ultimately they’re spinning their wheels and accomplishing very little.

They may or may not do the hospital visitation, but they seldom miss an opportunity to have a meal with one of the inside buddies. Catatonic pastors tend to be well liked by the power holders in the church, because the Catatonic pastor is easily manipulated and seldom, if ever, makes waves … except when they need to accomplish something and fail to meet even the lowest of expectations. Indeed, Catatonic pastors may remain as the senior pastor of a church for many years because they know how to schmooze their way into grace.

Churches that hate change often end up with excellent examples of Catatonic pastors. Catatonic pastors may spend a lot of time “at work” but any congregation that sets performance goals for their Catatonic pastor will quickly discover that time in the office does not guarantee results. Of course, Catatonic pastors do not grow churches, are poor chaplains - even poor hospice chaplains, and they pretty much destroy wherever they root … and they’re more like crabgrass or bamboo that, once established, is almost impossible to eradicate.

(ht: David Rudd)

Creating a Small Groups Culture

One of the questions I get regularly is, "How do you create a Small Groups culture in your church?" There's several reasons, but here's one that's absolutely essential: Eliminate the competition.

When Small Groups is one of 50 ministries people can get involved in, Small Groups lose their power to involve everyone because there's too much competition. When you say, "We want everyone to get into a small group" and you follow that up making canceling anything that could compete with small groups for time, space, volunteers and attention, you're on your way to creating a culture of small groups.

-Bob Franquiz

(ht:
Bob)

Internet Ministry Conference



It’s time to register for the Internet Ministry Conference in October. If you’re anywhere near Grand Rapids, MI, this is an opportunity to learn about ministry online.

Here are some of the speakers slated for the conference:

Dr. Quentin Schultze will present the devotional and David Russell of NCC will talk about websites.

Kent Shaffer of Church Relevance & Bombay Creative will speak about Internet Ministry Marketing and Tailored Internet Ministry.

Brad Abare of Church Marketing Sucks & the Center for Church Communication will help educate and motivate us towards a better online endeavor.

Check it OUT!

(ht: Cynthia)

Free Background Loops

Courtesy of Church 2.0 - check out these Free Background Loops for your Sunday morning worship.

Can you overcommunicate?

Communication is one of the biggest challenges in our church. It is hard to get the message out and to make it stick. Often times to compensate for that difficulty, the temptation is to over-communicate.

Kem Meyer from Granger Church posted a poignant illustration of how too much communication can often swamp the effectiveness of communication (here is an excerpt)

Check this insight into what they're dealing with outside the church walls. 100 pieces of paper between two kids in 5 days. I can relate. It takes me 10-20 minutes to sort through the handouts and "flyers" sent home with my 2 kids every day from school. It stresses me out.

6a00e54efe91b5883400e5541e100b8834

So, ask yourself before you create that mass mailing, hand out that brochure or send that email "Will this information I intend to be helpful just add to the clutter? Is there any way to simplify what my audience sees to make their experience with the church easier and more rewarding?"

Because, Lord knows, the public school system isn't asking themselves this question. It's the least we can do as the Church. Don't you think?


David Rudd who alerted me to Kem's post had some good comments here:

Do you want to create? Then RISK!


According to Scott Berkun, the author of The Myths of Innovation, the key word in those who innovate is “risk”.

Berkun says that that some of the companies that we look at as being the best at innovation, like Google, Apple, Pixar and 3M, promote innovation through a culture where ‘it’s ok to take risks, where failure is acceptable if valuable lessons can be learned. Whenever risks can be taken in a safe environment, innovation is much more likely to be successful.’

Another interesting caveat: while innovation can happen in both small and large organizations or churches, the larger your organization, the more dedicated resources you’ll need to fuel the innovation process; and the more you’ll need to risk failure. That is particularly hard (especially the failure part) as your church grows.

You can listen to a 30 minute interview with Berkun here.

On the whole, the Vine Community Church is willing to take risks. As long as you are moving the ball forward - that's what matters the most.

Risk, succeed or fail, learn, grow and try and Risk again.

(ht: MMI)

Bringing the Resume into the 21st Century


Perhaps you have noticed near my profile on the sidebar a little icon that says, Visual Business Card. Visual CV wants to do away with the old-school way of sending our paper resumes.

Visual CV
want to bring the resume into the web age.

After a free registration, you can create your VisualCV resume. You construct the whole thing online with the company's browser-based editor. Here you can add and edit typical sections like "Objective", "Work History", and "Education" to your CV.

But things don't stop there. What makes VisualCV stand out is the variety of content that you can add to areas like the Portfolio sidebar. Web sites you're proud of creating? Put up screenshots. Video or audio recordings to show off your people skills? Put those in too.

The end result is somewhere between a traditional resume and a single-page portfolio web site. VisualCV also offers you control over who can see your work, and lets you create multiple versions to put forth a different persona to different readers. Best of all, it's all free. And that last fact is important if you are a ministry leader.

Also, if someone needs you to see a document...you can download it as a PDF and send it to whomever needs it.

Click on my link
and take a look at what I created!

Attending Church 2.0 Local Forum

Today, I am meeting up with Greg Atkinson and 20 other ministry leaders to talking about Kingdom ministry, technology and all the ways the church is moving forward.

Here is a portion of the group in discussion.



















And some of the guys who came were with Catalyst and they brought their Vanagon. Awesome Van - totally tricked out!

Sermon Based Small Groups


David Rudd has a great post on Sermon Based Small Groups based on the work of Alan Stoddard.

Here is an excerpt:

Some churches use "Sermon Based Small Groups." Other churches choose to encourage their small groups to do their own thing.

Alan Stoddard at Vision 419, is writing a Doctorate of Ministry (DMin) project about Sermon Based Small Groups.

Below are some excerpts from a blog post about his project, particularly, the role of the sermon as the presentation of the "Big Idea". You can read Alan's whole post here.

In the homiletical field, I’ve been studying Haddon Robinson for over 15 years. His book Biblical Preaching describes the Big Idea method to preaching and has been THE classic for preaching for the last 30 years. Robinson’s model for preparation for preaching looks in part like this:

1. Study a passage (one literary unit) to the point of writing an exegetical idea (one sentence summary statement, stated in the past tense which is created by using a “subject” and “complement”)

2. Submit the exegetical idea to developmental questions: What needs to be explained, applied, or proved (Usually only one of these provides your outline angle)

3. Write your homiletical idea or Big Idea (one sentence in contemporary language)

4. Write the sermon purpose: most preachers ignore this. They may generally know it, but rarely can I tell where preachers have actually thought it through. The sermon purpose is at least one main, specific statement of what the preacher wants listeners to do as a result of the message.

* Sermon purpose brings intentionality to the sermon
* Sermon purpose is the bridge to the listeners next week, real life
* Sermon purpose takes the sermon from the pulpit to the living room
* Sermon purpose takes the sermon to the workplace
* Sermon purpose helps the church at all age groups know what to do after listening

Read the rest of David's post HERE

? Ten Questions to Ask ?

  1. Is our vision so big that we obviously can’t accomplish it without God?
  2. Am I doing ministry from memory or from fresh direction from God?
  3. What ministry (or program or meeting) has lost its effectiveness and should be stopped?
  4. Is there a person who needs to be moved to another role (or removed), and I haven’t done it?
  5. What faith risk is God calling me to take?
  6. Have I repented to my team at least once in the last year for a failure in leadership?
  7. Have I done everything in my power to make sure my team is living without unconfessed sin?
  8. Am I expressing love and care for my team members’ families?
  9. Am I living with delayed obedience toward God in any area of leadership?
  10. If Jesus my sole motivation for ministry or has my motivation become clouded?

Would you add any to Craig's?

The Vine Community Church

As of Saturday - our church is no longer going to be called, Big Creek Church. We have a new name and a new look! We went through a great Branding process with Metaleap Design.




I used SproutBuilder to make this simple Flash presentation. This is a great online tool that is easy to use. The interface is easy to use and they provide helpful templates that you may choose from.

Dashboards


You "expect" what you "inspect". Measurements are important.

You want a dashboard that goes beyond just counting nickles and noses (or bucks and butts)

What do you count? What are your ministry measurements for success?

Franchise Faith


Slate magazine has an interesting article on the growing multi-site/video venue trend that is dramatically changing the face and impact of the church in our American culture. Here are some excerpts:
Can a digitally projected pastor lead a congregation, shepherd believers, create and expand a community? Or is this just business-minded religion run amok? In a blog post, one of Stanley's lieutenants compared the job of running a video venue to operating a franchise of another Christian-led business: Chick-fil-A. "Just like that Chick-fil-A owner/operator, I'm here in Nashville to open up our franchise and run it right," wrote Eddie Johnson. "I believe in my company and what they are trying to 'sell.' "
With video venues, ambitious pastors can think beyond their current geographic boundaries, whether it's across town, across the country, or even across international borders. Oklahoma City's LifeChurch.tv, which also holds services online, has churches in six states. Fellowship Church in Dallas bought out a struggling Baptist church in Miami for its first off-site location. Andy Stanley's North Point has 16 video venues, including a church whose members voted to defect from the Presbyterian Church of Canada last fall. He's gunning for a total of 60 by 2010.
Read the whole article HERE

Are you a part of a church that has video venues? The Slate article sounded a bit snarky, what are your thoughts about this article? What have been the benefits of having multi-sites for your church? What have been the challenges?

(Franchise Faith was cross-posted from Provocative Church)

View Assimilation like the Stock Market



If you are in ministry, particularly if you are closely involved with "Assimilation" types of ministries - you are open to a lot of potential frustration and angst!

It can often times feel like a roller coaster ride.

New people are coming to the church! They are getting involved in small groups! People are stepping up to serve! You are at a HIGH POINT!

Then the next day you discover - People at your church are visiting other churches! People are telling you that they aren't connected! People who visit aren't interested in coming back! People, you thought were "all in", call to tell you that they are leaving and moving on! You are at a LOW POINT!

It is easy to allow the heart get tossed around like a boat in the middle of a hurricane.

In ministry there are always going to be HIGH blips and there are always going to be LOW blips.

But you have to treat it like the stock market.

Like the stock market, it has times when it is a bull market, and times when it becomes a bear market. But what do the experts always say? - Ride it out. Investments are for the long-term. He can judge the market day to day. You have to look at the long term trends.

That is the same posture with ministry. Don't let your heart and emotions be captured by any single event or issue. (I know that is easier said than done!) Rather be willing to look at the big picture. What are the overall trends? What is happening long term?

If you have a long term plan or strategy for growth, make sure you continue to work the plan - don't be derailed by one day's disheartening circumstances.

Your Learning Should Be Visible

Your learning should be visible to all, and not hidden like a candle under a bushel.
- The Rule of Carthage, Irish, 7th century

Focus on Results - NOT Process

In the book, Words That Work by Frank Luntz he shares is that

"Positioning an idea linguistically so that it affirms and confirms an audience's context can often mean the difference between that idea's success and failure."
Or stated more simply, how you phrase an idea makes a difference in whether people accept or reject it.

Luntz says the communicator's task often is to find "the most appealing and persuasive way to present a preexisting proposition or program in a more accurate light." One example he offers is the way 51 percent of Americans surveyed said they'd be willing to pay more taxes for "further law enforcement" but 68 percent said they’d pay more "to halt the rising crime rate." What was the difference? "Law enforcement is the process, and therefore less popular, while reducing crime is the desirable result.

The communication lesson: Focus on results, not process."

(Click here to learn more about Words that Work.)



Mashup of Google Docs and Maps

If you have a small group ministry, one valuable piece of information that you need to communicate is - what small groups exist and where do they meet?

Map a List has just created something that would easily help answer those questions for people in your church. This program takes address information from a Google Spreadsheet and plots in into a Google Map.

It links and mashes up the two together.

Every time you update the information on the Google Spreadsheet, it will update the map. You can embed the map into a website or send people the interactive map link. And best of all, it's FREE

See below a map I created for Big Creek Church of all the Life Groups that meet in people's homes throughout the area




Or go to the Url HERE

Snooze your Email


I just came across a helpful little program today - Hit Me Later

I use gmail, and there are times when I am not ready to take an action on an email that I've just received.

But I do need to process the email nevertheless and get it out of my inbox.

Most of the time I am "starring" it - which indicates to me that it is important and because I can't take an action on it now, I'll need to come back to it.

The problem is that I have to go periodically to my "starred" folder and always check, review and look through the starred emails and determine which of them I need to immediately take action on.

What would it be like to "snooze your email" like you snooze your alarm clock?

You get an email, but you know that your are not ready to take action on it. Snooze it. Let it be resent to your inbox at a later time. Maybe that is a couple of hours from now, or even days.

The program to do this is called "Hit Me Later".

Check it out, it may help you be more productive with your information flow.

How to Write Better


Kurt Vonnegut in an essay from his 1981 collection, Palm Sunday, offered simple, sensible advice on improving your writing.
I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.
His point is "sound like yourself!" The best writers, like Flannery O'Connor or Anne Lamott, use their own voice.

The seven points, in all from Vonnegut's essay are:

1. Find a subject you care about
2. Do not ramble, though
3. Keep it simple

4. Have guts to cut

5. Sound like yourself

6. Say what you mean

7. Pity the readers


Where Can You Think?



Where do YOU go to think? According to Joey Reiman, CEO of BrightHouse, and Atlanta innovation consulting firm, there are really only five places that people can think these days... Where do people really think these days? Here's what he thinks:

1. The car.
2. The shower.
3. The church.
4. The john.
5. The gym.

Note the absence of office from that roster. According to an article in Inc. Magazine, "In addition to nearly five weeks' vacation, BrightHouse's 18 staff members get five Your Days, in which they are encouraged to visit a spot conducive to reflection and let their neurons rip. No mandate to solve a particular problem. Just blue-sky thinking -- often under actual blue skies. Reiman believes this unstructured cogitation is just as important to a project's success as time spent hunkered down in client meetings. Or as he puts it: "I think; therefore, I am valuable."


(ht: Todd Rhoades)

What are your Pet Peeves about Worship Leaders?

Last month, Carlos Whittaker of Buckhead Church (Atlanta, GA) blogged the dangerous question:

What is the biggest gripe you have about something a Sunday worship leader does?

The 185+ responses were fascinating, insightful, and offensive to some. To cut through the clutter of all of the opinions, Kent Shaffer of Church Relevance made a very rough tally of all the pet peeves to determine the top 10 pet peeves about worship leaders. Keep in mind these are subjective opinions.

Top 10 Pet Peeves About Worship Leaders (with examples)

  1. Asking the Congregation to do Something (21 responses)
    >> Makes us shake hands with the people around us.
    >> When a worship leader tells you to lift up your hands, it takes a meaningful personal action and turns it into a obligatory command.
    >> Talks like they’re at a high school pep rally, “Let me hear ya!”
    >> Asks how everyone is doing. We’re not at a concert, so we’re not going to scream.
    >> Tells you what to do and how to worship… to the point where it makes you feel guilty if you don’t conform yourself to her/his understanding of what worship is.
    >> I hate it when worship leaders script the worship too much by telling people what to do. I’ve had worship leaders completely distract me from God when they start telling me what to do.
  2. Mini-Sermons & Talking (20 responses)
    >> Talks between every song.
    >> I am distracted when worship leaders start talking about anything that is not directions on what we are about to do.
    >> When they repeat the same catch-phrases every week.
    >> Breathy speaking between songs.
    >> Sermonettes are annoying if too long or common
    >> You can tell a mile away when a worship leader is “sharing” because he feels obligated to. It’s always a cheesy or over emotional blurb. When God’s really laid something on a worship leader’s heart, it’s cool. But even then, say it in less than 45 seconds! Don’t meander on for 3 minutes.


Read the rest of Kent's list HERE

Ministry Best Practices is NOW a part of Alltop!

Featured in Alltop

Ministry Best Practices has been added to Alltop.com as one of the best blogs on the Church.

Read this previous post
about what Alltop is all about.

Are YOU a Tired Leader?


Everybody gets tired but when a leader gets tired, there are several things that make all the difference in their ability to lead.

1. REST - It sounds easy to say but to rest means that you have to admit you are tired. This is hard for a leader to do. To rest is to trust your team with the vision and if you struggle with control - this is going to be hard for you. To rest means to STOP for awhile and stopping will feel like going against the grain of being a leader, because leaders are always GOING somewhere.

2. EAT WELL - When you are always on the go, it is easy to grab the quick fast meal or snack. But eating well and a proper diet is essential for a leaders' energy. Make sure you are eating a good amount of protein. Try to avoid large amounts of sugar that will cause you to crash later. Also moderate your use of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine (don't use these to 'medicate your anxiety'). I have been drinking several glasses of green tea of day. It increases metabolism and it is filled with antioxidants.

3. GET EXERCISE - Too busy to exercise? Perhaps. But an adequate exercise routine will help you not only physically but also mentally. Try to exercise an hour a day, or at least 30 minutes if that is all the time you can give to it. Make exercise fun. Do it with your spouse. Or watch your favorite movie while on the treadmill. But just do it.

4. LEAD WITH YOUR FEET UP - Make sure you take time to ponder, noodle and reflect. These times are not only relaxing, but they recharge and energize a leaders' vision.

5. PUSH THROUGH - While this may sound like a contradiction, it is what leaders must do in certain situations. As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything under the sun. There are seasons when you have to “push through” your weariness and fatigue. There are nights that even though you are exhausted you may need to burn the midnight oil in prayer, or you may need to stay up all night with a hurting team member or friend. While pushing through is NOT a long-term strategy for success it is as one Navy seal put it, “NECESSARY”.

Free Resources for Small Group Leaders


FREE is my favorite four letter word. Therefore, I wanted to make you aware of a new website called The Small Group Exchange, and it's packed full of helpful articles and resources for leaders of group life movements.

A Leader is a Reader - so you might as well save some money doing it.

Bob Hyatt over at PastorHacks reminded me the other day of a great service and opportunity that I took advantage of recently.

If you are a ministry leader like me, then you are always ordering books. And if you are like me then most likely you are ordering them from Amazon.com. (As you remember in a previous post - how I talked about the importance of being a reader - if you are a leader)

In order to save money, so that I might indulge in my book addiction, I subscribed to Amazon's Prime membership a couple of months ago. I tried the free trial and it saved me a bunch of money (because in the course of that trial period I found myself buying not just books, but some big ticket items from Amazon as well).

If you shop online , especially with Amazon, you might want to check out Amazon Prime.

Amazon Prime
members enjoy the following benefits:

1. Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of Amazon.com Items
2. Overnight Shipping upgrades for only $3.99 per item
3. Shopping with no minimum order size
4. Ability to share benefits with up to 4 household members
5. 1 Month Free Trial

It is definitely worth the free trial and maybe sticking with it if you tend to order a fair amount from Amazon.

Try it out HERE

How to cultivate that "Doggie-Head-Tilt" moment


Here is a great post today by Mike Metzer on how we achieve those creative aha! moments.

Arf???
Henri PoincarĂ©'s flash of insight arrived as he boarded a city bus. Albert Einstein's epiphany came as he imagined a boy riding alongside a light beam. When C. S. Lewis arrived at Whipsnade Zoo, he got a surprise – he believed in Christ as the Son of God.1 In each case, insight started with a surprise, not a search. Surprised? Welcome to the "doggie head tilt" – the first step for reframing religion in today's world.

Henri PoincarĂ© was the nineteenth-century mathematician whose insights advanced non-Euclidean geometry. But his work didn't go forward until he stopped thinking about mathematics and simply boarded a bus. "At the moment when I put my foot on the step," PoincarĂ© wrote, "the idea came to me, without anything in my former thoughts seeming to have paved the way for it… upon taking my seat in the omnibus, but I felt a perfect certainty."2 Halting one activity ("left brain" research) led to PoincarĂ©'s "Aha" epiphany.

Albert Einstein unlocked the mysteries of electromagnetic field equations discovered by James Clerk Maxwell years before.3 But Einstein wasn't delving into Maxwell's theory as much as daydreaming about light beams. Taking a break from investigative work (a "left brain" activity) led to Einstein's insight. Arresting or stopping the thinking process is what I describe as the "doggie head tilt." This picture comes from my one talent – I can simultaneously hum and whistle. When I make this sound, dogs stop dead in their tracks and their heads tilt. Arf? It's like a stun gun to the left hemisphere of the brain. But why in heaven's name would we want to do this – stop the "left brain" in its tracks?
Read the rest HERE

Momentum - How does it Happen?


This post by Scott Whitaker is about two years old, but it is pure gold.

Momentum is a big buzz word right now. There is a lot of talk about having it, needing it, wanting it and enjoying momentum's ride. Almost every day I see the word pop up in my bloglines.

Seeing all of this talk about momentum has caused a lot of questions. What is meant by it? How do you get it? How do you maintain it? What lies on the other side of it? What is the result of it?

I've been thinking about this post for a long time and have been watching StonePoint and other churches and have come to some of the following conclusions.
In a nutshell it looks like this:
Discomfort --> Fed by Vision -->Ignited by Anticipation -->Led by Change = Momentum

Momentum is born out of a healthy discomfort. Bill Hybels calls it a holy discontent. People at StonePoint have discomfort for where they're at or where they've been. Momentum is born out of a discomfort of where you are and a knowledge of what could be.

Momentum is fed by vision. It takes more than a solution. Solutions may meet a temporary need. Vision is what constantly supplies the fuel of going from where you are to where God wants you to be.
(read the rest HERE)

(ht: scottwhitaker)

Catalyst's 50 Top Social Media Sites and Apps

How to Turn Boring into Unforgettable

If you have a common, boring and familiar message to tell - why not "make it stick" by using humor or by telling a story.

Here is an example of a store owner who had to let his customers know that he is closing for a week.

How many of you have approached a store surprised by a sign - Sorry we're closed!? Nothing new there. But if I came upon this store with this funny, creative and imaginative sign - I wouldn't soon forget, not only this sign, but the business as well.


Do something different.

Add a surprising element.

Make a fresh association.

Give it a twist.

And people won't soon forget it.

(ht: FrostFire)

Leadership Summit Live Blogging


Don't forget to make sure to check out my Leadership Summit '08 Live Blogging Site.

The site is a aggregation of bloggers and their thoughts about the Leadership Summit experience.

Enjoy and Leadership Summit '08 Live Blogging Site, it's the next best thing to actually being there.

How Do You Emcee?



Public speaking can be hard enough, but what about speaking in public where you have to improvise and be spontaneous and where your role is the ring master and major motivator? That is the role of the emcee.

I have been the emcee before at big and small events, and I can tell you from personal experience - it is a tough gig and probably one of the most challenging speaking opportunities that I've ever had. To be an emcee you have to be both prepared and spontaneous. You have to be prepared with the flow and timing of the event, you have to know well the people you are introducing and every element within the entire event. But also, you have to spontaneous. As an emcee, I have had to quickly make adjustments in the program, be able to be witty and funny at unplanned moments and make the best of unforeseen issues (i.e. audio and visual problems).

Here is a excerpt from good post about from Eric Feng on How to Emcee like a Pro.

Here is a quote from the interview:
How is emceeing different from what you mainly do in Public Speaking? (Presenting prepared speeches)
Eric: As an emcee, you are essentially the cheerleader. No matter what, you have to have you're 1000 Watts smile and you're energy has got to be at least 3X more than your audience. It all starts with YOU, really. YOU decide, if they're going to have a great time or not. Of course, humor is much appreciated :)
Gary: Giving speeches are mostly one-sided. Sure there's the occasional interaction and audience response. But emceeing is different in a way that its about actively, VERY ACTIVELY managing and raising the energy of the audience.
Sabrina: Giving speeches is more orchestrated and emceeing can be rather spontaneous. You have to be prepared to be spontaneous anyway. I think naturally when you deliver a prepared speech, you're more likely to worry about your performance. But as an emcee, you're more likely to be worried about the event running smoothly.

Another Reminder of the Church2.0 Local Forum


Church 2.0 Local Forum hosted by Greg Atkinson and other special guests and sponsors.

Friday, August 22,and Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Free food, free give-aways, meet Greg, as well as other "Church 2.0" contributors, Church leaders and ministry leaders.

Come share your story of what God is doing where you are. Meet new friends and find out more about the Church 2.0 project. I will be there and our church is sponsoring the lunch.

Check www.perimeterchurch.org for more info on the church or visit Forum Church 2. 0 Atlanta for more information about the event.




Live Blogging at the Leadership Summit!


Don't forget to make sure to check out my Leadership Summit '08 Live Blogging Site.

The site is a aggregation of bloggers and their thoughts about the Leadership Summit experience.

Enjoy and Leadership Summit '08 Live Blogging Site, it's the next best thing to actually being there.

Featured Blog: PastorHacks


If you haven't already checked out PastorHacks, I would encourage you to do so. PastorHacks is the blog of Bob Hyatt. Bob is the pastor of the Evergreen Community in Oregon.

When I started Ministry Best Practices a year ago, I had already been reading PastorHacks quite regularly. In fact, PastorHacks became a significant piece of inspiration toward my vision for Ministry Best Practices. (thanx Bob!)

PastorHacks is filled with helpful advice and tools to help you become more organized and efficient. Bob talks a lot about, and uses the "Getting Things Done" (GTD) system for productivity. Therefore Bob shares a lot of tips on how to use GTD more effectively.

Also Bob is hip to and shares the latest Web2.0 tools and technology (an interest that I eagerly share).

I get a lot of great ideas from Bob. But what makes PastorHacks the most meaningful is the fact that Bob is a pastor and in ministry - therefore he doesn't share stuff on a theoretical level. Rather he shares the tools and helps that he has used from his real world experience.

Make sure to put PastorHacks on your must read list. And you can make sure you don't miss any of Bob's great content by subscribing to PastorHacks as well.


(occasionally Ministry Best Practices will feature outstanding and helpful sites and blogs that prove to be a tremendous resource for you and your ministry.)

Leadership Summit


In the past I have had the chance to attend the Leadership Summit, but unfortunately I won't have that opportunity this year. As usual, the line-up for the Summit is major league.

This year the speakers include:
  • Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek
  • Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of LifeChurchTV
  • Brad Anderson, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Best Buy
  • Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder of Teach for America
  • John Burke, lead pastor of Gateway Community Church
  • Gary Haugen, CEO and Founder of International Justice Mission
  • Catherine Rohr, CEO and Founder of Prison Entrepreneurship Program
  • Bill George, Professor at Harvard Business School
  • Efrem Smith, senior pastor of The Sanctuary Covenant Church
  • Chuck Colson, chairman and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Perhaps, like me, you can't attend the Leadership Summit this year, or perhaps you'll be there but you may want to read what others are thinking and saying about their experience.

If that's true, then make sure to check out my Leadership Summit '08 Live Blogging Site.

The site is a aggregate of bloggers and their thoughts about the Leadership Summit experience.

The information collected comes from numerous blog posts and tweets (Twitter - a micro-blogging site)

Enjoy and Leadership Summit '08 Live Blogging Site, it's the next best thing to actually being there.

How to Move on from Life Changing Mistakes



Former CEO of the famously failed Pets.com Julie Wainwright publishes a brutally honest inventory of the life-changing mistakes she's made and how she's moved on from them. After her company and her marriage collapsed (in the same week!) and her company's mascot became a symbol for the dotcom bust, Wainwright says:
I would like to tell you that I was down but not out. That I just brushed myself off and got on with life. I didn't. At first, I kept myself hyper-busy. That lasted for about three months. Then, I sank into a depression. I'm sure I was in shock for a long time. It was a very dark, confused time in my life. I kept pushing myself to get back to normal. That didn't happen. I never got back to myself. I became better than I was.
Julie talks through 5 mistakes she made and how she moved on.
  • Mistake 1: I allowed others to define me.
  • Mistake 2: I built my image of myself on two main supporting pillars. When those collapsed, I did too.
  • Mistake 3: I stopped believing in myself.
  • Mistake 4: I stopped taking care of myself.
  • Mistake 5: Allowing my head to rule my heart.
Take the time to read a candid and brutally honest account of Julie's failures and growth through them. It is a good reminder that failure is NOT FATAL. Although Julie doesn't take into account the spiritual dynamic of life in her musings, I would interject to say that failure is not ultimately FATAL when we remember and apply the gospel.

As a leader you must be clinging to the gospel. The gospel speaks of the reality of who you are "in Christ". In Christ, you are completely accepted. In Christ, you are completely known. In Christ, you are completely loved.

How do you move on from life changing mistakes? Cling to Christ and preach the gospel to your heart everyday.

Alltop - your online newsstand

The folks at Alltop have added a church category which includes some great stuff and blogs that I've followed for some time (i.e. PastorHacks and Goodmanson) as well as discovering some new blogs that I wasn't aware of.

In case you’re not familiar with Alltop - it’s a site that aggregates content from across the web categorically into one location. I think Alltop is such a great concept that I added an Alltop badge permanently to the site - because I believe that by going to Alltop's church category you will discover some of the best ministry practices found on the web.

In order to further understand Alltop's benefits, here is a visual from Dan Roam, author of Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems with Pictures illustrating the difference between using Alltop and Google to get information.
(click the pics for a bigger version)

Check Alltop out…and if you are fan of Ministry Best Practices, send them an email, letting them know you’d like to see Ministry Best Practices added to Alltop's church category.

Feed the Creative Side


Check out this website: Notcot.org

According to NOTCOT:
NOTCOT is a visual filtration of ideas + aesthetics + amusements. NOTCOT's two sites have become the daily sources of inspiration for creatives everywhere, fighting the good fight against "creative block" since 2005 with visually stunning imagery, the latest in international trends, and a passion for all things well designed.

NOTCOT.ORG is a community of creatives, design lovers, and trendsetters - where .org serves as the studio bulletin board gone digital - each image and caption brings you to a place worth visiting. It's about sharing what inspires you.
To be creative you must constantly inundate yourself with creative ideas and surround yourself with creative people. Looking at the content on this site, feeds and stirs the creative juices.

How to Turn Ideas Into Reality

My friend Tony over at Sets 'n' Service posted an excellent summary of a thoughtful blog piece over at Catalyst on how to turn ideas into a reality. Here are the summary points according to Tony:

1. Create - we spend a ton of time just brainstorming, which is obviously a very important part of the process. The more ideas on the board, the more opportunities for one of those to make it through the process. For example, we have probably 300-350 programming ideas every year for our October conference. And creative meetings are “yes and” meetings, not “but or”. Important!

2. Criticize - every idea, in order to stay in the process, has to be critiqued and criticized significantly. This is key in order to make sure you don’t spend tons of time chasing too many rabbits and driving everyone crazy with lots of good ideas but nothing ever happening. And make sure everyone doesn’t take things personal- criticizing an idea is much different than criticizing the person who came up with the idea. It’s not personal. Don’t take it that way if it’s your idea.

3. Optimize - anything that makes it pass the criticize phase has to be built on. In some ways, this is a second and third wave of innovation. Most of the time the original idea will turn into something that looks totally different. This is really the essence of putting icing on the cake.

4. Validate - every idea has to be validated- financially, operationally, personnel wise, and direction/vision related. Lots of big ideas appropriately get held up in this phase, either to be released later or put on the shelf for good. Conversely, lots of bad ideas make it through this phase because of bad systems and/or leaders who aren’t willing to say no.

5. Execute - it all comes down to getting things done. Hard work is time consuming and tiring. We take tremendous pride in execution on ideas. It doesn’t mean anything if you can’t execute. The means in this case is NOT the end - executing on a good idea is the goal. If it has gone through the entire process and made it to this point, the idea deserves the attention and focus to make sure it happens. And if every level of the Idea process grid was correctly put in motion, the idea is probably going to be good!


Take time to reflect


Check out this story of a lottery winner who took the time to think before he acted:

Most people can't wait to claim their lottery winnings, but when Peter Dushop realized he hit the jackpot last August he didn't rush out to claim his $3.6-million prize.

Instead, the 24-year-old realtor from Maple Ridge, B.C., put the winning Lotto 6/49 ticket in a safety deposit box and only told his mom about the win.

"I felt that was the best way to go, I needed some time to reflect on it," said Dushop on Monday, when he collected his cheque.

Sounds like a wise move. Of course, it did come at a cost:

All the patient waiting did come at a cost to Dushop — he lost a chance to collect about $100,000 in interest. But he said it was worth taking the time to really think about how it would change his life.

That said, he seems to be handling the winnings with a sense that most lottery winners don't have.

Too often we want to rush in and plow ahead without the time to reflect. At times our impetuousness can cost. It can cost us ineffectiveness, miss deadlines, forget key details or even not measure the positive and negative consequences that may occur from our actions.

Therefore it is important to take the time to think, plan and consider.

One habit that I attempt to build and keep in my schedule in a weekly review. It is a time on Sunday evening to get my bearings, and look ahead to the week.

This should be “sacred” time. Each leader should set aside one hour each week where you prayerfully and thoughtfully review the strategic plan and evaluate what is on your schedule for the upcoming week. It is important to make sure you have time in your schedule to work on your “big rocks”. Take time to modify your schedule for the week in the event anything has been left off. I make sure that I am looking at these areas when I do a weekly review:
  • Areas of Excellence
  • Top 5 Priorities (these are my important/not urgent things about my role as Pastor)
  • My Roles (those significant roles in my life as Father, Husband, Pastor, Friend, Neighbor)
  • Dashboard Items (my success criteria)
(ht: FMF)