The Internet's Best Practices for Ministry

Welcome to our site. Our mission and dedication is to equip leaders for innovative ministry. Look. Explore. 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 asset and blessing. But it can also be fraught with problems and pitfalls. Learn how to use tech well.

Vision and Leadership

Our God longs for leaders to request of Him to do that which they cannot. Faith filled vision is a key and essential ingredient 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.

Sway


The irresistible pull of irrational behavior.

Why do we act irrational? Making decisions that go beyond common sense? Ori and Rom Brafman address that issue in their book SWAY.


Their premise is that "our behavior and decision making are influenced by an array of such psychological undercurrents and that they are much more powerful and pervasive than most of us realize."

The Brafman's book is chock full of stories and interesting anecdotes that illuminate the undercurrents that influence our behavior.

What are those undercurrents?

Here are the ones that the Brafmans discovered:

Loss aversion - this is a form of playing not to lose, making decisions in order to cut our losses, or avoid further losses.

Commitment - this is our tendency to hold fast to our course of action in the face of accumulating losses.

Value attribution - we attribute value to people or things based on quick impressions.

Diagnosis bias - once we diagnose a situation we see the world through the lens of that diagnosis and all of reality conforms to our bias.

Fairness perception - we'll often act against our own best interests if we feel that we are being treated unfairly.

Altruism-Pleasure conflict - people will perform better for altruistic motives than for rewards. In other words, if someone does something for altruistic motives and then you come back and offer them a reward for doing the same thing, you will often find them losing motivation and/or performing worse.

Group Conformity - when in group settings, people tend to stifle their own opinions, often when their own opinions are patently correct and the groups are patently false, to go along with the group.

You gotta check out SWAY

Free Videos!

I like the word, FREE! And during the Christmas season, Worship House Media is giving away a video, each and every workday until Christmas.


Daily Freebie Promo - "They'll Never Know" from Worship House Media on Vimeo.



(ht: Church 2.0)

Happy Thanksgiving!



Check out below these Myths/Truths from from Uncle John’s Bathroom reader, via Neatorama:

MYTH: The settlers at the first Thanksgiving were called Pilgrims.
THE TRUTH: They didn’t even refer to themselves as Pilgrims - they called themselves “Saints.” Early Americans applied the term “pilgrim” to all of the early colonists; it wasn’t until the 20th century that it was used exclusively to describe the folks who landed on Plymouth Rock.

MYTH: It was merely a solemn, religious occasion.
THE TRUTH: Hardly. It was a three-day harvest festival that included drinking, gambling, athletic games, and even target shooting with English muskets (which, by the way, was intended as a friendly warning to the Indians that the Pilgrims were prepared to defend themselves.)

MYTH: It took place in November.
THE TRUTH: It was some time between late September and the middle of October - after the harvest had been brought in. By November, said historian Richard Erhlich, “the villagers were working to prepare for winter, salting and drying meat and making their houses as wind resistant as possible.”

MYTH: The Pilgrims wore large hats with buckles on them.
THE TRUTH: None of the participants were dressed anything like the way they’ve been portrayed in art: the Pilgrims didn’t dress in black, didn’t wear buckles on their hats or shoes, and didn’t wear tall hats. The 19th-century artists who painted them that way did so because they associated black clothing and buckles with being old-fashioned.

MYTH: They ate turkey …
THE TRUTH: The Pilgrims ate deer, not turkey. As Pilgrim Edward Winslow later wrote, “For three days we entertained and feasted, and [the Indian] went out and killd five deer, which they brought to the plantation.” Winslow does mention that four Pilgrims went “fowling” or bird hunting, but neither he nor anyone else recorded which kinds of birds they actually hunted - so even if they did eat turkey, it was just a side dish.

“The flashy part of the meal for the colonists was the venison, because it was new to them,” says Carolyn Travers, director of research at Plimoth Plantation, a Pilgrim museum in Massachusetts. “Back in England, deer were on estates and people would be arrested for poaching if they killed these deer … The colonists mentioned venison over and over again in their letters back home.”

Other foods that may have been on the menu: cod, bass, clams, oysters, Indian corn, native berries and plums, all washed down with water, beer made from corn, and another drink the Pilgrim affectionately called “strong water.”

A few things definitely weren’t on the menu, including pumpkin pie - in those days, the Pilgrims boiled their pumpkin and ate it plain. And since the Pilgrims didn’t yet have flour mills or cattle, there was no bread other than corn bread, and no beef, milk, or cheese. And the Pilgrims didn’t eat any New England lobsters, either. Reason: They mistook them for large insects.

MYTH: The Pilgrims held a similar feast every year.
THE TRUTH: There’s no evidence that the Pilgrims celebrated again in 1622. They probably weren’t in the mood - the harvest had been disappointing, and they were burdened with a new boatload of Pilgrims who had to be fed and housed through the winter.

Need Help On Taxes?


If you are a minister, you can get your U.S. taxes professionally done for FREE!

Check out this site for more information: Tax help for ministers.

(ht: Synergy)

Download FREE Issue Of Productive Mag


There is a new entry into the magazine universe - Productive!

Productive! magazine gives a strong show right out of the gate with a David Allen interview and great tips from organizational gurus like Leo Babauta of the Zen to Done blog. If you're looking for a little extra productivity reading for a lazy Sunday evening, check out the free digital edition.



Video Teaching



LifeChurch.tv is about to roll out a new endeavor. They have been on a roll having recently released the YouVersion Bible and the Church Metrics Dashboard.



You can go to their website to sign up for email updates.



Small Group Of One

And now for some light hearted fare.

What would a small group of ONE look like?





Big News!




This is probably one of the hardest blog posts that I've ever had to write. As of November 30th my relationship with The Vine Community Church with discontinue and I will no longer be serving on the staff and be a pastor at The Vine.

Certainly it has been a tough and difficult time having to leave a position with a church that has truly been a real "family" for me, my wife and children. Yet, the reason for moving on is necessary and pragmatic.

Currently our church desperately needs a person with different skill sets to fulfill several key roles and responsibilities at the church. These critical roles need to be filled before our move into our new facility in August. And because of the financial situation brought on by our economy, this situation is exasperated because there aren't enough funds to keep me on and bring another person onto the team-therefore I am being swapped out.

As you read this, would you pray for me and my family? And please add us to your prayer list during this time.

During this transition we are exploring and entertaining different opportunities that the Lord may put in our path and send in our direction.

Also, in the transition period, I will be leveraging my 20+ years of ministry experience and expertise to do some ministry consulting through my association with Ministry Best Practices.

Of course, I will continue to write at Ministry Best Practices sharing the best practices, innovation and strategies for ministry.












Leverage Media To Supercharge Your Website


Live video webcasting of sermons and church events, group conferencing, eSeminars, or online fund-raising was once taken on by only the largest churches and faith based organizations. Web Church Media is about to change all that.

Web Church Media has just launched a series of media modules that are easily embeded into existing church websites and require no programming or site redesign (just like embedding a YouTube video).

"It seems like the reformation always flies on the wings of technology", says Lance Ford, co-founder of Web Church Media and former pastor for over 20 years.

"Now that we are living well into a Web2.0 world, we have an opportunity to deliver our message and have it live on like never before. Our goal is to move from isolated rooms to live interactive spaces. The web helps us to network, engage and expand our reach. Through this process, we can re-image ourselves and Christian organizations, and ultimately act with greater purpose."


Check out www.webchurchmedia.com

Donor Tools


Want to connect with your donors online? Then you want to check out Donor Tools

Donor Tools has different price plans which includes a free edition. The free edition includes unlimited donors, online donations, donor sign-in, SSL security, and the ability to record up to 10 donations per month. For growing organizations, paid editions range in price from $15 per month to $60 per month. Pricing varies based on the number of donations that an organization needs to record.

Donor Tools offers Online Donations, which allows anyone to use a credit card to donate to the organization online. The cool part of this program is the Online Donations feature. This feature is available to all Donor Tools customers at no charge, even on the Free plan. If you have ever looked into online donations you know that that is a big deal!

With an unlimited amount of donors it means that every organization, even those on the Free plan, can import their entire donor database right away to get started. There is never any additional charge based on the number of donors in the database.

Other valuable features include Donor Signin, which allows donors to sign in to organizations to check their giving history and print donation receipts, Quickbooks export, which provides easy integration with Quickbooks accounting software, integrated thank-you emails, PDF thank-you letters, multiple users, tags, the ability to split donations among multiple funds, and more.

With Donor Tools there is nothing to install, and no software to maintain. The beauty is that it is Web2.0 with means that Donor Tools accounts can be securely accessed from any computer in the world with an Internet connection. Additionally, this means that there is never any charge for upgrades, and all upgrades and improvements are applied immediately, with nothing to install.

Definitely check out Donor Tools.

A Starbucks Parable

What would happen if Starbucks marketed like the church?





Your Online Brain - Evernote


We live in an information culture and therefore it is easy to get swamped and overwhelmed with it. How do you store it, track it, and easily access it? I don't know if you are still clipping or printing out articles and information and then storing it away in a filing cabinet - but if you are - please stop now! You need to get on board with Evernote. Evernote is...

like an online filing cabinet or even your online brain - built to capture and store information.

What makes Evernote so special is that you can clip information directly from your computer or your internet browser. Information is saved online or on your Evernote's desktop application. What is so cool about Evernote is that no matter where you save it (online or desktop) both locations constantly sync with one another. That way no matter if you are at your computer and offline or on another computer and online - you have access to the information. And with Evernote's mobile iPhone app - the access of your information is virtually ubiquitous.

Evernote captures all the important information I need. I can label it (tag it) and file it in a category if I choose. With Evernote's fully functional search capabilities, information is easily accessible and at my fingertips.

The biggest use of Evernote for me is capturing ministry information and illustrations that I can file away easily for a future talk or sermon. I have been using Evernote for about 6 months or so, and I am hooked.

Definitely check it out!

(this is not a compensated endorsement - I really like Evernote!)