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.

How To Become A Communication Ninja


Since I am traveling to Honduras for the next nine days, I am posting the "best of" Ministry Best Practices relating to certain topics.

Today's topic is How to Become a Communication Ninja - enjoy!

The 10 Commandments of Speaking

When Everything is BOLD, Nothing is!

Message Fail

Why Your Church Should Invest in Social Media

Positive Affirmations

Get Rid of Your Announcements

Pastor, Why You Should Be Blogging

Can You Overcommunicate?

Making Lasting First Impressions


Since I am going to be traveling to Honduras for the next nine days, I am posting the "best of" Ministry Best Practices relating to certain topics.

Today's topic is Making Lasting First Impressions - enjoy!

First Impressions - Somebody is Watching.

Mystery Worshiping

Mr. Over-Zealous Greeter Guy!

Are you a welcoming church?

10 Ways to Draw Me To Your Church

How to Make a Lasting Impression

Mixed Messages

Don't Give In!


Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, has a new book out on the fall of great companies. The book is called, How the Mighty Fall. It charts the progress of how companies start as movements. Those movements turn into institutions. And then those institutions fall into decline. Although this pattern is charted for companies this same trajectory holds true for churches and ministries.

According to Collins' research, here’s what the slippery slope toward decline looks like:

Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success Stage

Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More
Stage

Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril
Stage

Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation
Stage

Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death


Decline, it turns out, is largely self-inflicted. Although Collins’ research emphasizes that some organizations do recover. Actually in some cases, coming back even stronger, even after having crashed into the depths of Stage 4.

So this is a book about hope...failures are not entirely fatal. The mighty can fall, but they can often rise again.

(ht: World Changers)

Language Tools For Ministry

In my ministry, I am constantly needing to communicate with Spanish speaking ministry partners and missionaries. If you are in ministry and you find yourself also needing to communicate to others who speak another language other than English...then you will find these tools of incredible value.

If you use Gmail..they have a feature that you can set up in labs called translate. Go to your Settings, click on Labs and enable this feature will allow you to translate your emails automatically.




Also, the people from Lifechurch.tv have come up with a program that allows you to live chat and translation the conversation in real time. The program is called babelwith.me


And I am not sure if I will get a lot of use out of this last one...but there is a program that allows you to post a tweet in a foreign language, called TweetTranslate.



(ht: thanks to ChurchCrunch on the heads up on the last two)

Giving Through Lean Times


This item is excerpted by Ministry Today...
Despite an economic recession that's affected countless churches and ministries, here's the good news for pastors: Americans remain a giving people. Although the latest annual study of philanthropy from the Giving USA Foundation found that overall charitable giving dropped 2 percent between 2007 and 2008, among religious organizations it actually rose by 5.5 percent.

Last year, Americans gave a whopping $307 billion to charities, compared to $314 in 2007. Although the decrease was only slight, it represented the first since 1987 and only the second time since the foundation's annual survey began 54 years ago. Of the total amount given, congregations and ministries received $106 billion in 2008—a full 35 percent of all charitable donations.

"I think the reason religion does well during a recession is, people feel an immense connection to their houses of worship," said George Ruotolo, a nonprofit-fundraising consultant who once led the Giving USA Foundation. "They realize that houses of worship cannot go to corporations or foundations for support. They have to rely on the generosity of members. There is that connection in faith and mission."
Read the rest of the story HERE

Do you agree with the premise of this article? Are people of faith as generous as they should be? What about your church and ministry - has your giving maintained or has it dropped during this economic downturn?

Social Media Class


SPREAD THE NEWS!!

If you are in the Atlanta area, and you have a small business or lead a non-profit organization - then this class is something you'll want to attend.

On Saturday, July 11th, I am teaching a class on how to use and integrate Social Media with small business (what I'm teaching is equally applicable to non-profit organizations as well).

Here is the description of the class:

Social Media isn’t just a fun diversion for teenagers and the tech savvy.

Today Social Media is the way businesses are creating and connecting with clients and customers. It is through Social Media that you will be able to build and control your business’s brand and create greater customer loyalty.

Social Media is the great leveler – you don’t need a big advertising budget, or a big sales force to make a significant impact in creating new business and customers.

My own personal experience with Social Media, especially Twitter, has been nothing short of phenomenal. Through Social Media and Twitter, I’ve been able to increase the subscription readership to my website by 300%, daily hits to my website have tripled, and I have currently have over 5,000 followers on Twitter (that’s 5,000 people who want to read what I have to say!)

During our time together we will learn and implement:
  • Using Twitter: You will get a Twitter Account and learn how to use and leverage this tool to it’s fullness by building a strong base of followers
  • We will help you brand your own personal twitter page.
  • You’ll learn and understand why building your own Twitter landing page for your website is critical to grow your business
  • You’ll discover the best in Twitter tools to automate your Twitter – providing current and relevant content daily
  • Through Twitter, you’ll discover new customers and what your competition is doing
  • I will show you how to create raving fans and build customer loyalty through Twitter and Facebook
  • Also, you’ll build a custom Facebook page and learn how to use Facebook to communicate and connect with your customers
Sign Up Today! To attend, or needing more information, you'll need to contact Diane Campbell, the sponsor of this class. You can call her at: 770-886-9598 or email her at: diane@multitaskingmoms.com - there is a nominal cost for this class and lunch is included.

Failure is Always an Option

You are going to have to carve out a little time for this video, but I think you will appreciate this talk from Adam Savage, of MythBusters fame, on the topic of failure.

You will remember a couple of posts back, I talked about redefining failure. In this video, Savage declares: failure is always an option.



(ht: Mental Floss)

Thinking "Inside" The Box

Here is Dan Heath, the co-author of the must-buy book Made To Stick, speaking at the Business Innovation Factory collaborative innovation summit in 2007. The crux of Dan's talk is that you can't creativity without the right associations and therefore in order to create, you got to climb inside the box.




(ht: Idea Sandbox)

Win A FREE Copy Of BibleWorks 8!

Cal.vini.st First Anniversary Giveaway. Over the next month (June 12th – July 12th 2009) you have the opportunity to enter to win one of two major prizes.

Cal.vini.st has procured two copies of BibleWorks 8 as prizes — the premier software tool for original language exegesis of the Biblical text. Each copy of BibleWorks 8 is valued at $349 (US).

Click Here for details on how to enter.

Redefining Failure

The late Ralph Winter had said this on failure:

“If I weren’t willing to fail, you’d have to call me crazy. If I were to say that I knew [this project] would definitely succeed, it would be nuts. I’m not sure it will succeed. I only know it is worth trying. Risks are not to be evaluated in terms of the probability of success, but in terms of the value of the goal.
Any goal that is worth a successful attempt is worth a failed attempt. You haven't failed if you have gone after that goal - no matter what the outcome.


Social Media By The Numbers


Just read Shaun King's post about his church's use of social media and the internet. Here are some of the numbers he shares.

Here a few numbers behind how Courageous Church has used new(er) strategies to reach new people.

- Of the 700 people in attendance @ our church grand opening on January 11th, over 65% of them learned of us online.

- Over 50% of our weekly 1st time visitors learn about our church from Facebook or Twitter.

- About 50% of our financial giving takes place online.

- Our Facebook ads have been shown a total of 26 million times. Yes. I’m serious and we rounded down :-)

- A very low ball estimate for the cost of a mass mailer to 26 million people would be $400,000.

- Our Facebook ads (which are numerous, targeted, current, etc.) cost us $8,000

These social networks and tools aren't the only place where your church or ministry can communicate and reach out to your target audience. But if you are not using them or engaging in social media - YOU ARE MISSING A LOT!

The 10 Commandments (Or Strong Suggestions) Of Social Media


Here they are, shouted from the mountain top!
  1. Thou Shalt Be Social
  2. Thou Shalt Be Willing to Try it, you may Like it
  3. Thou Shalt Upload Profile picture for Facebook
  4. Thou Shalt Retweet
  5. Thou Shalt Add Value
  6. Thou Shalt Set Alerts
  7. Thou Shalt Comment - stop being a lurker!
  8. Thou Shalt Friend back everyone who Friends you
  9. Thou Shalt Explore Social Media
  10. Thou Shalt Have Fun
Here is some expansion of these commandments (or strong suggestions).

1. Be social..this is "social" networking after all. It is about having a conversation.

2. Be willing to try new social media things. I didn't understand or think that I'd like Twitter...but I tried it for a while...just to see. And now I am glad I did.

3. The least you can do with Facebook is upload a profile picture...people like to see who they are talking to...it's easy to get a picture up there...do it!

4. Someone got something good to say...give them credit and the spotlight...retweet them in Twitter or give them a hat tip (ht) on your blog.

5. Contribute something...help out others...encourage people...don't just take, take, take or ask, ask, ask!

6. Set automated alerts..find out what people are saying in social media about you, your organization or your favorite subject.

7. Get out of the shadows, and participate...be involved.

8. If people friend you on Twitter...friend them back. It doesn't cost you anything, except maybe the chance to make a new friend, new customer or new business/ministry contact.

9. You don't have to let social media to take over your life in order to get involved. Just give it a little time...you'll find that even a little time with it, will pay off big dividends.

10. Have fun with it. Be creative and funny when you tweet. Relax and enjoy social networking.

(ht: Fast Company for this idea and graphic)

Vanity "Plates" For Facebook


Facebook has just announced that it will be offering custom usernames (“vanity URLs”) for Facebook Profiles and Pages, starting at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 13, 2009.

This is going to the equivalent of the GOLD RUSH or the LAND RUSH in cyberspace

This is a big deal for many Facebook members, who have long been frustrated by hard-to-remember Page and Profile addresses made up of random strings of numbers. Now directing people to your Facebook page can be as easy as telling them your username.



Each Facebook user can claim one custom username for his/her personal Profile, and administrators of Facebook Fan Pages can claim one username for each Page they own — with certain restrictions.

When choosing your Facebook username, here are a couple of points to keep in mind:

Usernames must be at least 5 characters long, and can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”) Usernames are not case sensitive. Certain generic words such as “pizza” and “flowers” (and no doubt certain rude words, too) are not allowed as usernames.

Once you click “Set Username,” the username you’ve chosen cannot be changes, edited or transferred to a different Facebook account. So think long and hard about what username you’ll want to have attached to your Page or to your personal Profile for the rest of your time as a Facebook member — and type it in carefully.

See ya on Saturday!

The Problem With Vision

Was reading Shawn Lovejoy's blog the other day, and he said that the problem with vision is that:
  • Vision leaks.
  • Vision shrinks.
  • Vision dies.

Yet the problem with most leaders isn't receiving a vision from God. There are plenty of visions out there in statements, on placards and posted in churches. The issue for a vision doesn't come down to receiving it, rather it's becomes all about maintaining it. Shawn goes on to state that there are several reasons why vision seems to leak, shrink and die:

  • Fatigue
  • Failure
  • Fear
  • Other people
  • The length of time the vision is taking to become reality
The question for the leader is how do you fight and battle against these things that will rob you of your vision?

(ht: Shawn Lovejoy)

And You Think You Have It Bad

I just read from Gizmodo that the Canon Corporation in Japan might be just the worse place to work in the world. Here is what Gizmodo has to say...
"The president of Canon Electronics, Hisashi Sakamaki, is also the author of a book proposing the removal of all the chairs in the office and installing security so that an alarm goes off if you don't walk fast enough. These are some of the same measures he takes with his own company. His theory is that forcing employees to stand not only saves money but increases productivity and enhances employee relationships. In the hallway, if an employee walks slower than 5 meters every 3.6 seconds, an alarm and flashing lights are set off, reminding the poor startled worker that he's an inefficient waste of air. Even better (or worse), there's a sign on the floor in said hallways that reads, "Let's rush: If we don't, the company and world will perish." The big boss, as a reward for thinking up all this stuff, gets to lounge in a nice, relaxing chair."
Now of course no church or ministry would deliberately create these kind of workplace conditions. But are there more subtle rules, decisions, environments and cultures that the church creates that are just as insidious and that destroy staff morale and motivation? Here are some examples:

1. Give the staff a job description during the staff's interview, and then significantly change it (or add to it) once they start their job.

2. Do not bother mentoring the staff or investing in their personal or professional development.

3. Ask the staff to bring about innovation and change, but do not allow them to do anything different.

4. Give the staff responsibility, but do not give them the authority to accomplish those things.

5. Reject their ideas, tell them how to do it, and when it does not work … blame them.


What are some of your thoughts?

Subscription Drive



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How Twitter Hits The Sweet Spot

(click on picture for larger image)

Twitter - the convergence of all three disorders...I need to get this shirt! :-)


25 Random Things About Fundraising


If you are part of a church, nonprofit or faith-based ministry you have to fundraise. It is the life blood of all you do. Why you fundraise may come in different shapes and sizes. You may need to raise funds for that upcoming summer missions trip to Kenya, or for the new capital campaign project or to raise money for the next ministry initiative.

Since fundraising is inevitable, how can you do it well and be most effective?

Jeff Brooks, the creative director at Merkle and keeper of the Donor Power Blog, has a great article listing some of his biggest takeaways in fundraising. I encourage you to click on over to his article and read all 25...but here are a few of points that really stuck out to me.

1. The oldest recorded fundraising appeal was written by St. Paul around A.D. 55. It’s an appeal to a group of church members in Greece to help impoverished church members in Jerusalem. The appeal is a masterpiece of donor-centered fundraising, spending most of its words describing the benefits of giving.

5. The most read part of a fundraising letter is the P.S. That’s why the professionals always use the P.S. to restate the letter’s call to action, rather than for the traditional afterthought.

11. The more recently a donor gave, the more likely it is she’ll give now. “Resting” donors from opportunities to give for some period after they’ve given is one of the most revenue-negative strategies around.

13. Typos improve fundraising results. I’m sorry, but I can’t prove that. Seriously, I can’t count the number of times we discovered an egregious typo, then waited in horror for donors to voice their wrath and confusion by not responding in droves … only to experience instead an unusually high level of giving.

19. There is no objective evidence that there is any such condition as “donor fatigue.” Donors give extraordinarily in times of extreme need, like the Indian Ocean tsunami or Hurricane Katrina. “Fundraiser fatigue,” however, is all too real. Fundraisers routinely grow tired of urgent messaging and drift away from it, then blame the resulting drop in response on the donors. This unfortunate habit costs the nonprofit world billions of dollars a year.

click here to read all 25