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.

Leaders Must Be Readers

C.H. Spurgeon on reading:

We will look at [Paul's] books. We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them. Even an apostle must read.

Some of our very ultra Calvinistic brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains – oh! that is the preacher.

How rebuked are they by the apostle! He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!

The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books” – join in the cry.

8 Mistakes When Hiring Church Staff

From Charles Stone: "I’ve hired several pastors and admin staff in my ministry of 30 plus years and I’ve made some great choices and some not so great ones as well."

These mistakes have contributed to my poor selections.

  • Not pursuing the yellow flags that nagged at the back of my mind.
  • Refusing to REALLY ask other key influencers what they REALLY thought.
  • Thinking I could fix the hire’s glaring deficiencies over time.
  • Rushing the process.
  • Letting my emotional attachment to the potential hire overshadow thoughtful reflection.
  • Being too nice in the process (that doesn’t mean that I didn’t treat the potential hires with respect).
  • Not praying enough.
  • Not listening to my gut.

What hiring mistakes have you made?"

(ht: Charles Stone)

Stats On Internet Pornography

Did you know?
  • Every second - $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography.
  • Every second - 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography.
  • Every second - 372 internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines.
  • Every 39 minutes – A new pornographic video is being created in the United States.
Pornography is a serious issue in our culture...and the church is certainly not immune.

For more of these stats about pornography's reach within our culture and society, take a look at the infographic below (and by the way take note of the 14th statistic - sad, very sad)

The Stats on Internet Pornography

Also you may want to check into a helpful resource that will provide you Freedom from pornography for you and your family and provide Internet Accountability - Covenant Eyes -  and if you sign up today and receive 30 days for FREE!

Read And Learn From Other Leaders

Bill Hybels challenges us to read and learn from other leaders. What leadership books are you reading? Who are you meeting with this month to stretch your mind and heart?

Why Aren't You Delegating?

As leaders, why don’t we like to delegate?

Perfectionism: We think, No one can do it like I can. Ultimately that is pride. But remember, Jesus could have done it a lot better than those to whom He delegated; yet he still delegated.

Insecurity: We think, "What if they do it better than me?" We need to rejoice with those who can get the job done. Our goal as a leader must be to help others develop and succeed.

RIP - John R. W. Stott (1921-2011)

John R. W. Stott, at the age of 90, went home to be with the Lord earlier today.

Ten years ago Timothy Dudley-Smith, his longtime associate at All Souls Church, Langham Place, wrote the following about the essence of the man:
To those who know and meet him, respect and affection go hand in hand. The world-figure is lost in personal friendship, disarming interest, unfeigned humility—and a dash of mischievous humour and charm. By contrast, he thinks of himself, as all Christians should but few of us achieve, as simply a beloved child of a heavenly Father; an unworthy servant of his friend and master, Jesus Christ; a sinner saved by grace to the glory and praise of God. (“Who Is John Stott?” All Souls Broadsheet [London], April/May 2001)
John Stott left an incredible legacy of ministry which many of us have experienced through his writing.

He has penned dozens of influential books and commentaries, the bestselling one being Basic Christianity, which was written in 1958 when Stott was 37 years old, and has sold over 2.5 million copies.

His outstanding book on preaching, Between Two Worlds, was published in 1982.

His most substantial book is probably The Cross of Christ (1986), about which J. I. Packer says, “No other treatment of this supreme subject says so much so truly and so well.”

His final published words came at the end of his last book, The Radical Disciple, published in 2010:

Much more will be written in the days ahead about this servant of the Lord but no words of commendation will be as significant as the words John Stott heard earlier today: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.”

(ht: Justin)

The Best Of TEDGlobal 2011

TED Talks are some of the best, innovative and compelling presentations. You can check out the best of TED Global 2011- The Best of TEDGlobal 2011

How Times Have Changed!

(ht: Geeks)

Suspend Stupidity?

Do you agree? What do you think he means?

(ht: Startup)

Is Your Ministry Mobile?

If you’ve been wondering if your church or ministry should invest in a mobile ready site or develop native apps for the iPhone or Android, you may want to check out this recently released report from the Pew Internet Project. The report finds that:

One third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones. 83% of US adults have a cell phone of some kind, and that 42% of them own a smartphone - that translates into 35% of all adults.

Mobile phones are a main source of internet access for one-quarter of the smartphone population.
87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds (68%) who do so on a typical day.

When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer.

While many of these individuals have other sources of online access at home, roughly one third of these “cell mostly” internet users lack a high-speed home broadband connection.

You can view this Pew Research report - Smartphone Adoption and Usage – online here.

5 Ways To Save Time

For those in ministry, you understand the importance to manage your schedule and your time better.

And yet the issue really isn't that of time management, but more of self management because the issues are always much bigger than just merely managing time. We have to get better at managing ourselves if we are going to be more productive.

Here are 5 simple tips that can help get you back on track with your life and schedule:

1. Find a way to capture all your thoughts.

2. Work with a sense of urgency at peak times.

3. Batch together repetitive tasks.

4. Develop a system wherever possible.

5. Outsource what you are not strong in.

(ht: Christian PF)

Recommended Resource: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Why Success Always Starts With Failure

Here is an audio interview on Counterpoint Radio Show with Tim Harford, the author of Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure

As a leader have you ever had plans fail? I'm sure you have.

The book sounds very promising - you might want to check it out!

Getting The Most Out Of Twitter For Ministry

Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media platforms - and Twitter has seen a lot of growth among ministers and church staff to discuss ministry ideas, systems and methodologies. And for the most part, each ministry niche centers around a Twitter hashtag.

By definition, a hashtag is when the # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.  It is helpful for people wanting to follow tweets on certain subjects.

But before you can join and contribute within the discussion, you first need to figure out what are Twitter’s popular hashtags for ministry and churches. Here are some common ministry hashtags:

Children’s Ministry: #cmconnect // #kidmin

Church: #church // #churches

College Ministry: #collegemin // #umin

Creative Arts: #churchmedia // #crtvmin

Family Ministry: #fammin

Ministry: #ministry

Missions: #missions

Pastoral: #pastor // #pastors

Special Needs Ministry: #spnmin

Technology: #churchtech // #citrt

Worship: #worship // #sundaysetlist

Youth Ministry: #stumin // #uthmin // #youthmin // #youthministry

(ht: Church Relevance)

What Are You Waiting For?

I am not saying as a ministry leader you need to be a social media phenom - but I think in this day and age - it is an important ingredient in staying connected with those whom you lead and shepherd. What are you waiting for?

A Denomination Growing Faster Than U.S. Population

The Assemblies of God, one of the largest Pentecostal denominations, is growing faster than the U.S. population.

AG reported that its U.S. adherents increased four percent in 2010, which is several times higher than the U.S. population growth rate, which is about one percent a year. Adherents of the Assemblies of God USA have surpassed three million followers, 3,030,944 to be exact, in 2010.

This is the largest annual percentage increase since 1983, according to AG records.

“This is a unique moment in the history of our movement,” said Assemblies of God General Superintendent George Wood in a video promoting the denomination’s annual General Council meeting next month in Phoenix.

(ht: Christian News)

Does Solitude Boost Your Creative Productivity?

Collaboration and connecting with others is a beautiful thing, but in the end, creation is done in solitude. All great art is done in isolation. All creative work must be done by shutting out the outside world, sitting down, and creating.
- Behance

Agree or disagree?

You Can't Ignore Social Media Anymore

The metro editor for The Washington Post has made social media a requirement for all his reporters. Why? A case in point is the recent news that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner might be resigning. Pexton writes:
“If you’re a print reader, you probably read about Geithner’s possible departure over your Friday morning coffee. But if you’re an online reader, you knew about it about 14 hours earlier. And that could be important if you’re an investor in New York, Tokyo, or Shanghai or if you’re a Senate staffer thinking about confirmation hearings or a Republican staffer planning on how to counter President Obama’s eventual nominee.”
It is becoming impossible to ignore social media.  With journalism, it has become a necessity for their industry.  Given the "social" nature of ministry, I believe people in ministry are hard pressed to keep ignoring it any further. Social media provides a necessary touch point into people lives.

Are you one of those last holdouts that still hasn't engaged with Facebook or social media channels?  If so, why? 

(ht: Denny)

Discipling People Toward Holiness

I currently work with a ministry that reaches out with the gospel into the medical community.  Part of that work is also equipping and discipling Christians as they navigate the integration of their faith and vocation.  But what materials are out there that will systematically guide a leader and student through the process of discipleship?

The answer for me lies with a ministry I worked with before I began with my current ministry- Campus Crusade.  I was on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for 17 years, and I know first hand the caliber of tools and training they have for discipleship.

Recently a friend of mine reminded me of a discipleship curriculum CCC has called The Compass.

It is broken into several sections:

  • How to Disciple
  • Walk by Faith
  • Communicate Your Faith
  • Multiply Your Faith
This is top draw training.  The material is all in downloadable PDF's and it comes with audio training, and best of all it's free.  You can find it all HERE

5 Ways To Restate Problems To Get Better Solutions

Morgan D. Jones states in his book The Thinker's Toolkit: 14 Powerful Techniques for Problem Solving – 
“The aim of problem restatement is to broaden our perspective of a problem, helping us to identify the central issue and alternative solutions and increase the chance that the outcome our analysis produces will fully, not partially, resolve the problem.”
“Restate or redefine the problem in as many different ways we can think of. This allows us to shift our mental gears without evaluating them.”
Below are 5 different methods to help restate a problem found in Jones’ Thinker’s Toolkit.

Restate the problem using different words without losing the original meaning.
  • Initial statement: How can we limit congestion on the roads? 
  • Paraphrase: How can we keep road congestion from growing? 
Turn the problem on its head.
  • Initial statement: How can we get employees to come to the company picnic? 
  • 180-Degrees: How can we discourage employees from attending the picnic? 
Broaden the focus:
Restate the problem in a larger context.
  • Initial statement: Should I change jobs? 
  • Broaden focus: How can I achieve job security? 
Redirect the focus:
Boldly, consciously change the focus.
  • Initial statement: How can we boost sales? 
  • Redirect focus: How can we cut costs? 
Ask “Why”:
Ask “why” of the initial problem statement. Then formulate a new problem statement base on the answer. Then ask “why” again, and again. Repeat this process a number of times until the essence of the “real” problem emerges.
  • Initial statement: How can we market our in-house multimedia products? 
  • Why?: Because many of our internal customers are out sourcing their multimedia projects. 

(ht: IdeaSandbox)

Are You Addicted To Social Media?

Teens Prefer To Text Over Talk

According to a survey on young people aged between 13 and 21, it was found that a whopping 71% preferred texting to calling. Girls on an average sent 100 texts per day as compared to boys who were happy with 30 text messages sent per day.

How are you communicating within your church or ministry using text messaging?  Are you able to communicate with groups using texting?

How Not To Fail At Delivering A First Class Welcome

In our churches we are committed to giving every guest a first class welcome.  Well the same is true for the British in anticipation of the 2012 Olympic games, to be held in London.  The Britons have been given a crash course on how not to offend foreigners when they make their visit titled “Delivering a First Class Welcome.”

Here are the top ten etiquette tips from VisitBritain:

1. Don’t assume a smiling Japanese person is happy. They tend to smile when angry, embarrassed, sad or disappointed. Don’t talk to them with your hands in your pockets, and avoid eye contact. When sitting, don’t show them the bottom of your shoes.

2. Be careful how you pour wine for an Argentinian. For example, pouring wine backwards into a glass indicates hostility. And don’t be offended by their sense of humor, which may include making fun of your clothing or weight.

3. Avoid winking at someone from Hong Kong. Winking is often considered a rude gesture. And don’t point at them. That’s for animals.

4. Remember Arabs are not used to being told what to do. And don’t forget that it’s insensitive to ask an Emerati whether they want bacon with their eggs.

5. Do not be alarmed if South Africans announce that they were held up by robots. To a South African the word “robot” means traffic lights.

6. Don’t ask a Brazilian personal questions. And don’t mention Argentina, their fiercest sporting rival.

7. Avoid physical contact when first meeting someone from India.

8. When meeting Mexicans it is best not to discuss poverty, illegal aliens, earthquakes or their 1845-6 war with America.

9. Never call a Canadian an American.

10. Do not take offense if an Australian or a New Zealander makes a joke about “Poms” (a word for the English, but intended as a friendly endearment rather than an intended insult).

So what might an equally frank primer for churches, with tongue firmly in cheek, include for the unchurched?  Here are the top ten:

1. Don’t refer to them as pagans. They might take offense. A simple “secular humanist” should suffice.

2. Don’t ask your first time guests to stand up and be recognized while everyone else sits and stares. Too awkward. Better to have everyone else stand, and them remain seated.

3. Avoid handing out big, red “visitor” tags. They could be missed. Directed spotlights should suffice.

When And How Should You Fire Someone?

Usually when we think of firing someone, we have the image above in our mind.  We think that it must be totally negative, adversarial and hostile.  Certainly the process of firing is difficult but sometimes it's necessary. If you are a church or ministry leader this issues isn't about "if" you will ever have to deal with it, but rather simply a question of "when".

Related to Henry Cloud's book, Necessary Endings, here are a few videos of Henry Cloud discussing with Steven Furtick when and how you should fire someone: 

Christian Internet Habits No Different

Ron DeHaas, the CEO of Covenant Eyes, talks to Todd Rhoades about what he’s seeing in the whole realm of Christians and the internet. Here’s part of the interview:

What trends are you seeing in Internet viewing habits among Christians? Are more things becoming acceptable as the Internet develops?

What a loaded question!

The most important trend, the most disturbing trend, is what I call the “Awareness/Reality Gap”—that is, the widening gap between parental “awareness” and the “reality” of what is happening to their children. This gap has become so great that it threatens the fabric of families.  The problem is that most parents are under-educated. They don’t know what’s safe and what’s not safe. They don’t know when to put their foot down about time their kids spend online and when to give their kids freedom. They want to understand more about how the prevalence of technology is affecting their kids mentally, socially, and spiritually, but they are totally unaware of the dangers of the Internet that threaten their families. As a result, 34% of children never receive a single word of instruction on how to use the Internet.

Overall, Internet viewing habits among Christians look a lot like Internet viewing habits in the rest of the world. We have over 70,000 people using our accountability software right now, and 98.1% identify themselves as Christians. On average our databases track and rate over a billion web addresses visited by our subscribers every month, and we see the same sites on our radar that are popular in the rest of the world. In addition to pornography, Christians make use of Facebook, YouTube, and Google as much as anyone else does.

(read the whole interview HERE)

(for more information about Covenant Eyes - visit HERE)

Do You Want To Leave Your Church?

The top three searches that find Ministry Best Practices are:

  • How to Leave a Church
  • When To Leave a Church
  • How To Leave Your Church
And those searches usually find this POST and this POST

Wow, that really surprised me. But after seeing this data, I began asking myself, what is driving people to look elsewhere and leave their church? Why are people so dissatisfied with their church?

Could it be because of serious issues of spiritual abuse?  Or theological compromise? Or are people leaving their church based on more trivial matters of worship taste or program selection?

Let me hear from you....what do you think?  And if you are a person in the category of leaving your church...please comment below why and what is prompting you to leave? (but leave leave out names and identities)

Is Church Membership Biblical?

Matt Chandler from the Resurgence blog writes:
I was 28 when I became the pastor of Highland Village First Baptist Church (now known as The Village Church). I had had a rough go early on in my church experience, and at that time I was not fully out of my “disenchanted with the local church” phase.
In all honesty, I wasn’t sure at the time that church membership was biblical. Despite that, the Spirit had made it all too clear that I was going to be pastoring this small church in the suburbs of Dallas. That was one of the many ironies of my life in those days.
Highland Village First Baptist Church was a “seeker-sensitive” church in the Willow Creek mold and had no formal membership process, although they were actively working on one and wanted the new pastor’s input. I had a strong understanding of the church universal but wasn’t well versed—and, as I said, somewhat skeptical—about the church local. We started growing quickly with young and oftentimes disenchanted 20-somethings who usually had no church background, or bad church backgrounds. They liked The Village because we were “different.” This always struck me as strange because we weren’t doing anything but preaching and singing. If there is no understanding of local church membership, then who are we to submit to and obey?
In conversations with these men and women I began to hear things like “The church is corrupt; it’s just about money and a pastor’s ego,” or “I love Jesus, it’s the church I have a problem with.” My favorite one was, “When you organize the church it loses its power.” Although something occasionally resonated in me with these comments (I, along with most of my generation, have authority and commitment issues), I found them confusing since they were being made to me by people who were attending the church where I was the pastor.
Read more at The Resurgence.

At the churches that I've been at, church membership is important part of participation and accountability.  What about your church?  Do you think church membership is biblical or merely an antiquated notion?

Christ In Every Sermon

“The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and Him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.”
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1876

One of the best books I've read that will help you make sure that Christ is center to your sermon is Bryan Chapell's book Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon

Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon

Top 10 Tips for Welcoming

Although this video by be a bit formal and stiff, it has some excellent points to consider.  Also it is refreshing to observe that it isn't just only hip and contemporary churches that value doing this well, but even more traditional churches understand its importance.

Five Reasons People Give

I love what my friend Casey is doing over at GivingRocket.  He offers experience, resources and coaching for churches in helping them increase giving and managing their finances.  He is the real deal.  Here is an excerpt from his blog on the issue of why people give:

1. They see a need. You’ve probably heard this phrase: “People don’t give to need; they give to vision.” While that’s true for some people, it’s not true for all people.

2. They believe in a vision. Let’s face it – keeping the staff employed, the mortgage current and the light bill paid in full isn’t that inspiring. But being a part of a church that’s making an eternal difference is a mission that will inspire people.

3. They are taught how to do it. Many people don’t give because they don’t know how. This doesn’t sound true to you, but you’re familiar with how the church works. Many people, especially those new to the church in general or your church in particular, may not fully understand how giving works. You’ve got to educate them!

4. They understand the Bible. In addition to stats and stories, you must teach people what the Scripture says about giving. You must to commit to teach your people about Biblical stewardship and generosity. We’ve got a whole resource on this!

5. They have a relationship with someone. The final reason that people give is often the strongest – people give because they have a relationship with someone. This may be the pastor, another staff member, or a volunteer, but relationships in the church are VERY powerful. We’ve seen it over and over again – people come to church and get connected to a small group or a volunteer team. Once they have relationships, they “buy into the church” on a much deeper level.

(ht: Casey)

No remuneration was received for my endorsement of GivingRocket.

5 Tips For Remembering Names

If you are in ministry and part of the church then you are always meeting new people - especially on Sunday mornings.  But how can you effectively remember people's names and prevent their name being lost to you only seconds after you meet them?  Here are some tips excerpted from Wisebread.

Look for Distinguishing Features
When I meet someone, I always look for something unique in the way they look or act, and try to make an association with that feature and their name.

Associate a Name With an Occupation
Usually people tell you what they do for a living. I find that it's often easier to remember occupations than names because there is always a story to that occupation. All you have to do is to weave a person's name into your mental image of that person's occupation.

Repeat and Reintroduce
When you just meet someone new, try to say their name a few times while talking to them. Repetition always aids your memory, so introduce that person to some of your friends. You can also ask people to spell their names if you don't have nametags. If someone has an unusual name, it is especially helpful to get the pronunciation correct by repeating the name a few more times.

Associate Real Words With Names
Many names aren't real dictionary words, and that makes them harder to remember. If you see a person's name and associate it with a real word, somehow it is much easier to remember. For example, when I hear a name like Jaden, I think of the word "jade," and I associate the color green with that person. When I hear "Gladys," I think of gladiolas and associate that flower with the person's face.

Use Social Media
If you happen to like people you just met, you could friend them on Facebook or Twitter, where they will have pictures of themselves and links to their personal sites. When you have faces and names show up on your social media feed, then it is much easier to remember who they are when you see them in person.

What are your tips for remembering names of new people you meet? What do you do when you can't remember someone's name in a social situation?

(ht: WiseBread)

How To Write A Ministry Resume

Here is some great advice from David Lyons via Todd Rhoades website.

The art of job seeking and resume writing is constantly changing. After reviewing thousands at MinisterSearch, I’ve come up with 10 things to consider when writing a resume:
  1. Format – as concise, to the point, and easy to read as possible – don’t write a novel (insert smiley face here) 
  2. The EXPERIENCE section is by far the most important section of the resume – use action oriented and descriptive bullet points to show how you can do the job for which you are applying 
  3. The OBJECTIVE is no longer cool – your objective is the job – don’t waste the real estate 
  4. Dates should be on the RIGHT – years only, no months 
  5. In general, go back only 15 years unless there are SIGNIFICANT achievements before – even if your older, don’t let them know it (50 is the new 30) 
  6. Don’t list run-of-the-mill skills; i.e., PowerPoint, Excel, MS Word—makes you look like you’re behind the times 
  7. Send references on a separate sheet but not until you’re asked 
  8. CONTACT INFO – Don’t label phone numbers, fax numbers or your address; only cell and email should be listed 
  9. When you save your resume, name it so someone else understands what it is ex: david.lyons.resume.doc 
  10. The things that YOU think are necessary – what are the things you believe should or shouldn’t be in a resume?

    For a sample resume visit this link and click the SAMPLE RESUME tab.

    David Lyons is the chief search consultant with MinisterSearch. For more than 10 years, his firm has worked with thousands of churches and pastors – helping in the areas of strategic staffing and leadership. Contact him at:

    (ht: Todd)

    Do Leaders Need To Be Holy?

    Do leaders need to be holy? Your answer to this question is probably an automatic ‘Yes!” or perhaps ‘Of course!”

    Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a Scottish pastor in the mid-19th century once stated, “my people’s greatest need is my personal holiness.” I couldn’t agree more. Without personal holiness, a Christian leader has no foundation with which to lead.

    And yet of all the resources available on leadership today (there are currently almost 350,000 available at I do find the issue of personal holiness missing from most discussions on leadership, even among those who serve in ministry.

    Read all of Chris Carr's comments here....this is a must read.

    Twitter Is In The Bible?

    I know that this has been floating around the internet ever since Scott Williams recently tweeted his blog post, “Twitter Is In The Bible”!

    Here’s where it’s found:
    Insomniac, I twitter away, mournful as a sparrow in the gutter. - Psalm 102:7 MSG
    Like a swallow,like a crane, so I twitter; I moan like a dove; My eyes look wistfully to the heights; O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security. - Isaiah 38:14 NAS
    (ht: Big Is The New Small)

    5 Questions To Ask Before You Make An Announcement

    1. What do I want to communicate?  If you can’t simply summarize in a sentence or two what you want to communicate, you probably are unclear yourself.  I've heard it said that mist in the pulpit creates fog in the pew.  You must know and understand what is the big idea of the message you are trying to communicate.

    2. Why should the recipient care?  In any communication, it should be clear in the beginning (not by the end) why the recipient should read/listen/watch – they’re thinking “what’s in it for me?”  Just because you are passionate about something, doesn't mean your audience is going to be.  Make a connection, and help them to see why this matters to them.

    3. Am I boring? Be creative in how you communicate.  Don't just lay out boring facts.  Tell a story.  Use an illustration. Play a video.  Are their memorable ways you can make your message stick?

    4. What has the potential to provide confusion? - Try to put yourself in the listeners shoes.  Don't assume your audience knows what you know, and therefore your assumptions might lend to their confusion.

    5. What do I want the recipient to do?  Is it to Give, Pray, Come, Serve, Sign-up, Invite Others, Consider, Attend?  What is it that you want them to do?  What is your action point?  If you are unclear, it is certain they will be too.

    (thanks to Communicate Jesus for some thoughts on the subject)

    10 Questions Staff Members Should Be Asking

    #1 – Do I trust the leadership of this church? (If the answer is “no” then there are going to be problems because you will be unable to fulfill what God commands in Hebrews 13:17.)

    #2 – Do I find myself attacking other people whom I perceive may be more skilled than me? (If so then you have insecurity issues!)

    #3 – Is there anything happening privately in my life that, if it became public, would disqualify me from ministry? (”Your life” is NOT “your life!”)

    #4 – Do I value my calling to serve Jesus and His church over my perceived gifting? (If the answer is yes then you will do anything at any time to move His church forward. If the answer is “no” then you will develop a deep sense of entitlement that will cause you to believe that the church should completely be sensitive to your wants and needs above the call to preach the Gospel and reach the world for Christ!)

    #5 – Would I attend this church if I were not on staff? (If the answer is no then you need to do yourself, the church and God a favor and resign right now! You cannot serve a church that you do not love–period!)

    #6 – Do I always have to be the expert OR am I willing to have others step into my particular area of ministry and point out my blindspots and shortcomings?

    (read the rest at Perry's blog)

    Top 20 Student Ministry Blogs

    A hat-tip to Todd for pointing out that Youth Specialties has just come out with their list of top 20 youth ministry blogs. If you’re involved with student ministries in any way, you’ll for sure want to check these out… More here.

    Here is the list below of the top 20 blogs:

    2011 RankBlogger NameURL2010 Rank
    1Josh Griffinhttp://www.morethandodgeball.com4
    2Mark Oestreicherhttp://whyismarko.com2
    3Tim Schmoyerhttp://studentministry.org3
    4Adam McLanehttp://adammclane.com5
    5Youth Specialties Blog
    6Adam Walker Cleaveland
    7Doug Fieldshttp://dougfields.comNR
    8Fuller Youth Institutehttp://fulleryouthinstitute.org13
    9Jeremy Zachhttp://www.reyouthpastor.com11
    10Jonathan McKeehttp://blog.thesource4ym.com12
    11Orange Leadershttp://www.orangeleaders.com7
    12Ian MacDonaldhttp://www.youthblog.org9
    13Rethinking Youth Ministryhttp://rethinkingyouthministry.comNR
    14Terrace Crawfordhttp://terracecrawford.blogspot.com26
    15Chris Folmsbeehttp://www.anewkindofyouthministry.com8
    16Greg Stierhttp://gregstier.org29
    17Mike King
    18Walt Muellerhttp://learningmylines.blogspot.com10
    19Kurt Johnstonhttp://www.juniorhighministry.com19
    Kenda Creasy Dean

    Will The Church Embrace Google Plus?

    Like most early adopters, I have been kicking the tires on Google's newest entry into social media.  And like most people who are testing and commenting on it, I like what I see in terms of usability, features, and integration into other Google services.  Unlike Google's previous experiments, BUZZ and WAVE, I think Google+ has staying power - but of course only time will tell.  But there is one issue that I believe will be a major hurdle for most churches and ministries adopting and using Google+ - time and energy.  Here is a quote from Beth Kantor's blog which I think aptly addresses the issue:

    Let’s face it. Unless you are an Internet personality, an organization with a full-time community manager or a professional online content publisher, there is not enough time to succeed in the multitude of social networks AND manage your own social content. Let’s consider the list of most used forms: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ (assuming all continues to go well), LinkedIn, FourSquare, Gowalla, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, and your own site.

    This means choices will be made. Some will spread the peanut butter a little thinner, trying to make it stretch further. Others will simply focus on the networks that have the most impact on their community.
    Like Beth, I think resource allocation (time/personnel) are going to be the biggest issue for churches and ministries in adopting and using Google+ rather than a decision based merely on the merits of this promising Google product.

    This means a couple of things before Google+ is embraced by the church.

    Time:  Churches are rarely early adopters.  Therefore patience will be needed before we see many churches and ministries jump on the Google+ bandwagon - if they are to do so in the first place.

    Integration:  I think Google integrating Google+ with their other products and services provides the biggest on-ramp for churches engaging with this newest offering.  And since many churches are already using many of the Google products, especially Google Apps - it may not be a big stretch or steep learning curve for many churches to start leveraging Google+

    Hard Choices:  Most churches are going to have to make difficult decisions.  With limited time and energy, churches may need to say NO to other services or social media channels they are currently using.  Churches and ministries are going to have to make hard decisions to say NO to other good things, in order to say YES to the best things.  Of course this begs the question of Google+ being worthy of a "best" thing - and so far it's too early to say.

    I'd like to hear your thoughts.  What do you think the future is of Google+ within the church?

    By the way, if you are new to Google+ and are interested in learning more about it you can check out this overview below:

    Stop TRYING To Be Creative

    What can I do to jump-start my creativity? How can I keep my edge?"

    Here are the three answers Jason Fried offers:

    1. You can't.
    2. Stop trying so hard—if it feels like work, something's wrong.
    3. Do less stuff.

    Read all of his thoughts at

    How Social Media Is Changing Our Language

    "I've been unfriended by Sally!"

    "Facebook Me.

    "Follow my tweets"

    I always find it fascinating how new technologies change our discourse.

    Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

    3 Things That Your Donors Aren't Telling You!

    1. They’re unhappy. There are two industries in which people are often unhappy with service but don’t complain much: health care and nonprofits. Just because you’re not hearing disappointment doesn’t mean your donors are pleased with you.

    2. They’ll vote with their feet. The number one reason donors stop supporting a charity is the way they were treated by the charity: a lack of gratitude, no clear understanding of the difference they made, endless solicitations.

    3. They want you to do better. They want to be acknowledged, involved and informed. Treat them better—it’s the single best thing you can do as a fundraiser. Keep the donor you have and you won’t have to worry so much about finding new converts. A little gratitude goes a long way.

    (ht: Katya)

    Do Pastors Have The Right To Privacy On Social Media?

    Thanks to Paul from OurChurch for the heads up on are several excerpts from the post....

    In a move that screams “we fear what we do not understand” the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church is requiring its clergy to sign a “MySpace, Facebook and Website Disclosure Agreement.”

    The agreement requires clergy to “agree to allow the Kentucky Annual Conference to examine any and all MySpace, Facebook, or other blog and website accounts that I may have.”

    While the agreement clearly requires access to all text and media posted publicly to social media accounts, it’s not clear whether it requires access to private messages. The document says, it gives the KY conference permission to “examine any and all … accounts” and “access to any part of these accounts will not be blocked.” “Any part of these accounts” could reasonably interpreted to include private messages.

    Paul makes these humorous yet poignant comments on how seemingly out of touch the KY conference is with social media:
    A person has to wonder, however, whether the people who wrote the document and implemented the policy have much familiarity with social media. The policy is awfully concerned about MySpace, which hardly anyone still uses. The document also states the Kentucky Annual Conference can be found on Facebook at Really? It also asks for the pastor’s Facebook user name. Facebook doesn’t use usernames, unless you consider that to be the part of the URL that follows
    Let me add my two cents to this issue.

    • When I council organizations to create and implement social media policies, I always advise "principle drive" policies that give "guidelines" but don't implement narrow rules and regulations on the use of social media.  To govern social media with narrow rules, trying to anticipate every scenario - is not to understand social media.
    • It appears to me  as if the KY conference is reacting to some specific issue or incident...because it seems as if the policy hasn't been completely thought out (nor does it appear that social media is completely understood by the leaders in the KY conference).  Never construct policies that are reactive!
    • I understand that the KY conference is trying to bring about accountability.  I have no problem with accountability...but the best accountability is the type that a person willingly submits to.  When an organization institutes heavy handed policies, rules and restrictions, it is either going to push bad behavior further underground or it is simply going to create conformity externally but never deal with the heart level issues.

    The Source Of True Freedom

    I hope you are enjoying a great day of time with family and friends.  Perhaps your day is filled with eating a little BBQ, swimming and watching some fireworks. But at the heart of this annual celebration is the independence and freedom we have as a country.  For many of us it's hard to comprehend the depth of this blessing because very few Americans have ever felt the yoke of an oppressive government - and those that have, are immigrants that flood the American shores looking for that precious freedom.

    But regardless of what we have experience or not, politically and socially - we are not FREE.  The truth of the matter is that we were all born under the yoke of oppression and slavery- spiritually speaking.

    All of humanity has been born into sin. Our sin blinds us and we are held captive to the Evil One himself. (Eph 2:3; 2 Cor. 4:4)  In and of ourselves there is no hope for deliverance or freedom.

    However, amid hopelessness is One who came who is the incarnation of hope. Jesus Christ the Son of God. He lived the perfect life, sinless life that you and I could not live and payed the penalty for sin (death) that you and I deserved to pay.   (John 4.34, 8.29; 2 Pet. 3.18)

    In this glorious work of Jesus', life-death-resurrection, He has set us FREE (Rom 6.17-18) - for all those who would choose to receive it. (John 1:12)

    In Jesus, we are no longer slaves to sin, but rather slaves to Christ.  Christ purchased US with a precious price, His shed blood on the cross.  And it is in our "slavery" to Christ, that there is found TRUE freedom. Freedom to live, love, serve, delight and hope.

    The gospel is a message of emancipation, deliverance and freedom! Let us during this July 4th weekend reflect deeply on the source of our true, everlasting freedom.