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.

Discover What God Is Already Doing

"Prevenience is the conviction that God has been working diligently, redemptively, and strategically before I appeared on the scene, before I was aware there was something for me to do here... Like one who walks in late to a meeting, I am entering a complex situation in which God has already said decisive words and acted in decisive ways. My work is not necessarily to announce that but to discover what He is doing and live appropriately with it." -Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor
Before you walk out of the house, make this your prayer for today, "God, as I meet with others today, help me to listen. Help me to listen for and hear the threads of Your working in their lives, Your presence, Your grace. Help me to point them to what You have already been doing, and enable us together to discern what the next steps might be. Thank You that You don't wait for me to show up before working in someone's life! And thank You for letting me play a small role in what You are doing in others' lives, and for allowing me to see, on a daily basis, as part of my vocation, redemption in action."

(ht: PastorHacks)

Social Media Facts That May Surprise You!



Guess how much of the U.S. population uses social media these days? The stats may surprise you.

Twitter: 1.1 % of the U.S. population is on Twitter. (source: April 2011 results from Experian Hitwise.)

Facebook: While Facebook says that they have 150M U.S. “active” users, which is 48% of the U.S. population, only 50% of active users login any given day. So 24% of the U.S. population logs into Facebook on any given day to check or post updates. (source: Facebook)

LinkedIn: 0.37% of the U.S. population is on LinkedIn. (source: April 2011 results from Experian Hitwise.)

YouTube: 19.94% of the U.S population is on YouTube. (source: April 2011 results from Experian Hitwise.)

Although social media is a power tool and resource for ministry, what these stats show is that not everyone is on social media - therefore your ministry communication and connections must be diversified.  Social Media is not the "magic bullet" to all of your needs and problems.

(ht: Frogloop)

Keeping It Simple


We have this self-imposed limitation of one-deal-a-day that we think is important. The reason we've stuck with this one-deal-a-day model is just the focus. It puts the merchant in the spotlight and makes it feel really special. It makes a really simple yes/no decision for consumers. I think it’s one of the things that differentiates us from all the coupon and deal sites that came before where it was just this list of deals and it’s overwhelming and everything feels cheap.
- Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon, on Charlie Rose.


In your ministry, avoid complexity and trying to offer too many choices (i.e. programs) - focus on what you are called to do, and then do it really well!

Delegation Is An Art


Delegation is an art. Here's the problem: many believe that once they delegate a task or responsibility to someone, it naturally means that what has been delegated will get done. However, this is not often the case.

Delegation = Done!

With certain tasks or when delegating to highly motivated people - it's possible that what is delegated will get done. But this is not true for everybody. Before a ministry leader assumes that this is true, it's important to confirm that the person understands what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and even why it needs to be done. Clarification while delegating will ensure that what's delegated is actually done.

Delegation + Follow-up = Done!

With many tasks, simply delegating the task doesn't guarantee that it will get done. Often times it is necessary for the ministry leader to follow-up on progress. Evaluating progress can help the person deal with obstacles that may get in the way of completing the task or project. Following-up with the person is also a great way to acknowledge their effort and a great time to encourage them toward completion. Failure to follow-up and evaluate progress, identify obstacles, and motivate to move forward is often neglected by ministry leaders. This increases the likelihood that incomplete tasks will keep the ministry from advancing. Following-up on delegation is necessary to secure the anticipated results.

Delegation + Training + Follow-up = Done!

Ministry leaders need to view delegation as an opportunity for training and development of volunteers. Don't just expect that the person knows how to do what you are asking them to do. Additional training may be required to help the person acquire the confidence to complete the assigned task or role. Training demonstrates a solid commitment to develop people. Yet training takes more time. Often times ministry leaders will choose to do the task themselves, rather than take the time to train someone else to do it. This may evidence an area of growth in the ministry leader who is valuing expedience over the development of team members. Of course, ongoing follow-up of progress after the training is necessary to make sure that what is delegated is actually what gets done.

Delegation + Demonstration + Training + Follow-up = Done!

Sometimes, ministry leaders need to not only provide training and follow-up to ensure that delegated tasks are completed; they also need to demonstrate what needs to be done. Showing people how to do something is an important part of their learning process. Many things are learned by following someone's example. Take the time to show volunteers and ministry partners how to do what needs to be done. The time invested in demonstrating will reap significant benefits related to the quality of what actually gets accomplished. Once again, simply demonstrating won't guarantee results. Combining demonstration with effective training and follow-up will increase the certainty that what is delegated is done.

Consider:

  • What steps can you take to grow in your delegation skills this week?
  • Who do you need to follow-up with to ensure progress?
  • What training might you provide to someone?


(ht: Missional Challenge)

Inwardly Focused Churches


Is your church ‘inwardly focused’? Are you focusing on the fish already in the aquarium? Brian Kaufman suggests that inwardly focused churches all practice at least five of these things. See what you think:
  • An Inwardly-Focused Church Makes Converts Not Disciples
  • An Inwardly-Focused Church Lives and Dies by Sunday
  • An Inwardly-Focused Church Offers Multiple Styles of Worship
  • An Inwardly-Focused Church Hides It’s Checkbook
  • An Inwardly-Focused Church Holds On Tight
You can read Brian’s thoughts here
The local church was intended by Jesus to be a gathering of people full of faith–strong in their confidence in Him–not a gathering of religious folk who desperately need reassurance.
 -Jack Miller, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church, p. 20

Top Questions To Ask An Idea


You come out of that brainstorming session...and now you got a boat-load of ideas...but before you move forward you need to ask these questions about your idea:

  • Is it understandable
  • Is it acceptable
  • Is it Is your idea sustainable? How will you fund it and allow it to grow?
  • Is it scalable? To what scale of growth would you like to see?
  • Is it reproducible? Can others quick understand the concept and run with it?
  • Is it doable?

7 Reasons Why Stories Are Important


Telling stories to our audience is a powerful communication tool. If you are a speaker you've noticed how people's attention and posture changes when you start telling a story - it captures people's attention.
But even though stories are powerful, here are 7 things you should know about telling stories:

  1. The listener doesn't care about you or your stories. They care about what meaning it offers them.
  2. People learn about themselves when listening to your stories.
  3. The difference between an illustration and a story is that an illustration underlines your interpretation while a story has multiple interpretations.
  4. Stories change meaning based on the point of view of the listener.
  5. Stories transcend time and space because they contain elements that are universal to the human experience.
  6. Stories appear in conversation, not monologue.
  7. The truth of stories is not validated in the halls of academia. Rather, the truth of a story is determined by the listener’s ability to gain new insight, affirm a decision, or better understand their worldview.
Tell stories. Just don’t think you hold the only key to their meaning. Choose the stories you tell based on what you learn from listening to the other person involved in the conversation.


5 Questions Donors Will Ask


1. Why should we choose to donate to your organization?

You can only answer this question if you’ve listened to your audiences and understand their priorities. Then you can answer this question by explaining why your organization is relevant to the values of your audience and what wonderful change will happen when they give. Do that with one very good story.

2. What makes your organization different?

With 1.8 million nonprofits in the US alone, this is a question we MUST answer. But don’t answer it by denigrating competitors. Picture a Venn diagram with an overlap between three circles: what you’re great at, what no one else does, and what your audience cares about MOST. Your answer is the intersection between the three circles.

3. What experience do you have?

The answer to this question is through great storytelling. Talk about the amazing changes you’ve made in the world - and then get a third party offering ringing endorsement. Better to get others - not just you - pointing to your track record of transformed lives.

4. We aren’t interested, why should we pay attention to you?

If I were with a major donor and they said that, I’d thank them for managing my expectations and ask them about what they do care about. It never hurts to listen to someone. Then you know if you ever have a program they might want to support.

5. Why is your overhead so high?

(ht: Kayta)

My Appointment Calendar Will Not Permit It!


This is a great idea by Eugene Peterson from The Contemplative Pastor:

"The appointment calendar is the tool with which to get unbusy. It’s a gift of the Holy Ghost (unlisted by St. Paul, but a gift nonetheless) that provides the pastor with the means to get time and acquire leisure for praying, preaching, and listening. It is more effective than a protective secretary; it is less expensive than a retreat house. It is the one thing everyone in our society accepts without cavil as authoritative. The authority once given to Scripture is now ascribed to the appointment calendar. The dogma of verbal inerrancy has not been discarded, only re-assigned.

When I appeal to my appointment calendar, I am beyond criticism. If someone approaches me and asks me to pronounce the invocation at an event and I say, “I don’t think I should do that; I was planning to use that time to pray,” the response will be, “Well, I’m sure you can find another time to do that.” But if I say, “My appointment calendar will not permit it,” no further questions are asked. If someone asks me to attend a committee meeting and I say, “I was thinking of taking my wife out to dinner that night; I haven’t listened to her carefully for several days,” the response will be, “But you are very much needed at this meeting; couldn’t you arrange another evening with your wife?” But if I say, “The appointment calendar will not permit it,” there is no further discussion.

The trick, of course, is to get to the calendar before anyone else does. I mark out the times for prayer, for reading, for leisure, for the silence and solitude out of which creative work—prayer, preaching, and listening—can issue.

I find that when these central needs are met, there is plenty of time for everything else. And there is much else, for the pastor is not, and should not be, exempt from the hundred menial tasks or the administrative humdrum. These also are pastoral ministry. But the only way I have found to accomplish them without resentment and anxiety is to first take care of the priorities. If there is no time to nurture these essentials, I become a busy pastor, harassed and anxious, a whining, compulsive Martha instead of a contemplative Mary."

(ht: Communicate Jesus)

God Does Not Make Misteaks, But We Do!

Why To Avoid Procrastination



“No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant. Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us. Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility, and hindering our communion with God. If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it.”



- Alexander MacLaren (1826–1910), Scottish preacher

Shallow Small Groups



Why worry about theology, service or "doing life together"? Try the Shallow Small Groups Method and you won't have to worry about being uncomfortable again!