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.

Does The Internet Rot Your Brain?

In ministry, many of us use and leverage the internet for all kinds of purposes.

We use it to:

  • Communicate with our church
  • Advertise and market the church
  • Prepare for sermons
  • Connect with our flock
  • And dozens of other tasks....

But even though the internet provides a wealth of tools and resources for ministry, it also comes at a cost.

See the infographic about how Social Media (and even how the internet) may be ruining our minds by reading on:

Free E-books And Resources

The Internet has introduced unprecedented challenges, and the potential threats can change daily. Being in ministry, I see all the time, the challenges to Christians and their families. As a part of the MinistryBestPractices family, I am committed to helping you be resourced in order to protect yourself and your loved ones online.

To help educate you about these Internet dangers, I am pleased to offer the latest educational resources from Covenant Eyes. All of them are completely FREE.  I know you will find these informative guides valuable, and I hope you will share them with your friends and family.

Check them all out HERE!

Your Email Year-In-Review

Curious to know your email behavior and usage?  How much email did you have to process last year?  Who were your biggest senders?  Who did you communicate with the most?

This free analysis from ToutApp is a great resource which will give you an overview of how you are using your email.  Check out mine and HERE and to get your free report as well.

Be Careful Who You Root For

Church signs try to get too cute for their own good! (courtesy of Ed Stetzer)

10 Thoughts About Leadership

 - Guest Post By Jon Gordon

At a time when the world is thinking a lot about leadership I believe it’s a great opportunity for each one of us to think about what leadership means to us. Below I’ve shared some of my thoughts on leadership from my latest book Soup and whether you are a leader of a business, team, hospital, sports team, classroom, church or home, I hope you’ll think about what principles and ideas guide you as a leader and feel free to share them on our blog here or Facebook page.

1. People follow the leader first and the leader’s vision second – It doesn’t matter if the leader shares a powerful vision, if the leader is not someone who people will follow the vision will never be realized. As a leader, who you are makes a difference. The most important message you can share is yourself.

2. Trust is the force that connects people to the leader and his/her vision – Without trust there is a huge gap between the leader and the vision. Without trust people will stay off the bus. However if people trust the leader they will hop on the bus with the leader and help move the bus forward towards the vision.

3. Leadership is not just about what you do but what you can inspire, encourage and empower others to do.

4. A leader brings out the best within others by sharing the best within themselves.

5. Just because you’re driving the bus doesn’t mean you have the right to run people over – Abraham Lincoln said “Most anyone can stand adversity, but to test a man’s character give him power.” The more power you are granted the more it is your responsibility to serve, develop and empower others. When you help them grow they’ll help you grow.

6. “Rules without Relationship Leads to Rebellion” – Andy Stanley said this and it’s one of my favorite quotes. As a leader you can have all the rules you want but if you don’t invest in your people and develop a relationship with them they will rebel. This applies amazingly to children as well. It’s all about relationships.

7. Lead with optimism, enthusiasm and positive energy, guard against pessimism and weed out negativity.

8. Great Leaders know they don’t have all the answers – Rather they build a team of people who either know the answers or will find them.

9. Leaders inspire and teach their people to focus on solutions, not complaints. (The No Complaining Rule)

10. Great leaders know that success is a process not a destination – One of my heroes John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, never focused on winning. He knew that winning was the by-product of great leadership, teamwork, focus, commitment and execution of the fundamentals. As a leader, focus on your people and process, not the outcome.

About Jon Gordon:This post is a guest post by Jon Gordon. Jon is the Wall Street Journal and international bestselling author of a number of books including The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy, and his latest, The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work. Learn more at Follow Jon on Twitter @JonGordon11 or Facebook .

What Happened To Downtime?

From the introduction:
Interruption-free space is sacred. Yet, in the digital era we live in, we are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched by email, the internet, people, and other forms of distraction. Our cars now have mobile phone integration and a thousand satellite radio stations. When walking from one place to another, we have our devices streaming data from dozens of sources. Even at our bedside, we now have our iPads with heaps of digital apps and the world's information at our fingertips.
Read the whole of Scott Belsky's article and his five solutions.

But take careful consideration of his first solution - which we know has biblical underpinnings - The Sabbath

Creating a Ritual for unplugging.

Perhaps those in biblical times knew what was in store for us when they created the Sabbath? The notion of a day every week reserved for reflection has become more important than ever before. It's about more than just refraining from work. It's about unplugging. The recent Sabbath Manifesto movement has received mainstream, secular accolades for the concept of ritualizing the period of disconnection. Perhaps you will reserve one day on the weekend where you force yourself to disconnect? At first, such efforts will feel very uncomfortable. You will deal with a bout of “connection withdrawal,” but stay with it.

Too often, Christians view the Sabbath as an obligation, rule or demand rooted in the dusty, archaic law of the Old Testament.  But rather we need to see the heart of the Sabbath, as God has given it to us - it is a GIFT.  It is not only a gift of time, but we discover the true and ultimate fulfillment of that Sabbath rest, which is found in Christ and Him alone. (Hebrews 4)

Don't neglect the Sabbath, we are more and more in need of this gift within our plugged in, turned on and tuned out generation.

Get InSync With Your Files

I love it when I see easy, cheap and practical productivity tools.  These kinds of tools are such an asset to non-profits, ministries and churches.  That is why I have been such a fan of apps such as Dropbox.  But now there is something  new that has come along, very much like Dropbox, but lives within your Google Docs - called Insync.

I am a google apps fanatic and practically live in them, especially Gdocs - so to be able to sync, store and share files within that environment is very compelling to me.  Since it rides along the google app, the fees/costs are structured by Google and therefore even cheaper than Dropbox.  Here is brief overview of this app:
Advertising itself as a cheaper Dropbox alternative with a better feature set, Insync has been in closed beta for the last 15 months. Now, they're finally ready to launch with a service that tightly integrates into Google Docs. It's "8x cheaper" than Dropbox, according to their marketing; in fact, the core service is now free, and customers who paid for the service during the beta period will be offered a refund or premium service credit. The only cost for basic membership is the cost of Google storage. 
Insync brings a number of novel features to the table, differentiating it from Dropbox's current service. For example, you can share individual files with more granularity -- not just as public links, but specifying read-write or read-only permissions. You can also revoke a sharing link, which isn't possible on Dropbox unless you move or delete the shared file.
All your files live inside your Google Docs account, but that doesn't mean you're limited to the supported Google file types; any file can be synced over, as long as it's less than 10GB in size (assuming you have that much room in your storage allocation). 
You can nest sharing privileges so people have access to just part of a folder structure. You can also set re-sharing permissions, specifying whether those you share with can re-share that material or not. Share recipients are not charged against their storage quota. 
Insync supports multiple Google accounts and uses Google's storage system. Google starts with 1GB free storage, and then moves to 20GB for $5/year up to 16 TB for $4096/year. Dropbox's pricing rates includes 2GB free storage, and then jump to 50 GB paid storage at $10/month. Dropbox's 50 GB will cost you $120/year compared to Google's $20/year for 80 GB. That's $0.25 per GB per year for Google Docs versus $2 per GB per year for Dropbox.
To use Insync, you sign in with your Google credentials and permit it to gain access to Google Docs. You then download and install the client software on your computer. From there, you launch, link the Google account to your machine, and you're ready to go. On OS X, all your Google Docs appear in a Finder window. 
In its current incarnation, Insync feels a lot like Dropbox, and if you're used to Dropbox, then you already know how to use Insync.
I have been using InSync for about a week, and so far I'm loving it.