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 (Not) to Leave a Church

Excerpted from Frank Viola's post - full post HERE

1. It’s not a good idea to meet with your pastor in person and tell him/her all the things you don’t like about the way he/she runs the church.
In addition, it’s unwise to criticize his/her sermons. Unless of course you want to be boiled in olive oil or roasted over a slow spit.

Seriously: Complaining about what you don’t like or what you don’t think is “biblical” to a church leader is a study in insanity most of the time. If you do this, prepare for a lot of unnecessary defensiveness and anger targeted at you. And don’t be so na├»ve to think that people are going to be swayed by your peerless arguments. Most won’t.

What’s the alternative?
Most wise people I know who left a church graciously wrote a letter to the leadership simply explaining that the Lord was moving them on. They added thanks for what they learned and gained, and ended by saying that they haven’t committed apostasy, they still love the Lord and are following Him, so there’s no need for the reconciliation committee to pay them a panic visit (or words to that effect).

If you were a hefty tither to the church, this may not work. The committee may visit you anyway. But you can try.

2. It’s not a good idea to give your pastor or the people in your congregation books or articles that challenge what he/she is doing. There’s an excellent chance that those books and articles weren’t written to or for pastors or to or for people who are content with church.

3. This next point is on the par with the Law and the Prophets: Please don’t take anyone else with you. That includes after you leave as well as during your departure. This also includes corrupting your friends who attend the church with your complaints against the church and/or its leaders.

Just because God may be leading you out of a particular church doesn’t mean that He’s leading everyone else out. Now or in the future.

If you leave in a Christ-honoring, gracious way, I believe the Lord will be pleased. If you leave in the flesh, I can promise you things will be very difficult afterwards. Not a good beginning to start a new season on.

Again, there are always some extraordinary exceptions to all of this (like if your church is involved in criminal activity. Then calling the authorities might be a good idea).

(ht: Frank Viola)

Doubts Of God Among The Youth

Washington (CNN) – The percentage of Americans 30 and younger who harbor some doubts about God’s existence appears to be growing quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just five years.

In 2007, 83% of American millennials said they never doubted God’s existence.

More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God,” double the number who disagreed with it in 2007.

(read the rest HERE)

Pastor Burnout - Infographic

"click infographic to see larger view"
Some of today's pastors are relatively untroubled but need help in releasing the pressure inherent in ministry to others. Others are close to running on empty, both spiritually and emotionally. All of them would like someone to confide in who can provide realistic help based on firsthand experience.

These pastor burnout statistics come from H.B. London's updated edition of his book, Pastors at Greater Risk.

5 Tests Of A Church's Generosity

  • Are the needs of members met? A generous church does not have members who are homeless, starving, or destitute. (that initially feels like a strong statement, but I'm gonna stick with it)
  • Are the needs of the community met? The manner in which a church stewards its resources (lets be honest, the building is usually a big one), particularly in regards to the external community, says a lot about its generosity level.
  • What's the EQ? - Every church has an "entitlement quotient" that mirrors the generosity level of the congregation. One way to gauge EQ is to measure how often "I", "my", and "mine" appear in conversations.
  • Are the needs of the pastors met? Sure, this feels self-serving; but I'll bet most pastors could tell you pretty easily (if they were willing to be honest) whether or not they feel that their church invests in their well-being.
  • Are the needs of outsiders met? A generous church is a wonderful church to visit. How people feel after they visit a church gathering for the first time is a super indicator of the church's generosity level.
(ht: David Rudd)

11 Signs Of Ministry Burnout

#1 – You begin to despise the people you are called to love and minister to.

#2 – You often allow your mind to drift towards what else you could do OTHER than ministry.

#3 – You feel like a “ministry machine” that does what you do out of guilty obligation rather than out of an overflow out of your own intimate walk with God. (In other words, as Bill Hybels says, “the rate at which you are doing the work of God is destroying the work of God in you!”

#4 – You begin to make decisions based on what is the easiest rather than what you KNOW God wants you to do.

#5 – You become increasingly critical of churches, people and ministries that you feel God is blessing more than you.

#6 – You can’t remember the last time you actually opened your Bible to comune with God rather than trying to find a sermon/Bible study.

#7 – Your begin to view the staff you serve with as your servants rather than God’s servants.

#8 – You use delegation as an excuse to be lazy.

#9 – You can’t remember the last time you and your spouse had a conversation that was not church related.

#10 – You can’t remember the last time you spent time with your children…and enjoyed it.

#11 – You begin to doubt the power of God in your life and the life of others.

(ht: Perry)

7 Characteristics Of A Cowardly Leader

1. Intentionally or unintentionally lives a life centered around self-preservation.

2. Engages conversations seeking approval.

3. Absorbs credit for their subordinates work in front of their superiors negating the opportunity to spotlight those they lead.

4. Avoidance of hard areas they are weak in.

5. Seeks and internalizes pre-emptive positions that deflect responsibility for future problems and challenges they are unwilling to engage.

6. Adapts to their superiors position on issues they are personally against or have no confidence in without honesty or confrontation.

7. Works hard to avoid work.

(ht: Chad)

Finding Church

Just a quick announcement that I will be a contributor in the upcoming book, Finding Church, by Civitas Press.

You can discover more about the book project HERE.

The book is due out in November, and as it gets closer to publication, more information will be available.

5 Essential Qualities Needed For Christian Leaders

"Here are five qualities which are needed by Christian leaders in their dealings with others for whom they are responsible:
  • Appreciation (affirming outstanding performance)
  • Fairness (not listening to unsubstantiated accusations)
  • Impartiality (avoiding all favoritism)
  • Caution (not reaching hasty decisions)
  • Discernment (looking beyond the outward appearance to the heart)
Whenever these principles are in operation, mistakes will be avoided, the church will be preserved in peace and love, and God’s name will be protected from dishonor.”

-John Stott

Why Volunteers Don’t Attend Your Meetings

If you want people to attend your meetings. Here is what you need to do.

1. Start on time end on time – value their time.
2. 30% Fellowship/Relationship
3. 60% Inspiration/Vision/Values
4. 10% Information – Give people information other ways – email, facebook, blogs, texts etc...
5. Connect meetings to things they are already attending - work with their schedule, not against it.
6. Most leaders want to grow make your meeting about leadership growth not trivial facts.

If they know they are going to be poured into and challenged your volunteers and leaders will come back.

(ht: Sam Luce)

How To Preach Christ-Centered, Gospel-Motivated Sermons


The following may actually be four points in a presentation, or they may be treated very quickly as the last point of a sermon. But more generally, this is a foundational outline for the basic moral reasoning and argument that lies at the heart of the application.

The Plot winds up: WHAT YOU MUST DO.

“This is what you have to do! Here is what the text/narrative tells us that we must do or what we must be.”

The Plot thickens: WHY YOU CAN’T DO IT.

“But you can’t do it! Here are all the reasons that you will never become like this just by trying very hard.”

The Plot resolves: HOW HE DID IT.

“But there’s One who did. Perfectly. Wholly. Jesus the—. He has done this for us, in our place.”

The Plot winds down: HOW, THROUGH HIM, YOU CAN DO IT.

“Our failure to do it is due to our functional rejection of what he did. Remembering him frees our heart so we can change like this…”

a) In every text of the Scripture there is somehow a moral principle. It may grow out of because of what it shows us about the character of God or Christ, or out of either the good or bad example of characters in the text, or because of explicit commands, promises, and warnings. This moral principle must be distilled clearly.

b) But then a crisis is created in the hearers as the preacher shows that his moral principle creates insurmountable problems. The sermon shows how this practical and moral obligation is impossible to meet. The hearers are led to a seemingly dead end.

c) Then a hidden door opens and light comes in. The sermon moves both into worship and into Christ-application when it shows how only Jesus Christ has fulfilled this. If the text is a narrative, you can show how Christ is the ultimate example of a particular character. If the text is didactic, you can show how Christ is the ultimate embodiment of the principle.

d) Finally, we show how our inability to live as we ought stems from our rejection of Christ as the Way, Truth, and Life (or whatever the theme is). The sermon points out how to repent and rejoice in Christ in such a way that we can live as we ought.

- Tim Keller

*Quote taken from Monergism article, “Moralism Vs. Christ-Centered Exposition”

(ht: Keller Quotes)