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 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.

Celebrity Pastors

Dave Kraft talks about the new wave of celebrity pastors.

10 Alarming Stats About Teens And Porn


(Information courtesy of CovenantEyes)

You Might Be A Redneck If...

....you don't sign up for this Free Online Event. You see, Jeff Foxworthy wants you to preach better sermons.

 

So don't forget to sign up for Preach Better Sermons, a FREE online event with Andy Stanley, Dr. Charles Stanley, Louie Giglio, Perry Noble, Jud Wilhite, Vanable Moody and Jeff Foxworthy.

It’s happening on March 15 from 1-4 EST. All of these communicators will be sharing practical information on preparation and delivery, all to help you become a better communicator.

My 10 Ministry Mistakes


These are some of the mistakes that I've made in the many years of ministry...these are listed in not necessarily any particular order....

  • Allowing myself to be paralyzed by the fear of failure
  • Believing that I could "wing it" doing something
  • Not being completely honest with someone because I wanted to spare their feelings
  • The compelling desire to want to be "liked" by others
  • Not asking people enough to pray for me
  • Not properly delegating
  • Not investing my time and energy in the right people
  • Allowing myself to respond to the tyranny of the urgent or the loudest voice
  • Not saying NO more
  • Allowing my priorities to get out of whack...the priority being God first, then family and then ministry

I am sure that there are many more if I spent more time thinking about it!

How To Use Pinterest For Your Ministry


Have you heard of Pinterest yet?  

If not you should know something about it, since Pinterest is the popular new social network that allows people to share virtual pinboards of photos and links.

The question though for churches and ministries is, does this new social networking site have any interest or application our group?  Let me suggest that the answer is YES.

Pinterest may be able to do something that other social media sites (ie. Facebook, Twitter) can't do, that is share your ministry's personality (or as I like to say Ethos - The disposition, character, or fundamental values peculiar to a specific person, people, culture, or movement)

Pinterest is based on photos - basically it's a virtual pinboard.

And because it is based entirely on images and the visual, the key with Pinterest is working on creating your ministry's aesthetic.

How could you use Pinterest?  Here are a couple of ideas.

Pinning photos that...
  • Share inspiring quotes
  • Share photos of your people serving, doing ministry or doing life together
  • Share news
  • Highlight books/music
  • Sharing the gospel/evangelism
  • Share sacred art/stations of the cross
  • Scrapbook your church's body life
  • Create themed boards for your church's singles/youth
  • Highlight your events
  • Share pictures that illustrate your sermon series
  • Highlight your ministry's mission
Since Pinterest is especially easy to use, it doesn't require a steep learning curve.  Oh and by the way, the greatest users of Pinterest are women!  - A key demographic that other social sites often lack.

Is your church or ministry using Pinterest?  If so, how?

How To Disciple A New Believer


How do you disciple new believers?

Discipleship involves a lot, but one of the most important things you can do with a new believer is read the Bible with them–teaching them how to read, understand, respond to, and apply God’s Word.

How I disciple, from Justin:

-Every Wednesday night these guys come to my house to join in our Neighborhood Group with a bunch of other people from our church and neighborhood.

-I have the guys come 30 minutes early so that the three of us can read the Bible together.

-Each week we read one paragraph of Scripture together and talk about it. Right now we’re reading Philippians because it’s the book I’m preaching through, it’s the book all of our Neighborhood Groups are studying, and because I think Philippians is a pivotal book to master for new believers.

-Each week I ask the guys two questions about the text: 1) What did this text mean in its original 1st century context? 2) What does this text mean for our lives today? As we work through these two questions I connect our thoughts to Jesus and the bigger storyline of Scripture.

-From 30 minutes of Bible reading and these two questions we end up covering a ton of theological and practical ground. Last week’s study of Philippians 1:3-11 led to conversation about the Trinity, the second coming of Christ, how to pray, and God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

Most believers have never been intentionally discipled and most believers have no clue how to go about discipling a new believer. The problem is that people don’t have a good understanding of what discipleship is. Here’s a definition for you:

Discipleship is truth transferred through relationship.

It’s that simple.

What are you waiting for? Find two people you can start doing this with.

Church Is Trying To Persuade Clergy To Embrace Social Media


Interesting article on how the Episcopal Church is trying to persuade clergy to embrace Twitter and Facebook.


Essential Talks For Future Leaders

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. 

Here’s the link to a series of 20 TED talks that are a great resource for future leaders.

A Most Dangerous And Difficult Calling


Peter Drucker, the late leadership guru, said that the four hardest jobs in America (and not necessarily in order, he added) are:
  • The President of the United States
  • A university president
  • A CEO of a hospital and
  • A pastor
Do you believe that?

Some of you may think that it's a dream job. You can read the Bible all day, pray, play a little golf and preach.

Here is the secret. Being a pastor is hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart.

The reality is - the job of a pastor can be 24/7 and carry unique challenges.
Some pastors wear themselves out trying to help people. Some wound their family because they are so involved in ministry. Others flourish in their ministry and personal life.  Here are a couple of statistics about pastors.
  • 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry. 
  • 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
  • 40% report a conflict with a church member at least once a month. 
  • 85% of pastors said their greatest problem is they are tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors. 
  • The #1 reason pastors leave the ministry is that church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastors believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change. 
  • 40% of pastors say they have considered leaving their pastorates in the last three months.
  • 70% of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend.
  • 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. 
  • 70% felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only 50% still felt called. 
  • 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close. 
  • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year. 
  • Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year. 
  • 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. 
  • 45.5 % of pastors say that they've experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry. 
According to the Barna report - the profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”.

This is a most dangerous and difficult calling - not to be entered into lightly - and it is a calling that is in dire need of the prayers and support of those in the church, family and of close, personal confidants.  That begs the question, are you praying for your pastor?  Pastor, do you have someone in your life who is safe? Someone you would consider a friend?

We can't just set aside one month as Pastor Appreciation Month, all the while relegating the other remaining 11 months as critique, criticize and combat the Pastor Months.  Pastors need our support and prayers.

The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc. provide the statistics I have used in this blog.

Sermon Illustration Idea Of The Week


The most honest marriage proposal ever!
In 1936, after his first wife had left him, Evelyn Waugh (author of Brideshead Revisted) sent a letter to her cousin Laura Herbert, asking whether “you could bear the idea of marrying me.” “I can’t advise you in my favour because I think it would be beastly for you,” he wrote, “but think how nice it would be for me. I am restless & moody and misanthropic & lazy & have no money except what I earn and if I got ill you would starve. In fact it’s a lousy proposition. On the other hand I think I could do a Grant and reform & become quite strict about not getting drunk and I am pretty sure I should be faithful. Also there is always a fair chance that there will be another bigger economic crash in which case if you had married a nobleman with a great house you might find yourself starving, while I am very clever and could probably earn a living of some sort somewhere.” He added, “All these are very small advantages compared with the awfulness of my character. I have always tried to be nice to you and you may have got it into your head that I am nice really, but that is all rot. It is only to you & for you. I am jealous & impatient — but there is no point in going into a whole list of my vices. You are a critical girl and I’ve no doubt that you know them all and a great many I don’t know myself.” They were wed the following spring.
Possible illustrations for: Marriage, Honesty, Confession 


(ht: Futility Closet)

Sign Broken - Finally!


Finally!!!

Friday Funny

The problem is always believing that we have someone discovered some "special" truth and finally gotten it right.  That kind of thinking is a logical fallacy called "chronological snobbery".

Change The Culture Of Your Church To Change Lives


Free Webinar for Church Leaders on Feb 29, 2012 called: “Pornography and Your Church” -
Changing the Culture of Your Church to Change Lives

The purpose of this webinar is to give pastors and lay church leaders practical ideas about how they can create a “culture of accountability” to combat the prevalent but hidden sin of pornography.
  • How do you help men to be more open about their habitual sins?
  • How do you help parents to proactively guard their homes?
  • How do you protect those on your staff from Internet temptations?
During this webinar you will hear from church leaders who have witnessed great changes among the men, women, and families in their churches.

You will also be given 5 practical steps you can take to walk your church through a similar process.

Space is limited. Join and be a part of this webinar on February 29, 2012, at 3pm

Go HERE to register

Generation "C"


From Mashable: 

It’s hardly news that young adults are the most digitally connected, but now Nielsen has come up with a new name for this group based on their common behaviors: “Generation C.”

The C stands for “connected,” and the group comprises Americans between 18 and 34 — who are defined by their digital connectivity, Nielsen and NM Incite’s U.S. Digital Consumer Report says. They consume media, socialize and share experiences through devices more than other age groups.

The most recent U.S. Census finds 18- to 24-year-olds make up 23% of the population. Yet they watch 27% of online videos, constitute 27% of visitors to social networking sites, own 33% of tablets and use 39% of smartphones. When it comes to watching TV, they are exactly in proportion with their ratio of the population, representing 23% of TV viewers.

“Their ownership and use of connected devices makes them incredibly unique consumers, representing both a challenge and opportunity for marketers and content providers alike,” Nielsen writes. “Generation C is engaging in new ways and there are more touch points for marketers to reach them.”

Do you think this is a valid categorization?  And how will these defining "connected" characteristics impact the church's outreach to this demographic?  Will it make it more easy or harder?

(ht: Mashable)

Preach Better Sermons


On March 15th, 2012 from 1-4pm EST, Preaching Rocket will present a live, FREE, online event to help you prepare and deliver better sermons.

Why should you attend this event?

1. The key responsibility of every pastor is to be able to handle and communicate effectively the Word of God - it is your calling and responsibility - therefore you can't afford to neglect this opportunity.

2. As a pastor, you're constantly working on the church. This conference will work on YOU.

3. Preparing sermons can be a lonely process. Let's build a community and help one another. It starts with this conference.

4. You will learn from some of the best pastors about how they prepare, study, and deliver their sermons.

5. It's free. There's no registration fee and no travel expense.

Go HERE for more information and to register

12 Trends For Healthy Churches


  1. The churches have a high view of Scripture. A number of research projects over the past four decades point to this trend. Healthy churches have leaders and members who believe the totality of the Bible, often expressed as a view called inerrancy. 
  2. A large number of church members read the Bible daily. The simplicity of this trend often surprises church leaders. But we can no longer assume that all of the congregants read their Bibles every day. That is a practice that must be encouraged and monitored. In our research on spiritual health of Christian, we found that the highest correlative factor in practicing other healthy spiritual discipline was reading the Bible every day.
  3. The churches have a priority and focus on the nations. This priority is manifest in short-term mission trips, in care and adoption of the orphaned, in giving to mission causes, and in the number of congregants who commit their lives to reaching the nations with the gospel.
  4. The churches have a missional community presence. The leadership and members do not look at their community as a pool for prospects. Rather, they love their community. They serve their community. The live in their community. They have deep relationships in their community.
  5. The congregations have membership that matters. These healthy churches are high expectation churches. Membership is much more than completing a card or walking an aisle. These churches have entry point classes that set the expectations of membership. Church members are expected to serve, to give, to be in small groups, and to be accountable to others. Church discipline is practiced in most of these congregations. Because membership is meaningful, the assimilation rate in these churches is very high.
  6. The members are evangelistically intentional. The gospel is central in these healthy churches. As a consequence, the sharing of the good news is natural and consequential. But leaders in these churches do not simply assume that evangelism is taking place. There are constant reminders of the priority of evangelism. There is inherent in many of these churches some type of accountability for ongoing evangelism in a number of contexts.
  7. These healthy churches have pastors who love the members. That love is obvious in their words, their actions, and their pastoral concern. It does not mean that a pastor is present for every need of a member of a church member; that is physically impossible. It does mean that the church has a ministry in place that cares for all the members. Above all, though, you can sense intuitively when you walk into these churches that the pastor deeply loves the members, even those who may often oppose him.
  8. The churches allow their pastors to spend time in sermon preparation. Our research has confirmed over the years that pastors in healthier churches spend more time in sermon preparation than those in other churches. For that to take place, the congregation must understand the primacy of preaching, and they must be willing for their pastor to forego some areas of activity and ministry so he can spend many hours in the Word.
  9. There is clarity of the process of disciple making. Such was the theme of the book, Simple Church, written by Eric Geiger and me. For the healthy churches, the ministries and activities are not just busy work; instead they have a clear purpose toward moving the members to greater levels of commitment toward Christ.
  10. These churches do less better. They realize that they can't be all things to all people; and they shouldn’t have such a flurry of activities that they hurt rather than help families. So the leaders of these congregations focus on doing fewer ministries, but doing those few better than they could with an overabundance of activities.
  11. The process of discipleship moves members into ongoing small groups. A member is almost guaranteed to leave the church or become inactive in the church if he or she does not get involved in an ongoing small group. These groups have a variety of names: Sunday school; small groups; home groups; life groups; cell groups; and others. The name is not the issue. The issue is getting members connected to ongoing groups.
  12. Corporate prayer is intentional and prioritized. Prayer is not incidental in these churches. The leadership regularly emphasizes the importance and priority of prayer. The congregation is led regularly in times of corporate prayer.
(ht: Rainer)

Unchurched Do Not Ponder Life's Purpose


"Half of the Americans who do not attend church also do not wonder if there is an ultimate purpose for their lives or the possibility that God has a plan for them, according to a recent survey.

The study by LifeWay Research, which surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults, also found that people with even a slight curiosity about a higher purpose to life are more likely to participate in worship services.

About 75 percent of the adults surveyed indicated that they either agree or strongly agree with the statement, “There is an ultimate purpose and plan for every person’s life.”"

(ht: Survey: Unchurched Do Not Ponder Life's Purpose, Afterlife, Christian News)

The Power Of Vulnerability



Brene Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

How To Spot Visitors In Your Church