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.

5 Simple Principles That Will Revolutionize Your Team

If you are a leader it is because you are leading people (it's kinda the definition of being a leader). People are working for and alongside you as part of a team- all of whom are moving toward common objectives, shared goals and mission together. As you lead your team, here are 5 simple principles that will revolutionize your team - helping you to have a happier and healthier team and experience together.

#1 Don't Micro-Manage - although this may be tempting, the key in helping people do their work is not to look over their shoulder, but rather empower them to do the job. Let them do their work in the manner that is in best keeping with their gifts, skills and abilities. Of course as a leader it is necessary to have periodic touch points to make sure everything is moving along, answer questions and encourage along the way -  but let people be in control of their work processes.

#2 Communicate Clear Expectations - this dovetails into the first principle. If you give your team members clear expectations, with clear deadlines, with clearly defined outcomes, then they will be empowered and accountable to do what is being asked of them.

#3 Thank Often - it doesn't matter if your team members are volunteers or paid, people need to be appreciated. It doesn't have to be extravagant, just intentional.

#4 Give Performance Reviews - it is important for team members to count on periodic reviews of their performance (more often when first starting, then usually yearly from that point on).

Having a determined process in which this is done, gives you permission to have those conversations, especially if they are going to be difficult ones. If you don't do reviews, and your team member isn't working up to expectations, it is unfair and unjust to be punitive if no one has given them any opportunity to receive feedback and make improvement. Remember we all have a blind spots - it is your job as a leader to be able to speak into those and work toward the success of your team members.

#5 Ask Them Questions - since they are the closest to the job or task, the more and more they do their tasks, the more and more they are becoming the experts. Therefore ask them questions, seek their advice, let them have a greater voice into the work and the process they are engaged in.

What principles would you add to this list?

Great Ebook Deals To Plan Your Reading For 2014

As you plan your reading for 2014 - here are some great ebook deals you can scoop up before the end of the year:

GOSPEL by J.D. Greear. Foreword by Tim Keller – $3.49
Jesus on Every Page by David Murray – $2.99
Does God Desire All To Be Saved? by John Piper – $1.99
Knowing God by J.I. Packer – $2.99
Willing to Believe by R.C. Sproul – $3.49

Center Church by Tim Keller – $4.49
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – $1.99
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller – $7.99
Jesus the King by Tim Keller – $7.99
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller – $1.62
The Scriptures Testify about Me: Jesus & the Gospel in the Old Testament  by Tim Keller, D.A. Carson, Alistair Begg, Matt Chandler, & more – $3.49

Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Gregory Koukl – $2.99
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever – $3.99
Effective Bible Teaching by James Wilhoit and Leland Ryken – $3.49
How to Read the Bible Book by Book  by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart – $2.99
I Am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives. by Dave Sterrett – $2.99
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart – $2.99
7 Truths That Changed the World by Kenneth Samples – $3.03
A to Z with C.S. Lewis by Louis Markos – $0.99
A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.S. Lewis by Devin Brown – $2.99
Faith & Life by B.B. Warfield – $0.99

The Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler – $12.99
The Life of God in the Soul of the Church by Thabiti Anyabwile – $3.99
Is God anti-gay? by Sam Allberry – $5.99 

Resisting Gossip by Matthew Mitchell - $3.99
Chronological Study Bible - $4.99
NIV Study Bible – $4.27
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary – $4.27
MacArthur Study Bibles - $4.99
Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung – $3.99 
A Quest for More by Paul Tripp – $3.03
NIV Bible Study Commentary by John Sailhamer – $2.99

Social Media Stats From 2013 - Infographic

Here is a great infographic from Mobile Marketing Watch on the scope and impact of social media during 2013. I think you'll notice that it is imperative for your ministry to have a plan and strategy to use a multitude of social media channels mentioned below - because as you can see, each social media platform is different in it's audience, scope, engagement and impact.

Youth Groups Driving Christian Teens To Abandon Faith

Here is a study worth revisiting and readdressing:

from Charisma:
A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Some time ago, Christian pollster George Barna documented that 61 percent of today's 20-somethings who had been churched at one point during their teen years are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray.
According to a new five-week, three-question national survey sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. 
Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry because it's too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers. But even if church youth groups had the gravitas of Dallas Theological Seminary, 36 percent of today's believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical.
This video, although humorous, I believe aptly illustrates the problem - the church's need and desire for youth ministry to be cool and entertaining - therefore becoming shallow and irrelevant.

Several Stats That Will Make You Go Hmmmm

It is important for a church and ministry to be communication & technology savvy - i.e. adapting to mobile and leveraging social media. Jeremy Smith has some great stats and insights on his website concerning social media and email use.

Here is a sample....

Email Marketing
  • 76% of email opens occur in the first two days after an email is sent [1]
  • 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices [2]
  • 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile [3]
Social Media Engagement
  • 65% of Facebook’s user base is active, the most of the top five social media networks online.[4]
  • Google+ has 62% inactive users from its registered user base, the worst of the top five social networks. [5]
Read the rest on Jeremy's website.

So let me ask you, knowing these stats, how does it change the way you communicate? Here is an sample takeaway...if my ministry doesn't have an active presence on Facebook, then these stats show me that I am missing on a strategic opportunity to connect with many of my people.

Amazing Mobile Stats Among Teens

If you are a youth worker, then you are well aware of the use (and abuse) of cell phones and texting among teens. As you and the parents you partners with work among teens, you may find these statistics in the infographic below helpful to know.

  • Teens send over 48,000 texts a year. Many of them in the middle of the night. 
  • 70% of teens receive a text

(ht: Safely)

How To Create Inspiration

"Inspiration exists but it has to find you working" - Pablo Picasso

Love this quote, because it aptly speaks a truth and a reality that I try to apply in my life, that is -  innovation and inspiration respect initiative.

Coffee And Productivity

Coffee shops (especially with endless coffee) is where I produce. I love the background noise and activity around me, it actually helps me be more productive and creative. In fact I got much of my studying done for my ordination exams in a coffee shop. So needless to say, coffee shops are where I go to get stuff done.

Yet, needless to say, I can't always work in a coffee shop, that is why I love this app called Coffitivity

It creates that nice, coffee shop "white noise" - just enough to make you feel like you are actually there.

They have apps available for the Mac, iOS and there is something there for everyone.

Check Coffitivity out and give yourself a boost of productivity (and if you don't believe that this can help...see the research HERE)

10 Ministry Practices That Are NOT "BEST"

Sometimes thinking about the best way to do something is to talk about it in the negative. Just off the top of my head  - concerning ministry practices, here are some attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that are NOT BEST: (not in order of importance)

1. Believing that your ministry gifts are enough and can get you through your work.
2. (Corollary to number one) Believing that you don't have time to pray.
3. Thinking as if you need to have all the answers and expertise.
4. Don't generously thank those that serve with you (paid or volunteer).
5. Not being willing to let some things fall by the waist side.

6. Not guarding and setting boundaries around family time, devotional time, exercise time, recreation time etc..
7. Putting up walls around your heart and life, not allowing trusted individuals to be in your life.
8. Don't listen to others, as well as don't try to find the kernel of truth in every criticism, no matter how hard it hurts.
9. Doing everything yourself, and don't delegate.
10. Don't be a lifetime learner - read, study, be curious.

I know that I missed a lot...what would you add? Please comment below!

Ebook Bargains For Your Library

Perhaps this Christmas you received some new devices that need to be filled up with some good ebooks? Either way, check out these great deals on all of these great titles!

Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson—$2.99
Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung—$3.99
Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman—$2.99
Jesus on Every Page by David Murray—$2.99
The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler—$2.99
The Life of God in the Soul of the Church The Root and Fruit of Spiritual Fellowship by Thabiti Anyabwile—$3.99
Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will by R.C. Sproul—$3.99
A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship by Michael Horton—$3.99
Does God Desire All to Be Saved? by John Piper—$1.99
The Scriptures Testify about Me: Jesus and the Gospel in the Old Testament edited by D.A. Carson—$3.99
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever—$3.99

Nancy Ganz’s Herein is Love series is available for $1.99 each:

Vol. 1: Genesis
Vol. 2: Exodus
Vol. 3: Leviticus
Vol. 4: Numbers
Vol. 5: Deuteronomy

Also,  Zondervan and Thomas Nelson have put a ton of titles on sale from their catalogue. Here are a few worth checking out:

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman—$2.99
Gods at War by Kyle Idleman—$2.99
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem—$8.99
Center Church by Tim Keller—$4.99
Evangelical Theology by Michael F. Bird—$7.99
The Christian Faith by Michael Horton—$8.99
Historical Theology by Gregg R. Allison—$7.99

Perfect Love

There is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear - 1 John 4:18

A good reminder for leaders and an important verse to commit to memory.

14 Things You Shouldn't Say To Your Pastor

  1. I wish I had a job like yours, where I would work only one day a week.
  2. What do you do with all the free time you have?
  3. Can I have a couple of minutes before you preach?
  4. I love you pastor, but....(fill in the blank).
  5. I like your preaching, pastor, but I really like....(fill in the blank with television or podcast preacher).
  6. Can your wife play piano?
  7. Your kids shouldn’t behave that way. After all, they are pastor’s kids.
  8. Your low salary is good for you. It keeps you humble and dependent on the Lord.
  9. I bet you don’t spend any time preparing your sermons.
  10. Pastor (predecessor pastor) didn’t do it that way.
  11. You don’t have a real degree. You went to seminary.
To read 12-14 go to Thom Rainer

Are You More Productive With Your Devices?

Let me ask you this question - Do you feel as if you are more productive with your devices (i.e. smartphone, tablet) than you are without? If yes or no, please comment below on your answer.

Electronic Devices and Productivity

ONE Simple Trick To Beat Your Fear Of Public Speaking

from Lifehacker:

Public speaking isn't easy, so it helps to have every trick in the book at your disposal to beat your fear. The next time you have to speak in front of an audience, you might want to introduce yourself to them at the door, suggests Dumb Little Man.
Greet people as they walk into the room. Simply stand at the door and introduce yourself as the speaker. For bonus points, ask people if they have any questions in advance. That will ensure you are aware of the audience's expectations and what they hope to get out of your speech. Boom. You're no longer speaking to a room full of strangers. You're speaking to new friends.
The post from Dumb Little Man has some other neat tips on how to be an effective speaker, including a professional speechwriter secret: printing out your speeches in size 18 font or larger so it's easily readable from a distance.

(ht: Lifehacker)

FREE Advent Devotional

Resources from John Piper are always solid and dependable - this free ebook is no exception.
“…this book of Advent devotionals aims to put Jesus at the center of your holiday season. These short meditations are excerpted from the ministry of John Piper and correspond to the daily readings in Desiring God’s free devotional app, Solid Joys (available in iTunes and Google Play), as well as online.”
Download this in many different ebook formats from the Desiring God website.

The Importance Of Advent

“The time before Christmas is Advent, a season of preparation for Christmas. Christians prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Savior, and we look forward to our Savior’s second coming even as we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word advent us, which means “coming” or “visit.” In the season with this name, we keep in mind both “advents” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come. 
— via Mark Roberts

The Tithe Challenge - Giving or Gimmicky?

Sagebrush Community Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico has been recently getting some attention with their 90 Day Tithe Challenge  (yet this type of challenge isn't new, I remember this challenge being promoted by Perry Noble when I was a pastor over 5 years ago)

Through this challenge, Sagebrush is not just asking people to give but in addition they’re asking people who haven’t tithed in the past six months to start doing it again while offering a 90-day money-back guarantee if God isn't faithful as a result.

Here’s how this 90 Day Tithe Challenge works. 

You give the church 10% of your income. After 90 days, if God hasn’t rewarded you and shown His “faithfulness,” you are eligible to get a complete refund.

What do you think? Do these kind of challenges help and encourage people to step out in faith to give..or are they just plain gimmicky?

(ht: Hemant Mehta)

Why Is Our Nation In Moral Decline?

Nearly 1/3 of Americans believe the nation is in moral decline because adults are not reading and consulting Scripture. Read the full study:

What do you think?

Much To Be Thankful For

Check out these amazing and sobering statistics below in the infographic. If you have difficulty being thankful today, remember to think of your life in light of how most people in the world live and give thanks to God the giver of all good gifts.

Why You Should Take An Internet Vacation

Ministry and church leaders are always on call. It is challenging to simply clock out and construct boundaries around ministry.  Of course it's become even harder, if not at times impossible, with the technologies that constantly keep us connected and constantly available to others. That is why it's more important than ever to find times to unplug.

Below is an infographic that can guide you to take a tech sabbath and find a season to unplug.

Avoid The Biggest Temptation In Ministry

The biggest temptation in ministry is treating ministry merely as a numbers game.  Growth for growth sake, all the while forsaking discipleship, spiritual maturity and depth.

Dan Cathy from Chick-fil-a understood the importance of slow, steady growth when it came to building his business.

Dan Cathy -
To succeed we knew we had to start small and grow slowly. This is where so many start-up companies today make their mistake. Dreamers dream big, and they want to reach their goals quickly. There’s nothing wrong with big dreams. But my experience tells me that we’re more likely to reach our dreams if we climb with care and caution, putting one foot in front of the other. To some, this may be the biggest sacrifice of all — giving up the dream of instant “success.” (17–18)
Don't be tempted to chase and invest in the wrong things.

(ht: Vitamin Z)

How To Preach With Passion

Jonty Allcock gives some advice to aspiring - and existing - preachers. Jonty is the Pastor of Bush Hill Park Community Church based in Enfield, North London.

How To Know & Understand Your Mission

“I have often marveled to think that Jesus was so terrifically busy, but only with the things he was supposed to do…He was busy, but never in a way that made him frantic, anxious, irritable, proud, envious, or distracted by lesser things…Jesus knew the difference between urgent and important. He understood that all the good things he could do were not necessarily the things he ought to do…Jesus understood his mission. He was not driven by the needs of others, though he often stopped to help hurting people. He was not driven by the approval of others, though he cared deeply for the lost and the broken.”
- Kevin DeYoung-  Crazy Busy

What Is A Pastor?

Rob Pickering is the pastor of Selhurst Church in Croydon, South East London, where he serves a growing multi-cultural fellowship.

Jesus Didn't Do It All

“Jesus didn’t do it all. Jesus didn’t meet every need. He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach to another. He hid away to pray. He got tired. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. He spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry. He did not try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do”.
- Kevin DeYoung - Crazy Busy

How To Avoid Your Biggest Time Wasters

We are called to be stewards of our time.  As a church and ministry leader, we want and need to be productive, yet here are three common time wasters that you need to be aware of and to avoid:

  • Chatting with co-workers about the latest television episodes should be saved for after work hours. 
  • Internet surfing that is not work related can take up numerous hours and kill productivity. 
  • Meetings that do not accomplish anything is not only unproductive, it can be very demoralizing.  (I think this one is the biggest culprit) 

(ht: TimeDoctor)

Free Ebook For Preachers

from Preaching Rocket:

Learn How to Prepare and Deliver Better Messages from Fourteen of the Nation's Best Communicators
In this free eBook, you will learn...
  • How Andy Stanley builds messages that communicate to an unchurched audience.
  • Why Darrin Patrick believes in a teaching team and how he involves other preachers in the process.
  • Why Jon Acuff believs surprise and honesty are two of the most important ingredients in any talk.
  • What Louie Giglio says we should do when we don't have anything to say.
Click HERE to get it!

Why Do Millennials Stay With Church?

from George Barna:

Everyone has an opinion about why Millennials are leaving the church. It's a controversial topic, one that Barna Group's researchers have been examining for a decade.

The topic was reignited this summer when blogger and author Rachel Held Evans wrote a piece about why Millennials leave church. Her editorial struck a nerve, sparking response pieces all across the web and generating more than 100,000 social media reactions in the first week alone.

Yet whatever one’s personal view of the reasons behind Millennials staying or going, one thing is clear: the relationship between Millennials and the Church is shifting. Barna Group’s researchers have been examining Millennials’ faith development since the generation was in its teen years—that is, for about a decade. During that time, the firm has conducted 27,140 interviews with members of the Millennial generation in more than 200 studies.

And while Barna Group’s research has previously highlighted what’s not working to keep Millennials at church, the research also illuminates what is working—and what churches can do to engage these young adults.

See entire report HERE

Does Your Church Website Pass The Blink Test?

The Blink Test refers to the approximately 0.02 seconds it takes for a person to decide if something interests them enough. 

This rule applies to books, shows, movies, and especially to websites and your online experience.

Since the margin to engage every visitor is so small, it is therefore essential that your first impression has to dazzle. You have 0.02 seconds. After that, you have an extra 2.6 seconds to really draw in your visitors and make them stay.  And as you probably already know people will visit your church website before they even dare to walk through your door.

Therefore you got to ask yourself, does your website pass the Blink Test and encourage visitors to not only stay and explore more of your church online...but will your site capture their attention and curiosity enough to encourage them to visit next Sunday morning?

If your church needs a website that will pass the Blink Test, you need to discover Clover Sites, a strategic partner of Ministry Best Practices.


10 Reasons To Avoid Pastoral Ministry

Certainly the blessings of ministry far outweigh the realities below, yet ministry is definitely not easy. That is why pastoral ministry must be a calling and not simply a "job". If you can't reconcile with these 10 difficult realities and challenges concerning pastoral ministry, then perhaps you should avoid it all together.

from the Aquila Report:

If you enter pastoral ministry…

10. Not everyone will like you.

9. You will make people angry regardless how godly you handle yourself; it comes with the position.

8. You will feel like a failure often, and when you do appear to succeed, the fruit that is produced cannot be accredited to you. God alone gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:7). Thus, there is little “sense of accomplishment in ministry” that you may be accustomed to in other vocations.

7. You will fight legalism and liberalism, along with laziness, ignorance, tradition, and opposition. Yet, your greatest enemy will be your own heart (Jer. 17:9).

6. Not everyone will respond positively to your preaching, teaching, or leadership. You will bring people to tears with the same sermon: one in joy, another in anger (I have done this).

5. You will be criticized, rarely to your face, and frequently behind your back. This criticism will come from those that love you, those that obviously do not like you, and pastors and Christians that barely know you.

4. You will think about quitting yearly or monthly, if not weekly or even daily.

3. You will be persecuted for preaching the truth, mostly from your brothers and sisters in the pews. You shouldn’t be surprised by the sight of your own blood. You’re a Christian, after all (Matt. 16:24).

2. You will feel very lonely on a consistent basis, feeling like no one truly knows you or cares how you feel, because you do not want to burden your family, and trust-worthy peers are few and far in-between. Because of the ”super-Christian” myth accredited to pastors literally, you will find it extremely difficult to disclose your deep thoughts and feelings to others. Thus, you will struggle with loneliness.

1. You will probably pastor a church that is barely growing (if at all), is opposed to change, doesn’t pay well, has seen pastors come and go, doesn’t respect the position as Biblically as they should, doesn’t understand what the Bible says a pastor’s or a church’s jobs are, and will only follow you when they agree with you (thus, they’ll really only follow themselves).

Does MegaChurch Equal MegaBusiness?

Churches across America are shutting down at a rate of 1% while megachurches are growing at rate of 8%. Many have criticized them for using corporate techniques to create economic empires. All the while, smaller churches watch their flock migrate towards a religious experience that's a little more... MEGA.

THE MEGACHURCH (2000+ attendance/week) - 1970: 10 mega-churches
- 1990: 250 mega-churches
- 2000: 600 mega-churches
- 2003: 740 mega-churches
- 2005: 1200 mega-churches
- 2011: 1,611 mega-churches

- 314,000 protestant churches (56 million worshipers/week)
- 1638 mega-churches (6 million/week)10.7% of church population & 2% of the US population
- 100 giga churches (1.3 million/week)
- Megachurches are tax exempt | they made $7.2 billion dollars/year in 2005
- Megachurches typically have a charismatic, authoritative, celebrity-like leader.
- Some meagachurches are like mini-cities with gyms, shopping, arcades, and even Starbucks.
- Most megachurches are evangelical (growth dependent), suburban, white, and southern.

Megachurch Megabusiness

Image compliments of Online Christian Colleges

How To Cultivate New Ideas

Let's first start with this great quote from the book Great Work by David Sturt:

"...Research studies show that we routinely talk to a very small group of the same people over and over again. Most of us feel that we converse with about a dozen people on a regular basis, and that’s true (studies say that the number is somewhere between 7 and 15). But our true inner circle—the group we talk with the most—is even smaller. The fact is, we talk to the same 5 or 10 trusted confidants, allies, and buddies about 80 percent of the time.

That means that close to 13,000 of our 16,000 daily words (that we typically use daily) are directed at a very small group of friends and confidants. These closest coworkers, team members, family members, and friends make up our true inner circle. And this is a comfortable place to start having conversations about great work, because these people think like us, care about us, and believe in us. But talking to your inner circle alone can also become a disadvantage—because these people think like us, care about us, and believe in us."

The thrust of this quote is that conversations with people we don't usually talk to lead to ideas we wouldn't think of on our own.  If you want to be drawn toward new ideas that will assist you in achieving great work than you need to have conversations with people outside of your inner circle.

Therefore as church & ministry leaders, we need to be having conversations with people:
  • Outside of our denominational/theological tribe
  • Who are not directly associated with our church or ministry
  • With skill sets and experiences different than ours
  • Who don't speak our nomenclature 
So how are you cultivating those conversations and relationships?

Attention Leader - It's OK To FAIL

Leaders Fail! Leaders who attempt to innovate and create don't often succeed the first time, usually their eventual success is built upon a tower of past failures.  But it is from failures that leaders grow and learn. Learning to respond to failure properly and move on from the failure are the marks of a great leader. 

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  - Thomas A. Edison

Allow your failures to inform.

Chances are the goals you are trying to achieve or the problems that you are trying to solve are worthy endeavors - it just may take time to discover how to "crack the code" and find success.  Persevere and keep on trying.

10 Things You Should NEVER Say When Speaking

from The Next Web:

Often people make the same mistakes, give the same excuses or deliver the same basic errors when they get on stage to speak to a live audience.

The easiest way to lose an audience is to make a mistake in the first minute, and that is exactly where most mistakes are made. 

Here are a list of 10 things you shouldn’t say during presentations:

1: I’m very jet-lagged/tired/hungover
Not sure where this comes from but one in five presentations at any conference will start with an excuse. ‘They only invited me yesterday’, ‘I’m really tired from my trip’ or another lame excuse that the audience really doesn’t want to hear. We, the audience, just want to see you give it your best. If you feel like shit and can’t give it your best than maybe you should’ve cancelled. Take a pill, drink an espresso and kill it!

2: I’ll get back to that later
If you happen to stumble upon an audience that is eager to learn and interact you should always grab that chance and enjoy it. If someone has a question that you will address in a later slide just skip to it right away! If someone is brave enough to raise their hand and ask you a question you should compliment them and invite the rest of the audience to do the same. Don’t delay anything.

3: Can you hear me? Yes you can!
This is how a lot of people start their talk. They will tap a microphone three times, shout ‘can you all hear me in the back’ and then smile apologetic when it becomes clear that, yes, everybody can hear you but nobody raises their hands.

It isn’t your responsibility to check the audio. There will be people for that. If you speak into the microphone and you get the impression that it’s not working, just relax, count to three, and try again. If you still think the sound isn’t working just calmly walk to the edge of the stage and discreetly ask the moderator to check for you. Smile at the audience and look confident. Assume it all works until the opposite has been proven, then stay calm and wait for a fix.

4: I can’t see you because the lights are too bright
Yes, when you are on stage the lights are bright and hot and it will be difficult to see the audience. But they don’t have to know about all that. Just stare into the dark, smile often and act like you feel right at home on there. Feel free to walk into the audience if you want to see them up close. Don’t cover your eyes to see people but politely ask the lights people to turn on the lights in the room if you plan to count hands or ask the audience a question. Even better, talk to the lights people in advance so they are prepared when you are going to ask them.

5: Can you read this?
The common rule is to make the font size on your slides twice the size of the average age of the audience. Yes, that means that if you expect the audience to be 40 on average you are stuck with a font size of 80 points. You won’t be able to fit a lot of text on the slide that way, which is a good thing, and brings us to the next point.

6: Let me read this out loud for you
Never ever, ever, ever in a million years add so much text on a slide that people will spend time reading it. And if you do, make damn sure you don’t read it out loud for them! The best way to lose your audiences attention is to add text to a slide. Here’s what will happen when you have more than four words on a slide; people will start reading it. And what happens when they read it? They will stop listening to you!

Only use short titles on your presentations and memorize the texts you want them to read. Or, if you MUST include an awesome three-sentence quote, announce that everybody should read the quote, then shut up for six seconds so they can actually read it.

7: Shut off your phone/laptop/tablet
8: No need to write anything down or take photos, the presentation will be online later
9: Let me answer that question right away

10: I’ll keep it short
This is a promise nobody ever keeps. But a lot of presentations are started that way! The audience really doesn’t care if you keep it short or not. They’ve invested their time and just want to be informed and inspired. Tell them “This presentation is going to change your life” or “This presentation is scheduled to take 30 minutes, but I’ll do it in 25 minutes so you can go out and have a coffee earlier than expected.”

Read entire post HERE

Are You Crazy Busy?

Do you feel crazy busy and stressed? Unfortunately many Americans do and that means many in your congregation and ministry are under the weight of significant busyness and pressure. Below are 8 things you may not know about busyness in the U.S.

For more info about America’s busyness problem and what you can do to fight it, check out

Create WOW Forms For Your Ministry

from Lifehacker:

If you need to poll a big group of people, Typeform offers an intuitive interface and a ton of options, all for free. 
The de facto free choice for creating web forms and surveys has been Google Docs, but Typeform has a much nicer interface, and a few more options. The survey creator lets you drag and drop 20 different question types, each of which has a ton of options like requiring responses or adding multimedia. Once you're done, just share the link to your survey, and watch the results roll in on an easy-to-read analysis page. 
Typeform is in open beta, and only lets you create three forms with 20 questions and 5,000 responses at first. Sharing a few words about it on a social network though will remove the restrictions.
I just created a form for my ministry - you can view it HERE.

And let me just say, that I am incredibly impressed! The interface to build the form was super easy, the design and functionality is superb and the options to deliver the form, either through link, embed in website or pop-up, are fantastic.

This is going to be my new go-to form option!