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.

That's A Great Question! - FREE

That’s a GREAT Question by my friend Glenn Pearson, is only available FREE for two days only, so make sure to grab your copy today!

Believers and non-believers will be interested in this free eBook that helps to understand the presuppositions people have about God, and tackles many apparent contradictions in the Bible. 

On entering college, Glenn Pearson says, “I had no use for Christians who took the Bible seriously;” however, he came to faith in Christ, and then spent nine years on staff with Cru. He repeatedly heard the same questions about the Christian faith. “This led me to the concept of faith filters that allow skeptics to justify their philosophical and theological positions by using their own presuppositions to dismiss the parts of the Bible they don’t like,” he explains.

Check out this excerpt which defines the five basic filters that Glenn uses throughout his book. Glenn recommends his book for believers and nonbelievers.

Download your copy on Thursday, January 30th until late Friday night, January 31st. Visit today and tomorrow, clicking on the book cover to get the free download (in various formats including Kindle, iBook, and Nook).

The Challenges Of Being A Teen - Infographic

Just like any year, there were both positive and negative events that shaped our society. Teens in 2013 were exposed to a multitude of new challenges that parents and youth workers need to not only be aware of but be able to sit down and talk to their teens about. 

This infographic was created to provide parents and youth workers a road map to help them understand what their teens were exposed to in 2013.

Being a Teen in 2013 - Year in Review

Courtesy of: Help Your Teen Now

5 Ways To Pray For Your Pastor

from Ligonier:

...Pastors constantly need the people of God to be praying for them. The shepherd needs the prayers of the sheep as much as they need his prayers. He also is one of Christ's sheep, and is susceptible to the same weaknesses. While there are many things one could pray for pastors, here are five straightforward Scriptural categories:

1. Pray for their spiritual protection from the world, the flesh and the Devil. Whether it was Moses' sinful anger leading to his striking of the rock (Num. 20:7-12), David's adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11), or Simon Peter's denial of the Lord (Matt. 26:69-75) and practical denial of justification by faith alone (Gal. 2:11-21), ministers are faced with the reality of the weakness of the flesh, the assaults of the world and the rage of the devil (see this article). There have been a plethora of ministers who have fallen into sinful practices in the history of the church and so brought disgrace to the name of Christ. Since Satan has ministers of the gospel (and their families) locked in his sight—and since God's honor is at stake in a heightened sense with any public ministry of the word, members of the church should pray that their pastor and their pastor's family would not fall prey to the world, the flesh, or the Devil.

2. Pray for their deliverance from the physical attacks of the world and the Devil. While under prison guard in Rome, the apostle Paul encouraged the believers in Philippi to pray for his release when he wrote, "I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:19). (See also 2 Cor. 1:9-11). When Herod imprisoned Simon Peter we learn that "constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church" (Acts 12:5). After an exodus-like deliverance from prison, Luke tells us that Peter showed up at the home where the disciples were continuing to pray for his deliverance. This is yet another example of the minister being delivered from harm due, in part, to the prayers of the saints.

3. Pray for doors to be opened to them for the spread of the gospel. In his letter to the Colossians Paul asked the church to be praying "that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains" (Col. 4:3). The success of the spread of the gospel is dependant in part on the prayers of the people of God. In this way, the church shares in the gospel ministry with the pastor. Though he is not the only one in the body who is called to spread the word, he has a unique calling to "do the work of an evangelist." The saints help him fulfill this work by praying that the Lord would open doors "for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ."

4. Pray that they might have boldness and power to preach the gospel. In addition to praying for open doors for the ministry of the word, the people of God should pray that ministers would have Spirit-wrought boldness. When writing to the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul asked them to pray for him "that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel" (Eph. 6:19). There is a well-known story of several college students going to visit the Metropolitan Tabernacle in order to hear Charles Spurgeon preach. As the story goes, Spurgeon met them at the door and offered to show them around. At one point he asked if they wanted to see the church's heater plant (boiler room). He took them downstairs where they saw hundreds of people praying for God's blessings on the service and on Spurgeon's preaching. The gathering of the people of God to pray for the ministry of the word is what he called "the heating plant!" Believers can help ministers by praying that they would be given boldness and power in preaching the gospel.

5. Pray that they might have a spirit of wisdom and understanding. One of the most pressing needs for a minister of the gospel is that he would be given the necessary wisdom to counsel, to know when to confront, to mediate and to discern the particular pastoral needs of a congregation. This is an all-encompassing and a recurring need. The minister is daily faced with particular challenges for which he desperately needs the wisdom of Christ. It is said of Jesus that "the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, and of counsel and might" was upon Him (Is. 11:2). The servants of Christ need that same Spirit. Much harm is done to the church as a whole if the minister does not proceed with the wisdom commensurate to the challenges with which he is faced. Those who benefit from this wisdom can help the minister by calling down this divine blessing from heaven upon him.

(ht: Ligonier)

3 Simple Rules To Help Sustain Creativity

“Lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it.” - Seth Godin

Writer Michael Nobbs, who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, has three rules that he follows every day to help him maintain his creativity. Nobbs' rules are by no means new, but they're useful nonetheless:

  • Working little and often (perhaps for just 20 minutes or less a day).
  • Focus. 
  • Recognizing what has been achieved.
The overarching point is to just remember that not every day is a productive one, and while that's perfectly fine, you need to recognize what you do accomplish.

(ht: Lifehacker)

Great Ebook Deals

You don't want to miss these deals for your library!

The Essential Works of Jonathan Edwards—$1.99
Promises of Grace by Bryan Chapell—$2.99
Balanced Christianity by John Stott—$5.38
Pastors in the Classics by Philip & Leland Ryken—$2.99
Church Zero by Peyton Jones—$2.99
Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax—$2.99
What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? by Ed Welch—$2.51
The Penguin Classics edition of Augustine’s Confessions—$3.99
Manhood Restored by Eric Mason—$2.99
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart byJ.D. Greear—$2.99

The Decline Of Trust In The Church

Today's general institutional distrust leads to the fact that while three-quarters of all adults are looking for ways to live a more meaningful life, 40% of unchurched adults say they do not attend church because they are able to "find God elsewhere." 

This signals the fact that while the search for meaning and spirituality may be strong, so does the skepticism of the church as an institution. See the infographic below on how the generations trust various institutions.

Teen Trends With Social Media - Infographic

If you work with teens and youth in your church or ministry, you know first-hand the challenges and opportunities that come with ministering to these digital natives.
Teens in this new digital world, view the world differently. They aren't as concerned with privacy as with older adults - 53% of teens have posted their email on social sites and 20% have posted their cell phone number there too.
Their connection, reliance and love of technology, seems to know no bounds. This infographic below illustrates some of the behaviors and trends concerning teens - information that will help you as you connect with them and minister to them.

How To Bless Your Pastor

Puritan Thomas Watson explains how a congregation is to encourage it's pastor:
"Encourage God’s ministers by your fruitfulness under their labors. When ministers are upon the ‘mount’, let them not sow upon the rocks. What cost has God laid out upon this city! Never, I believe, since the apostles’ times, was there a more learned, orthodox, powerful ministry than now. God’s ministers are called stars (Revelation 1:20). In this city every morning a star appears, besides the bright constellation on the Lord’s Day.

Oh you that feed in the green pastures of ordinances—be fat and fertile. You who are planted in the courts of God, flourish in the courts of God (Psalm 92:13). How sad will it be with a people, who shall go laden to hell with Gospel blessings! The best way to encourage your ministers is to let them see the travail of their souls in your new birth."
In short - God's people - Be fruitful!

Youth Dependance On Mobile

If your ministry isn't  being series about your mobile online presence (making sure information/web are accessible and formatted for their mobile devices) will miss out in engaging many people, especially the young generation.

from YPulse:

When we asked Millennials to name the one device they can’t live without, more said they can’t live without their smartphones than those who named laptop, tablet, and television combined. This generation is passionate about their mobile devices, and they carry them nearly everywhere they are. 45% of Millennials say that they spend two-ten hours a day on their smartphones, and 44% say they look at their phone over six times in a given hour. 

With so much of the time and attention of this very desired generation of consumers devoted to their smartphones, it is no wonder that the war around smartphone tech and who can capture the young, often fickle, tech-savvy audience is continuing to rage on. 

Only 15% of Millennials ages 14-29 tell us they don’t currently own a smartphone.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Ministry Best Practices

May God do a new and exciting work in your life and ministry in 2014!

Isaiah 43:19 (ESV) - "Behold, I am doing a new thing;now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."