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.

Beware Of Being Alone

From a man who died alone and yet not alone:

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community.
He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and given an account to God. You cannot escape from yourself; for God has singled you out. If you refused to be alone you are rejecting God’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called. “The challenge of death comes to us all, and no one can die for another. Everyone must fight his own battle with death by himself, alone. . . . I will not be with you then, nor you with me” (Luther).

But the reverse is also true: Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called, the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone, even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ. If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ, and thus your solitude can only be hurtful to you. “If I die, then I am not alone in death; if I suffer, they [the fellowship] suffer with me” (Luther).

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together  [italics and ellipses original].

(ht: Justin)

The Myth That Small Churches Are Extinct

from NewSmallChurch

Church leaders have a lot of ideas about what the numerical growth of a church – and therefore its size – says about that church’s success and value. Unfortunately, many of those perceptions don’t match reality. This infographic below illustrates some of those misperceptions.

(ht: NewSmallChurch)

Seven Reasons Very Active Church Members Drop Out

from Thom Rainer

  1. Moral failure. The most common scenario is a sexual affair. The member who was once revered becomes intensely embarrassed and ashamed, so much so that he or she cannot face the members and friends at church.
  2. Dropping out of a group. The church member stops his or her regular attendance in a small group or Sunday school class. It is almost inevitable that, without the accountability and fellowship a small group brings, that person is headed to be a complete church dropout.
  3. Burnout. The church member is asked to do many things because he or she tackles them with such passion and faithfulness. But some of these very active members don’t know how to say no. They burnout and leave church completely.
  4. Traumatic event. A painful loss or some similar pain can cause many church members to lean on fellow Christians even more. But some react in an opposite fashion and leave the fellowship.
  5. Dropping out of a ministry. The church member’s primary point of reference and connection with the church is a particular ministry. If he or she leaves that ministry (or in a few cases was asked to leave), it is not unusual for them to see no reason to continue with the church at all.
  6. Major interpersonal conflict. Marginal church members tend to drop out at the first hint of even minor interpersonal conflict. Very active members are more resilient, recognizing that no church members are perfect. But if the conflict becomes severe, some of the very active church members will leave as well.
  7. Gradual withdrawal. Most of the time a very active church member will drop out rather suddenly. But, on a few occasions, they just gradually withdraw from involvement in the church. These dropouts had trouble articulating to me why they left, or why they slowly withdrew from involvement. As one lady told me, “It’s like I woke up one morning, and I was no longer involved in the church.”

11 Ways To Empower Your Volunteers

from Michael Bayne:

Here are a few lessons I have learned over the years …

  • Let Them Lead—Don’t ask a high impact volunteer to join your team if you’re not ready to let them lead. Make room for your team to actually lead with you!
  • Take Time to Listen—If you have a high impact team around you, create time to really listen to what they are experiencing.
  • Be Patient—Volunteers have limited time, so remember to breathe and be a little more patient.
  • Share Clear Expectations—Make sure your team knows exactly what you need from them and what they are responsible for.
  • Continually Cast Vision—Our teams need us to continually point them back to the mission and vision … not just to their ministry to-do list!
  • Say Thanks—Everyone needs to hear it. Find many different ways to say it.
  • Communicate Consistently—Keep them in the loop with what you are thinking. Keep your team up to speed.
  • Work Together—Take time to work on projects with the different people on your team! Time working together is great time to train.
  • Be a Problem Solver—Work to remove obstacles that are in your team’s way!
  • Celebrate Wins—Slow down and take time to celebrate with your team.
  • Find Creative Rewards—You may not be able to pay all your team, but find small ways to reward them.

3 Important Facts About Mobile You Shouldn't Ignore

Did you know that?:
  • According to Forbes, “87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.”
  • The average person checks his or her phone 150 times a day. That’s once every 6.5 minutes!
  • The Flurry report states that Americans are spending 2 hours and 7 minutes per day using apps.
Given these facts:
  • Is your church website mobile friendly? Is it responsive to mobile?
  • Can those in your ministry give through their mobile device?
  • Given that the open/read rate of text messages are over 90% are you using effectively leveraging text messages to communicate with your church?
  • Are you leveraging mobile apps to encourage spiritual formation in your church - bible apps, prayer apps & listening to sermons?
(ht: CMS)

The High Co$t Of Multitasking

Although too often we believe in the power of multitasking..more evidence has been shown that multitasking doesn't help but rather it hurts. It will cost us in productivity, will increase errors and decrease the quality of our work. This infographic below illustrates the dangers of multitasking.

6 Reasons Churches Should Practice Church Discipline

from Jonathan Leeman’s book, Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus 

Here are 6 Reasons Churches Should Practice Church Discipline:
  • Church discipline is biblical.
  • Church discipline is an implication of the gospel.
  • Church discipline promotes the health of the church.
  • Church discipline clarifies and burnishes the church’s witness before the nations.
  • Church discipline warns sinners of an even greater judgment to come.
  • Most importantly, church discipline protects the name and reputation of Jesus Christ on earth.

Productive Or Distracted

We have more gadgets in our life that made the promise that they would make us more productive. Yet less than half of Americans (42%) feel satisfied with their work/life balance, and even fewer are content with their relationship boundaries (38%), their levels of overall stress (28%) and their practice of rest (39%). And while nearly everyone is plugged in nonstop, only about one in five say they spend eight to 12 hours a day being truly productive. And an overwhelming 55% say they wish they had accomplished more the day before.

(ht: Barna)

Millennials And Fame

from YPulse:

Millennials have been positioned as a fame-hungry generation for years, and have developed a reputation for wanting 15-minutes in the spotlight whether or not they have any talent. But how true is the idea that the generation prioritizes being famous? When we asked 14-29-year-olds for their thoughts on fame, we got a much more complex picture of their desires:
(ht: YPulse)

Dreams Of The Bible

The Overview Bible Project has put together a comprehensive and helpful infographic on the dreams of the Bible. There are 21 dreams included - did you know that there were so many dreams in the Bible? This infographic could be a helpful tool for personal study as well as leading a Bible study or Sunday School class.

(ht:The Overview Bible Project)

The Hyperlinked Life

Our relationships to personal devices is so strong, it naturally affects personal relationships—for better and for worse. Social media, of course, lives up to its name. As Barna data show, more than one-third of adults (36%) stop whatever they're doing to check their device when they get a new text or message. About the same number (35%) admit their personal electronics sometimes separates them from other people.

The hyperlinked life has its advantages and disadvantages for a life of faith, too. For all their hyper-connectivity, for example, only 21% of adults say they set aside time each day to connect with God.

Digital life connects—and disconnects—adults in life and faith.

Do You Have Ministry Burnout?

Leadership Journal recently asked its readers the question, "Have you experienced burnout in ministry?" The answers showed that burnout is nearly universal. Here's how the responses broke down:

18.2% - Yes, I'm fried to a crisp right now.
28.4% - Yes but I'm learning to endure despite the heat.
26.5% - Yes, in the past, but I made significant changes and it's gone now.
17.6% - I'm not sure if what I had was burnout or something else.
9.3% - No, I've never been burned out.

(ht: Leadership Journal, Winter 2014, p. 13)

Millennials: Generation Unaffiliated

Millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y, are more disassociated from mainstream institutions – political parties, organized religion, marriage – than are older Americans. In fact, they're the most politically unaffiliated group the Pew poll has ever seen.

Millennials’ “don’t join ‘em” attitude extends somewhat to their views on organized religion, with almost 30 percent saying they are unaffiliated with any religion. That’s in contrast to 21 percent of Gen Xers, 16 percent of boomers, and 9 percent of Silents who report no religious affiliation.

But that doesn’t mean Millennials aren’t interested in religious matters. In fact, 86 percent of Millennials say they believe in God, and about 58 percent say they’re “absolutely certain” that God exists, according to a 2012 survey by Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.

(ht: Yahoo)

The Problem With Modern Worship

Martin Luther....translated the bible into the language of the people. AND he also translated worship into the language of the people. Liturgy (which means ‘work of the people’, but also refers to those wrote prayers, litanies, responses, music etc…) was changed so that the people could be included. No more secret prayers, no more facing away from the people, priests spoke in the language that most people understood, and worship was about participation and designed to be for the people. Worship was so that the people could hear the Gospel, instead of be bystanders to the hocus-pocus magic. The assembly, all the people gathered for worship, were now considered necessary. 
Now 500 years later, despite all lessons of the Reformation that Protestants - Mainliners and even Evangelicals – have been teaching, we are going back to non-participatory, secret language, performative worship. Just like priests who lead worship in a language that few spoke, Praise Bands are incompatible with a worship that is done by the community. Rock Bands are by design meant to overwhelm the audience with sound. They are a performative medium, not a participatory one.
- from Millennial Pastor - read the rest HERE

I don't know about you...but I often feel that way during much of what constitutes contemporary worship. It is hard for me to engage and sing because often it is difficult for me to even hear my own voice. I find myself watching and enjoy listening to the music, but I don't feel invited to participate.

What are your thoughts?

How To Supercharge Your Productivity With Evernote

I love my Evernote. It is my go-to productivity tool. What I love about Evernote is how easy it is to get information into it, how ubiquitous my information become because of access to it through it's multiple platforms (iOS, Mac, Windows etc), and how integrates with so many other great APPs and tools.

Here are three APPs that help supercharge Evernote and help it to become such a big WIN for me.

Powerbot for Gmail & Calendar
Powerbot integrates directly into Gmail and Google Calendar. In Gmail, Powerbot allows me to capture email messages, attachments or entire threads directly into Evernote (with my choice of notebook and tags). You can also retrieve and insert Evernote notes directly into Gmail messages while in your browser. In the calendar, Powerbot gives me the option to automatically create an Evernote note based on that appointment in order for me to have a record and capture notes of my scheduled meeting.

Evernote Clipper - sitting right in my Chrome browser is this powerful, yet simple tool built by the Evernote team. The Clipper will grab webpages, PDFs, and even Gmail messages sending them directly to Evernote with notebook and tags of your choosing. Clipper effortless plus information into my Evernote.

Task Clone - When I am using Evernote I often need to record in my notes, either checklists or todo items. Yet, I want all my todo items in one place, and therefore I would have to transfer those todos manually into my dedicated app. TaskClone does that task automatically. Just add a checkbox to an item in Evernote and TaskClone automatically extracts it and sends it to your favorite task app in seconds.

What are your favorite or most helpful APPs that supercharge Evernote?

You Will Easily Be Forgotten

from Jared Wilson

. . . an old preacher [who] told a group of younger preachers to remember that they would die. “They are going to put you in a box,” he said, “and put the box in the ground, and throw dirt on your face, and then go back to the church and eat potato salad.” 

Here’s the point: As great as you can make yourself, as many wonderful things as you can accomplish in your lifetime — even religious things — it will all be a blip on the radar of eternity. You will become dust. The worms will eat you. Statistically speaking, since most of us will never accomplish such great things that history will laud throughout the ages, memory of us will start fading with our grandchildren. Our great grandchildren will (likely) not have any clue who we are. 


If you are bringing glory to Christ, not a thing about you is wasted, because the mission of the Spirit of God is to maximize the glory of Christ over all the universe. So that even at the end of days, as Revelation shows us, all the glorious kings of the nations in all their renown and splendor, file in one by one into the holy city to throw their crowns at the feet of Jesus. Revelation 21 reveals that the light of the new heavens and new earth comes not from the “sun” but from the “Son,” and the kings of the nations will bring their glory into it. 

There is the vision of greatness the redeemed of the Lord ought to aspire to. That he would increase and we would decrease. That our decrease would serve his increase! 

And those who are willing to lose their lives — whatever that might mean — for Christ’s sake, will find them. 

And from dust you will return.

(ht: Jared

How To Be A Superstar Pastor

from Kevin DeYoung:

When we think of Paul, we often think of a spiritual giant, going through the Roman world planting churches, routing the philosophers in Athens, writing the most profound letters ever written, getting bloodied by stones, whipped, flogged, and shipwrecked–all by himself. A one man superhero. 

Paul didn’t accomplish all this or endure all this by himself. He constantly had people around him: co-laborers, associates, apprentices, friends, partners in the gospel. There’s a reason that when Jesus sent out the disciples he sent them out in pairs. You are not meant to do gospel work by yourself. 

If you want a ministry to be short lived, start it by yourself, do it by yourself, and share authority with no one but yourself. If you’re really gifted and dynamic, you’ll see something grow up for a time. People will flock to it because you have a lot of gifts, but then when you’re done it will be done. No team, no partners, no investment in future leaders, no future ministry. 

How do you do ministry? Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:2, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many others entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 

A huge part of ministry is constantly training up others, releasing others, and empowering others, so that they can replicate what you do or replace you when you’re done. 

How do you become a superstar pastor? - simply be constantly giving your life away!