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.

The Power Of Vulnerability





Vulnerability. We want people in our church to share their lives together. To open up. To share their fears, struggles, prayers and victories. And although church is suppose to be the environment in which vulnerability should be cultivated, too often we are living lives of superficiality and masks before and with one another. Although this speaker doesn't necessarily speak from a Christian world and life view, her insights are helpful motivation as we consider the importance of why we are to cultivate and live out with vulnerability our lives before our friends, family and brothers & sisters in Christ.

Here is her bio and a brief summary of her TED talk:

BrenĂ© Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions: How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?

 

Quotes by BrenĂ©  -

“You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. ”

Fact-Checking Pastors

4 out of 10 churchgoing millennials who fact-check their pastors' sermons online, often during the service using their smartphones. Also of those millennials, 7 of 10 read Scripture using online Bibles from their smartphones or tablets.

- from Christianity Today, Dec. 2013, p. 20

Ways Your Mother Lied To You About Creativity





Your mother may have told you....

1. Don't make a mess! - Yet too often being creative as a child demanded creating mess...getting paint on the clothes, glue on the table. Creativity isn't necessarily about order, it is about disorder. It's about creating new and different associations and divergent connections. Creativity can be a messy endeavor.

2. Don't ask me why, just do it - Now as a parent I understand how a child's continual questioning can be wearisome, but when we are told to stop asking why we are being trained to stop being curious. Creativity demands our curiosity.  By asking the "Why?" question it gives you an opportunity to reframe your problem and open up opportunities toward a more innovative and creative solution.

3. Stop goofing off while working! - Perhaps you were told...work is work...play is play. The two don't mix. But being creative in life demands and invites playfulness. Allowing play at work will create relaxation, stimulate the brain and open you up to be creative.

4. Color in the lines - Perhaps our mother told you that coloring demands that you stay within the lines. Yet creativity demands that you to think outside of conventional boundaries and constraints. If you are to be creative, you must be bold enough to ask the "What if" questions. Here are some examples:

  • What if I wasn't scared, what would I do or how would I respond differently in this situation?
  • What if I was dying, would the problem or obstacle that I am currently facing be something I would truly worry about?
  • What if my organization/ministry came into a 1 Million dollar gift. How would I use those resources to advance our mission?
“All children are artists. The problem is to remain an artist as he grows up.” ~ Pablo Picasso

How Procrastination Is Like A School Bully


Procrastination ...it seeks to frighten..it attempts to paralyze....it makes even the simplest tasks intimidating and overwhelming. Procrastination is like a school bully.

But like a school bully you can fight against it. You can battle when the wave of procrastination seizes you and reduces your productivity.

Here are a few tricks to battle procrastination.

  • Reduce the project's intimidation by breaking down big projects into small bite sized tasks/chunks.
  • Encourage motivation to tackle a project by planning a reward after the completion of the project.
  • Don't check email in the morning - rather spend the first hour or two in the morning working on an important task.
  • Don't wait to work on a task believing that it needs to be perfect. Perfectionism can be a big contributing factor to your procrastination. It is better to have completed a half-baked first draft rather than not having worked on the project at all.
  • Learn to say NO - to projects, appointments or activities that will take time and focus away from accomplishing what needs to be done.
  • Reduce distractions. Don't give yourself excuses to take away your focus. But the pause button on social media/email/phone calls when working on an important project.
What tips or tricks would you contribute to this list?

Christian Ebook Deals





There are some great and classic books here, for instance Dallas Willard's Divine Conspiracy - check out these great ebook deals below.

 The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton - $3.99
Beyond Ordinary by Justin and Trisha Davis - $2.99
Sacred Marriage byGary Thomas - $2.99

Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman - $0.99
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard - $3.99
The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard- $2.99
Counseling the Hard Cases by Heath Lambert and Stuart Scott - $2.99

5 Ways Your Church Can Improve A Visitor's Welcome



Don't allow your church website to become out-of-date and be hard to navigate. Make sure important facts such as service times/location & directions/what to expect are clear and easy to find.

Make sure you have enough parking lot volunteers to show people where to park and where to enter the church. It is often said that the "sermon" starts in the parking lot - and it is true that the first impression and assistance given in the parking lot will help set the tone for the visitor's experience.

Have adequate exterior signage that identifies buildings and points a visitor in the right direction. It is ok to make your church look like the bat cave...can't have enough signage.

Make sure your indoor signage is clear and not confusing in which it uses ministry names that a visitor won't understand. Avoid jargon and clever ministry names without explaining what they are/who they are for. For example, don't just post signs for "Discovery Cove" without posting more info about what age group that ministry is for.

Smile, Say Hello & Talk to Visitors! This is everyone's responsibility - not just staff and certain volunteers.

Visual Survey Of The Gospel Of Mark

The Gospel of Mark is considered the oldest of the four Gospels. It is also the shortest and leanest of the Gospels. The story moves along quickly without much detail or dialogue, adding a sense of urgency to the reading. As you read and explore the Gospel of Mark, may this Gospel help you to understand and know more fully and richly the answer to one of the Gospel's main purposes, explaining and demonstrating- Who is Jesus.




(ht:TEHanna)

9 Amazing Quotes For Leaders


"Speak the truth. Transparency breeds legitimacy." - John C. Maxwell


"Failure is not a one-time event; it's how you deal with life along the way. Until you breathe your last breath, you're still in the process, and there is still time to turn things around for the better." - John C. Maxwell


"Spiritual leadership is knowing where God wants people to be and taking the initiative to get them there by God's means in reliance on God's power." - John Piper


"The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve." - John Stott



5 Truths About Leading That Will Keep You Up At Night



1. Leading doesn't mean you'll always have certainty - as a leader, you are going to have to lead into places that are out of your comfort zone, places that you will be uncertain of the outcome. If you can't or won't do this then you are merely a manager, not a leader.

2. Leading means that you won't have all the answers - although you will feel as if you're expected to have a quick answer to anyone's organizational/ministry questions - the fact is you won't alway know the answer. Leadership requires humility, the ability to admit that you may not know and have a good answer, but at the same time a willingness to find and discover one.

3. Leading won't make you popular - if you have a people pleaser personality, you will chafe at the what leadership will cost you, which is - not everyone is going to like you. Decisions may make you unpopular at times with your staff, your constituents or even those outside your ministry. In pleasing one group of people, you may be making you unpopular with another

4. Leading will result in failures - not everything you do will succeed. Leadership will never mean that you will have a string of uninterrupted successes - rather there will be failures along the way. Yet the key is what takeaways and lessons can be learned from your failures. Great leaders are those who can learn from failures and move forward.

5. Leading means you will be misunderstood - people will often times misunderstand your motives or the wisdom of the decisions you may need to make. The reason why you'll be misunderstood is because most people won't have all the information you have. Information that was required to make the decision you had to make. Many facts, information, circumstances and variables will always remain hidden from the masses. There is very little you can do to change that - because you'll never be able to explain to people's satisfaction why you did what you decided to do.

How Can I Avoid Filler Words When I Speak?



Do you find yourself coming back to using certain repeated and "filler words" like um or er when you speak? If so, it can detract from the power and impact of your message. Below are some tips to help reduce those filler words when public speaking.

excerpted from Lifehacker

First: Relax
Let's start by saying: don't fret over this too much. The more stressed you get by it, the more anxious and nervous you're going to sound, which is really what we're trying to get away from in the first place. It's okay to let a few filler words slip out. After all, it's a natural part of speaking. No one's going to think less of you if you say "um" once in awhile. The goal is to avoid saying it every three words. 

Pause Before You Speak
If you're having a conversation or debate with someone and you jump in as soon as possible, you're probably going to use more filler words. Instead, pause to think out your next statement before you speak. You may need to become a bit more comfortable with silence, but it can help reduce those filler words. 

Slow Down
This goes along with the last tip, but it bears mention: don't be afraid to slow down a bit. If you talk too fast, you're likely to get a little tongue-tied, especially if you haven't quite figured out what you're going to say next. If your mouth moves faster than your brain, you're going to use a lot more filler words. If you slow down, you'll not only cut out the filler, but you'll be much more understandable, which is crucial if you're giving a speech or presentation.

Listen to Yourself
Next, set aside some time to listen to yourself talk and try to figure out where your filler words are most common. Some people recommend recording yourself, but it's hard to get an accurate view of your speech in such a controlled situation. Still, it may work for you. Others recommend putting a rubber band on your wrist and switching it every time you catch yourself saying "um." You could even have a friend listen to you and raise their hand every time they hear you stumble, which would help you catch on very quickly.

Practice, Practice, Practice
In the end, the old saying holds true: the best way to get there is practice, practice, practice. Practice that speech as much as possible before you give it. The better you know your speech, the more confident you'll be and the less you'll stumble. Remember, even in a speech, the occasional um isn't the worst thing in the world—it's how people naturally speak.

Read whole post HERE

Who Are The Poor?


There can certainly be no doubt that Jesus has concern for the poor and marginalized. Therefore, making it abundantly clear to us, as followers of Christ, that we ought to, also. However DeYoung & Gilbert make a clarification:
[W]e must remember that the “poor” in Scripture are usually the pious poor. They are the righteous poor, the people of God oppressed by their enemies yet still depending on him to come through on their behalf (see, e.g., Psalms 10; 69; 72; 82). This does not mean “the poor” should be evacuated of any economic component. After all, the pious poor are very often the materially poor. But it does mean that the poor whom God favors are not the slothful poor (Prov. 6:6–11; 2 Thess. 3:6–12) or the disobedient poor (Prov. 30:9), but the humble poor who wait on God (Matt. 5:3; 6:33).
—Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church? (Crossway, 2011), 175.

Your thoughts? Are these distinctions helpful?

Great Ebook Deals





Here are a couple of great ebook deals to add to your reading:

Making a Difference in Preaching by Haddon Robinson—$3.62
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas - $2.99
Ephesians by R. Kent Hughes - $2.99
Galatians by Todd Wilson - $2.99

Phillipians, Colossians, and Philemon by R. Kent Hughes - $2.99
1, 2 Timothy and Titus by Bryan Chapell - $2.99
Take Words With You by Tim Kerr - $2.99
Real Men Don't Text: A New Approach to Dating by Ruthie and Michael Dean - $2.99

The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler—$4.52
Hip-Hop Redemption: Finding God in the Rhythm and the Rhyme by Ralph Basui Watkins—$2.71
Dining with the Devil: The Megachurch Movement Flirts with Modernity by Os Guinness—$2.71
God and Charles Dickens: Recovering the Christian Voice of a Classic Author by Gary Colledge—$3.59

What Is Poverty?



Brian Fikkert—co-author of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, and founder and executive director of the Chalmers Center (whose vision is for “local churches to declare and demonstrate to people who are poor that Jesus Christ is making all things new”)—looks at the deeper meaning of poverty:



(ht: Justin)

A History Of #FAIL

Often times we tend to think that creativity and innovation comes easy, well it doesn't. Even if you have that eureka moment - there will be naysayers and those who will quickly want to judge the merits of your idea. As a leader, it will take wisdom and discernment as to how to process and receive the nuggets of value from those judgments and critiques and at the same time how to not let them derail and dismiss a beautifully creative idea.

Below is an infographic timeline of when people throughout history made judgements and how they got it terribly wrong.

The Future That Never Happened: 13 Failed Predictions That Couldn
by antoniodivico.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.