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.

5 Barriers To Your Church's Growth

Here is a list of the classic growth barriers every church will or is currently facing.  Under each is a quick summary of Nelson Searcy’s thoughts on each.

Space
  • When a room reaches 70% of its seating capacity, it’s full.
  • Most churches face growth barriers when attendance reaches 65, 125, 250, 500, and 1,000.
  • It is better to grow to 300 or 400 before starting a second service.
Self-Development
  • If the church leaders have stopped maturing spiritually and progressing personally, the congregation is not far behind.
  • Warning signs include stale sermons, the congregation’s passion waning, and the halt of staff and church growth.
Sharing
  • Churches stop growing when they become inwardly (instead of outwardly) focused.
  • Healthy churches should have a 5:100 ratio of first-time guests.
Weekly Worship Service
  • To keep your service strong, always try to look like a church twice your size.
Staff
  • Hiring staff is truly a faith issue. Many pastors want to put off staff hires until they have the money in place to support the positions. Sounds like a practical plan, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work. You will never have enough money in advance to hire the staff you need.
Read the entire article HERE

4 Facts About Seminary Debt

Student Debt
Being called into vocational ministry and going to seminary to prepare for that call can be a wonderful blessing. I have fond memories of my time in seminary. Yet there is another side to the coin - the cost of seminary and the mountain of debt that a student can incur to finish seminary. If you are a student considering seminary (or know someone who is) here are 4 important facts to be aware of.

1. A majority of seminary students will take on debt
2. Seminary students already bring lots of debt with them from the undergraduate education
3. There is a lot of regret with seminary grads in regard to their debt and what they didn't know
4. Ministry jobs don't pay enough to adequately repay that debt

None of these facts alone should dissuade you from going to seminary, but you should at least be aware of the financial issues and count the cost (literally!)





(ht: Seminary Scholarships)

Want To Create Awesome Visual Content For Social Media?

Visual Content
You probably are well aware that using eye-popping visual content for your church/ministry on social media channels increases engagement with your audience tremendously. If you have any doubts, look at these statistics below. According to HubSpot:

  • Facebook posts that feature photos account for 87% of interactions on the site. (Source: eMarketer)
  • Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets than those without. (Source: Buffer)
  • Even tweets that only have a link to a photo or video receive a boost in retweets averaging 35% and 28%, respectively. (Source: Twitter)
  • In 2014, 70% of marketers planned to increase their use of original visual assets like infographics and memes. Visual content also ranked first among content types marketers want to learn more about. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
Of course the key to designing and sharing great visual content is knowing the appropriate dimensions necessary for each individual social media site (btw, Canva.com does a great job in helping you keep to the necessary image sizes)

Below is a helpful infographic which outlines the various social media image sizes.

(ht: Canva.com)


Is your church asking too much info from first-time visitors?

When a first time visitor comes to your church, how much information do you ask from them? You may assume that because someone has visited your church that they are willing to simply divulge as much information as possible to you. Yet a first-time guest to your church may not be as willing to do so as you think, in fact, many first-time visitors may be simply there to check out your church with relative anonymity. Or perhaps there is general concern that divulging too much information may invite unwelcomed communication from the church - communication that they are not ready yet to receive.

So the question is, how much information should you request from a first-time visitor? What information is enough?

What information does your church ask of your guests and visitors?


How To Create Quality Videos In Just A Snap

Animoto has been one of my go-to video creation app for years. It has been an invaluable ministry tool, allowing me to share the many ministry stories in a powerful way. What I love is that Animoto simplifies video editing by limiting the number of customization options and making most of the editing decisions for you. What it delivers for you in the end is a very professional looking video with impressive results.

Here are some details:
Compatible with iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch (iOS 7.0+), Android (version 2.2+), and an online version available here. 

Pricing: Free to try, with plans starting at $9.99/month. But if you are a nonprofit you can apply for their FREE nonprofit license here.

Additional paid features: HD videos, longer videos, video downloads, cloud storage, more photos and videos to upload

Here is a short tutorial using the app:

1. Add photos and videos.
With just a few taps of your finger you can insert your preferred photos and videos from your camera roll. You cannot capture photos or videos from within the app.

2. Select editing style.
Add filters and embellishments to your video by choosing a style theme from the list of provided options. The theme you select will determine how your clips are processed.

3. Select soundtrack.
Animoto provides song options for your video. If you choose to not use a track provided by the app and instead opt for a song you purchased for your personal use, ensure that you are following all copyright laws when you upload your video for the public to view.

4. Add captions and titles.
Animoto prompts you to include copy for intro and outro titles. You can also add text to your photo and video clips by writing captions for your visuals. In addition you can insert title screens with custom messages throughout your video.

5. Animoto generates a preview with automated editing.
Once Animoto generates your video, you can make minor changes to your design.

6. Save and share.
Share your video via Messages, email, Twitter, and Facebook. If you upgrade to a paid version, you can save your video on your device. Although the FREE nonprofit license will automatically give you those features for your church or ministry.

Here is a sample video that I created from a medical mission trip to Haiti using Animoto.

Working In The Clouds Or The Dirt?

Working Dirt
What kind of leader are you? Are you the kind that always likes to work in the clouds - loves the big picture, generating new ideas, loves to cast vision and motivate others? Or are you the kind of leader that so often works in the dirt - loves building systems, achieving goals and is energized by the details and the process?

As a leader you may gravitate to one or the other of these emphases. Yet as a leader we are called to do both...sometimes having to operate in the clouds and sometimes having to operate working in the dirt.

So how do you do them both? The infographic below has some great tips for not only starting to generate ideas (working in the clouds), but then making them flourish (working in the dirt).