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.

25 Proven Steps To Beat Porn Addiction

Porn addiction is running rampant - not just in our culture but also throughout the church. And yet too often the church is afraid or relunctant to talk about the issue and problem candidly. Our silence though is helping to breed shame, guilt and creating deeper addiction. There a lot of things we need to consider in helping to address and break porn addiction. Yet one of the first steps in moving forward toward freedom from porn is having intentionality and a plan.

Stop Procrastinating carried out a groundbreaking survey of 2000 men who beat their porn addiction to find out what techniques and strategies really worked. Then they detailed the answers in this infographic below. The survey found that more than 75% of men who adopt a plan will reduce or break their addiction to porn.

So make sure you check out our instructive infographic below. It can really help you to combat your use of porn – it’s backed by evidence and science.


Courtesy of Stop Procrastinating – Guide to beating porn addiction.

What Is Killing Pastors May Surprise You?


Pastors and ministry leaders are under attack. The problem is that it isn't just from angry or abusive people in the pews or from an increasingly hostile culture. Rather the attacks are from their own body and their physical health - and it's killing them.  As it was reported in a recent article by Christianity Today's Leadership Journal - "too many pastors are neglecting their physical health—and it's killing them." This is an epidemic problem stretching across denominational boundaries throughout the country.

For those of us, either in vocational ministry or who volunteer or serve within the church - we pour our lives into ministry and service too often at the neglect and expense of our physical health. I personally struggle with the temptations of vocational ministry in eating everything that's put in front of me (because every ministry meeting, of course, has FOOD and it's typically not healthy!) or getting so busy that I don't think that I have time to exercise.

Ministry Best Practices wants to introduce you to a personal friend of mine, Dr. J. Scott Ries - who is not only a doctor but also a ministry leader within the Christian Medical & Dental Associations. In about a week, he will be opening access to his popular iFactor Health course, but before he does, I want you hear from him about the issue of weight loss and how you can get off the up and down weight rollercoaster and stop investing in the latest fad diet.

Listen to what Dr. J. Scott Ries has to say about the importance and the impact of what he calls the iFACTOR. This is important information for not just ministry leaders, but everyone who wants a healthier future.


(click the picture to watch)

The Necessity Of Pastors Visiting Their Flock

knocking

from Martin Holdt:

“I have noted with alarm that in recent years younger ministers do not deem it an essential part of their ministry to visit people in their homes in order to share the Word of God with them, catechise them, talk with them and pray for them.

It seems as if the thought is that the pastor’s principal responsibility of preaching and teaching invalidates the need for visiting the people.

The Lord’s indictment against the shepherds of Israel clearly points to a situation where the people of God were not sought after and visited where they lived: ‘The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them’ (Ezekiel 34:4).

In an average congregation, all the people, members and adherents, may easily be visited over a space of time, and every pastor needs to pursue this objective energetically, heartily and lovingly.”

Your thoughts? Agree? Disagree with Martin's comments?
(ht: Blog of Dan)

Your Website Is Still The Best Way To Communicate [Infographic]

communications
Are you curious how your nonprofit, church or ministry's marketing and outreach compares against other organizations? Which marketing and social media channels are most important to those in the non-profit sector? Do you share the same challenges faced by other organizations?

All of these questions are answered in the Nonprofit Marketing Guides’ 2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report. Here are some highlights from the report and the infographic below:
  • Your church and ministry's website is still the most important communications channel. 
  • Facebook, Twitter and YouTube remain the top three social media sites for nonprofits.
  • Your peers in other ministries are posting to Facebook at least once a day.

Overwhelmed By All The Social Media Choices? Here's Some Help!






Perhaps you and your church/ministry are overwhelmed by all the social media choices out there. Where do you start? What is the best use of your time and energy? Certainly not all social media channels are the same. Here are some distinctions and highlights of the big 5 social media platforms.

1. Facebook
Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg. As many are probably aptly aware, Facebook is one of, if not the most, recognizable social networking platform in the world. With over 1.4 billion users around the world, just about everyone you’ve ever known, or will ever know has a profile on this platform.

These Facebook Statistics will blow your mind. Did you know?:
  • People share 1.3 million pieces of content every minute
  • 350 million photos are uploaded each day
  • Facebook adds 8 new users per second, or 7,246 people every 15 minutes
2. Twitter
What started as a microblogging site has now become one of the largest social media platforms. It all started back in March of 2006.

Since then, the site has garnered some impressive numbers:
  • 300 billion tweets have been sent since the site’s beginning
  • Average number of followers is 208
  • Tweets including images have 5 times the engagement
3. Pinterest
This social media platform took off like a rocket, literally almost overnight. Despite behemoths like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest became the third largest network in the U.S. within two short years!

Check out these Pinterest statistics:
  • Despite the thinking that most Pinterest users are women, 33.3% of all sign-ups are actually men.
  • 75% of time spent on Pinterest is done with a mobile device
  • There are over 100 million active users
4. YouTube
Yes, not everyone always thinks of YouTube in terms of social media, but it certainly is. YouTube began as an idea drummed up by three PayPal employees who wanted a website where they could upload, share, and watch videos. The domain became active in 2005. It’s incredible how far the site has come since then, behind Google, YouTube is the second largest "search engine".

These YouTube numbers are mind-blowing:
  • There are over one billion users on the site.
  • 80% of YouTube’s traffic comes from outside the U.S.
  • YouTube has paid over $1 billion to partners in revenue
5. Instagram
What started as an iOS exclusive app has since become a mobile and internet icon for sharing images (and now video). It’s a relatively young platform with roots dating back to 2010, but it’s already built up some serious statistics:
  • There are 400 million active users per month
  • 51% of users are male, 49% are female
  • 75% of Instagram users are outside the U.S.
Here are some tips on how to integrate social media into the life and fabric of your church and ministry.

1. Consider where you constituents and audience are present and engaged before you decide what social media channels you choose to add. If most of your audience are engaged with Facebook then it makes perfect sense to be active and participate there. Do you work with youth? Then perhaps Instagram is the place to be since it's demographic skews younger. If hardly anyone in your ministry is on Twitter, perhaps it's best to avoid that platform for the time being. It doesn't do you any good to spend a lot of time and energy talking within a certain social media channel if no one you want to be there and listen is NOT there.

2. Consider your objectives and what you desire to accomplish before you dive in. If you are looking to connect and communicate within your own community, Facebook may be just the right platform to connect with your group and tribe. But, if you are looking to network with other ministry and thought leaders, then you'll probably want to consider Twitter, given that it is a powerful place in which to accomplish that goal. 

3. Use tools to strategically help and assist you. There are all kinds of tools to help you manage multiple social media channels such as Buffer and Hootsuite. These tools aggregate all your social media work in one place. And through these tools, you can schedule posts, monitor the conversations and receive great feedback on how others are interacting and sharing your content.

4. Make sure you ask the question, "How does using this particular social media channel improve the quality of ministry and help move the church's objectives forward?" I believe there need to be 3 ROI Quality Goals and Objectives for Social Media in place before you start. You can read more about that in my earlier post HERE


Mission Trips And The Zika Virus

mosquito
If you lead mission trips and travel for your church or ministry, it is very likely you've already gotten a bunch of questions, and even concern about the Zika Virus. It is important to know how to answer those questions and to answer them with informed and accurate information.

Dr. J. Scott Ries has a great article about the Zika Virus and those considering serving on a mission trip with their church or organization in 2016.

Here is an excerpt:

Do you have plans to go on a mission trip to Central or South America this year?
Me too.

In just a couple of weeks, I will be leading a medical missions team into the heart of Zika infested Central America.

For almost 20 years, I have been working with national partners in several countries, preparing the way for teams to serve and minister to the needs of the poorest of the poor.

But this year, something is different. A new concern has arisen, and mosquito-borne anxiety is sweeping the world.

By some estimates, nearly 2 million Americans are planning to serve on a missions trip of some form this year. If you are one of them, and plan to head to Zika-land this year, you would be wise to stay well informed.

What’s the Big Deal?

Read the rest from Dr. Ries' website HERE

The State Of Spiritual Growth In The Pews

discipleship

from the Barna Group:

Two thousand years ago, Jesus approached twelve seemingly unsuspecting Galileans and bid them: “Come, follow me.” For the next three years, they walked alongside him as he discipled them. Toward the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus commissioned his disciples to go and do the same—to take the Gospel message to the world and make disciples in all the nations.

The Great Commission is an audacious undertaking, all the more so given the fast and sweeping changes taking place in the broader culture. People are lonelier, more distracted and more tethered to their screens, and searching for meaningful lives. As Christians bring the unchanging message of the Gospel to the world, effective approaches to discipleship become more important, especially in a world that is increasingly polarized around spiritual issues.

So what is the current state of discipleship in the U.S.?
Is the church effective in its efforts? Are churchgoers involved in discipleship activities, and if so, which models do they prefer? And perhaps most importantly, do investments in discipleship actually affect spiritual growth? To answer these questions, Barna Group, commissioned by The Navigators and NavPress, conducted a comprehensive, multi-phase research study among Christian adults, church leaders, exemplar discipleship ministries and Christian educators. Here’s what the research uncovered.

Read the entire report and see the results HERE

Three Types Of Feedback That Leaders Must Offer

feedback
There are 3 types of feedback that are important for leaders to give to those in their downline and to their direct reports (these kinds of feedback are also important for the leader to receive as well from those they report to - it works both ways). The 3 types of feedback are:
  • coaching - feedback to help you to improve 
  • evaluative - feedback necessary to determine standing
  • praise - feedback to encourage 
Each type of feedback looks different in how it is offered. Each type of feedback has a specifically desired impact and purpose for those receiving it. In addition, all types of feedback are important and necessary - your feedback communication strategy must be a balanced diet. If all you give is feedback that is filled with praise yet nothing evaluative is ever said, then you aren't truly helping out your direct report, rather you are hiding from them very important information and are stunting their professional and personal growth.

Also, it is important that the sender and receiver both understand what kind of feedback is being given. If there is a feedback communication misunderstanding it can have deleterious implications. For instance, you may think you are giving coaching feedback - yet if the receiver believes they are receiving evaluative feedback they are going to think "am I going to get fired!?". That kind of miscommunication doesn't help.