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.

The Key To Success!

Hard Work! Surprised?

In his latest book Outliers, author and pop-sociologist Malcolm Gladwell examines the forces behind successful people.

Throughout his book, Gladwell mentions several key factors such as mental and social competence, cultural upbringing, and pure luck. But in addition to these factors, Gladwell cites that fundamentally people succeed because they just plain work harder than others.

Gladwell mentions that 10,000 hours (which roughly works out to 10 years) as the magic minimum number required to reach world class expertise at any one particular subject or skill. In other words, 10 years is the tipping point for success.

Simply put, there are no shortcuts around pure hard work.

What if we as church leaders looked at our investment in others and ourselves in at least 10 year increments? How could that positively impact the church and it's mission?

Rather, too often we are too willing to only try something for a year or two and then just abandon it and move on. We get impatient, bored or begin to doubt if our plans and purposes are going to get any traction. But if you think about it, 10 years really isn't all that much time. Especially when you consider the thousands of years God has been patiently moving forward His kingdom work throughout the world!

Reality is most of us can attempt working at dreams with ten-year plans several times over within our lifespans. Are you willing to work hard and commit a decade to your plans?

(ht: LeadershipNetwork)

10 Reasons You Might Fail

This is grabbed from Tony Morgan - but I give it a hearty AMEN!

Here are ten reasons why you will probably fail:

1. It’s not your passion. If it doesn’t make your heart beat fast or cause your mind to race when you’re trying to sleep, you’re probably doing the wrong thing.

2. You don’t have a plan. You need a vision, and you need to identify specific steps to make that vision become reality. That includes a financial plan. (I happen to believe you need direction from God on this.)

3. You’re waiting for it to be perfect. Test-drive it. Beta-test that new idea. You’ll fall into the trap of inaction if you think it has to be absolutely right from day one.

4. You’re not willing to work hard. Everything worth pursuing in my life has involved discipline and perseverance.

5. . Keep learning. Keep growing. But more importantly, build a team of people including leaders that can be who you’re not.

6. You’ve had success in the past. I’ve watched organizations hang on to a good idea for too long. Time passes. Momentum fades. It’s risky to let go of the past and jump on the next wave.

7. You’re unwilling to stop doing something else. Complexity is easy. Simplicity takes discipline. You can’t build a healthy marriage if you’re unwilling to give up dating other women. Who/what do you need to stop dating?

8. You won’t build a team of friends. Anyone can hire from a resume. You need to find people you want to share life with. In the long run, great relationships will get you out of bed in the morning.

9. You are unwilling to have the tough conversations. When breakdown happens (and it always does), someone needs to put on their big-boy pants and initiate the difficult conversation that leads to relational healing.

10. You’re afraid of failure. When fear consumes you, it will cause you to do stupid things. You’ll let negativity distract you. You’ll embrace the known, and grow comfortable with mediocrity. The more often you fail, though, the more often you’ll find success.


Want To Get Creative With Your Space?

Church Relevance has a great post that will stimulate ideas in order to give your space at church WOW! appeal

If you want to have a creative church environment, consider doing something fun with the walls. Companies like Design Public (USA) and Wallpaper from the 70s (Germany) offer a wide variety of creative wall products. But the scope of resources extends far past these two companies. To help guide you through it all, here is a toolbox of links to some of the best wallpapers, wall murals, paints, primers, stickers, and wall applications available.




(check out the rest of the resources at Church Relevance)

(ht: ChurchRelevance)

Google Friend Connect

Here is a heads up on a new feature that I am experimenting with on this site. I’ve added Google Friend Connect to the right sidebar below on Ministry Best Practices.

Friend Connect adds a social component to the site and makes it easy for anyone to sign in, share a little bit about themselves through a personal profile, discover other people with similar interests in Ministry, and interact with each other.

You can read all about the release here and check out the video below for a simple explanation of how this works.

Mobile Phone Ministry

The desire to be in touch with people and information 24/7 has led to the huge growth in mobile cell phones and other mobile devices. 80% of the world’s population now lives within a mobile reception area, a figure likely to increase to 90% by 2010.

Mobile phone subscriptions passed the 3.3 billion point at the end of 2007 (i.e. equivalent to half the world’s population) and many of these are in non-western or developing 10/40 Window countries. There are more mobile phones used in Africa than USA. The mobile systems in Japan and Korea are more advanced than almost anywhere. It is a hugely significant medium. Unlike a computer, a mobile is always with you – an integrated part of you and your lifestyle.

So how do you leverage and accommodate this technology for ministry?

SMS (text messaging)?

Are you developing your web presence to accomodate mobile browsers?

What about voice messaging services like

(ht: IED)

Signs Of A Lukewarm Pastor

This list is from Craig Groeschel of All I can say is about this list is "conviction". These are great diagnostic questions to ask yourself as to the spiritual health of your relationship with Jesus.  I have been chewing on this list all week.

Signs of a lukewarm pastor:

Prays as much, or more, publicly than privately.

Is almost exclusively dependent on others’ sermons to preach than directly hearing from God.

Cares more about his church than The Church.

Preaches about evangelism but doesn’t practice evangelism privately.

Tolerates and rationalizes unconfessed sin.

Preaches for the approval of people rather than the approval of God.

Is overly sensitive to criticism.

Harbors bitterness and unforgiveness.

Reads the Bible to prepare sermons but not for personal devotion to God.

Is jealous or critical of someone else that God is blessing.

The Money Crunch

According to Barna's latest study, "Two out of every three families - 68% - have been noticeably affected by the financial setbacks in America. Nearly one out of every four (22%) said they have been impacted in a "major way," almost four out of ten have been affected "only somewhat" and about one out of every twelve (8%) say they have not been affected too much."

How have people responded to these tough economic times? According to Barna, churches and non-profits are feeling the brunt of the economy's woes.
During the past three months, one of the ways that adults have adjusted to their financial hardships has been by reducing their charitable giving. In total, one out of every five households (20%) has decreased its giving to churches or other religious centers.

The degree of reduction in giving is significant for churches. Among people who have decreased giving to churches and religious centers, 19% dropped their giving by as much as 20%, 5% decreased their generosity by 21% to 49%, 17% reduced their giving by half, and 11% sliced their provision by more than half. In addition, 22% said they had stopped their giving altogether.
How Are Churches Responding?

Nearly 1/3 said that their church offered a special talk about the finanical situation and how to respond to it. Almost 37% said their church had offered specific opportunities for personal financial counseling.

Providing special prayer support for those who were struggling financially was noted by 73% of church-goers. And about half of Christian church attenders (52%) said that their church had increased the amount of material assistance made available to congregants during the past three months, such as food, clothing and other basic needs.

How is your church responding to the current economic challenges?

(ht: Barna)