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.

5 Simple Principles That Will Revolutionize Your Team

If you are a leader it is because you are leading people (it's kinda the definition of being a leader). People are working for and alongside you as part of a team- all of whom are moving toward common objectives, shared goals and mission together. As you lead your team, here are 5 simple principles that will revolutionize your team - helping you to have a happier and healthier team and experience together.

#1 Don't Micro-Manage - although this may be tempting, the key in helping people do their work is not to look over their shoulder, but rather empower them to do the job. Let them do their work in the manner that is in best keeping with their gifts, skills and abilities. Of course as a leader it is necessary to have periodic touch points to make sure everything is moving along, answer questions and encourage along the way -  but let people be in control of their work processes.

#2 Communicate Clear Expectations - this dovetails into the first principle. If you give your team members clear expectations, with clear deadlines, with clearly defined outcomes, then they will be empowered and accountable to do what is being asked of them.

#3 Thank Often - it doesn't matter if your team members are volunteers or paid, people need to be appreciated. It doesn't have to be extravagant, just intentional.

#4 Give Performance Reviews - it is important for team members to count on periodic reviews of their performance (more often when first starting, then usually yearly from that point on).

Having a determined process in which this is done, gives you permission to have those conversations, especially if they are going to be difficult ones. If you don't do reviews, and your team member isn't working up to expectations, it is unfair and unjust to be punitive if no one has given them any opportunity to receive feedback and make improvement. Remember we all have a blind spots - it is your job as a leader to be able to speak into those and work toward the success of your team members.

#5 Ask Them Questions - since they are the closest to the job or task, the more and more they do their tasks, the more and more they are becoming the experts. Therefore ask them questions, seek their advice, let them have a greater voice into the work and the process they are engaged in.

What principles would you add to this list?

Great Ebook Deals To Plan Your Reading For 2014

As you plan your reading for 2014 - here are some great ebook deals you can scoop up before the end of the year:

GOSPEL by J.D. Greear. Foreword by Tim Keller – $3.49
Jesus on Every Page by David Murray – $2.99
Does God Desire All To Be Saved? by John Piper – $1.99
Knowing God by J.I. Packer – $2.99
Willing to Believe by R.C. Sproul – $3.49

Center Church by Tim Keller – $4.49
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – $1.99
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller – $7.99
Jesus the King by Tim Keller – $7.99
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller – $1.62
The Scriptures Testify about Me: Jesus & the Gospel in the Old Testament  by Tim Keller, D.A. Carson, Alistair Begg, Matt Chandler, & more – $3.49

Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Gregory Koukl – $2.99
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever – $3.99
Effective Bible Teaching by James Wilhoit and Leland Ryken – $3.49
How to Read the Bible Book by Book  by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart – $2.99
I Am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives. by Dave Sterrett – $2.99
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart – $2.99
7 Truths That Changed the World by Kenneth Samples – $3.03
A to Z with C.S. Lewis by Louis Markos – $0.99
A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.S. Lewis by Devin Brown – $2.99
Faith & Life by B.B. Warfield – $0.99

The Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler – $12.99
The Life of God in the Soul of the Church by Thabiti Anyabwile – $3.99
Is God anti-gay? by Sam Allberry – $5.99 

Resisting Gossip by Matthew Mitchell - $3.99
Chronological Study Bible - $4.99
NIV Study Bible – $4.27
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary – $4.27
MacArthur Study Bibles - $4.99
Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung – $3.99 
A Quest for More by Paul Tripp – $3.03
NIV Bible Study Commentary by John Sailhamer – $2.99

Social Media Stats From 2013 - Infographic

Here is a great infographic from Mobile Marketing Watch on the scope and impact of social media during 2013. I think you'll notice that it is imperative for your ministry to have a plan and strategy to use a multitude of social media channels mentioned below - because as you can see, each social media platform is different in it's audience, scope, engagement and impact.

Youth Groups Driving Christian Teens To Abandon Faith

Here is a study worth revisiting and readdressing:

from Charisma:
A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Some time ago, Christian pollster George Barna documented that 61 percent of today's 20-somethings who had been churched at one point during their teen years are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray.
According to a new five-week, three-question national survey sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. 
Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry because it's too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers. But even if church youth groups had the gravitas of Dallas Theological Seminary, 36 percent of today's believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical.
This video, although humorous, I believe aptly illustrates the problem - the church's need and desire for youth ministry to be cool and entertaining - therefore becoming shallow and irrelevant.

Several Stats That Will Make You Go Hmmmm

It is important for a church and ministry to be communication & technology savvy - i.e. adapting to mobile and leveraging social media. Jeremy Smith has some great stats and insights on his website concerning social media and email use.

Here is a sample....

Email Marketing
  • 76% of email opens occur in the first two days after an email is sent [1]
  • 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices [2]
  • 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile [3]
Social Media Engagement
  • 65% of Facebook’s user base is active, the most of the top five social media networks online.[4]
  • Google+ has 62% inactive users from its registered user base, the worst of the top five social networks. [5]
Read the rest on Jeremy's website.

So let me ask you, knowing these stats, how does it change the way you communicate? Here is an sample takeaway...if my ministry doesn't have an active presence on Facebook, then these stats show me that I am missing on a strategic opportunity to connect with many of my people.

Amazing Mobile Stats Among Teens

If you are a youth worker, then you are well aware of the use (and abuse) of cell phones and texting among teens. As you and the parents you partners with work among teens, you may find these statistics in the infographic below helpful to know.

  • Teens send over 48,000 texts a year. Many of them in the middle of the night. 
  • 70% of teens receive a text

(ht: Safely)

How To Create Inspiration

"Inspiration exists but it has to find you working" - Pablo Picasso

Love this quote, because it aptly speaks a truth and a reality that I try to apply in my life, that is -  innovation and inspiration respect initiative.

Coffee And Productivity

Coffee shops (especially with endless coffee) is where I produce. I love the background noise and activity around me, it actually helps me be more productive and creative. In fact I got much of my studying done for my ordination exams in a coffee shop. So needless to say, coffee shops are where I go to get stuff done.

Yet, needless to say, I can't always work in a coffee shop, that is why I love this app called Coffitivity

It creates that nice, coffee shop "white noise" - just enough to make you feel like you are actually there.

They have apps available for the Mac, iOS and there is something there for everyone.

Check Coffitivity out and give yourself a boost of productivity (and if you don't believe that this can help...see the research HERE)

10 Ministry Practices That Are NOT "BEST"

Sometimes thinking about the best way to do something is to talk about it in the negative. Just off the top of my head  - concerning ministry practices, here are some attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that are NOT BEST: (not in order of importance)

1. Believing that your ministry gifts are enough and can get you through your work.
2. (Corollary to number one) Believing that you don't have time to pray.
3. Thinking as if you need to have all the answers and expertise.
4. Don't generously thank those that serve with you (paid or volunteer).
5. Not being willing to let some things fall by the waist side.

6. Not guarding and setting boundaries around family time, devotional time, exercise time, recreation time etc..
7. Putting up walls around your heart and life, not allowing trusted individuals to be in your life.
8. Don't listen to others, as well as don't try to find the kernel of truth in every criticism, no matter how hard it hurts.
9. Doing everything yourself, and don't delegate.
10. Don't be a lifetime learner - read, study, be curious.

I know that I missed a lot...what would you add? Please comment below!

Ebook Bargains For Your Library

Perhaps this Christmas you received some new devices that need to be filled up with some good ebooks? Either way, check out these great deals on all of these great titles!

Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson—$2.99
Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung—$3.99
Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman—$2.99
Jesus on Every Page by David Murray—$2.99
The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler—$2.99
The Life of God in the Soul of the Church The Root and Fruit of Spiritual Fellowship by Thabiti Anyabwile—$3.99
Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will by R.C. Sproul—$3.99
A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship by Michael Horton—$3.99
Does God Desire All to Be Saved? by John Piper—$1.99
The Scriptures Testify about Me: Jesus and the Gospel in the Old Testament edited by D.A. Carson—$3.99
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever—$3.99

Nancy Ganz’s Herein is Love series is available for $1.99 each:

Vol. 1: Genesis
Vol. 2: Exodus
Vol. 3: Leviticus
Vol. 4: Numbers
Vol. 5: Deuteronomy

Also,  Zondervan and Thomas Nelson have put a ton of titles on sale from their catalogue. Here are a few worth checking out:

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman—$2.99
Gods at War by Kyle Idleman—$2.99
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem—$8.99
Center Church by Tim Keller—$4.99
Evangelical Theology by Michael F. Bird—$7.99
The Christian Faith by Michael Horton—$8.99
Historical Theology by Gregg R. Allison—$7.99

Perfect Love

There is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear - 1 John 4:18

A good reminder for leaders and an important verse to commit to memory.

14 Things You Shouldn't Say To Your Pastor

  1. I wish I had a job like yours, where I would work only one day a week.
  2. What do you do with all the free time you have?
  3. Can I have a couple of minutes before you preach?
  4. I love you pastor, but....(fill in the blank).
  5. I like your preaching, pastor, but I really like....(fill in the blank with television or podcast preacher).
  6. Can your wife play piano?
  7. Your kids shouldn’t behave that way. After all, they are pastor’s kids.
  8. Your low salary is good for you. It keeps you humble and dependent on the Lord.
  9. I bet you don’t spend any time preparing your sermons.
  10. Pastor (predecessor pastor) didn’t do it that way.
  11. You don’t have a real degree. You went to seminary.
To read 12-14 go to Thom Rainer

Are You More Productive With Your Devices?

Let me ask you this question - Do you feel as if you are more productive with your devices (i.e. smartphone, tablet) than you are without? If yes or no, please comment below on your answer.

Electronic Devices and Productivity

ONE Simple Trick To Beat Your Fear Of Public Speaking

from Lifehacker:

Public speaking isn't easy, so it helps to have every trick in the book at your disposal to beat your fear. The next time you have to speak in front of an audience, you might want to introduce yourself to them at the door, suggests Dumb Little Man.
Greet people as they walk into the room. Simply stand at the door and introduce yourself as the speaker. For bonus points, ask people if they have any questions in advance. That will ensure you are aware of the audience's expectations and what they hope to get out of your speech. Boom. You're no longer speaking to a room full of strangers. You're speaking to new friends.
The post from Dumb Little Man has some other neat tips on how to be an effective speaker, including a professional speechwriter secret: printing out your speeches in size 18 font or larger so it's easily readable from a distance.

(ht: Lifehacker)

FREE Advent Devotional

Resources from John Piper are always solid and dependable - this free ebook is no exception.
“…this book of Advent devotionals aims to put Jesus at the center of your holiday season. These short meditations are excerpted from the ministry of John Piper and correspond to the daily readings in Desiring God’s free devotional app, Solid Joys (available in iTunes and Google Play), as well as online.”
Download this in many different ebook formats from the Desiring God website.