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.

Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts

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)

4 Reasons You Need To Re-think Your Coffee Consumption

It’s complicated.

No, not my relationship status. I’ve been (very) happily married for 17 years.

With coffee. Or, more accurately, caffeine.

On the one hand, I love coffee. The different varieties and their subtle differences. The taste. I even roast my own and love geeking out on all the best equipment. (That I can afford, anyway). Nothing wrong with all that.

On the other hand, sometimes I’m not sure who’s in charge. I’ve had headaches and gotten grouchy when I don’t get my morning joe. I’ve been late to meetings - and even church - in an effort to fit it in.

Maybe your relationship with coffee is complicated, too. Let’s talk about 4 reasons why it’s critical for us, especially as ministry leaders, to consume our coffee (or anything caffeinated) thoughtfully and responsibly.

[I’ve included some simple ways to break free from our caffeine addiction - without giving up coffee - in this short (and free) download].

What’s At Stake

As disciples of Christ, our entire lives belong to him. Our bodies and coffee included. So there’s more at stake than you might think.

1. Your health is at stake. I’m not cracking down so much on the amount of caffeine you consume. Experts seem to think that adults can safely enjoy up to 400 milligrams each day, roughly equivalent to 4 brewed (8 ounce) cups of coffee. The bigger concern here is that, as busy ministry leaders, we can push and push. And push. We can skimp on the 7-8 hours of sleep we need every night, do too much, and use caffeine to top off our (empty) tanks.

2. Your credibility is at stake. The people we serve rightly expect us to live lives of greater integrity than the average Christian. Paul said, for example, that ‘every athlete exercises self-control in all things… but I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified’. (1 Corinthians 9:27) If he didn’t exercise self-control, he couldn’t ask others to listen to what he taught. Neither can you. If caffeine owns us, how can we encourage others to be owned by God?

3. Your fruitfulness in ministry is at stake. If you’re like me, you got into ministry because you wanted to change the world for God. The results are up to God, but we should expect to see some fruitfulness from our efforts, right? John the Baptist told his listeners, for example, to ‘bear fruit in keeping with repentance… every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire’. (John 3:8,10) But if people don't respect us, they won't listen to us, and the fruit of our ministry is in jeopardy.

4. Your relationship with God is at stake. I know, I know - it sounds like I’m being dramatic. I’m not… suggesting that your salvation is at stake. God’s got that, regardless of how much we fail (see Romans 8:28).

But the quality of our relationship with God is related to the choices we make, just load in any relationship. If we’re routinely missing out on sleep in an effort to accomplish more, for example, that’s a deeply spiritual, gospel issue.

As ministry leaders, we can be a lot like much of professional, corporate America, relying on what we do to find our value. Instead of what God has done once and forever in Christ on our behalf. ‘He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior’ (Titus 3:5-6).

This is the heart of the Christian life. If there’s one thing we - and the people we serve - need to get and grow into - it’s this. With God’s help, we’ve got to lead out here. And not just in theory (I believe this), but in practice (I believe this and show it by the way I live it out, however imperfectly).

With God’s help, we can. There's way too much at stake to let coffee get in the way.

Let’s live it out: Describe your relationship with caffeine. If ‘it’s complicated’, in what ways could it be more healthy?

Bryan Stoudt is a pastor in Philadelphia, and blogs about learning to follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world at He is absolutely crazy about all things coffee. If you want 8 simple tips about reconsidering your relationship with caffeine, you can get them with this short (and free) download bonus.

Photo Credit: Noelle Buske via Compfight cc

11 Signs Of Ministry Burnout

#1 – You begin to despise the people you are called to love and minister to.

#2 – You often allow your mind to drift towards what else you could do OTHER than ministry.

#3 – You feel like a “ministry machine” that does what you do out of guilty obligation rather than out of an overflow out of your own intimate walk with God. (In other words, as Bill Hybels says, “the rate at which you are doing the work of God is destroying the work of God in you!”

#4 – You begin to make decisions based on what is the easiest rather than what you KNOW God wants you to do.

#5 – You become increasingly critical of churches, people and ministries that you feel God is blessing more than you.

#6 – You can’t remember the last time you actually opened your Bible to comune with God rather than trying to find a sermon/Bible study.

#7 – Your begin to view the staff you serve with as your servants rather than God’s servants.

#8 – You use delegation as an excuse to be lazy.

#9 – You can’t remember the last time you and your spouse had a conversation that was not church related.

#10 – You can’t remember the last time you spent time with your children…and enjoyed it.

#11 – You begin to doubt the power of God in your life and the life of others.

(ht: Perry)

Using Twitter as a Lifehack

Although this blog doesn't often address this issue, it is nevertheless an important Best Ministry Practice: good health.

You can't do everything that the Lord may be calling you to do if you feel sluggish, are sick and have no stamina.

Being a pastor is a wonderful calling and job but it does have a couple of on-the-job hazards. I am always around food and my job is very sedentary. As a pastor I meet people over meals. I have meetings with food at them. I sit all the time, either at the office, at Starbucks or in my car driving to an appointment. For myself, I needed to loose weight, have more energy and feel healthier.

Therefore, I am following the idea and inspiration of fellow blogger Dennis (mentioning it here on his blog) by using Twitter to provide encouragement and accountability for diet and exercise.

I have set up a Twitter site to record my food, exercise and weight. Visit

Using this tool, Twitter, I am going to be vulnerable and honest with you. I am going to tell you what food I am putting in my body. I will let you know when I exercise and how much. And you will get updates on my weight, loss or gain.

In essence, it is a food diary and a exercise diary. And you get a chance to see it all!

You can "follow-me" in Twitter or subscribe to it's RSS feed or check the updates on the NEW sidebar on the left hand side of my other blog - Provocative Church.

You can respond to me - encourage me, rebuke me when I drive into Krispy Kreme to get a dozen or commiserate with me as well.

I am doing this for me, and I trust that because I know that friends and the internet world will be watching, that it'll provide accountability and the necessary motivation.