Archives For Communication

Every weekend, Saddleback Church shows a short video of what’s coming up in the life of our church. We call this part in our services Church News. It’s a two and a half minute creative way to connect with all those visual learners out there and inform them of events, outreaches, and resources. Our video team has a huge heart for crafting a Church News piece that is engaging, relevant, and creative. We want it to reach the person who’s never been to church before and help them feel welcome, accepted, in-the-know and engaged – and every decision we make is with that in mind.

I don’t know about your church, but Saddleback Church is always changing. It’s exciting to work in such a fast-pace environment, but it can also be challenging. From the time our Marketing and Communications team gets the announcement content to us, we have one week to turn around our video. That’s 5 days to dream, write, cast, shoot, and edit (in addition to our other weekly responsibilities). Because of this, Church News is a HUGE team effort that would not be possible without the different strengths and imagination of our team, hosts, and volunteers.

The heartbeat…

This post was originally published on Saddleback Worship's blog. Check out their latest release, entitled First

Continue Reading

Creatives

As a kid in high school my youth pastor invited my friends and I over to his house to hang out for the first time. Even though he was  a compassionate youth leader he never invited  us over before. So, when he opened the door on that day we realized immediately why it was difficult to have company. The problem was that his wife had covered over every bit of furniture with plastic as well as throwing down a little plastic on the carpet to make a pathway to the backyard. She was so scared that we might soil her furniture and carpet that she went out of her way to protect it with plastic.

Seriously? I know that we were teenaged guys, but was she seriously expecting us to jump on the furniture with grape juice boxes like four year olds? That sense of control she was trying to grasp onto made us feel more like an inconvenience. She appeared to value stuff more than relationships.  

Pastors, there is a principle that I want you take from this. Your sense of control, or need to “put…

Continue Reading

AdobeStock_108676068-300x214-c010b2f0af19dc95f3ebc18d4cfa8bd125baa167Leading a church in Chicago, Illinois is tough.

It’s even tougher during our brutal winters. So what does a pastor to do when the temperature dips below zero, and the wind chill factor dips to double digits? Cancel service? Oh no! We’re the City of Broad Shoulders, and we don’t dare cancel services due to inclement weather.

Imagine making your sermons stick past Sunday? Imagine a proven strategy to get members and guests engaging with your messages long after Sunday. Are you interested? If so, read on.

My generation experienced the election of the first African-American President, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Desert Storm, Iraq War, historic government bailouts, the passing of healthcare reform, and the greatest economic downturn since The Great Depression. However, in my opinion, the greatest shifts are happening now!

Our World is Connected

Companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple have one root intention: to make it simpler for people to communicate and collaborate. Of all the tools and websites created to connect people, Facebook seems to be the most popular starting place for many.

Continue Reading

One of the most prevalent online offenses of churches today is not having mobile friendly websites.

But before getting into 4 major benefits of having a mobile friendly website, here are…

5 defining factors of a mobile friendly website:

  1. Mobile friendly websites have larger text/buttons. Because of the nature of using your fingers to navigate, one of the many signs of a mobile friendly website is being able to cleanly select links on a page. This is easily accomplished by having buttons or pictures represent links rather than text. When text is used you have to make sure you’re giving ample space for a person’s thumb or finger to click on your link, otherwise, it’s not very friendly to the mobile user.
  2. Mobile friendly websites have large navigation panes. It’s common in responsive websites to have their navigation bar shrunk down to an incredibly small size in order to show on a phone or tablet. A true mobile friendly website will include an icon of some sort clearly offering the navigation menu to appear when clicked. When in use, the navigation menu will take up the entire screen in order to be large enough…

    Continue Reading

image

Recently I attended the That Church Conference to learn more about how churches can better leverage social media to impact our world for Christ.  One of the individuals I connected with was Jonathan Carone.  Jonathan had recently released The Church Template, a low cost website template designed specifically to help churches reach their community.  I highly recommend you check it out.

He was also kind enough to share with me some common mistakes he sees on church websites.  I wanted to pass along his thoughts to you.

The following are 10 Common Mistakes Found On Church Websites from Jonathan Carone of The Church Template:

1) Not mobile friendly

This is likely the hardest mistake to correct on this list but it’s by far the most important. Research is coming out saying that 60% of the Internet is viewed on a mobile device. Other reports tell us that 80% of Internet users own a smart phone. To reach people in 2015, your website needs to be optimized for mobile viewing.

2) Focused on your current attenders

Does your website focus on what your ministries are doing next week? Or does it focus on what the potential guest…

Continue Reading

Your church website may be breaking some unspoken rules.

If you follow these rules they will dramatically impact the way your website functions.  Your church site should be an asset used to generate results.

Most church websites are simply a window for viewing static info. Your website is a tool to connect with people in your community and beyond.

If you want your website to work for you, follow these 5 rules.

1. Get rid of the homepage slider

I have had so many pastors make the case for the slider in the name of, “We want people to see things are happening.1

The problem is, no one clicks on the slider. In fact, some studies have shown only 1% of people will click on your slider.

Don’t take up valuable real estate on your website with something that continues to generates low results.

Sliders also don’t work well on mobile devices or smart tablets. The rise of one-page websites has risen dramatically with mobile traffic.

2. Build A Site For Outsiders

Filling a slider with your church’s “current events” caters to insiders.

We have done testing with our church clients and found, the majority of traffic came from non members.

People…

Continue Reading

After decades working with churches around the world, I’ve discovered that one of the most difficult challenges pastors face is finding the right “Executive Pastor.” In a significant number of cases, local pastors don’t really understand the role. In my opinion, one of the best XP’s in the country is Mike Buster, Executive Pastor at Prestonwood Church in Plano, Texas. He’s worked with Pastor Jack Graham for 28 years, and they’ve become a remarkable team. In fact, in my opinion, Jack Graham is one of the greatest leaders in the church today, therefore the standards at Prestonwood are high.   So I asked Mike to tell me about the purpose, role, responsibilities, and challenges of being an XP. Here’s what he said:

Phil Cooke:  What’s the purpose of an “Executive Pastor”?

Mike Buster:  The Executive Pastor should know the heart, vision, goals and desires of his pastor. He should have the fortitude and wisdom to take the skeleton vision provided by the pastor and put flesh on it. He is to be a steward of the church’s resources and the pastor’s vision. The XP should be able to see the…

Continue Reading

Most church conflict results from poor communication. Even your best ideas, plans, or suggestions are worthless if you can’t communicate them effectively. Remember, communication is not automatic. Just because someone hears you say something doesn’t mean they’re really listening.

Fortunately, there are seven skills you can develop that will guarantee people will listen when you speak. Just follow these guidelines from the Bible:

  1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME! Timing is the first key. You may be ready to talk, but are they ready to listen? Never drop a bomb! “There is a right time and a right way to do everything.” Eccl. 8:6 (GN)
  2. PLAN YOUR PRESENTATION. Think it through first. Especially plan your introduction and your supporting illustrations. Don’t start with the detail. In TV they move from the long shot to the medium shot to the close up. “Intelligent people think before they speak. What they say is then more persuasive.” Prov. 16:23 (GN)
  3. BEGIN WITH HIS OR HER NEEDS. A listener is always asking “Why should I listen to this?” and “How will it benefit me?” If you answer those two questions up front, you will have their undivided attention. “Speak only…according…

    Continue Reading

Speaking

I see preachers today erring in one of two directions and rarely finding the balance. That is, some preachers are grounded in the world of the Bible and committed to the text, but when they preach they’re dull and lifeless. They put their people to sleep. On the other hand, there are other preachers who are very creative and passionate and effective communicators, but they are not rooted in the biblical text. I’m seeing both of these extremes. We need to have preachers who marry these two things—a commitment to the biblical text and a commitment to passionate, creative delivery.

Dr. Hershael York (Professor of Christian Preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky)

Dr. York makes a point that I think most ministers miss: It’s important that preachers be both biblical and creative. We don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Creativity and solid theology are not mutually exclusive.

This conversation can get people antsy. Talk about creativity, and some take it as an attack on the Bible. Talk theology, and some pastors think you want them to live in…

Continue Reading

Anyone who preaches typically has a lot to say. You have more to say than you have time to communicate on Sunday morning. This is why so many preachers preach too long. But what you have to say is important. And, believe it or not, there’s a lot of people, beginning with those in your local church, who want to know what you have to say about a lot of things. You’re a spiritual leader in their lives and your thoughts, experiences, and opinions matter to them.

This is why you should blog. This is why I blog.

In my last post I shared my journey of blogging for one year. This post will explore two ways blogging can enhance your ministry. Then, I want to give you some simple steps to get started setting up your blog and writing your first post.

1. Blogging increases your influence and kingdom impact.

There are people who would read your blog because you wrote it. There are others who currently don’t know you who would find you, appreciate your writing and follow you if you started blogging.

I’ve met and interacted with so many people as a result…

Continue Reading

PeriscopeAs the Social Media app Periscope continues to grow in popularity, an ever-increasing number of church leaders are leaning in to this emerging tool as an opportunity to connect and transfer vision.

Periscope videos are public broadcasts viewable by anyone, with notifications that are sent to your followers and to your Twitter feed when you “go live.” However, there is also a private broadcasting feature which allows the user to limit potential viewers to a select group of followers.

Given this functionality, the ability to interact with viewers, and the 24-hour lifespan of each video saved, here are 46 examples of how leaders might use Periscope in Church Ministry…

For the Vision-Dripping Senior Pastor: 

1. Deliver daily devotions during a season of campaigning

2. Share vision-soaked highlights of the day on Sunday evenings

3. Reveal a Thursday afternoon sermon preview with handles on how to invite to Sunday services

4. Broadcast business meetings during those hard-to-quorum summer months

5. Lead sermon-based small group leaders by reviewing main points and potential applications

6. Share weekly prayer moments – taking requests and praying

7. Poll member’s feelings about a topic while preparing a sermon

8. Host regular “Bible answer man” / tough questions sessions

9. Give live…

Continue Reading

Blog GraphicWhen I was a kid, my grandparents owned a small, community store in Browning, Kentucky where I grew up. It was the hub of social activity a the end of each workday. Commuters from town would stop for gas and maybe an ice cream cone and would catch up on life with one another before driving on home.

That store, along with multitudes of others like it across the country, is closed now. But I’m convinced the social aspect of the community store lives on in the form of online social networking. People hang out in community with each other on Facebook, sharing about life and tuning into the lives of others, discussing news and culture, and sharing their faith.

It’s that final aspect of online social networking that intrigues me the most. When we started Grace Hills Church, we didn’t have a bunch of money to drop on mass mailers or newspaper ads. So we turned to Facebook. Most of the first 35 people who showed up at our very first public meeting heard about us through Facebook, either directly from one of our posts, or from seeing something about us…

Continue Reading