Archives For Communication

There is no doubt that social media is having a huge impact on churches ability to reach and influence culture. One of the biggest challenges and opportunities church leaders face is whether or not they should be active on social media or not. If you are in leadership at any kind of level reading this I want to tell you that you should absolutely be actively participating on social media.

I’m not talking about your church social media feed. I’m talking to you personally. You should absolutely be active, interacting and present.


When you are leverage social media well, you have the potential and capacity to reach many more people online than who may attend your church. Not just those in the wider Christian community, but you will reach more people who don’t even attend church. Most church leaders dream about being about to connect and communicate with the wider community so simply and directly.

Is it your dream that you could impact and connect with your wider community? If it is I want to share with you seven steps that will help you reach people than ever before.

1. Imagine the average person in your community that doesn’t…

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In ministry, some things must never change, but others must change constantly.

Clearly, God’s five purposes for his Church are non-negotiable. If a church fails to balance the five purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism, then it’s no longer a healthy church, and it’s in danger of becoming simply a social club.

On the other hand, the way or style in which we fulfill these eternal purposes must continually be adjusted and modified because human culture is always changing.

For instance, when I first started Saddleback Church, fresh out of Southwestern Seminary, computers were in their infancy, slow and cumbersome and capable of very limited functions. The Internet was just a crude academic network and nobody had even heard of email. Now I often sit in my pajamas and have conversations with people across the globe.

In addition, you can get on a plane and within a few hours fly to almost anywhere in the world, and that means there’s even less of an excuse for not being involved in foreign missions, even if just for the short-term. The times, they are a-changing, and they’ll keep right on a-changing whether we want them to or not.


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When it comes to a “profile” or “bio” on social media, most people just have fun with it. That’s okay, but if you want to be an influencer, get noticed, or grow your followers, a more creative and strategic profile can give you a big boost.  Here are the three most important areas most people need to fix:

1) Your Photo: What’s the image you want to project to the world? It’s not about egomania, it’s about perception. Your social media profile photo is something people will see over and over again – perhaps thousands of times. So make it something you want burned into their memory.

Photos are an important part of great visual design, so every time you post a photo on a profile, make it count.

2) The Link: What’s the most important and authoritative website that tells your story? Do you have a blog? A general website? If not, perhaps it’s your Facebook page. In some cases, you may want to use the link to your company, church, nonprofit – particularly if…

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Have you ever heard these questions?

“How can I share small group ministry vision and ongoing training when I struggle to even get the leaders to gather together! What do you do to gather your leaders? What works well in your context? What creative ideas have you implemented?”

Every time my Small Group Network Huddle meets, questions such as this surface in one form or another. So if these questions ring true for you in your role as a small group ministry leader, let me assure you you are not alone!

While physically gathering small group leaders together has an important and valuable role in our ministry, sometimes it just proves too tricky to pull off on a regular basis. So thinking creatively beyond a physical gathering is an important step. Social media can be a very simple and effective vehicle to connect with our team, to encourage, inspire, set direction and share information.

When most people use the term “social media,” they are referring to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. If you are anything like me (a bit of a novice), it can all seem a little overwhelming. So I want to encourage you…

This post was originally published on The Small Group Network's blog, where you can find many more resources for Purpose Driven small group ministry.

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I find it fascinating that many people who handle social media for very large churches and ministries find it difficult to share their faith on their personal social media platforms. And others do it in an incredibly obnoxious way. Every new technology gives us another possibility for telling the greatest story ever told, but we have to do it with honesty and sincerity.

Krysta Masciale, CEO of Big Deal Branding puts it this way: “For me, it’s important that I share as much on social media as I would in person. Since I don’t speak about my faith until I’ve gained trust and been given permission to do so in a relationship, I use that same philosophy with my social media accounts. Also, know your audience. If Christians follow you and are expecting spiritual insights, give it to them. If not, be aware that you’re building a relationship, not trying to sell a car.”

Krysta is exactly right. So I asked Kristen Tarsiuk, Creative Director + Community Pastor at Liberty Church Brooklyn to give us some suggestions about sharing our faith without screwing up the message. Here are her…

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Mark Cuban once said…

Tithes…Sales cure all.”

Now, I understand having a stronger tithe base doesn’t cure all. But it sure does help alleviate several church tensions for pastors. Use these 7 ways to boost your church giving.

1. Buy a Giving-Themed URL

Most churches have a giving link on their website, but it takes some time to explain to congregants how they can find it. I tried something a few years ago and our online giving grew from 25% to 55% of total monthly giving. Buy a domain that is related to your church name and giving. Our church name is Northwood Church so I bought and forwarded it to the url for our giving page.

During the giving talk we created a simple graphic with and we mentioned it every service. “For those of you who don’t carry cash or check, you can give at right there on your phone.”

Giving increased overall because we added a new way for people to give. became a popular phrase in every department for event registration and signup payments.

2. Get Automated Payments

We have seen a surge in the business world the last several years on monthly subscription pricing. The theory…

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I spend a lot of time with pastors around the country. I get asked all kinds of questions. I’ll write later about the most common things I see when I do a church secret shopper consultation. Today, I want to write about one of the most common things I say to churches. Here it is:

Always point people to your church’s website. Always. 

Before I finished this post, I took a quick poll of pastor friends of mine. I texted them and said, “Am I the only one that says this or is that what you also do with your church’s strategy?” They all agreed it’s the same for them, too. It’s what I always encourage pastors with when I consult with their church.

Why does this post have a picture of a mobile phone? Because people will check your mobile website out (most likely) first – before they sit at their computer and look. I’ve written in the past about being mobile. Let me just say this is huge. You have to have a mobile website or responsive design these days.

What are some examples of how this aforementioned principle plays out?


Whenever I visit local churches, most of the time I’m faced with a frustrated local media producer who’s at his or her wit’s end. They’re usually good producers, often with extensive experience, plus a real calling to use media to take the Gospel to the culture. But in nearly every case, he or she is either burned out, upset, or ready to quit.  Ninety percent of the time, I get the same response – “The pastor just doesn’t have a vision for media – especially television.” It also comes in numerous other laments, such as “Every time I try something new, the pastor hates it.” Or the tried and true: “The pastor just doesn’t get it – he doesn’t even watch TV himself, so he doesn’t understand how to use it as a tool to reach the community,” and last but certainly not least: “I’ve never had the budget I really needed.”

In the words of a former President: “I feel your pain.” I’ve worked with enough pastors, evangelists, and ministry leaders over the last three decades to know the…

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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

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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…

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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.

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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…

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