Archives For Communication

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Google updated its search engine recently. Reports say that it is the biggest update in recent times. Many commentators are calling this update #mobilegeddon. Why did they update it and why should it matter to you as a leader in a church?

Good question.

Google has been tracking the rise of its users on the internet using their smart phones and tablets (You may even be reading this on yours right now). They have decided that more users are now using the internet on their phones than ever before and therefore they are changing how they are ranking websites search results (yes, even yours) according to how mobile-friendly they are.

What does that mean for your church website?

It means if your church website isn’t mobile friendly then your search ranking will fall. That means people who are searching out churches in your area will find other churches first if they are more mobile friendly than your church website.

Is that incentive enough for you?

My team and I measure all our church website traffic and know that at least on average 50% of our traffic are new people visiting it for the first time. Many…

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Facebook is one of the most useful tools a pastor or church leader can use to connect with people. But you can do so much more than post church announcements. The following are 7 Effective Ways Pastors And Churches Use Facebook To Grow The Church.

Before I address Facebook specifically, as a gift to readers of this site, click HERE or on the image to the left for a wonderful FREE Ebook from my friends at Church Fuel on how churches can use content marketing in general to better reach their communities.

Now, onto the 7 ways you can use Facebook to grow your church:

  1. Post Engaging Content – One of the best ways to grow your social influence is to post engaging content on Facbeook. Announcements are not naturally engaging, so be careful treating Facebook like a digital church bulletin. When your posts are engaging, people will naturally share. But every now and then, make an intentional effort to ASK them to share. Lifepoint Church in Fredricksburg Virginia does this really well.
  2. Promote Your Community’s Events – Your Facebook page shouldn’t be all about the church.  Share events and content from your community…

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Every generation experiences change.

In a relatively short amount of time, the Internet has moved from an occasional tool to one of the principal ways we communicate, entertain ourselves, and do work. Staying up-to-date on emails, social media and other means of online communication is a bigger time requirement than people may realize.

New research has found that the average user spends 23 hours a week emailing, texting, and using social media and other forms of online communication. Since people are already online, we decided to launch an online campus and guess what – it’s biblical.

Android Tablet

Let’s start by looking at Acts 2:46-47, one of the most-quoted scriptures on the Church:

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Notice it doesn’t say anything about big buildings or stained-glass windows. Just people, joining together to worship God. Marshillonline’s “temple courts” are pretty unconventional, and our Internet Campus is committed to…

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EXPEDITIONTechnology can either hurt your message (by being outdated and irrelevant) or can support ministry (by being up-to-date and used wisely).  People in your community will find your church, and get their first impression of you, based on your church website.  Your congregation will stay connected with their small groups via social media and will sign up for church events through your church management software.  This ever-evolving use of technology for ministry requires regular maintenance and continuous education.  Thankfully, staying up-to-date doesn’t have to be terribly complicated.

Here are several tips to consider as your leverage technology for ministry:

#1: Store electronic documents on a network or cloud account

Saving church documents onto personal (or even work) computers can lead to significant issues. What happens when an employee who was using a personal laptop for work leaves their job? Would all the documents, records, and template they’d created be lost to your church? What if a hard drive crashes or a computer is stolen? All of that data is gone forever. Store important documents on a central, church-owned location to protect your resources.

#2: To BYOC or not to BYOC?

Will you require employees to “bring your own…

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Blog GraphicShould churches utilize social media for the mission of carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth? Yes! But after a decade or so of helping churches and leaders utilize blogging and social networking for ministry I’ve come to a solid conclusion that every church leader needs to hear:

We don’t need to get our church involved in social media until our church’s leaders are invested in it. 

Usually, when a church reaches out for help about getting started, this involves launching or redesigning the church’s website, creating a church Facebook page, and possibly creating an Instagram and/or Twitter account. But repeatedly, these efforts are wasted because of a misunderstanding about the nature of social media.

Here’s the simple explanation. Social media is media (information, truth, a message of some kind) that is social (spread person-to-person or person-to-people through relationships). But we who grew up in the age of television, radio, print, and even the early days of the Internet wish it were as simple as it was a couple of decades ago when any institution or organization could mass distribute its message and count on a decent response from the general…

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Church leaders should be tuned in and aware that most of the world spends a good proportion of their day on social media. That includes first and second world economies. Social media should be a church leaders dream come true. There has been no other communications channel in history where your church is just one click away from being noticed by your broader community without you having to direct mail them or spend huge amounts of money on advertising.

Being one click away doesn’t mean that churches use social media well. In fact I see many churches make common mistakes. Here are just seven that I see regularly.

Use social media to broadcast

Church leaders can treat their social channels like a TV channel. They think that whatever they say people will listen and engage with their content. That is called mainstream media. Social media is called social media for a reason. To be social! I know that is stating the obvious but its true. What I see is churches using social media more like a megaphone than a telephone. They use it to talk at people, rather than talk with people.

Need translating

Do you…

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