Archives For Communication

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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 SM 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 SM 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 www.northwoodgive.com and forwarded it to the url for our giving page.

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

Giving increased overall because we added a new way for people to give.  Northwoodgive.com 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?

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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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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…

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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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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…

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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…

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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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