Archives For Communication

Coke Pic

Christianity has a brand, like it or not. So does your church. And so do you, for that matter. That might make more sense if you define branding the way I do – as the story people are telling about a person, product, or organization.

Artie Davis wrote in his book Craveable that when someone introduces themselves as a Christian, what goes through the mind of a person outside the kingdom is often something like this: “Before me stands a judgmental, mean, ignorant, and intolerant person. Why should I listen to anything they have to say?” People perceive that the church has lost its way in the light of public scandals, personal rejection, and spiritual abuse. Our brand is hurting.

It is not possible to concoct a story about the church that is better than what people actually experience in the real world, but it is possible to tell the right stories and to tell them well. Part of flooding the online space with God’s glory and with the gospel of Jesus is making sure the gospel is given a great deal of attention next to all the other stories being told. This has been…

Continue Reading

The Social ChurchThe world runs on relational connections.

From the beginning of time, we’ve been sharing stories, anecdotes and insights about who we are and where we come from.

  • From the days of tribal cultures huddled around campfires, passing their history down through the generations …
  • To the advent of the printing press, which allowed us to share our stories with people very different from us…
  • To the emergence of radio and television, which gave us the ability to connect untold amounts of people to a common message…

We are hardwired for communication—to share, build, and connect. We literally cannot help ourselves. It is at the heart of humanity—the core of who we are.

But you and I both know we live in a different world. Things aren’t just changing—they’ve already been changed. The digital era of human communication has ushered us into a world we’re still trying to grasp and understand.

We sense it when we connect with loved ones, our friends, and colleagues.

We sense it as we watch oppressive governments topple; as we watch savvy political candidates leverage new media to raise funds in unprecedented amounts.

Schools and educational institutions are moving curriculum online to…

Continue Reading


A bad system is better than no system at all.

I love what I heard Andy Stanley said once, “Your system is perfectly suited for the results you’re getting.” It’s quite easy to have no system and therefore have practically no results. So, a bad system that produces “bad” results is at least a place to start and measure it’s success.

I’ve helped train 100′s of pastors through The Sticks Network, and one thing that consistently sticks out in my mind is how few leaders and churches have systems in place for the most vital parts of their church.

1- Care

It’s easy to be so focused on “results” that we neglect those who make up the results! I’m certainly guilty of this and have to check myself all the time.

We need a system that can capture a need in our church body and walk it through until the need is met, or at least all reasonable attempts have been made.

2- Communication

This is on the top of our list at Cornerstone. We’ve found a great need to know how, why, when, what and to whom we need to communicate information.

Example: The start of a new…

Continue Reading

Third World Smartphones

As we develop a driving philosophy of why to take up the mantle of social media engagement, it’s important to understand that the purposes for engaging the culture this way are the same purposes that led the church to engage with the world before the Internet ever existed.

We engage because the world needs Jesus.

Paul declared he would “try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). I don’t think for a second Paul would ever have compromised the integrity of the theology he had carefully built while writing nearly half of the New Testament, but I do believe he was willing to adapt his communication style to any audience in order to be clear about the gospel. Paul’s willingness to adapt to his surroundings was the outflow of a heart that broke for people who did not yet know Jesus.

The world needs Jesus, and the very people we want to reach with the gospel are involved in social media—especially those in the youngest generations. They’re tweeting. They’re Facebooking. They’re Instagramming. We can’t expect a lost world to come to our turf…

Continue Reading

RewiredIf God’s desire to enlarge His family matters…

If people who are lost forever without the gospel matter…

If the church of the future matters…

We must learn to embrace the changes that are happening in our world.

There is no going back. Our world is changing at an unprecedented rate. We are connected with people all over the planet through technology that didn’t even exist ten years ago. This book challenges readers to push the boundaries of how they communicate the gospel—to not just join the worldwide conversation but to lead it. This shift we are seeing toward a more mobile, social environment isn’t so radical after all, but is a return to the form we were created for—to be in relationships, to have conversations, and to interact with each other.

Foreword by Rick Warren

Social Media is the next big communication wave. I know this to be true because Saddleback is currently experiencing exponential growth as a result of our determination to stay in front of and use every technology and innovation at our disposal to reach people for Jesus.

A decade and a half ago, I wrote a book called The Purpose Driven Church…

Continue Reading

Video Camera

As a media consultant, I have the opportunity to help some of the largest churches and ministries in the country create effective, high quality media outreaches. In most cases, they are experienced, committed Christian leaders who understand the value and the power of the media.  But I also have the opportunity to spend time with less experienced pastors and ministry leaders who feel just as called to use media in a meaningful way, but have serious questions like:

“Will it compromise my message?”
“Will it be too expensive?”
“Will my preaching or teaching ministry really work on television?’
“I only have 100 people in my congregation, can I still use the media?”
“Is it an effective use of our money?”

There are many questions, and many options as well. Perhaps you’ve wondered about many of these issues before, or listened to Christian radio or watched Christian television late into the night thinking, “I could do that” but just have no idea where to start.  I feel your pain.  But the good news is yes – even if you have only a handful of people in your congregation, you can use the media. I’ve taught media classes and workshops…

Continue Reading

God invented social media. I know that might sound like a crazy claim, but I have a biblical basis for believing this. So I’m primarily speaking to those who believe with me that God is the creator presented to us in the biblical book of Genesis.

Social media seems like a new term. Many people are just hearing it, and many others are already tired of it. It’s a trend, a fad, something that people are jumping on quickly for reasons ranging from connecting to old friends to making millions of dollars. When I say it’s a fad, I am referring to the term “social media” not to the actual concept of it.

Let’s break it down this way. The word media really just refers to information. Facts. Things that are true, or at least things that are thought to be true. Social is a word we used to refer to interactions between human beings – otherwise known as relationships. Putting it together, social media simply refers to the sharing of information through relationships.

There was a time…

Continue Reading

photo: Sean MacEntee, Creative CommonsEvery time I open Facebook, it seems there’s a new debate going on. Sometimes it’s political, a slew of articles and thoughts filling my feed about what happened and how it should have been done differently.

Sometimes it’s the latest celebrity scandal: who got arrested for a DUI, who said or did the most provocative thing this week.

But every time I log in to my Facebook account, it seems everyone is up in arms about something new, making their opinions known with a forcefulness that often takes me aback.

It makes sense for people to share their views on social media.

Our Facebook wall is an op-ed column all our own. But as I scroll down my news feed, I wonder what level of thought goes into deciding what we post and why.

I wonder if we realize how we’re coming across, how severe and judgmental our opinions sound from the receiving end. I wonder if we think about the people reading our Facebook statuses, and consider their backgrounds, their opinions, or how they may take what we are saying so flippantly.

I wonder what thought we put into what we’re sharing, what consideration…

Continue Reading

Phil Cooke at ORUNo matter what video projects you produce, sooner or later you’ll shoot someone’s testimony about how their life was changed. It might be due to God, an experience at church, being the recipient of a nonprofit’s work, or even a consumer product – but whatever it is, it can be a powerful moment on camera. If you’re shooting videos like this for a church, nonprofit, or business, here’s the most important keys to making it work:

1) To make them most natural, ease into rolling video.   Once you sit them down to shoot, whatever you do, don’t let anyone yell “Rolling!” or “Action!” They’ll immediately clam up and get nervous. With my crew, we’ve created some nonverbal signs that let me know they’re ready and rolling, and we just transition into the interview. I’ve actually finished some interviews where the people had no idea we’d been rolling.

2) Make sure the interviewer sits as close to the camera lens as possible.   You want the interviewee looking as directly at the camera as possible. Profiles have no power. Make sure you’re seeing their entire face.

3) If you plan to let the…

Continue Reading

Most bloggers, pastors, leaders and influences want to have an online influence. Not for their own glory or attention, but because they see an opportunity to inspire others toward positive change, and to share the Gospel with hundreds, thousands and even millions of readers.

These people pour their lives, energy, time and even resources into developing beautiful platforms with quality content and pray their efforts will pay off. Most people I meet, however, are missing something. And this single thing they’re missing is stunting their influence.

It’s so easy to miss, I miss it sometimes. And I know missing this step limits the amount of influence my online presence can have.

Are you ready to know what it is?

It’s simple: You have to tell your audience to do something different.

It’s one thing to change the way somebody thinks. It’s quite another to change the way they act. One is easy. The other is difficult. One makes for an entertaining blog post. The other makes for an impacted life. I’ll let you guess which is which (since you already know).

So how do you get people to do something different?

Again, it’s simple…

Continue Reading

Bobby GruenewaldBobby Gruenewald and YouVersion Bible App

It’s not often that a local church leader is listed by Fast Company magazine as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.  But that’s exactly what happened in 2011 to Bobby Gruenewald, innovation leader, pastor, and a member of the Directional Leadership Team at, based in Edmond, Oklahoma.   Working with lead pastor Craig Groeschel, has shaped a missional approach to technology, seen in initiatives like Church Online and the YouVersion Bible App, which help tens of millions of people around the globe grow closer to God and His Word.

This year, the YouVersion app passed the 100 million downloads mark, and that’s why Bobby is one of the leading voices in the Church as it relates to innovation and the use of technology to reach people for Christ. He frequently writes and speaks on the topic, and has been featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, TechCrunch, NBC, CNN, CBS, and more.  Recently, filmmaker, media consultant, and blogger Phil Cooke sat down with Bobby to find out more:

Phil Cooke:  Bobby, tell me about you.  What’s your background and how did you…

Continue Reading

I received an interesting note from Joe Hayes, head of the TV and video ministry at Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, South Carolina. At Redemption, the Sunday online worship service is succeeding way beyond expectations. Since so many churches have an online video feed of their live service on Sunday – and yet very few do it well – here’s 4 tips from Joe that might help:

1) Consider it just as important as your live event.   Don’t do an online, streaming feed and treat the viewers like second class citizens. Make sure it’s as high quality as you can afford, and make it available and easy to find.

2) Understand the online experience is different from the live service.   In the live service people are sitting with a large group. They can feel the excitement, see the preacher sweat, and it’s a visceral, physical experience. But with the online service, people are watching on a small screen, usually from across the room. They’re also probably distracted. So shoot more close-ups, and make sure the audience…

Continue Reading