Archives For Communication

Once churches discovered the value of video, the multi-site and satellite campus model went from a handful of mega churches to tens of thousands of churches. With this explosion of multi-site churches, a separate venue utilized as another service style option – or even just a simple way to make more room –  has also been gaining popularity on existing church campuses. In both cases, I have found that there are 4 types of church video venues. For churches considering video venues or multi-site campuses, I am presenting these 4 types of video venues as helpful research that looks beyond the venue to the technology and logistics required for effective services.

Type 1 – Overflow Video Venue

Growing churches will find themselves running out of space in their main meeting venue. A seemingly simple step is to open up another part of the facility, run a video and audio cable to the room and fire up a projector and portable sound system. Voila! A “video venue” is born. Well, not really. While the concept of space-sharing is great, the implementation of the technology and the logistics of planning are…

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BooksWhen most pastors write books, you can bet they’re compiled from sermon notes and manuscripts. Preach a series on fear, and they end up with a book on the subject. Same with marriage, prophecy, grace, epic Bible stories – whatever. I don’t discourage that, but don’t think for a minute that’s a serious book. Writing is different than speaking, and editing sermon notes into a readable manuscript and then calling it a “book” isn’t very impressive. If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, here’s what I recommend:

1) Go ahead and do these books I call “pastor books.”  After all, content should be maximized, and when you preach, that should be available  online, through radio and TV, podcasts, and other places – including book form.  But understand where these books line up on the food chain. These are books that will mostly help your congregation and other members of your social media or broadcast tribe. These books can often be good, but rarely make a big impact.

2) Next, focus more on your life’s work, or what I call your “One Big Thing.”  Every 3-5 years, create a book that you pour your life…

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Social Media

I’ve written before about why I believe pastors need to be on social media (I’m a big believer in pastors, and a big believer in social media, so it’s a natural connection). But recently someone asked me if I think churches need to be on social media and the answer I gave surprised me a little.

For whatever reason, in the moment the question was asked, the word “no” popped out of my mouth. No with conditions, but no just the same.

Churches don’t have to be on social media. 

I know that probably surprises you to hear me say that (I surprised myself a little) but let me explain.

When people ask me this question, for some reason all I can think about is what happens when I tell my kids they need to clean their room. “Do we have to, Dad?” is inevitably the response (I have great kids, but what kid likes to clean their room?) Usually, I tell them yes, they do have to.

But when a grown adult asks me, “do I have to?” I guess I just want to say, “Well, no, you don’t. You don’t have to be on social media but if you…

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Rebranding ChurchAt times, we all get frustrated or just plain tired of the way we do things.  Maybe it’s repetition, maybe it’s competition, or maybe the culture or markets have changed.  But chances are, as I discuss at length in my book, “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media,” you’re simply not telling your story well.  In that case, a “re-brand” or “brand refresh” might be in order.  But don’t just leap off the branding cliff or hire a costly agency.  Before you do anything drastic, start with these five questions.  They’ll help you determine if it’s really time for a re-brand, or if you just need a vacation:

1) What do you really want to change?  Do you need a simple “refresh” of the look, or a complete re-think of your identity and perception? Make sure you know the difference.

2) Is my logo simply out-dated?  First of all, a logo isn’t your brand – it’s the visual expression of your brand story. Maybe your perception and “brand” are fine, but it’s just time to update the logo.

3) What is your current perception?  What do people…

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The OaksWe might as well admit it. We all judge a book by its cover. But in our defense, before we’ve opened the book, the cover is all we have.

Facades serve as an invitation. The path leading up to your front door is an invitation to come inside and have a look. If the cover, or the front door, or the outside of the restaurant looks inviting, we might venture closer.

If not, then we probably won’t. It’s human nature.

We know this is true about our churches as well. We spend time and money on landscaping for this very purpose. That’s why we have greeters, and people directing traffic, and why we care about what the sanctuary looks like. We know people judge a book by its cover—and don’t want them to walk away before they start reading.

Now comes a question: what does your website look like? 

Statistics tell us that people will judge your church by its website. Is it just a plain page with bare-bones information? Is it the same one someone’s uncle made for free 10 years ago? It is flashy and packed with information? Is it inviting?

We spend time and money…

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Never Persuasive When AbrasiveYou can’t lead a church, evangelize a community, or do business without communicating. And the better you become as a communicator, the better you become as a leader, and the better the team you lead becomes as a result. That means to get ahead you’ve got to continually work on your communication skills. Probably 75% of the problems we face, at home, at work, and at church are related to poor communication with family members, church members, your clients, or your coworkers. Poor communication is also the most frequently mentioned problem in marriage counseling.

Here are three things you must give up in order to grow as a communicator. As you lead…

Give Up Your Assumptions

We get into trouble when we start assuming we understand the meaning of what people say to us. The truth is – everything you hear goes through a filter. Your filter is determined by your past experiences and your unique personality. You may not be hearing what they are really saying. Therefore, it’s smart (and safe) to ask for clarification. There are 6 possible messages every…

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leadershipAs a pastor, you need to be able to put together projects efficiently and effectively. Whether you are starting a new church, planning a new ministry, opening a new building – or just preparing for next weekend’s services, you need to mobilize people on a common task. That’s leadership in a nutshell.

When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to help rebuild the city’s wall, he had a monster project on his hands. How he tackled that project provides us with seven key principles for getting things done —

1. The principle of simplification

Nehemiah kept his plan simple. He didn’t randomly assign jobs; he didn’t create a whole new organization; and he didn’t force any complex charts.

He organized around groups already associating together, such as the priests, the men of Jericho, and the sons of Hassenaah. The point is: don’t create an organization if you don’t need it. If an organization already naturally exists, try to work through it and with it.

Sometimes a new leader comes into a situation, and the first thing he does is start changing the whole organization. Think: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Strong organizations are often the…

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Barrier

This year I’ve met and spoken to many different church leaders on my travels to England and more locally here in Australia in social media seminars. For many leaders and pastors who bravely sat through my presentations and stayed awake (I can cure insomnia) well done! One of the undercurrents I noticed in some conversations there was a cautiousness of adopting social media, from others there was a definite distrust of it.

Here are seven of the barriers that need tearing down.

1. Social media is evil

In and of itself social media isn’t evil. Social media is simply a way to connect with others that you know on a digital platform. Throughout the ages we’ve changed the way we communicate with each other. We’ve had the letter, telegram, phone, mobile phone, market place, pub, church  to name just a few. Some are face to face, others are not. Social media is just the medium of this moment.

2. It’s not ‘real’ evangelism 

The New Testament provides great insight into missional activities and demonstrates that the gospel must go and be spoken to where the people gather together. The Apostle Peter preached to the marketplace. One of…

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Social MediaI’m a big fan of pastors and a big fan of social media. Put those two things together and this is what you get: A guy who is a big fan of pastors being on social media. In fact, “big fan” might even be understating it a little bit.

I believe pastors have a responsibility to be online.

Loren Cunningham, founder of the worldwide mission organization Youth With A Mission, once explained how he used the technology of his day (air travel) to reach the world with the Gospel. For us to ignore the technology of our day (social media) to do the same would be irresponsible.

I know several pastors who have been hesitant to jump online. They worry it will give too many people access to them. They are already giving so much of their time, they wonder how they can possibly do more. Not to mention, they see other pastors who are misusing their online platforms, and they wonder if it is really beneficial.

I understand the hesitations. But, I still stand by my position. Here are three very important responsibilities pastors have online.

1. Connect with your congregation

As the size of congregations grows,…

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Angry Twitter

My #1 pet peeve of pastors online would be the same as my #1 pet peeve of pastors offline. That’s usually the case with me. I see a strong connection between our online and offline behavior. Except, in this case, there is one small problem: I never (or at least very rarely) see pastors display the behavior I’m about to discuss in real life.

It seems to be a way of relating they’ve reserved for Twitter and Facebook.

What’s the behavior I’m talking about? I call it witch hunting.

Pastors hunt down other pastors simply to tear them apart or degrade their ministry. It’s so hard to watch. All I can think is: We’re supposed to be on the same team! If we can’t respect and support each other, how can we expect to earn the support or respect of the wider community?

There are so many churches across the world that no two churches will be alike. Even more, no two pastors will be alike. Add to that strong opinions about how church is supposed to be done, what a pastor should look like, and the incredible connectivity of our current culture, and it’s no wonder there is conflict.

I’m…

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Saddleback Online

My big third grade school project was a beast. Every eight year old had to do their final project in front of the class and Mr. Michaels, my teacher who might as well been Michael Myers considering I was so scared, filmed the entire performance. I hated the idea of being in front of my peers and a video camera staring me dead in the eyes did not help. This fear of public speaking was irrational, but that did not help my body from shaking throughout my presentation. Maybe I was just channeling my inner Thom Yorke. It is funny how at eight I thought the camera was a form of torture, but over time my perspective started to change. Let’s look at the fears of doing Church Online and I’m going to make the argument they are irrational as well.

Fear #1: It will shrink the local church attendance

People now can experience what happens in that church building without ever stepping into the facility. Church Online becomes a huge marketing tool for those who would never walk through your doors. I can tell story after story of people…

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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…

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