Archives For Communication


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.


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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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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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