Archives For Communication

The StageThe stage (which is anything you communicate while you are in front of your congregation) is the most valuable communicating tool you have.  This is a time when we have the attention of a large percentage of the people in our church.  This is why it is important to be intentional about how you use this resource.  I’ve been in many services where there is no thought put into what really needs to be communicated from the stage other than the time spent preparing the sermon.  But if we realize that this is a perfect opportunity to cast vision and direction in snapshot segments, we can move our people down a path together.  Realizing this, I developed a team of people that would work within the Communications Team to make the best use of the stage.  It’s not a matter of using a lot of time, it’s a matter of how we use segments of time to convey our messages.  I developed a plan for Service Hosts, which I am including below:

Service Host Handbook

Thank you for serving as a part of the Service Host Team! Your role is…

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Helping Handby Toni Birdsong

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. ~Luke 12:48

As social media becomes more integrated into our everyday life, so too, the moral and social responsibility rises in step. Did you know there are three powerful tools on Facebook that can actually save a life? Hats off to Facebook developers who have wisely integrated the Anti-Bullying Initiative, the Suicide Referral System, and just recently, the Organ Donation Status.

By taking a few minutes to connect with each of these Facebook features and logging on with an “awakened heart,” as we’ve so often discussed on this blog and in our book, @stickyJesus: how to live out your faith online, your online time can impact that reaches beyond the everyday chatter.

While the Anti-Bullying Initiative and the Suicide Referral System can be powerful, practical ways to help Facebook “friends” in danger online, the Organ Donation Status could very well be a cultural game changer in the world of organ transplants. It’s estimated that more than 114,000 people in the U.S, nearly 10,000…

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Email LostIf I were to take a poll, I think it would be safe to say that most people use email as a main tool for your ministry. It’s how we share ideas with staff, send updates to church members, and communicate with words.

But there is another key benefit of email that you might be missing: Connecting others.

Email is one of the most powerful tools I use to help connect people. Why do I value it so much? Because unlike connecting two people in person or over the phone, each party has the chance to evaluate the potential connection.  There is no one that has taught me more about this than Dr. Sam Chand. He is the ultimate email connector!

Here are four keys to a making good email connection:

  1. Ensure both people will benefit from the connection. There are times to make a one-sided connection, but you want to make those the exception
  2. Use the opportunity to let both people know the strengths you see in them individually. Consider it encouragement without flattery.
  3. Help each person know the purpose of the connection and the direction you feel the relationship could go….

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Brett Eastman interviews Caleb Anderson on Small Group Leadership 101. 10 Simple steps that will make a difference for you and your group.

1. You are not alone.
2. Don’t try to do it alone
3. Just Be You
4. Prepare Ahead of Time
5. Pray for Your Group Members
6. Be Patient when Asking Questions
7. Always Read the Transitions and Questions Out Loud
8. Break Into Smaller Groups if too Large
9. Let Others Lead
10. Enjoy the Journey

Watch the Full Interview

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Is your church defined more by its reaction to “boring” churches than by its response to a needy world?

I had to sympathize with rock singer Bono when he discovered he was uncool.

Uncool? The frontman for supergroup U2, one of the biggest bands in the world? The activist who travels the globe and meets with kings and presidents? The guy so hip he probably wears his trademark designer shades in the shower?

Yep. Uncool. He learned the hard truth a few years ago from his teenage daughters. First off, to teenage daughters a dad is uncool by definition, especially if he’s pushing 50 (Bono was 48 at the time). But they were particularly mortified when he droned on and on about global issues while some other celebs were visiting their home. He overheard one daughter telling the other, “He’s probably boring their off talking about Africa.” Actually, he admitted, “I probably was.”

The horror. I can relate.

In truth, I’ve been uncool so long that I no longer know (or care) what is cool. I haven’t even heard the bands that were topping the charts 10 years ago, much less…

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Jesus consistently challenges his followers. And, because we’re each unique, Jesus knows each of us need a different type of challenge —

  • Jesus will challenge your priorities. Jesus demands to set the agenda in our lives and ministries. He will ask us to give up many things so that we will match our priorities with his. For instance, Jesus challenged the Rich Young Man to give up his material wealth for something better – eternal life. The issue wasn’t the young man’s wealth; it was that the young man did not have Jesus as his #1 priority.
  • Jesus will challenge your faith. Jesus asks you to do the impossible. When Jesus sent out the apostles, he said, “As you go, announce that the kingdom of heaven will soon be here. Heal the sick, raise the dead to life, heal people who have leprosy, and force out demons. You received without paying, now give without being paid.” (Matthew 10:7-8CEV) It takes to do what Jesus tells us to do.
  • Jesus will challenge our small thinking. Jesus does this by giving us a greater vision – like the Great Commission. When Jesus gave the…

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Ever get tired during a church service?

Don’t lie. You know you do.

Ever doze off? Ever act like you didn’t doze off and think you fooled your friends?

Don’t lie.

I was speaking recently and noticed a couple of guys in the back nodding off. I’m sure they had had a tough week. Probably had packed their day too full to worry with staying awake. I get it. I’m a young guy who has nothing to say to them — right? Nothing that they need to hear more than they need a quick shut-eye.

But there are a few things you can do when you get tired in church — some preventative measures, some ninja-like moves that’ll fool the best of speakers, and some that reflect just how busy your life is.

Here’s what you do when you get tired in church:

1. Get a cup of coffee. I call this the preemptive strike. You know you’re not going to make it, so wisely load up on the caffeine.

2. “Pray.” Make a fist with both hands, and put your forehead on it. You’ll look regal and holy, as if you’re under such great…

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Most pastors inevitably will face three common criticisms. The most common of the three is the issue of worship style and music. Although worship wars have abated a bit over the past few years, every pastor can be assured that there will be a few people in the congregation who don’t like something about the worship services.

A second common criticism of pastors comes from congregants who feel they aren’t getting sufficient pastoral attention. Indeed, even the pastor who gives extraordinary attention to pastoral care can’t be omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. I remember well one angry critic of a church where I served as pastor. She yelled at me for more than 10 minutes on the phone because I did not visit her when she was in the hospital. When I tried calmly to explain that I didn’t know she was in the hospital, she shouted even louder, “Well, you should have!”

It is the third common criticism that I wish to address in this article. It fits within the broad category of physical facilities. Some or several church members have deep emotional…

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Mobile Phone“With half of the total U.S. population already accessing the Web through smart phones and tablets, a mobile platform is a necessity.”  That is a quote from an article in the April 12th edition of the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Is Your Company Late to the Mobile Party?  Using that article as a spring board led me to the title of this post and the question I want to ask you, “Is your church late to the mobile party?”  My guess is yes!

The writer of the WSJ article, Ed Nash, called mobile use Web 3.0.  My experience is that churches are still trying to get their minds around using the Web effectively in the first place.  A mobile platform?  We don’t even have the old platform down yet.  We are not falling behind we are behind!

Here are some mobile facts about Web 3.0 that Mr. Nash gave in his article.

  • Half of the total population of the U.S. uses mobile media – an incredible 20% a year.
  • World wide there are 1.2 BILLION mobile Web users.
  • In the U.S. alone, 25% of users access the Web exclusively through mobile devises.
  • In Egypt…

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Summertime’s coming, and you might be surprised how many people in your community would enjoy a walking tour of your church building. Whether it’s large or small, your church building is a beacon in your town.

Who would take a church tour?

  • Schedule a special tour for parents as they drop their children off for Vacation Bible School or daycare.
  • Invite people who live near the church to a neighborhood coffee and church building tour.
  • Plan a history-focused tour, and send an invitation to the historical society, senior adult center or school history classes.
  • Invite city leaders for a tour and lunch. I led our church’s tour as part of the new members’ orientation class.
  • Consider a tour for guests after the worship service.
  • A downtown church could offer building tours for festival-goers.
  • In a tourist town, advertise building tours in “things to do” listings.
  • Post an exterior sign to invite anyone in the community to an annual tour.

To plan a church tour as an outreach, carefully research interesting facts, historic information, architectural details, and current statistics.

  • When was the building built?
  • Is the steeple the highest point in town?
  • Was this the first church in the county?

One church…

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By Guest Contributor Chuck Fuller

Just six years after its advent, Twitter boasts around 500 million users and has been recognized by MLA as a citable source in academic papers.

With no “friendships” to maintain, Twitter offers the ultimate in low-maintenance networking. Any user may follow or unfollow any other user. With hashtags, anyone may join any conversion on any topic at any time (using 140 characters or less, of course). Twitter is social media simplicity and freedom. Such freedom, though, brings accountability and breeds etiquette. Users who show little restraint will annoy others, resulting in fewer followers. Those who Tweet carefully will build larger networks, find themselves more connected, and be able to exert more influence. (See to explore social media styles and strategy).

Ethically, Christians must think of Twitter no differently than other forms of speech. The biblical instructions concerning one’s words broadcast from the mouth apply also to words broadcast over social media. Try reading James 3:1-12, and replace each instance of the word “tongue” with “Tweet.” Really. Do it. See what I mean?

While Twitter etiquette is still at its dawn, I offer my seven simple…

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A missionary with years of experience in the Muslim world was visiting back home in the United States when he struck up a friendly conversation with an immigrant shop owner.

“I said, ‘Thanks for coming to America,'” the missionary recalls. The shop owner was moved almost to tears. “He put his arms around me and said, ‘You’re the first person who has ever welcomed me to this country.'”

During the same U.S. stay, the missionary spoke at a church in a Southern town. Before he arrived there, a member of the church surveyed the community’s 20 or so Muslim families. Some of them had lived in the area as long as 10 years. The church member asked them if anyone in town had ever visited to tell them about Christ. No, they answered. Had anyone ever mentioned the name of Jesus to them? No. What was their chief emotion about living in America?

“We’re so lonely,” they responded. “No one ever talks to us. No one wants to hear our story. No one wants to have a meal with us.”

The immigrants arriving in America these days include people who are…

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