Archives For Communication

Most of the world seems to be on Facebook. I’ll be somewhere really remote, drawing people following a church service, and as I hand the finished product to the (ahem) victim, will say, “Now, this is your new Facebook picture.”

No one has ever said, “I’m not on Facebook” or especially “What’s that?” Usually they say, “Good idea” or “You’ve got it!”

Now, I recognize that being a Southern Baptist preacher, most of my FB friends are like-minded with me about the Lord and church and the Bible–you know, spiritual things. It’s the nature of these things. So, on a Saturday night or Sunday morning, the “posts” from many of my buddies all seem to say similar things….

–”Join us for church at Shiloh this morning at 9:30 am. You’ll receive a blessing.”

–”Today I’m preaching on Hezekiah’s tunnel.  We’ll see if we can find the light at the end of that thing.”

–”My little granddaughter is singing today at Cornerstone. You won’t get good stuff like this on American Idol.”

–”Have you ever wondered what happened to the Jebusites? Be at Riverside Church this morning and…

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Ministry Process Design

The most successful churches are the ones who build a ministry process for their people to follow. As they grow, community members easily transition from one stage of their faith to another.

Successful churches also understand the importance of their website to this ministry process. They see it as an asset helping to broaden their reach, deepen engagement in community members, and disciple their communities–all online.

That’s why we’re pleased to release our newest free resource, “The Ultimate Guide to Ministry Process Design“.

What You’ll Find Inside

In this free ebook, you’ll find:

1. The highest-trafficked pages for The Village ChurchMariners Church, and The Woodlands United Methodist Church.

2. How each church creates ministry movement on their website.

3. What missional purpose the top pages of each website accomplish.

4. An opportunity for a free consultation from our team here at MonkDev.

Each of these churches have learned how to create movement on their website. We’ve given you some of the best examples, all for free.

Download from Monk Development’s Blog

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Get Rid of Email Overload Once and for All

It’s Monday morning and you already have 75 unread emails in your inbox. It’s not the best way to start the week, but it’s pretty normal for many professionals. We’ve all been there, and we all know the overwhelming feeling that little red circle brings when it appears on our screen.

While I’m still trying to find the best system for handling my own email overflow, here are a few tips I’ve followed to avoid allowing email to take over my day:

1. Prioritize

Michael Hyatt has some great advice on organizing and prioritizing your email in this post. In reality, not all emails are created equal. Some need to be read and responded to right away. Others should be archived or deleted in bulk. Keep that in mind whenever you receive an email. If it needs to be addressed immediately, respond. If not, set it aside in a folder or use your best friend, the delete button.

2. Set a time limit

If you’re not careful, you can start answering emails at 8 a.m. and the…

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Brandon PreachingThere are certain elements that must be included in every single sermon that we ever preach. They are non-negotiable. To put it another way, every sermon you preach has three key components…

The God Component

The “God component” is what sets preaching apart from other kinds of public speaking. We are God’s spokespeople. We preach His word, not ours. And as we consider the role of God in the sermon, we have to ask some pretty pertinent questions:

  • Have I recognized that God is the ultimate authority on the meaning of His word?
  • Have I consulted with the Author of the word in prayer?
  • Have I trusted the results of my preaching to the Spirit who moves among his people?
  • Have I made Jesus the central character of the sermon?

The Communicator Component

The component has to do with me, the preacher. I need to ask certain important questions about my own role in the preaching experience:

  • Have I live and embodied the word in my life? That is to say, have I been the incarnation of the message I hope to convey on Sunday morning?
  • Can I honestly say I’ve spent adequate time in preparation, so that…

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As the incoming pastor, I asked the church committee not to terminate Manley, a staff member whose chief failing was that he was ineffective. The committee was willing to cut him loose before I arrived to save me the trouble.

“Give me a chance to work with him,” I said quickly and perhaps a little naively.

A year later, after finding him lazy and incapable of doing the work his position required and with no other spot on the church staff suitable for him, I released him.

He was so angry at me.

That evening, I was complaining to my wife about the unfairness of his criticism. Hadn’t I saved his job for a full year? Hadn’t we given him ample warning and opportunities to improve? Weren’t we providing generous severance?

Margaret said, “Joe, be realistic.  You want to fire a man and have him like it.”

I guess I did. (His anger made me feel that I had failed him in some way, even though the personnel committee met with Manley that very evening to assure him the decision was unanimous. That helped me a little, but not much. Manley moved…

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Top Church BlogsKent Shaffer always provides an interesting list of influential blogs. You can find the list at his ChurchRelevance.com site.

Here are some quick observations from the list:

1. Calvinists rule the blogosphere. Seven of the top ten are decidedly Calvinistic, most aggressively so, (Interestingly, Michael Hyatt is Eastern Orthodox (Antiochian See) which is fascinating. Scot McKnight is hard to categorize, but not Reformed. I do not know Father Z at all.

On a personal note: I am glad to be a contributor to The Resurgence and congratulate them on their #10 placement. (Like many of the bigger blogs, they are more of an aggregator than a personal blog– same as the Gospel Coalition, where I also occasionally contribute.) I noticed that the other places that run my blogs, ChurchLeaders.com and Pastors.com, were also on the list. Thanks for using my content.

2. The Emergent Church has mostly left the building if blogs are any indication. I have a blog series about that coming soon, but it was not that long ago when emerging church blogs dominated the blogosphere and publishing.

3. Where…

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It seems like small groups are everywhere.  And churches that have a recognized small group ministry are becoming more the standard than the exception.  Why is that?  What’s going on?

As director of smallgroups.com, I had a lot of contact with churches that were neck deep in the small group movement.  My job revolved around helping pastors and small group leaders keep their small groups active and healthy.  So I got a lot of feedback about what’s driving the rise of small group ministry.

There are definitely many dynamics involved in the small group movement, but I’ve noticed a common thread.  And that is the strong desire people have to experience genuine community.  People are seeing the need for a kind of community that’s really missing in our information age culture.  There are a lot of broken lives and a lot of dysfunction in traditional relationships and the family so the whole idea of bringing the New Testament community back into the church is something people see and feel they need.

I witnessed this phenomenon first hand in my own church.  As the church grew to a point where it was impossible to…

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By Whitney Jones

With social media sites like Twitter, pastors can easily connect with their church members or fellow preachers just by typing out a message and hitting “send.”

But navigating the constant stream of Twitter and other social networks from the standpoint of a pastor can be challenging since those websites are targeted toward more casual content. However, many pastors throughout the country are using Twitter as a tool to encourage and further teach the Gospel.

Micah Fries, lead pastor at Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church in St. Joseph, Mo., said he tweets to share further thoughts on his sermons, so church members can continue to contemplate each week’s message.

“I guess for me Twitter — and Facebook to a similar degree — is much like an extension of the pulpit,” he said. “So I try to use it regularly during the week as a means of extending the sermon throughout the week.”

But Fries does more than tweet Scripture references or sermon points. His Twitter feed includes day-to-day observations and comments on his family’s activities. He said showing people both his professional and personal life is important because both aspects…

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There has been a lot of talk in recent years about making the Gospel announcement of Jesus Christ front and center in our preaching and teaching. As our society becomes increasingly post-Christian, it is critical for us to not assume lost people know who God is, what He is like, and what He has done for us. We need to be clear in what we teach, with a laser-like focus on Jesus Christ our Savior.

But how do we make sure that Jesus is center-stage in our church? How do we keep other things from taking His place in our sermons, our Sunday School classes or our small groups? In other words, how do we maintain Christ-centeredness when there are so many other good things vying for our attention and time?

As editor of The Gospel Project, LifeWay’s new curriculum for Sunday School classes and small groups, I’ve wrestled with this question. It’s one thing to have “core values” like “Christ-centered” and “mission-driven” written on the page. It’s another thing entirely to make sure that these values are actually expressed in the lessons. To help our writers, we’ve…

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TrustGood teams trust one another. Good teams trust their leader, too. Imagine a football team where the quarterback couldn’t trust his wide receivers to catch balls thrown his way

You can’t build a team without trust. It’s crucial. I can’t overstate how important trust is in developing your staff team.

Philippians 2:19-20 says, “I want to be encouraged by news about you. So I hope the Lord Jesus will soon let me send Timothy to you. I don’t have anyone else who cares about you as much as he does.” (CEV)

Paul trusted Timothy. Trust is the emotional glue that binds a team together and produces confidence. If your team doesn’t trust you and if they don’t trust one another, you won’t achieve your aim.

High-achieving churches have a high level of trust among the staff. It means the lead pastor trusts the staff, the staff trusts the pastor and the staff trusts one another. To build trust you’ve got to not only trust your staff to get the job done but also trust them to do the job in the way they think is best.

So how do you create that kind of…

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Sermon NotebookHave you ever read something and all the bells went off inside you? “That’s it! That’s what I’ve been thinking!” The author has been reading your thoughts.

That happened to me recently.

Warren Wiersbe was the culprit, the reader of my mind. His book is titled “Preaching and Teaching with Imagination.” I notice that he autographed it to me, but have no memory of the occasion when that happened. Mostly, I wonder why I delayed reading this incredible book. (Published in 1994, it’s been around long enough for you to purchase it for a song at www.alibris.com or your favorite used book source.)

Dr. Wiersbe put this insight in the form of a story. I suspect it’s a parable, meaning he fictionalized it in order to make a point. (He has good precedent; our Lord did this.) Briefly, what he told was this:

Grandma Thatcher sits in church with a number of hurts and spiritual needs. Although she’s lovingly known throughout the congregation as a saint, she gets nothing but harassment and trials at home for her faith. When she gets to church, she needs a word from…

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Social Media Church for a conversation about—you guessed it—social media. I had a great time talking about how I like to use social media as a connector and strategist. I also shared about a recent social media faux pas I made.

After the show, I thought I’d share the one way a lot of churches are missing it with Twitter. And it’s this…

Twitter is just as much of a listening tool as it is a sharing tool. It’s a two way street. If your church isn’t using twitter to engage with your members or people in your community, you’re missing out on the fundamental benefit of the social media network.

Here are a few practical steps you can take to use Twitter engage your community instead of simply sharing last week’s sermon or next week’s series:

  • Create a Twitter list of everyone you know in your church, responding to them when it’s appropriate.
  • Engage with influential twitter handles in your community. (e.g. – Chamber of Commerce, Events Around Town, Government Entities)
  • Set up proximity searches for terms like…

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