Thursday, October 20, 2011

Show devotion to your pastor this October

How? Book a cruise.  FBC Watchdog compiles several popular church cruises that allow you to rub shoulders with actual megachurch pastors, in person. While you are enjoying sun and sea breezes, you'll be helping pay the pastor's way, and contributing to valuable ministry in your fellowship. The next time your pastor purchases a sermon from a sermon sharing site on Paul's journeys, you'll know that you played a big part in helping him understand it. At the same time, you'll be able to enjoy the buffets, events and great tourist sites.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Are you a global church influencer?

Let's see just how important you are in the church influencing world. According to one leadership mentor expert professional, you might be a global church influencer if you are part of this list. Check to see.

Are you:
  • a pastor of a church that's made it into two of the 18 top U.S. church lists?
  • a pastor with a "relatively well known platform globally"?
  • a "key leader of niche church movements"?
  • a prominent blogger?
  • a prominent author?
  • a prominent event speaker?
  • a broadcast media personality?
If you aren't any of these, then you are probably not among the 545 VIPs who are big influencers globally. (I wonder if Jesus is a global church influencer?)

You can look at a handy graphic to tell if you are one and to see what demographics are likely to produce big church influencers.

But if you are one of the big guys, or even if you're not, you can help lesser churches and non-white men and women who are not doing a whole lot of influencing. For just 31 bucks a month from 500 churches, this philanthropic, selfless group will "help global Church leaders equip each other with ministry ideas and free downloadable resources." Wow.

Soon, influencers will pop up all over the globe and won't be lumped in North American congregations like they are now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Do you fear change?

  The biggest problem in churches today is not lack of finances, or declining membership or lack of passion for the Gospel. It's fear of change.
 We know this because all the best-selling church leadership books tell us this. All the popular authors , church professionals and superpastors have claimed that it's true. What better authority do we have than experts, leaders and celebrities?
   So we must stop fearing change and instead learn to embrace it.
   Is your church stuck in Bibleland? Why then, it's time to change: throw off old models of learning. Trade-in those Bibles for the latest bestsellers. Hold a seminar, conference or confab. Is your church languishing in hymn-soaked services, with all four verses, and hasn't sung a new song in three years? Well then, do what most megachurches do and use those ragged hymnbooks to prop up the speaker stands. Take down the cross and shine the words on the wall. Watch your congregation grow.
It's time to change your "special music" to a worship band featuring beautiful people with white teeth and perfect hair. Only then will God be glorified and numbers will grow.
  Is your church stuck doing communion all the time, same dull prayers, same old routine? You need a make-over. Explore sermon-sharing sites to see how the experts and professionals do it. Most importantly, get rid of the stale Folgers and serve good coffee in your foyer. Leave boredom central and get a brand new, shiny persona. Fast!
  You must not fear change.
Fear tradition.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No more Bibles!

In the church of the future (2 years?) young people will fill the pews. Why? Because church won't be church. The Bibles will be gone, as we know them today, and instead, eBibles or phones will take their place.

For kids, it's liberation. They can bring their favorite devices along to church FINALLY! After all, it could be a Bible. Who will know if it's not?  They will enjoy church because it will be the same as any other place, a place to be comfortable, to hang with friends and text across the sanctuary or across town. Imagine, the pews full of young people, playing Nintendos, watching replays of the football game on their small screen, finishing homework, sexting their boyfriends, ordering CDs.

Adults will be clicking through their Kindle Bibles or the iPhone Bible apps, and the kids will be looking at their phones, too. Or other device. Gaming, playing, communicating.

Every once in a while they might catch a word from the sermon, or at least the sermon illustration video clip and song lyrics. And that's a whole lot better than not going to church at all.

Everyone will be happy. The parents will be happy since they'll no longer be harping on the kids to go to church. The kids are happy because they can take their lives with them when they go. And the pastor's happy because the pews are full of youth and life. Sort of.

Canvass your neighborhoods!

To keep from withering in the desert of traditional Christianity, relevant, growth-minded churches must learn what it is their neighborhoods want in a church. Many missional churches go out to the highways and byways, surveys in hand, to find out how they can best serve their communities, how they can supersize their offerings and maximize their spiritual profitability.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What church member type are you?

There are five types of people in your church. Or was that four? Oh wait! Six! 
No, there are actually 13 types.  My mistake, there are three.

The main thing is to categorize. Categorize, categorize, categorize. Church experts believe that Jesus chose 12 apostles so he could divide them into 2s, 3s, 4s or 6s for various purposes during the course of his ministry. It's important that we do the same. As one leading church expert says:  
Categorizing people is helpful to determine where to focus your time and energy and to wake you up to the reality that some people, despite their excitement and interest, simply are not on board. -- Resurgence

The sooner you categorize those in your fellowship, the sooner you can weed out the burrs and thistles.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How can you make church pay off?

Now that many churches are fully automated, are pastors irrelevant? We can pipe celebrity pastor holograms into our services, or at the very least purchase someone else's sermon packages, so we don't have to even go to the trouble of opening the Bible anymore.

Church management software does all the  heavy lifting, and pastoral "care" is pre-sorted, pre-printed, mail-merged and totally pre-formatted.

The sound and lights guys take care of the ambiance. They keep the masses coming, so evangelism is no longer so urgent.

Because of these church changes, a question emerges:

How can we still make money?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Leadership vacuum explodes once again

When will the average congregation learn that the greatest need in the church is the need for leaders?  Because of this great lack, the sheep will just keep circling the still waters and getting lost in the green pastures. Fortunately, experts are up to the task. High level experts and savvy, intuitive experts. They are ready to offer a "comprehensive approach to help churches facilitate the emergence of a leadership development 'culture' within their church."

The apostles were the first to facilitate emergences. They facilitated emergences and developed cultures like you wouldn't believe, and they didn't even have the help of a "leadership baton" training program like we do today. Imagine what the disciples could have accomplished if they had been gifted with the "vision," "process," and "implementation" for THEIR development pathways.

The leadership vacuum continues to explode. Sometimes, it explodes in immunological ways.
Occasionally, it explodes in functional ways. And in agricultural ways. Sometimes in excavationary ways. The explosion sometimes comes from striding over land mines, resulting in orthopedic leadership vacuums.

In whatever ways these exploding vacuums come, though, the resulting carnage signals bad news for the church.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Data collection gets short shrift

While some leadership-mentor-experts think that pastoral leadership is more than just "data collection" and "technique," in reality, data collecting and technique are the heart of relevant Christianity. Why come down on data collecting? Isn't that what Jesus asked his disciples to do as he sent them out in pairs?

The essence of pastoral leadership is collecting information, information about the unchurched in a community, information about other churches trying to fill the needs of the unchurched, information about your members and their spending habits and offering-history; their service contribution and their hobbies; and relationships. The real meat of Christian living is collecting information. And Christian businesses are here to help. Church management software companies will help you "to discover the relational networks of your congregation and identify key influencers who can help you to implement change and lead for church [sic] the ministry [of? for?] potential growth." (From ConnectionPower)

Technique is important! Kiosks are essential. If a visitor sees a kiosk, on arriving at your church, he or she will be wowed and amazed. This must be a church that cares! This must be a church that will know me, my family, my preferences and my spending habits inside and out! Visitors will instantly feel they are a part of the family of God when their name is plugged into the database, and their children leave for Kid Awesometime Hour wearing numbered stickers.

When lights dim as your sermon comes to the climax, when the praise team plays those soft, poignant chords, when the coffee comes at just the right temperature in the foyer, that's when the spirit of God can move the most.

So, let's not diss technique and certainly not data collection.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Insights worth remembering

What I learned at last year’s Church Leader Alive conference:

If church was what it should be, how would it change you, and how would it change the culture around you?

    * “We wouldn’t be rushing around, looking for pens all the time. We’d be prepared, like the Boy Scouts.”
    * "Vision is a great term to use whenever things get a little dicey. No one can argue with 'vision.' "
    * I would learn what it’s like to be the sound guy
    * I need to "inject a little humility into my leadership veins," and not swagger as much. It’s good for image.
    * Great Leaders don’t get up at 10 a.m. and start tweeting. Great Leaders ask their administrative assistants to tweet for them
    * “We have confused purpose with action, and action with getting in the leader’s way”
    * “Your calling is not to be road kill for someone else’s high speed vision"
    *  You know your leadership style is finally effective when people avoid you in the hallways
    *  "God is calling us to greater heights; that means breaking a few eggs from higher and higher platforms"
    * "Being a leader means you have to absorb a lot of flack. That’s why you have staff members watching your back"
    * Don’t just pretend you are a leader. Put on your leadership glasses and move like one
    * Let your staff make mistakes a time or two before jumping on them. This conditions them for big, Kingdom work, missional work.
    * In life, nothing is free. In church, freedom must be earned. Earn it.
    * “Be bold and adventurous, especially with the time and money of others. It gives you a quality of dynamism without all the work involved.  Start by claiming your own parking space at the side door."
    *We need to stop dusting off the Bible in times of crisis instead of moving forward with our own profound words and thoughts.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A penny saved is not always a penny earned

As stewards of church resources, leaders need to be savvy as to when to devote time, energy and money to an effort. Sometimes a decision is counter-intuitive. That means what seems like a good use of time or money often isn't.

For instance, reason might tell you that heading up a Bible study each Wednesday night is better than watching college basketball on TV. Still, there are times when you need to get away from the crowds like Jesus did. College basketball might be just the thing you need.

Also, you might think that instead of a new speaker system for the sanctuary, you should install a handicap ramp. Makes sense, right? But it may not be at all what is the best use of your resources. If you install quality speakers, you might attract or retain those valuable upwardly mobile couples in your community who can increase your offerings significantly, allowing multiple handicap ramps in the future.

You might think that working hard each week is the best use of your energy, pounding out original sermons and digging into the Word. But as this post shows, hard work is not always the way to go. It may be that purchasing online sermons instead and going out for a couple rounds of golf, a dinner at Olive Garden, an evening with friends playing Kinect in your living room, a trip to the Gelato cafe with your wife, a helicopter tour over your community to view the marketing potential of the area, a therapeutic massage at the spa, and a soak in your private hot tub is a better use of your time.

It's time not only to think outside the box, but to start thinking outside the entire crate.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting to the Essentials

Churches spend too much time on theology and not nearly enough on the essence of what faith is all about: Image.

Instead of prayer meetings, groups should gather to discuss logos and slogans. Instead of Bible studies, we should emphasize what makes us what we are. After all, it's all about what it's all about!

Jesus spent more time on introspection than anything else. He constantly admonished his disciples to look within and find the logo that best described each of them. Outreach? Naw. It's time to be more inwardly-focused!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mark Your Calendars, and Take Your Mark!


April 31 - May 6
This year in Wonderful Westport, South Dakota!


Your Worship-Outlook Will Undergo a heart-minded transformation after this Fabulous Week!

  • The most engaging, topic-leveraging speakers ever!
  • A host of dynamic leaders, pastors and best-selling authors converge to reveal top, life-changing, skill-revitalization secrets to totally renew your leadership ministry
  • Scores of break-out sessions every leader will find relevant and engaging, accompanied by break-in sessions for equipping missional workers in using words to penetrate culture and bring real change
  • Deluxe accommodations loaded with every amenity that leading leaders could want - in lavish, prairie surroundings
Church Leader Alive! 2011 challenges relevant church ministry professionals to reboot and replenish their entire worship performance, through lots of words. More words than ever before: Heart-minded words and truth-challenging words; best-selling words and top-expert words; mentor-blasting words and truth-engagement words. You will leave packing the most heart-working, God-enthralling words EVER!

This information-rich conference will refresh and renew leaders with the very best resources available from leading churches of purpose and engagement. And ENGAGEMENT is what it's all about. Jesus emphasized engagement more than any other topic. It's time we did, too. Leave behind all your old, tired assumptions about how church is supposed to work, and be amazed!

Leaders will learn how to develop the heart-skills to revitalize congregations.

Servant-leaders will discover how to network with other missionally-minded fellowship professionals from all over the North-Central region. 
Learn how to boost servant-hearted efficiency, discipleship effectiveness and fertile-minded growth of your church by filling in the blanks on a genuine, preprinted notebook with our Church Leader Alive! logo on it. 
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to expand your congregation’s capacity for serving the needs of your faith community and surrounding unchurched population.

Discover how you can fill the exploding vacuum of church leadership holes in your workforce and effectively access a learning-driven, online community network of leaders to recharge your unique leadership voice. With purpose.

You will be given an entire supply of engagement-building tools and helps, just as Jesus provided for his leadership followers.

Enjoy the variety of dynamic presenters: 
  • Renowned multi-campus pastor John Worshipmonger speaks on tactful ways to profit from the gospel 
  • Glen Blather, Leadership-Mentoring expert, challenges leaders to increase giving by driving pledges and planting promises 
  • Mark Salesemann, pastor of Laodocean Worship Center - a thriving, 18,000 member fellowship - shows how to turn a culture-penetrating electronic presence into piles of cash
  • Blockbuster author Ben Doindat, lists 15 face-palm simple pointers on writing best selling books of lists - to boost your community presence
  • Rich Klerrick, youth group coordinator for the explosive CrashCrunch Hollow Church in Ellendale, ND, gives timely pointers on planting and cultivating your youth investment
  • Josh Joaching, senior pastor of Watch-us-Grow Believer's Fellowship Association, demonstrates how you, too, can organize a pastor conference and profit wildly in just months.

During the week you will see how building strategic alliances and engagement networks can effect heart-change in your congregation, resulting in wholeness, success and overflowing offering plates.
  • You will be given tools to strengthen the culture of leadership among decision makers on your leadership team as you scribble furiously during the breakout sessions.
  • You will learn how to turn liabilities into flattery, shortages into healthy balances both spiritually and financially by hearing how expert superpastors have done it.
  • Your growth team will learn 18 ways to make tough decisions by tapping into spiritual reserves and charging up elements of faith - as well as efficiently and tactfully shutting up or kicking out (we call it disengagement) those who won't get with the vision.
  • Leaders will explore ways to journey into undiscovered, knowledge-rich territory while mapping their gifts and planting a championship crew of advisers, partners, co-leaders and mentors.
The 2011 Church Leader Alive! Conference will show you how to build awareness and how to reap spiritual returns. Gifted presenters and top leadership giants will reveal relevant, missional ministry strategies, from the inside out, while encouraging authentic, interactive, engaging approaches to the whole church growth process. Through hands-on partnering with regional and national experts in growth ministries, and big pledge campaigns, you will begin, very slowly, to become one of the select few top leaders yourself.

There will be refreshing times of training for church worship staff, to discover powerful, out-of-the-box methods of reviving an authentic spirit of worship in your services. Once again, empty boxes will be virtually scattered all over the foyer!

The conference features leading voices, as well as voice-activated leaders, who will educate and inspire churches to boldly impact their ministries through dynamic tools and the latest technological breakthroughs.Is your church on Kindle? Do you provide a regular podcast? Do you have the latest prayer app? We didn't think so. See how it's done. And much, much more!

This conference will provide more than just knowledge. It empowers and recharges! Register today for a 20 percent discount. For your conference pack, simply send a $600 deposit to Luxury Pastor Resorts c/o Judas Jeffries, 666 College Park Circle, Gehenna, SD 57666

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting the look

It's hard to be a relevant, missional servant-leader. Your efforts are rarely acknowledged and your creative attempts at lifting worship to a higher plane so often go unnoticed.
I was in my luxury suite at a hotel in Miami last week, and looking over my Twitter feed and realizing that no one, NO ONE, seemed to know I was not working away at my home church.

This is a common problem. Things that seem obvious to us just pass by other people. We start a new sermon series and no one says a thing. We move into a larger office and nothing is said. We arrange a large, multi-regional pastor's conference and it's all, Ho-hum.

If we change our clothes or appearance, we are lucky if anyone says a thing. We might as well be invisible.

But it's all okay, because God notices when we use a new, state-of-the-art headset. If he has the hairs on our heads numbered, he also has our headsets numbered. He notices when we've lost five pounds at our new home gym. He enjoys our new Ipad and likes our clever Facebook status message, even when no one else does. He takes notice when we've rubbed shoulders with our new friend, the hot Christian celebrity. Or when we've clinched the book deal. He knows. And that's really all that matters.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

6 Ways to Drive Readers to Your Si -- -uh -- The Kingdom

We are commanded to make fishers of men, to go into the world and make disciples. It's hard to do that if we are invisible to the world, so being visible is important. The best way to become visible is to have an active and thriving web site. And making lists is the best way to have an active site. So, by making lists we become fishers of men. It's THAT EASY!

1. You can list things that should be totally obvious to anyone who has reached the third grade. No matter how simple and face-palm obvious. It will still drive traffic to your site because people like to nod their heads in agreement with simplistic lists.
2. You can list bits of standard advice that make you sound knowledgable. Simply by using a slightly different approach or unusual metaphor, you can take the banal and dress it up as genius, and people will come to your site for tidbits of vast wisdom.
3. You can list entries filled with quotation-marked vocab words. This has a dual effect. First, it shows that you know how to use quotation marks, a skill "churched" people are not quite sophisticated enough to "handle." Second, it shows that you are nuanced enough to look with condescension on "inferior" concepts. It also allows you to list something without being totally "committed" to it. Does he really think the concepts are "inferior" or is he just joshing? No telling.
4. Whenever possible, leave God out of the list. It's just ever so much more efficient that way. You don't get all garbled up with the theological stuff and you can cut right to the heart of the matter: making lists!
4. Try to tie your lists to cultural icons. You can draw fish in for the kill simply by tapping into current memes or popular topics. If there is no real spiritual dimension or application, that's okay. The thing is to be in all relevant and cool venues because that's where the unchurched targets are.
5. If you want to have an edge, you can make your list audiovisual, but then your target, the fish, would have to be willing to wait around for the bait to load and play. Many fish are too busy feeding to swim in one place long enough to watch the whole thing. Still, it's an option.
6. Dress up your lists with quality graphics. It's not enough to just lay out a block of text. To keep the fish circling, you must make the site attractive so they will stay long enough to nibble on the message.

There you go. See how simple it is to invest in the Kingdom? The thing to remember is to have a controlling image you return to time and time again and to mix your metaphors as much as possible to keep the fish off guard. Pretty soon they will all be belly up, floating at the top of the aquarium, and that's right where you want them because the pickings are easier.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vacuum-Model Churches

It's the wave of the future, so install a new beater bar, and plug 'er in. What to do about your stubborn old church refusing to budge from the dark ages? Frustrated about your congregation that somehow thinks that the words of Charles Wesley or Fanny Crosby can even compare to Yes, Lord, Yes, Lord, Yes, Yes, Lord? (Oh, wait. That's an oldie now.) Or maybe your staid denomination just isn't getting with the program fast enough.

Well, now there is a solution to all these problems: The Vacuum Model of Church Development. Simply this.

1. If yours is an old, fuddy-duddy church and missional members want to make it relevant, you just build. You don't tell the aging members that after the new building is ready for move-in day that the words will be on the screen in front, the hymn books headed for the incinerator and they'll have to stand for 40 minutes of the service. heh No, you forge ahead with Contemporary 101 and let the geezers follow along or amble on out into the parking lot.
2. Here's where the vacuum part comes in. Old "stuck" churches, stuck in their ways, still want to grow. New megachurches want to grow. What to do? Vacuum! The megachurch swallows up the old church and both are happy.
To make it sound all right, you call it "revitalization." One church growth expert puts it this way: "Revitalization mergers also allow smaller struggling churches to have a new beginning by being adopted by a stronger vibrant church." See, the struggling church is the old people, hymn-besotted, "stuck" church and the stronger, vibrant one is the one with the sound system and lights and purchased sermon package. Everyone wants a new beginning!
3. Those stodgy, old denominations still love new growth. When offered a merger with a vibrant (multi-media drenched, multi-site, multi-plex) church they will jump at the chance because it means greater numbers. Then you don't have to worry about those pesky denominational headquarters calling the shots and nixing all your great plans for sexy services. As the same church growth expert says: "Denominations increasingly will take their lead from their growing churches rather than the other way around." No more having to bow to denominational bigwigs.
It's time to power on and vacuum up the old, the small, the obstinate.