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Are you a pastor or church leader with a full schedule and only limited hours in the week? If so, are you struggling to find ways to reach more first-time visitors with the limited time you have?

Being a pastor isn’t just preparing for Sunday’s message every week but the scope goes much more beyond that. And on top of all of that, you must find a way to reach more visitors and to spread the message of Christ.

There just isn’t enough hours in the week for everything a pastor must do.

And with that, I am so excited to invite you to the Church Hacks Summit to Reach More First Time Visitors!

They’ve assembled 25 of the world’s leading church first impressions, guest services, and marketing experts to teach you their secrets on how to reach more first-time visitors and grow your church.

I’m honored to kick off the Summit with the opening talk on why hospitality matters. I’ll be making the Biblical case for why you should take this area of ministry seriously.

This is going to be a free online event (no travel) for equipping your church with proven systems and strategies to connect with new first time visitors in your community! We’ll show you how your church can be a magnet for first-time visitors without being gimmicky, breaking the bank, or setting unrealistic expectations.

And the best part of the Church Hacks Summit is that it is 100% absolutely free! If this is something you’re interested in, just click this link and register today! And if you know somebody that would benefit from this Summit, make sure to let them know.

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I’d love to introduce you to my newest sponsor: Tithe.ly. Tithe.ly was one of the first giving apps allowed into the Apple app store in 2013. Giving via a mobile device was born out of both a need and opportunity they saw when they first saw what Apple did with the iPhone and the coming app economy.

Before Dean Sweetman co-founded tithe.ly, he had been a church planter and overseer of churches for 30 years. This put him in a unique position to know exactly what churches needed to help with several 21st-century problems concerning steady and consistent income to fulfill the mission of the church.

Problem Number One:

Church members are not coming as often to services as they used to. And as any pastor knows, if members are not in church then they are most probably not giving. It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that they don’t have the opportunity. Simple recurring giving set up in seconds solves this.

Problem Number Two:

Most people under 35 don’t carry cash or checks anymore.

They use debit/credit cards for just about everything. Most millennials don’t even know what a routing number is and where to find it on a checkbook if they even have one. Giving anywhere, anytime with a phone was the easy answer.

This and other obstacles for people giving to the church they love is to provide a simple app that lives on a device they virtually never let out of their sight, their smart phone.

Fast forward five years, Dean has retired from full-time ministry and is the CEO of tithe.ly one of the fastest growing FaithTech companies in the world. They now serve thousands of churches in three countries and plan on adding another 30+ countries in the first quarter of 2017.

They have a product suite that includes everything a church needs to move away from cash and check donations and facilitate digital giving, via text, free app, custom designed church apps, full back office support and a few more exciting additions they are announcing very soon.

At tithe.ly, they love what they do. They talk to pastors and church leaders every day about getting them the tools to increase giving so they can focus on serving their church and fulfilling the great commission of preaching the gospel to a desperate and fearful world whose only hope is Jesus.

I’m proud to partner with these guys. Please check them out here.

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I’m continuing with the Christmas theme this week and throwing resources your way. I’ve got a great resource for you pastors and worship leaders. I compiled a Lessons and Carols service that you can use with ease. Just follow the script and have a complete service put together for you. You can download it HERE for just 99 cents.

Ever think about shaking things up? Doing Christmas totally different this year? Think again. Many years ago our church staff, driven by my idea, decided to go totally contemporary at our three Christmas Eve services. I was tired of the “traditional” Christmas service and thought we should rock out this year and do new arrangements of Christmas carols, led by our full band. It looked great on paper. What happened that night broke my heart…

As a worship pastor, my heart’s desire was to see people, young and old, connect with God during our corporate worship. I don’t care about being cool or slick; I want Christ to be honored and hearts to be changed. Please know that our band did “rock out.” We played our hearts out and played well. Quality was not the issue — you could have recorded us and played it on the radio. What broke my heart was the spirit in the room and the looks on the faces in the congregation.

As I was leading the songs and looking out at the people, it hit me as loud and clear as could be: this is not what people want on Christmas Eve. We are pretty contemporary and edgy 51 weeks out of the year, but on Christmas, people really want to sing traditional carols in a classic setting. I noticed a lot of family that had come in town for the holiday. Grandpa and Grandma “so and so”, Uncle and Aunt “so and so”, Cousin “so and so” that hadn’t been to church in 20 years; these are the people that I was looking out at.

The next year I decided we would do a very traditional “Lessons and Carols” service. I looked at examples from all over and then put together our own service. It was a total success. From young children singing with their parents to parents singing beside the Grandparents, everyone participated and the looks on the faces and spirit in the room was totally different — in a good way! I was so amazed at the response and how much people enjoyed the service (which can be done on a Sunday morning or night, not just Christmas Eve) that I wanted to pass on our service for you to use as a launching pad. Please take this sample “Lessons and Carols” service and make it your own.

If you’ve done the modern Christmas thing for several years (like we did last year with glow sticks instead of candles), try this to mix things up and allow your congregation and the children of your church to experience an old-fashioned Christmas worship experience.

Thanks and happy holidays!

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We use CMG or Church Motion Graphics at our church. I met the owner Jeff via social media and then in-person while speaking at a conference up in his neck of the wood (Canada). I got him connected with our worship pastor, Matt Rector. This is Matt’s review of their resources:

If you work for a church on a tight budget, like me, I am sure you have run into this dilemma more than once.  I reached a point where I wore out my motion background library.  I felt like I was gonna tear my eyeballs out if I had to see the same stale loops again.  So where do I turn?  I could reach to a pay-per-download service.  I could go with a free resource that is a total grab-bag.  Or I could go with a brand new service I learned about earlier this summer when I traveled to speak at a conference in Canada.

The resource I speak of is called Church Motion Graphics.  I was wondering through the exhibitor hall and ran into a guy named Jeff McIntosh.  Behind him, I saw a screen leaping to life with slick, colorful, and diverse graphics.  I was quite impressed by what I saw, so I began to ask about CMG and what Jeff’s service was all about.  Jeff explained to me that he was a designer who wanted to create an easy, affordable, high quality worship media service that anyone could use for a cheap monthly rate.  As I looked at his demo reel, I was thinking “for something this nice, you’ve gotta be charging $20-$30 per month at least.  That’s not so affordable in my book.”

Then Jeff hits me with the jaw-dropper… his service costs $10/month!  I was pretty surprised.  After our conversation ended and we got back home, I decided to give this service a try.  Here’s what I got…

  • an email link on the first of each month with directions to download the newest set of media.  That’s right… new media every month, not just a subscription to a library!
  • each month’s package includes several really cool motion backgrounds (for August 2013, I got 9 awesome backs), available in 720p or 1080p in either PC or MAC compatible formats.
  • among these backgrounds, you get some title graphics slides that match this month’s theme… things like “welcome”, “events”, even seasonal messages.  In the August 2013 pack I got four title/message backs and 2 special videos exalting the many names of God.

So now, I know you are asking… “Matt, for $10 a month, how good can this stuff be?”  Let me tell you, for the most part this media is excellent.  They range from bright, fun, and energetic to slower, subtle, and more worshipful.  Jeff is trying a lot of different ideas out and every once in a while I will come across something that doesn’t blow me away.  However, I totally applaud him for trying out new things.

We have been using CMG for three months, and it has truly been a great experience.  Our visual experience gets a facelift every month!  I look forward to that email so I can see what new goodies I get to play with. It’s like Christmas comes the first of each month, just with less births of the Savior and more presents.

The icing on the cake is the additional free resources available through the site.  Jeff has a great blog with lots of tips regarding the implementation of media in worship experiences.  In fact, he is about to release an e-book called the Worship Media Handbook.  I have great confidence using this resource because Jeff has tons of experience in this field and is willing to answer any question or solve any issue that may arise.

So, after checking out this service and product, I can’t encourage you strongly enough!  Check out Church Motion Graphics! They have a great website with some great examples of their work.  They have other packages besides the $10/month if you are interested in the back catalog of media.  Overall, they are a great team and a really cool resource for any church that is trying to make every dollar count.

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I’ve mentioned before that I’ve read Andy Stanley’s new book Deep and Wide. I may not have mentioned that I’m taking our entire Leadership Team at my campus through it. We have met and discussed the book on our staff retreat earlier this year, but starting next week, we’ll go chapter by chapter through the book. I found this great resource HERE – it’s a team discussion guide for the book. I encourage you to get the book, read, use the discussion guide and process through it with your team. I’m pretty sure it will be extremely fruitful.

Catalyst Known - October 2-4, 2013 Atlanta, Georgia
CATALYST CONFERENCE
OCTOBER 2-4, 2013 / ATLANTA, GEORGIA
Exclusive Offer for Bloggers!
You are invited to attend the Catalyst Conference on October 2-4, 2013 in Atlanta. A one-of-a-kind gathering for leaders like you!
Catalyst is more than a conference – its a movement founded in the hearts of Next Generation Leaders who are impacting their world. Join us for a three-day leadership encounter filled with powerful teaching, dynamic voices, awe-inspiring worship, unmatched creativity, and impactful stories of the Gospel story being lived out.
Register online using rate code BLOG or by phone at 888.334.6569.
Visit the Catalyst site for more details and information. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Recently I came across a resource website called CREATIONSWAP. I forwarded it on to my worship pastor and didn’t think much more about it. I went into his office one day as he was working on our pre and post-service slides (they’re really sharp) and he was using the free graphics and artwork on this website. He said it was a tremendous resource and he highly recommended it. So, I thought I share it with you if you haven’t heard of it. Check them out!

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From my friend, Bob Franquiz:

Dear Pastor,

I’m so excited to introduce this free resource that we’ve been working on for a
while.

It’s called the Ninja Archive.

What is it?

It’s essentially a vault of great leadership, outreach and preaching content that will help you and your church.

There’s mp3 messages, mp4 videos, pdf ebooks, Photoshop Illustrator files and book reviews of some of my latest reading.

We’ve even added our Double your Leaders Conference to the Ninja Archive for you to watch at your convenience.

We have tons of content that we’re going to keep adding to the archive.

Here’s the best part: it’s totally free.

To get free access to the Ninja Archive, simply go to www.ninjaarchive.com and sign up for free access to the site.

We believe in the local church and we want to provide helpful resources that help churches grow.

That’s why we exist.

The Ninja Archive is here to serve you.

I hope you’ll take advantage of it and let some other Pastors know about it so they can enjoy the free resources as well.

See you inside the vault…

Blessings,

Bob

Bob Franquiz
Senior Pastor
Calvary Fellowship
www.calvarywired.com

Times are tough and I respect Igniter Media Group for trying to help out. Below are graphics from their newsletter they sent out yesterday. I have everything that Igniter has ever done in my media library. If you don’t, this might be a good opportunity to add them to your collection. 

 

I’m sure many of you have done this and many of you will do this in the future – that’s making the switch from 4:3 to 16:9 (widescreen). Once I’ve been through the entire switch, I’d be happy to share any thoughts, lessons learned, feedback, etc. with those that are switching in the future.

For now, I’d love to here from any of you that have already made the switch. We’re in the process of uploading all new backgrounds, lower-thirds and creating the lower-third titles that we do for staff members (Pete Briscoe – Senior Pastor, etc.). If you have any words of wisdom, please email me at: greg@gregatkinson.com.

Obviously, widescreen or 16:9 is not necessarily HD, but HD is 16:9. We are starting out with a total HD system, so if your church is full HD, I’d really like to hear from you. I’ve got lots of questions. 🙂 *** Especially if you are using HD backgrounds in EasyWorship – HOLLA AT ME! I came home yesterday so frustrated and drained that I just stared at a piece of paper for about an hour and a half. I think I’m losing it!

We’re switching from another presentation software to EasyWorship campus-wide and I’m in the process (which I’ve done before and helped other churches with) of setting up EasyWorship for the first time and downloading all the codecs, etc. I’m sure it will eventually work, but we were having issues as of yesterday.

With the video card that came with the computer and the special (Blackmagic Decklink HD Extreme) video card that we had to get to stay HD, we have 3 video outs. The guys from Clark ProMedia did the initial/hardware setup and I’m trying to setup EasyWorship itself. Again, if you are HD and using EasyWorship, PLEASE give me a shout.

* My friend, Dave Clark, of National Community Church, just wrote an article entitled “Church Media: A 2008 Forecast“. I think it’s worth checking out. As he said, “High-definition video also will appear on the screens of many more churches this year. The prices of high-definition cameras and equipment have become affordable, even for average-sized churches.”

BONUS:
WL upgrade

This just in from blog sponsor Worship Leader Magazine: The Upgrade Your Stage state-of-the-art giveaway is your chance to win an assortment of resources with a retail value of over $15,000 (for the grand prize) for your service of worship. We want to equip one church, so they can use their financial resources in other ways. There are also 1st and 2nd place winners who will also receive significant prizes.

Anyone can enter, as long as your church fits the guidelines, but the church chosen will most likely have the most need along with the best story. Though there is no set cap of church size, the finalists will likely be churches of 500 or less.

EXTRA:

I started a Shelfari group for Church 2.0 leaders – this is where you can list your favorite books that you recommend other Church leaders read. Check it out HERE.

EXTRA, EXTRA:

Anyone getting a MacBook Air?