Do You Have An Online Strategy?

A lot of churches are online – maybe they have a website, maybe a Facebook page, maybe a Twitter account – BUT do you actually have a strategy for how you’ll use these tools? Have you given ownership to and empowered volunteers in your church to be active on Facebook and present on Twitter?

If you’re on Facebook and Twitter, are you simply a broadcast model of making announcements or are your fostering community and starting discussions? Do you have a mobile strategy? I’ve blogged about the need for having a mobile strategy before and will blog more about it in the future.

My friend, Tony Steward (Online Community Pastor at, said that they have a 3 phase strategy. Note the order: 1. Facebook 2. Mobile 3. The church website – They put more focus, attention and priority in Facebook than their church website. I think that’s wise.

How are you using online tools in your ministry?

The Porn Event

SPREAD THE WORD! and present: is open to people everywhere, so feel free to invite your friends, Twitter Followers, Facebook Fans, or anyone from your community. Expect a non-threatening environment featuring stories, helpful answers, and an open conversation with people who’ve traveled a similar path. is for anyone who is interested in what it looks like to live a life beyond pornography.

Guest Post by Scott Williams: 4 Reasons Leaders FAIL

The following is a guest blog by Scott Williams, campus pastor at Northwest OKC

Leadership is the most commonly used word when it comes down to the success of an organization, product, group or team.  No matter how you slice the success pie, the pieces all boil down to leadership.  There are countless books about how to be a successful leader, 21 laws of leadership, how to go from good to great and the list goes on and on with John Maxwell’s books alone.

There are many reasons that leaders are successful and just as many for why they fail.  I am a firm believer that you can learn as much from your failures and working with poor leadership as you can successful leadership.  I previously wrote about this in a post entitled Stop Complaining and Start Learning.  We know there are many reasons that contribute to a leaders success, What about why they fail?  Below is a list of 4 memorable reasons leaders FAIL in an easy to remember acronym FAIL.

Fake-  A leader who attempts to be someone they’re not instead of simply being themselves has a difficult time succeeding, at some point it just catches up to them.  This also applies to the leader that has a different face, different persona, different tone, different everything… when certain people are around.  In other-words when the big boss comes around they put their fake-face on.  Not to say a leader might not make some adjustments when company comes around; however the super-fake-face comes from insecurity of how they act normally.  Remember: Don’t be fake, be yourself… “Do You! It’s A Statement… Not A Question!” Fake Leaders Fail!

Attitude- One of the primary reasons that a leader fails is because of a poor, negative or a no-can-do attitude.  If a leader thinks he can fly and has a positive can-do attitude; even though they may not be able to fly they will come darn close.  The reason why attitude is important is because that leader’s attitude will rub off on their team members and their followers. Remember: “Attitude reflects leadership, Captain.” ~Julius in Remember The Titans

Integrity- If a leader doesn’t exhibit a high degree of integrity they will fail.  The integrity issues will either catch up to them (what’s done in the dark, will come to light) or those that follow them won’t respect them.  If team members or followers don’t respect the a leader, it puts the leader in the place of pushing a snowball up hill… it’s a difficult task.  These integrity issues run the gamete: profanity, lying, cheating, stealing, affairs, flirting, yelling, substance abuse, pride-filled decisions etc.  I have worked with many high capacity leaders in both the secular world and ministry that have failed because they allowed their integrity to get off track.  Remember:  Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching.

Lacking-  Although I believe that everyone has potential for some degree of leadership in them; the bottom line is that some leaders fail because they are either: a.) Not the leader they think they are, or b.) Promoted above their leadership capacity/leadership role has outgrown them, or c.) Not a visionary, or d.) Not a leader at all!   They are lacking what it takes!  Remember: Just because someone has an office, role, title or responsibility doesn’t mean they are a leader. Leadership is an art, a skill, a craft, a gift… and it must be developed!

Share your thoughts or add some additional reasons to the list?

Announcing the 2010 Teaching Theme for OnePrayer

What could God accomplish through us if we were all pulling together? What kind of change could we see in the world? What if we were…


That’s what we’ll be exploring as this year’s One Prayer teaching theme:

When the Church unites, it’s unstoppable.

Think about it… unstoppable grace, unstoppable compassion, unstoppable evangelism, unstoppable love, unstoppable generosity
, unstoppable truth
, unstoppable hope…

“Unstoppable” will be the common thread that runs through this year’s teaching. If you’re thinking about contributing a message this year (and you should), now is a great time to gather your creative team and see where God leads your teaching. You’ll have until early May to submit your messages. Video resources and important deadlines will be added to soon.

And while you’re thinking of One Prayer, don’t forget to sign up your church if you haven’t already. Registration only takes a few minutes, and is your key to resources and updates:

During One Prayer, we get to learn about Jesus in unison with thousands of people around the globe—thanks for making that possible!


The One Prayer Team

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Must Have Mobile Strategy


In July of 2008 I was speaking to a group of Church leaders in Santa Cruz, California. I held my phone (this was just before I got my iPhone) up in my hand and I said, “This is the future.”

It’s been a year and a half and mobile technology is the “now”, not the future. My friend, Bobby Gruenwald, Innovation Pastor at, constantly encourages his staff to think global and mobile – global and mobile.

I’m currently working with churches and organizations on helping them to create, dream and plan strategies around mobile technology. Your people are constantly becoming one with their phone (for good or bad) and it’s a reality that we need to be intentional about speaking their language. Again, as I’ve said before: we are digital missionaries.

As you know, I work often as a Secret Shopper/Mystery Worshiper. The first thing I check is the church’s website. The second thing I do is pull up their website on my iPhone. I have recommended several times that church’s follow the lead of Seacoast Church and get a mobile version of their website. I applaud and praise Seacoast for blazing a trail in this area. My hat’s off to my friend Shawn Wood and his team. Well done! If you have your phone handy (and I know you do) – pull up Seacoast’s website on it.

My church (and many others) send out text messages to attenders and members that opt in. My church also encourages you to text in questions and decisions that you may make as a response to the message. Many churches are utilizing text and SMS during services as an interactive piece. As I’ve blogged about before, many churches are using the free service from YouVersion Live.

I’ll be talking more in the near future about other mobile strategies and tools. In the meantime, if you and your church would like to strategize and put together a comprehensive plan that includes Web 2.0 tools, mobile technology, social media and social networking – give me a shout. My only goal is to help and equip you to speak the language of the people you’re trying to reach (digital missionaries).

YouVersion Live Launches

YouVersion Live gives you a way to interact with church services and other live events using your mobile device. You can follow along with message outlines and take notes, read related Bible verses and click through to the expanded passage, vote on a poll and see the results live, ask questions anonymously, give, request prayer, and take it all home with you on your phone. It works with any web-enabled phone, as well as any computer with an internet connection.

Introducing YouVersion Live from YouVersion on Vimeo.

Check out this blog post from Terry Storch HERE.

Tonight I’m taking my wife on a date to the U2 concert at Cowboy’s Stadium. Can’t wait!

ARC and Church Growth

prayer The other day I wrote about what magazines I had read lately. I mentioned that I wanted to come back and talk about Outreach Magazine. This issue was their 100 Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches in America edition.

There is a great interview in the magazine with pastors Rick Bezet and Chris Hodges – pastors of the fastest growing church in America (’09 & ’08). It’s a great interview and knowing how humble and sincere both pastors are, I thought it gave glory where glory is due – to God.

An interesting thing though that many may not realize is that not only are Rick and Chris (and their churches) ARC churches, they both serve on the board of ARC (Association of Related Churches). Not only that, Rick and Chris’ churches were the first 2 churches that ARC planted 8 years ago when ARC was birthed.

So ARC launched 8 years ago with Church of the Highlands (Chris Hodges) and New Life Church (Rick Bezet) and then fast-forward: Church of the Highlands is the fastest growing church in the US in 2008 and New Life Church is the fastest growing church in 2009.

I point this out because I believe in ARC and think they do a good job planting churches. It’s worth noting that this year’s and last year’s fastest growing churches are both ARC churches. I wrote THIS blog post a while back and mentioned all the great churches that you may not realize are ARC churches. If you didn’t read it, it’s worth checking out. You’d be amazed at how many great churches and pastors you’ve heard of are ARC churches.

Why do I do a blog post on “ARC and Church Growth”? Because as an ARC coach of church planters, I can personally tell you how much I talk about the importance of prayer in leading and growing/strengthening your church. I’ve met with church planters and pastors and begged them to make prayer a priority. I’ve begged them to gather on Saturday to pray for Sunday (like Chris Hodges has always done). I’ve begged pastors to begin an intercessory prayer ministry that prays throughout their morning worship services.

Fortunately, I’ve had the privilege of hearing both Rick and Chris teach on the importance and power of prayer. The very first thing ARC teaches at their CPR’s (Church Planters Roundtable) is that you must “win the war in the spiritual”. As Billy Hornsby says, “Prayer is a non-negotiable”. I heard Chris Hodges once say, “You can’t delegate prayer.”

I write this blog post because every “fastest-growing” list that comes out has a story behind the names on the list. There are some amazing churches listed on this year’s list. I know most of the churches. My word to you is that knowing these leaders, I know they wouldn’t point to a cool technology or church growth fad, but to the power and presence of our Almighty God.

God is using ARC in a mighty way and I’m thrilled to be a small part of it and not only contribute and consult, but I grow and learn all the time by hanging out and talking with the ARC team. Billy Hornsby is a new mentor in my life and I appreciate the investment he’s making in my life.

My encouragement to you is for YOU to get to know the ARC as well. If you’re a future church planter, look into planting through ARC. Contact me and I’ll get you started down the path. If you’re an already existing church, you can join ARC (like Craig Groeschel and and Mark Batterson and National Community Church) and begin to see your missions budget go straight to planting churches here in the United States. I’d be glad to talk with you about how your church can join the ARC and begin actively supporting church planting.

All Glory to God!

YouVersion Live Coming Soon

The following is an announcement from Kent Shaffer’s blog that I thought was worth you knowing about and keeping an eye on:’s interactive online Bible, YouVersion, is about to take the interactivity up a notch and to congregations around the world.

It’s called YouVersion Live (October 2009 launch). And it allows pastors, conference speakers, teachers, and group leaders to share content and real-time feedback on mobile devices during live events. Essentially, YouVersion Live is interactive digital message notes that allow the audience to:

  • take notes and save them online
  • read the Bible
  • ask questions and get answers during the message
  • do surveys anonymously via a YouVersion Live poll
  • get extra content via blog links, YouTube videos, and other resources
  • share the message with a friend
  • request prayer
  • give online

It is easy to create a YouVersion Live message guide. All a speaker has to do is drag and drop the features he wants to use into his template on a super-simple YouVersion Live admin area. All an audience member needs is a web-enabled phone, netbook, or laptop.

YouVersion Live

Already over 1.8 million iPhone users have YouVersion on their phone, which is equivalent to 1 in 27 iPhones. YouVersion’s rapid growth means your user base already exists. All you need to do is use YouVersion Live’s super-simple admin panel, and you can take your audience engagement to incredible new places.

YouVersion Live launches in October 2009. Until then, you can sign up for updates

Digital Real Estate

You may have never heard the term (I haven’t and neither has Wikipedia), but I’d like to introduce you to it: digital real estate. It’s a term that I use often and think more people ought to be talking about.

To me, digital real estate is when you (as an individual) or your church or ministry claims your name on the web. A long time ago I went through all the social media and social networking sites and grabbed up the name “Greg Atkinson”. My blog is, my Twitter is @GregAtkinson, etc.

Get this: when Facebook started offering vanity names I was on vacation and missed grabbing my name by 2 days. On Facebook, my personal web address is, instead of Another Greg Atkinson beat me to it!

Do you have your name reserved on various websites? Have you claimed your church’s name? There can only be one Grace Community and one Hope _______ and one Calvary _______. Whatever your church’s or organization’s name is, it’s important to grab it before someone else does.

Hear me, I don’t mean this in a vicious, beat out another Grace Baptist way. I mean someone else (not a church) could grab that name and do horrible things with it – really misrepresenting you and your church. Earlier this week I was speaking at the Bug Conference in Birmingham and heard horror stories from Maurilio Amorim, owner and president of The A Group in Nashville.

That’s why you see (left) and Willow Creek (below) have already grabbed up their Twitter names, though they are not yet using them.

Did you know Rick Warren had 5000 followers before his first tweet? Someone on his staff (or him) grabbed the name and held it in-case Rick wanted to start twittering. Rick is now twittering and is quickly approaching 10,000 followers. His first tweet is below:

@RickWarren – 2 tweet or not 2 tweet? I fear the narcissistic possibility, but can’t pass up any tool to encourage you! Jumping in! .

And so he dove in. At the time of this writing, Rick has 14 tweets. The point is all the people you see above, including worship leader Matt Redman, grabbed their name – they, whether they realized it or not, practiced the rule of digital real estate and claimed their territory.

Maybe you, your pastor or your church isn’t into all this social media and social networking stuff. Who’s to say that you won’t be in a year or six months? Why not go ahead and grab your space now, so as to reserve it in-case you change your mind?

Church Online

Below is a post from my friend, DJ Chuang and the Leadership Network Digital Blog that I thought was worth repeating:

What the church looks and feels like is changing right before our eyes, and on our computer screens.

This article from The Gadsden Times (Alabama), “Now on your computer screen: Sunday services,” tells the story of how the Church Online of is reaching people around the world:

… The 32-year-old [Bobby] Gruenewald is a pastor at, an Edmond, Okla., organization that, with tens of thousands of followers, has created a virtual house of worship, with sermons, prayer and Bible study for an international congregation.Â

… Gruenewald said the average “congregation” at any given time on a Sunday is about 3,000 visitors, but over the course of the 90-to-120-minute services, between 12,000 and 15,000 unique viewers will log on. The services incorporate live preaching, songs and sermons from the church’s physical locations across the United States through a live feed, while viewers can chat with one another or church volunteers.

Lifechurch-capTo further connect virtual users, the site also employs a chat function that automatically translates their language into a language of one’s choosing. Someone in Brazil can type a comment in Portuguese, for example, and it will be translated instantaneously to English for a viewer in Idaho. This feature, church leaders say, fosters a sense of immediate community among people with no other commonalities besides an abiding interest in Jesus.

And, Beliefnet blog entry “How Facebook, Twitter, and Google Might Affect the Church” links over to Mark Brown’s thoughts, How the Digital Revolution Might Affect the Church.

… we need to recognize the utter importance of powerful, transformational preaching. And we need to create systems by which those with such preaching ability and gifting can be widely available. Why restrict a gifted preacher to one community? lead the way in making resources, including preaching, available to more than those who turn up in person for the service.Â

We need to move from appointing leaders based on them completing the right degree to giving more weight to discerning their ability to complete the leadership task.

We need to create the opportunity for people to ‘be at church’ or part of a community at any moment in the day/week. Setting a special time on Sunday morning is artificial and limiting.

Mark also explores other issues affected by the digital revolution, namely, church governance, church leadership, and the institutional church as we know it. Read the full article.

From my vantage point, I’m guessing that changes to how we live out our faith as the church is only beginning. More changes are yet to come. Technology is only a part of what’s ushering in the change. (Aside: there are at least 27 churches with Internet campuses offering church online) What do you think?

// DJ Chuang, Director at Leadership Network //

I just returned from spending the weekend at in Oklahoma City and got to witness this first-hand. It’s amazing what God is doing through them.