Resources for Your Ministry

As we near the end of the year, I want to thank our two main sponsors of this blog for the past quarter: eaHELP and MAG Bookkeeping.

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Both companies are great resources for your church, non-profit, business or ministry. I blogged about eaHELP years ago when they were new and I could see their potential. They have now grown significantly and are serving tons of churches and businesses and key influencers like Michael Hyatt.

Check out THIS article about the day in the life of an EA Virtual Assistant. It’s quite interesting. I encourage you to click on their logos and see what they have to offer. You won’t regret it. I only partner with advertisers that I respect and trust. Check them out!

 

 

Christmas Media Review

The following is from my friend Dale at WorshipHouse Media:

Christmas is probably the time more churches use media than any other time of the year. We decorate trees, why not use some great seasonal media to “decorate” your Christmas media presentation? Here is a roundup of 5 short videos that are being used at churches all over the world this Christmas.

 

1) True and Better  (new this year)

by Dan Stevers

Why it is great: Stunning animation, Longer script allows you to base your sermon off the video, Works beyond Christmas as a gospel video

How you would use it: We have heard many churches have loved it so much they are theming the Christmas season to “True and Better.” Perfect to show it before, during, or after a sermon.

 

2) Christ The Savior Is Born (new this year)

by Centerline New Media

Why it is great: Visuals, easy to read text, Scripture based, short in length

How you would use it: As a stand alone reflection piece, Prior to a Christmas Sermon, Prior to worship to set the tone of praise.

 

3) The Christmas Scale (2012 best seller)

by Igniter Media

Why it is great: Familiar Music, True Story

How you would use it: To blow peoples minds! No, seriously – it is an amazing story about something so familiar people will be surprised. Can be used in conjuction with another Christmas video as this one is unique and great as a stand alone video at the beginning of your service.

 

4) The Christmas Truce (new this year)

By Shift Worship

Why it is great: The animation is amazing, Based on a true story so history buffs will love it.

How you would use it: This would be perfect in the middle or near the end of your Christmas message to bring home depth and meaning to our own celebration of the birth of Christ.

 

5) Christmas Welcome to Our Church (new this year)

by Floodgate Productions

Why it is great: Seasonal way to welcome visitors, Visuals and Voice over easy to follow.

How you would use it: Either in place of a countdown at the very beginning, or just after a countdown to start your service.

 

We hope you enjoy these Christmas videos from some of the best producers of church media! It was really hard to pick just a few as we have so many awesome videos in the Christmas seasonal store this year. What is your favorite?

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Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

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Let me say up front that I’m not a true gamer. I play video games with my kids, but I have friends that stay up until 2 or 3 am playing games and are true gamers, that’s not me. With that being said, I want to offer some pastoral counsel and advice to church leaders and parents: Be careful what games you let your kids buy and play.

I recently had a friend purchase Grand Theft Auto V. He got to the third scene and had to take it back to the store because it was so bad and vulgar. He described people having sex in a van, two going at in the street and one scene where the paparazzi pay you to take pictures of a teen star having sex. Of course in the game, you can still pick up a prostitute. Read this review of the game to truly know what goes on.

Some of you may be shocked. Some of you may be yawning and thinking what’s the big deal? The big deal is what our kids are seeing behind closed doors in their rooms when we think they’re playing a simple racecar game and they are acting out sex, crime (remember it’s called Grand Theft Auto), and violence (there are a lot of fights and car-jackings).

When parents don’t get involved in details like this in their kids’ lives, it leads to trouble down the road. Kids are growing up today with a taste and thirst for violence (think Halo and Call of Duty) and when you mix that with a negative view of women and thinking of them as sex objects, it makes you think what the next generation of leaders, pastors, teachers and businessmen and women will be like.

I don’t want to preach or come down too heavy. I just want to raise awareness of a problem and strongly encourage you to check into what your kids are playing. If a thirty-three year old friend of mine had to return the video game because it made him blush and feel dirty, what business does a teenager or child have playing it?

So, like the title says: Be careful little eyes what you see. My kids play games like Madden (football) and Indiana Jones and Star Wars. We are intentional not to buy them games with graphic content or violence. I encourage you as leaders in the church to be careful what you look at (on computers, tablets and gaming consoles) and be a present parent to your children. They look to you for guidance and today’s kids need all they can get. So as the Christmas season approaches, take a careful look at what games and movies you buy your kids. Okay – I’m stepping down off my soap box!

 

The Good of Social Media

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Our world has watched in horror and shock as the Philippines was devastated by a typhoon. All forms of media have been buzzing with up-to-date news coverage and stories of search, rescue, survival, and death.

I’ve been amazed at the use of social media to help bring aid and relief to victims. Numerous sources have written about and commented on the use of social media to rally people and retain resources to help in time of need.

From Twitter to Instagram to Facebook, people and organizations are getting the word out about how to bring help and order to what seems like chaos.

According to TechCrunch, relief efforts are now underway, including one by the Geeklist Corps of Developers, which is recruiting coders, product managers and other tech experts from around the world to build tools that will help coordinate rescue efforts, enable crisis communication and make sure emergency supplies and food are quickly distributed to areas in need.

The initiative is working with the government of the Philippines to deploy and start using finished projects. Kat Borlongan, the initiative’s coordinator, tells me that they are searching for designers, developers, product managers and social media experts to help out.

So people are employing and utilizing social media experts to bring help and aid, but even ordinary people are taking to their own initiatives to bring relief. Check out the following story:

We are just doing as much as we can and I put a post on Facebook. I said: ‘Can you help? I am going up there with the car.’ So I got a lot of donations from my friends and family, said Simon Timmins, as he made his delivery. I got about 1,000 pounds so I have got enough for at least two trips up here. This is the first trip and I will be coming up again later in the week. This is just an example of one person who is trying to make a difference and using a simple tool like Facebook to collect supplies and donations.

Patrick Meier is director of social innovation at the Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute in Qatar. He develops tools, like the just launched website MicroMappers, that quickly sort through online data, from tweets to uploaded photos, and then display the information on satellite maps. Aid agencies can view the maps, which change in real time based on data coming in, and then use that information to help plan their relief efforts.

When National Geographic asked how they are mobilizing to help victims of the typhoon? Meier answerd, We launched MicroMappers in order to very quickly tag tensof thousands of tweets (and soon pictures) coming out of the Philippines. More specifically, and at the UN’s request, we are asking volunteers from all around the world to tag tweets if they are related to “requests for help,” “infrastructure damage,” and “displaced populations.”

We’re doing this entirely online via the Digital Humanitarian Network and anyone can volunteer, no prior training or experience required. You can learn more about the efforts at MicroMappers.com.

When asked about their specific goals for crisis mapping amid the typhoon’s aftermath, he said, Our goal is to rapidly map the needs and damage resulting from Typhoon Yolanda so that our UN colleagues can respond more quickly with their relief efforts.

This is the good of social media, friends. We saw this with Hurricane Sandy, and in Chile, Japan, Iran and Haiti. People took to social media to mobilize, coordinate, raise support, communicate and raise awareness, and bottom-line, make a difference.

This is why we champion and focus so much on social media here at CMM and this is a great example that technology is not a waste of time. God has given us these amazing tools to communicate with others and who knows, maybe even save a life.

 

The Conference that Will Explode your Church with Growth

I’m always on the look out for quality events where I can grow and train my staff at the same time. I want to put this event on your radar: My friend Bob Franquiz is hosting The Pull Conference on September 18th at 1PM EST.

Bob’s new book Pull: Making Your Church Magnetic is releasing on September 15th and to celebrate the book’s release, Bob is hosting a free conference to help churches grow this Fall.

Check out who is speaking at the event…

This event is focusing on what you need to do to see explosive growth in your church this Fall.

Here are the topics they’ll be drilling down on at the conference:

#1 – Mobilizing your Congregation

#2 – Preaching with the Unchurched in Mind

#3 – Creating an Evangelistic Culture in your Church

#4 – Launching your Fall series like you’re Re-launching your church

#5 – Using Strategic Outreach to Reach Unchurched People

Plus, Bob is leading a Live pre-conference call where he’s going to be sharing our Fall launch strategy step-by-step.

The Pull Conference is happening on Wednesday, September 18th at 1PM EST.

The pre-conference event is happening on September 12th at 3PM EST.

I’ve had this event marked on my calendar for weeks. Be there!

*** Here’s the link to register: https://thepullconference.com

I’ve Got 3 New Books Headed Your Way

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That’s right: 3 books! Busy, busy, busy!!!! I just signed my third book contract last week. So, I’ve got one book in the can and am just waiting for it to release (through Rainer Publishing). I’m in the editing process of the second book and working with my editing team and Project Manager to make corrections and edits (I hate footnotes, by the way). And my third book I haven’t even begun to write. I’ve simply wrote the Table of Contents for it. I’ve got until the end of this year to finish that. Whew! It will be so nice when these books and resources are complete and available to church leaders around the world.

Here’s a preview of what to expect:

Rainer Publishing: A Great New Resource for the Church

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Yesterday, Rainer Publishing officially launched and went public. I’m thrilled about this great new resource for churches, pastors and Christians in general. I’m also pleased to announce that I’m under contract with them and will be releasing a brand new book on church leadership by the end of the year. To be notified of when my new book comes out on Amazon Kindle, go HERE and sign up. I’ll let you know when my new book comes out.

Also, like my brand new Facebook page for updates on all my writing and resources. Go HERE to check me out on Facebook. For now, check out Rainer’s other great resources!  You can follow Rainer Publishing on Twitter HERE.

*** BONUS: For a review of the new album by The Digital Age, go HERE to my worship pastor, Matt’s blog.

Announcing New Coaching and Consulting Options

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After 20 years of church ministry and countless consulting opportunities, I’ve decided to offer some new opportunities to learn from and connect with me. To learn about a cool new experience where you come to my home and spend the weekend with me learning from me up close, go HERE.

To learn about a very affordable and worthwhile investment in the reach of your church and improving your organization’s online presence, go HERE.

I look forward to working with you and aiding you in reaching more people for Christ and making a bigger impact in your community!

*** Bonus weekend experience just added! Bring your worship leader with you and learn from us up close. See the Coaching page for more details.

A little about my church and what God has been up to. This summer, we are up 43% in attendance over where we were this time last year. In the two years that I’ve been pastoring this church in a small town, we have nearly tripled in size and baptized well over a 100 people, which averages out to 1 baptism a week for two years. Please know we are in a town of 15,000. What God is doing here is special. Our worship is like Passion, Hillsong United and Elevation. We just moved into our new building (debt free) in February of this year and have been regularly giving tours. Come visit us and spend some time with us up close and we will share everything that we’ve learned (mistakes and all). We are here to serve you!

My Reading List for Late Spring/Summer 2013

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Here’s a list of books I read in the last 3 months. The last 4 books are ones I’m finishing up in the next two weeks (through July). Leaders are readers! Leaders are life-long learners. Always remember that. Here’s my list:

  1. Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend
    by Andy Stanley (read in May on my iPad Kindle app)
  2. Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible
    by Steven Furtick (read in May on my iPad Kindle app)
  3. Greater: Dream Bigger. Start Smaller. Ignite God’s Vision for Your Life.
    by Steven Furtick (read in May on my iPad Kindle app)
  4. On the Old Testament (Book You’ll Actually Read)
    by Mark Driscoll (read in June on my iPad Kindle app)
  5. On the New Testament (Book You’ll Actually Read)
    by Mark Driscoll (read in June on my iPad Kindle app)
  6. The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker
    by Brad Lomenick (read in June/July on my iPad Kindle app)
  7. Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
    by Kyle Idleman (read in June/July by Audiobook)
  8. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
    by Michael Hyatt (read in June/July by Audiobook)
  9. Jesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human
    by Judah Smith (read in July – hardcopy)
  10. Pursued: God’s Divine Obsession with You
    by Jud Wilhite (read in July – hardcopy)
  11. On the Verge: A Journey Into the Apostolic Future of the Church (Exponential Series)
    by Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson (read in July on my iPad Kindle app)
  12. AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church (Exponential Series)
    by Hugh Halter (read in July on my iPad Kindle app)
  13. Be Our Guest (Revised and Updated Edition): Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (Disney Institute Book, A)
    by The Disney Institute (read in July – hard copy)
  14. Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
    by Bob Goff (read in July on my iPad Kindle app)

*** Interesting to note: Most of the books I read digitally (on my iPad via the Kindle app), two books I read via Audiobook and just 3 books I read were hardcopy books. Kindle is definitely my preferred choice. What about you? How do you read?

7 Secrets to Growing Your Church This Summer

My friend, Bob Franquiz, offers this great free resource. Go HERE to download his ebook on 7 Secrets to Growing Your Church this Summer. We always try to see an explosion of growth in the summer. A lot of churches do there best series in the summer. What do you do to fight the summer slump?