Keeping a team mentality

Keeping a team mentality

“None of us are as smart as all of us.” -Pastor Daniel Williams

The reality is that we, as individuals can accomplish a lot on our own… But we’ll never be able to accomplish alone what can only be done with all of us together.

“Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” Genesis 11:6

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Psalm 133:1

Even in scripture, we learn how importance teamwork, but it can be so difficult to obtain. Here’s the top three things I’ve learned about keeping a team mentality:

Share a vision, not a task list

Yes, tasks will be shared, but what is most important is to bring everyone around a common vision and goal. Without a clear goal that stirs inside of each person on your team, you’re guaranteed to loose people much quicker to burnout and keeps people from giving their best.

Play everyone’s strengths

What makes teams so difficult is that everyone is different, but this can also your team’s greatest strength. It’s amazing that we are not only good at different things, but how some people can absolutely love doing what others would never do. Learning these things about your team can be invaluable in making sure you have people not only doing what they’re best at, but what they enjoy and fulfills them (which is not only better for the team’s success, but also its health).

Delegate everything you can

This one has been, and always will be the thing I struggle with most. Handing over important tasks, projects, and especially management is extremely difficult. The reality is that the biggest bottle neck most teams will face is their leader. The best advice I’ve ever heard is that if someone can do something 60% as well as you then you should have them do it instead. This may seem easy, but I realized very quickly that 60% is a very far way from 100%. Nonetheless, teaching others and delegating areas of responsibility (and truly letting them take it over without you micromanaging them) is the only way to utilize a team well and will encourage everyone to take part and work as a team rather than a one man show with many helpers.

I’d love to hear if you have more thoughts on ways to keeping a team mentality in the comments below.

Prayer and fasting in Christian ministry

Prayer and fasting in Christian ministry

Easter is three days away. How have you prepared? Have you organized the service, coordinated the volunteers, made a landing page for your website, advertised in your local community, encouraged members to invite friends and family, and all of the rest that goes into a special service or event? I hope you have. There’s nothing wrong with all those things, and they should be done if we are to do our very best, however, these are not the most important things, and nor are they sufficient on their own.

As I’ve written about before, all Christians are called to pray, and to fast. Jesus made it very clear that prayer and fasting is not merely a good option, but a required part of a full Christian life and ministry. So what does this mean for us? It means that we need to not neglect the most important things in order to do less important things.

I love the analogy of our lives being like an empty jar and we have large rocks, pebbles, sand, and water that we can fill our time with. So often we allow the water and sand in our lives to fill every open moment and so the large rocks can never seem to fit. However, if we prioritize and are more disciplined to add the large rocks in, then there will always be room to add the pebbles, sand, and water as they are important as well, just not as important.

I hope that you and your team have been taking time to pray and even fast for your upcoming Easter service, or other special events. If not, I encourage you that this is something that cannot be skipped. We cannot do a lot of physical work and expect to have spiritual results. We, as Christian leaders, need to set the example that we rely on God’s grace and strength to do His work, which means our primary focus needs to be going before God in prayer and fasting.

Here are some of my favorite quotes on prayer and ministry that I hope encourage you in this good work.

“As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.” – Martin Luther

“Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness.” – William Carey

“If you are strangers to prayer you are strangers to power.” – Billy Sunday

“Little prayer, little power. Much prayer, much power.” – Rick Warren

“That four hours of work for which one hour of prayer prepares, is far better than five hours of work without prayer.” – George Mueller

“The church’s organization, methods, marketing, and machinery are powerless to deliver apart from prayer.” – Bruce Zachary

Five guidelines for guest followup

Five guidelines for guest followup

Easter is almost here! It’s a wonderful celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s one of the most attended days of the year for churches.

But how do you plan on following up with all of the first time guests?

Here’s Five guidelines for planning your church’s guest followup procedure.

1. You can’t use information you don’t have

One of church’s greatest faults in followup is not getting information to begin with. If you plan on giving every visitor a phone call, or card in the mail, you first have to get this information from them.

2. Use every piece of information you ask for

The second greatest fault in followup is asking for information that you never use. If you ask people to give you their address, phone number, and email, and then only give them a phone call, you make people wonder what you ever did with their address or email. Did you sell the information? You obviously didn’t use it. You simply wasted their time by having them give you information you didn’t even use. So let’s make sure that this Easter, we only ask for information we plan on utilizing.

3. Thank them for coming

Nothing is more off-putting then an unloving, unthankful church. We are excited when people choose to take time to seek God, and we should make sure that we tell them we are. This helps lower their guard as most people think of churches as looking down on them for not coming every week, when we’re actually celebrating that they came at all.

4. Give them a next step

As I’ve written about before regarding your website’s call to action, it’s extremely important to ask for a specific response from people, and this includes your church’s followup procedure. This could be made easy by having them check a box if they’re interested in joining a midweek study, or serving, or another church group as they give their information so you have a specific thing to tell them about. Otherwise, you need to decide what your default is going to be. Will you be encouraging people to come back next Sunday, to join a group, or something else within your church? If you leave your followup open ended, most people will let the conversation drop off there and you’ll never hear from them again. However, this is your opportunity to help guide them to what their next step should be.

5. Reach out more than once

Whether they gave you one piece of information, or five, you should make sure you contact them multiple times (over a period of time, you don’t want to overwhelm people). Overtime, you’ll be able to see how they respond and focus on a specific communication channel (such as phone call, email, or text).

I hope many of you have great opportunities to reach out to new people this Easter! Do you have any ideas you’d like to add for followup procedure guidelines? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Why you shouldn’t plan a special Easter service

Why you shouldn’t plan a special Easter service

Easter is one of the church’s biggest holidays. Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus on Easter is definitely a special Sunday service, so how do you go about planning what to do? Some of the things churches commonly do are skits, dramas, guest worship leaders, choirs, orchestras, and the list goes on.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these things, but I would encourage you to do nothing “special” or out of the ordinary for your Easter service.

I know it sounds weird to imagine not having a special service on Easter, but hear me out.

By having a special service you are communicating one of two things:
1. You are doing the special service for the regular attendees and having an inward focus rather than an outward one.
Or
2. You are attempting to do greater outreach on a day where you think more unsaved people will be attending.

The first one is bad for obvious reasons, but the second one not so much. Obviously, we shouldn’t be so inward focused, especially on a day when so many outside people are willing to come. However, why not have a “special” service for them? Here’s two reasons.

It’s not in your skill set

Sometimes, it’s good to simply focus on what we already do well. God has wired us, and our churches, in ways to reach specific people. You want newcomers to get a good, realistic picture of what your church is like. If you don’t have dramas at your church because no one is into that and the leadership doesn’t feel it’s best to go in that direction, then why take so much time in effort to do so? The things we’re good at we tend to emphasize every other Sunday of the year, so whether that’s dramas, worship, teaching, or other pieces of service, those things should make up your Easter service as well.

It’s not a good outreach

Honestly, if having a drama was specifically a good way to reach your community, why wouldn’t you have these more often? Why not twice a month? I think we, as pastors, feel obligated to do specific things on holidays, but the reality is, they may not be effective, which is why we don’t do them throughout the year.

Now, maybe you’re reading this and you realize that you should implement some of your special Easter traditions throughout the year, that’s great! But I think the expectation of having a special service should cause us to stop and wonder why. We shouldn’t accept something because “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” instead, we need to proactively adjusting our methods of service structure and outreach to best serve the church and reach out to the local community.

I hope this has got you thinking about what your Easter will look like, and maybe even the rest of the Sundays this year. I pray that God guides you in wisdom and grace as you continue to lead the church He’s put in your care.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment below!

7 ways to advertise your Easter service

7 ways to advertise your Easter service

Easter is one of the few days a year where non-Christians will often go to a church service. Whether because of family or their own feeling of obligation, church services tend to be much larger on Easter.

This is great news for us, but it doesn’t mean that we have no work to do. Advertising your Easter service(s) well is extremely important because more people will naturally respond to your invitation. So, what’s the best way to invite people? Here are seven ideas for you as you begin advertising your Easter service(s).

NOTE: for all of the digital advertising it’s important to make sure you advertise your specific Easter landing page so people find what they’re looking for immediately. You can read more about creating a specific Easter page at my post titled: Prepare your church website for Easter.

Door Hangers/Flyers

Door hangers and flyers are great ways to invite a large amount of people to your Easter service, and what’s great is that anybody who can walk a fair distance can participate! We love going out with our teams and doing door hangers because it’s a simple and easy way to invite people, and you feel so accomplished when you’re done (which is great for encouraging your volunteers).

Every Door Direct Mail

Every Door Direct Mail (or EDDM) is a great service from the United States Postal Service where you can send out flyers to general neighborhoods for much cheaper. For the standard EDDM it only costs 18.3 cents each! This is almost a third of the cost for a normal stamp! The way it works is that you choose a general area and the postal serviceman will give one flyer per household. They drop the price considerably because it doesn’t really take the mailman any extra time to simply add one flyer to every mailbox indiscriminately.

This option is great if you’re wanting to blanket nearby neighborhoods and you don’t have the time to use door hangers or if the neighborhoods are gated.

You can find out more info on EDDM on their website at this link.

Google Adwords (using Google Grants)

For the majority of people who will be attending an Easter service, they will be searching online for a church to go to. You can’t miss this golden opportunity to be put directly in front of people who are searching for a church. As I’ve written about before, I hope no one reading this is actually paying for Google Adwords for their church, but that you invest in setting up Google Grants. You can check out that post for more info on that subject.

Facebook/Instagram/Twitter

Utilizing social media (both paid and not) is extremely important. We don’t normally pay for Facebook ads, but we do during Christmas and Easter. Again, church is on more people’s minds and they’re much more likely to respond to an ad during this time of year than any other.

Personally, I prefer Facebook ads to any other as you have much more control over who you advertise to. Wanting couples with kids who live within 25 miles? Want ages 18-25 who are single? You can make all these types of specifications on Facebook which makes it extremely valuable. You can even have one add for middle age women, and a different ad campaign for the younger crowd.

Another way we utilize Facebook is by having church members video record themselves talking about how much they love a specific aspect of our church and inviting people to Easter. We’ll post these on our Facebook (about 2 or 3 times a week) and have everyone in the church share the video on their page to their friends, as well as paying minimal money to boost the post in our area so even more people will see them!

Local Event Websites

Never forget the power of simply being everywhere. People are always looking for things to do, and by being listed as an event website might just be the nudge a person needs. And, an added benefit is that it’s very easy to do, takes little time, and it’s free. Below I’ve listed a few options regardless of where you are, but keep in mind that there are probably some other options that are state or even city specific (especially if you have a lot of tourists come to your town).

Newspapers/Magazines

Newspapers are still extremely common and so advertising with your local paper could prove useful. Most let you choose general areas, and there’s even advertising available on the newspaper’s website as well. Keep in mind that the newspaper doesn’t have to be a big name either, but maybe even one of the small local papers or magazines.

Press Release

The last option we’ll cover is sending out a press release. Easter is definitely a time where churches still get the spotlight, even though Easter egg hunts are on the rise. If you’re doing something special or even an Easter egg hunt yourself, you should definitely see if someone wants to write a story on what you’re doing.

As Easter approaches, it’s important to make sure we’re doing everything we can to let me people know that there’s a church they should go to. Many of these options can be done year around, and don’t forget that the number 1 rule in advertising is consistency, so you should choose the options that give the best results and keep advertising your services throughout the year.

I’d love to hear if you have any advertising ideas I didn’t cover, or things you’d like to add. Feel free to write me in the comments below!


Resources for your church

Click here if you’re looking to build a new church website in order to more effectively reach and disciple your community.

Click here to discover the amazing opportunity to get your church $120,000 of Google Ad Credit for only $2,000.

Utilizing Dropbox in the ministry

Utilizing Dropbox in the ministry

One of the apps I recently encouraged pastors to use in my post “the apps of a pastor” was Dropbox. If you’ve never used Dropbox before, you should definitely sign up for an account on their website, and then checkout some of my tips on how to utilize this app.

Sign-up promotions

New users get a standard of 2gb of FREE storage with Dropbox, but what’s great is that they offer little steps you can complete to get even more free storage. Sometimes it’s something like downloading their app, or being a referral for new users (free or paid) such as THIS LINK HERE. Every little bit helps, and if you’re only wanting it for a few things, you’ll never need to actually upgrade your account. Personally, I’ve always utilized their offers and my account can currently go up to 10.2gb for FREE, which is awesome! Many of the offers will popup as you sign up, and you can get your own personal referral link HERE.

Shared folders

Our church tax guy likes to share a dropbox folder for some of our paperwork that we share and reference. Dropbox is great for this since we can each upload and edit documents so that we both have the most recent version. This tool could be used for collaborative files, such as a website redesign, event, or special promotion where there are many pictures, and files that are being worked on/used by multiple people. You can share a folder by clicking on the “share” tab on the left when logged into dropbox, OR you can go to THIS LINK.

Sharing individual files

What’s great about being able to share an individual file is that the recipient doesn’t even have to have Dropbox! All you have to do is click the “share” button on the file you want to share when in the web browser. You can also see every file you currently have “shared” (available through a specific link) so you can choose to unshare files that should be made private again, or delete old files that you don’t need anymore. I’ve used this to share pictures or files with people inside of our church, or completed graphics with clients that are too big to send over email.

App/Setting Sync

One of the reasons Dropbox became such a hit was that they became integrated with many applications in order to sync information and settings across multiple devices. For example, my Text Expander snippets are synced to my phone and computer through Dropbox, as well as my passwords saved inside of 1Password. in addition, my drafts actions and launch center pro settings are backed up to Dropbox. They’ve made syncing and small backups extremely easy so you should definitely check out if applications you use utilize Dropbox as a syncing option.

I hope this helps you dive into one of the most useful productivity apps there is. If you have something you’d like to add, or questions you have about Dropbox, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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