More about Communication

  • How To Handle Communications When Crisis Hits: Part Two

    There are few guarantees in ministry today. Unfortunately, one of them is the inevitability of a potential crisis occurring in our country, your community or even your church that could have a major effect on your congregation and even your reputation.

  • How To Handle Communications When Crisis Hits: Part One

    There are few guarantees in ministry today. Unfortunately, one of them is the inevitability of a potential crisis occurring in our country, your community or even your church that could have a major effect on your congregation and even your reputation.

  • Your Brand is Probably Not What You Think It Is

    Brand is the buzzword for businesses and organizations all over the world. It spurs countless meetings and brainstorms, millions of dollars in research and hundreds of pages in manuals.

  • Better Communicator Series #2: Using Improvisation

    Let’s face it – many times, our presentations even bore ourselves! Whether leading a meeting, presenting information to a committee, or worst of all, the weekly sermon, how often do you get the sinking feeling you audience is sinking right before your eyes – figuratively, if not literally? Communication to individuals, to teams, and to large groups is one of the core foundations of the leader’s skill set. And yet, most leaders feel inadequate at times, feeling they are just not connecting.

  • Reach More People by Using this Tool that Everyone Has

    59% of millennials who grew up in church have dropped out. Why? That’s a huge can of worms.

  • Better Communicator Series #1: Using Storytelling

    Let’s face it – many times, our presentations even bore ourselves! Whether leading a meeting, presenting information to a committee, or worst of all, the weekly sermon, how often do you get the sinking feeling you audience is sinking right before your eyes – figuratively, if not literally? Communication to individuals, to teams, and to large groups is one of the core foundations of the leader’s skill set. And yet, most leaders feel inadequate at times, feeling they are just not connecting.

  • Great Conversations Take These Five Things

    I’ve made it my practice for years to have significant conversations with just about everyone I meet. If you have an open mind and humility, you can learn from anyone.

  • 4 Signs Your Team is Not Communicating Well

    A team that trusts one another is a team that moves quickly. That is the premise of the book, Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey, which builds the case that trust is one thing that changes everything for a team.

  • Knocking on Your Own Digital Front Door

    Several years ago, I wrote a book titled Opening the Front Door: Worship and Church Growth. It was a simple book, but rather controversial at the time.

  • The Power of a Positive NO

    It’s never fun to tell someone no, even when you know it’s best. If you are like the vast majority of leaders in ministry, you love people.

  • The Small Gap Creating a Big Problem in Your Communication

    When I say it out loud, it just doesn’t feel right. But, I do turn 50 next month, so the math checks out.

  • Leveraging Facebook Ads this Christmas

    It will be December soon, so it’s time to talk about Christmas—at least that’s what my kids tell me.   But for now, let’s talk about Facebook, Christmas, and your church.

  • How to Communicate With a Distracted Audience, Part Two: Approach Communication as Negotiation

    Do you think people care about what you have to say? The truth is that the average person doesn’t know you. It’s not that you’re not likeable or smart; it’s just a matter of survival for people in today’s world.

  • Less (Words) Is More (Impact)

    The bread aisle at the grocery store confounds me. I just wanted to buy a loaf of bread to make a sandwich – I didn’t really want to wade through 7 long shelves of every imaginable type of bread possible.

  • Unfocused: the Distraction of Digital Device Living

    It’s no secret that new technologies and online habits are changing us in subtle yet profound ways, giving rise to new experiences and expectations. Writers like Tony Reinke, Andy Crouch, and Cal Newport have given us books rich with insight regarding the effect of the smartphone and social media.

  • What Business Are You REALLY in?

    What business are you in? The way you answer that question will determine who will engage with you in an increasingly digital world. Most organizations answer this question with a mission statement.

  • Digitized: Five Ways Living Online Is Changing You

    There are few things more fascinating – and more pressing – to social scientists than to discover what our new digital world is doing to us, particularly the new online world. From an assortment of new surveys and studies, I’ve drawn together five key findings.

  • How to Communicate With a Distracted Audience, Part One: Leverage “Pre-suasion” to Gain Attention

    Do you think people care about what you have to say? The truth is that the average person doesn’t know you. It’s not that you’re not likable or smart; it’s just a matter of survival for people in today’s world.

  • 3 Myths of Church Communication that Get Everyone

    Church communication is a popular topic in the church world. But the expectations of how to fix communication, is often overinflated.

  • 5 Ways to Engage the Sermon, not just Evaluate It

    After the service what do you hear about the sermon? What do you read on social media? “It wasn’t deep enough. ” “I loved the message, God spoke to me!” “Pastor Bob’s sermon from 1st Church was better, he connects better.

  • Speaking to Your Church on Race and Racism

    If you are a teaching pastor of a church, or in leadership of a church, this blog is for you. Everyone else can eavesdrop.

  • How Long is Too Long? 5 New Sermon Length Trends

    One thing is for certain regarding the proclamation of God’s Word: preaching is still primary for both pastors and church members. Because of the centrality of preaching in most churches, it is always fascinating to learn what developments are taking place in the preaching ministry.

  • Five Keys for Effective Church Communication

    Your church is the only one struggling to communicate effectively.  Your website is quite possibly the worst church website ever created.

  • When It’s Time for Some Spring Cleaning in Your Communications

    It’s still spring. Time to upgrade things going out of style, time to store the things that don’t fit right now and time to retire the items we’re not using anymore.

  • Worlds Are Created From Words

    From the late 1950s through the 2000s, enrollment in foreign language programs at the university level grew steadily. After 2009, language class enrollments began to drop.

  • 3 Ways to Turn Boring into Fascinating

    I’m fascinated how someone can attend two similar church services (maybe even with the same Pastor) and have the 30-minute sermon seem long and boring in one while the other can feel interesting and not enough time. And it’s the same amount of time.

  • Why Talking Starts with Listening

    You would think listening would be easy. After all, we spend a good chunk of our lives doing it.

  • 3 Reminders that Get People Moving

    How do human beings make decisions? What is it that causes us to move from a prospective buyer to a loyal customer? Is it understanding certain features and benefits? Maybe. Is it price? That certainly plays into it.

  • 3 Ways to Keep People Listening to Your Sermon

    Preaching is tougher than ever these days. For one thing, we can’t assume that people come to our churches with a basic understanding of the Bible like they may have in the past.

  • The Vital Need to be a Church Unique

    Have you noticed? Products and services are dropping from existence regularly. Toys”R”Us have closed their doors entirely and more than 5000 individual stores closed across the country as major retailers decide it’s best for their bottom line.

  • Three Personality Traits You Need for Clear Communication

    Many local churches function as if the primary communicator is also the single vision caster. It’s true that the senior pastor is the lead vision caster, but that only paints a part of the picture.

  • 12 Ways to Connect with Your Community

    Okay, content marketing might be a new term for you.  Here’s a definition from Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

  • What Your Church Sign May Say About Your Church Vision

    I recently heard a pastor compliment another church for being a church that was actually moving forward, being “alive” and “contemporary,” brushing away the ecclesiastical cobwebs and making a Kingdom impact. Leaning in to hear the breakthrough, he said: “What was it, 13 years ago? Why, they were the first church in the county to have a digital sign out front!” Oh my.

  • Make Your Brand Contagious

    Some church leaders consider “brand” to be a four-letter word more appropriate in the marketplace than for churches. The concept of branding has undergone changes in the last decade that demand church leaders not only accept them, but also lead forward through them.

  • Do You Know WHY People Like Your Church?

    We know the most effective way to get people to visit your church: word of mouth promotions. It’s the most cost-effective method of evangelism.

  • 5 Ways to Preach Better Sermons

    One of the ways I prepare for sermons is by constantly collecting content—things like news stories or statistics that might make a good illustration, anecdotes and quotes, and Bible verses based on a common theme. I usually start collecting this stuff months or even years before I ever write the sermon.

  • The Importance of “One Time” Sermons

    I remember the first time I preached a sermon, though it’s unlikely anyone else does. In fact, I’m actually relieved that no record remains of its existence.

  • These Three Things are Essential to Great Communication

    Recently, I was talking to someone about their ability to bake bread. He said, “it really isn’t that difficult”.

  • Communicate with Intentionality: Remarkablize Your Message

    “Scrambling to keep up and looking for ways to get their message heard, churches are creating more videos, designing more logos, printing more inserts, sending more emails, launching new apps and websites, posting more social media updates, and trying to write lots of captivating content. ” “Here’s what happens.

  • Are You Staying Current in Your Communication?

    Confession: One of my favorite movies of all time is You’ve Got Mail—the Nora Ephron written and directed, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan acted, rom-com that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. There.

  • Communicate Bible Truth with Life Changing Clarity

    Christians are communicators. And while some Christians may be more or less gifted at the skill of communication, all Christians are “witnesses.

  • Engage People and Build Trust with These Three 3 Preaching Ideas

    There is a relationship that exists between a speaker / teacher / preacher and his or her audience. The entire experience is built on three pillars and whether people remember what you say and act on it depends on these three factors: ethos, logos, and pathos.

  • Preaching to the Crowd without Offending the Core

    In the modern era there have been a generation of preachers whose approach resembled the self-help inspirational talks of Tony Robbins. You could find titles of sermons such as, “Five Ways to a Better Life,” “Four Steps to Overcoming Fears,” and “Three Phases to Raising Obedient Pets.

  • Communicate with Intentionality: Clarify Your Message

    “Scrambling to keep up and looking for ways to get their message heard, churches are creating more videos, designing more logos, printing more inserts, sending more emails, launching new apps and websites, posting more social media updates, and trying to write lots of captivating content. ” “Here’s what happens.

  • 5 Ways to Avoid Panic When Asked to Speak at a Moment’s Notice

    It freaks everyone out, but at some point or another, you’re going to be called to give an impromptu talk. Maybe it will be in front of eight people in the boardroom after the boss taps you on the shoulder and says “What do you have to say about that? Get up and tell us!” Or maybe you’re speaking at an event and you learn the keynote speaker’s flight was canceled, and they call on you at the last minute.

  • Eight Ways to Rock Your Next Event with Social Media

    Communication today is real time, all the time. Thanks to the continuing innovations in technology and the rapid rate of adaption, events that occur around the world – or across the street – are now capable of being seen by millions of individuals.

  • 5 Takeaways for Communicating With Generation Z

    The New York Times recently reported how the newest students – translation, Generation Z – are transforming the way schools serve and educate them. Bottom line? They are “super connected, but on their terms.

  • Successful Churches Use Social Media to Tell the Bigger Story

    Communication today is real-time, all the time. Thanks to the continuing innovations in technology and the rapid rate of adaption, events that occur around the world – or across the street – are now capable of being seen by millions of individuals.

  • 16 Ideas for Better Facebook Live Videos

    Is your church doing regular Facebook Live broadcasts? Why or why not? The popularity of this tool continues to grow and flourish, and it is a powerful communication method that your church should be taking advantage of. While the service has been around for almost three years, which is comparative to something like 30 “social media years”, there are still a lot of churches that aren’t utilizing this tool to reach people.

  • 6 Places Where Vision Communication Must Be Clear

    Clarity is the highest goal of all church communications. Our role is to cut through the clutter and deliver the message we are giving with as much precision as possible.

  • 3 Gospel-Nurturing Questions to Ask in Sermon Preparation

    A few weeks ago, my daughter called to update me on her field trip to the nature center with my grandson Cash. When I answered the phone, her voice was shaky.

  • The Cattle Ranching Secret of Clear Church Communication

    Branding originated with cattle farmers who wanted to make sure others could distinguish their cattle from others when they roamed together in a field. They used a hot iron to mark them.

  • Do the Words We Use Limit the Solutions We Create?

    Uncaging vision involves meticulous articulation.   Every single word, metaphor or story that drives your vision must be carefully created if you want to have a stunning impact.

  • Marketplace Secrets to Building and Connecting with an Audience

    There are 3. 03 billion active users on social media with 81% of all small and medium businesses using some kind of social media platform.

  • Why HOW You Preach Matters as Much as WHAT You Preach

    No, this is not a post about the loss of our religious freedom – it’s a reflection on a quote I’ve looked at many times since I first wrote it down about nine years ago at a conference on preaching… If you think the gathering of biblical facts and standing up with a Bible in your hand will automatically equip you to communicate well, you are desperately mistaken. It will not.

  • Maximize Team Effectiveness, Part 2: Escape the 9 to 5 Rut

    If you ask people where they go when they really need to get work done, very few will respond “the office. ” If they do say the office, they’ll include a qualifier such as “super early in the morning before anyone gets in” or “I stay late at night after everyone’s left” or “I sneak in on the weekend.

  • Seven Big Ideas for Social Media Mastery

    Building a social media plan can seem overwhelming; especially if you see all platforms as broadcast channels. Don’t give into the invisible pressure to jump on everything all at once, all the time.

  • Going Old School with Church Communication

    Is your church leveraging chatbots to reach people? Are you leveraging a social media listening tool to understand the sentiment towards your church? What’s your Instagram story strategy to engage people in your community? Is your church ready for augmented reality and the impact that will have people attending your services? STOP! Too many church leaders are running too quickly to optimize the latest communication tools to reach people in their community while they are ignoring “low hanging” fruit with “old school” technologies with proven abilities to do the same. Before your church figures out the latest tool or trend, you need to make sure that you are leveraging existing channels.

  • One Big Communication Thought that Keeps Your Mission In Focus

    Most churches communicate as though getting people to attend events is the primary goal. And when they do, they create all sorts of problems … and even end up, at times, working against the purpose of the mission they are trying to serve.

  • The Power of Brevity in Communicating for Change

    We say too much. Do you ever catch yourself talking to your child, spouse, or friend trying to get them to understand your perspective? The more you talk, the more they seem to disengage.

  • How to Make the Most Out of Easter Attendance

    It comes as no surprise to pastors and church leaders that Easter is a big – HUGE – attendance day, rivaled only by Christmas. And your Easter service is your first impression.

  • 4 Things to Improve the Communication Culture at Your Church

    Cornerstone Christian Fellowship is one of the fastest growing churches in the country. It has a lot of activities for the family with a very practical, biblical message.

  • 3 Listening Practices for Church Communicators

    There should be a constant tension: a communicator enjoys talking and pushing information, but an effective communicator must listen more than they talk. See, to truly engage with an audience, it has to be a conversation.

  • 7 Communication Landmines to Sidestep

    The first time I watched a video of myself “preaching” a Sunday morning message, I went into shock. I thought: “That is not what I look like, that is not what I sound like, and asked myself, ‘What was I trying to say?”’ I considered becoming a monk.

  • Communicate Clearly Using These Seven Attention Getters

    How can you more clearly communicate your unique church vision? Every day, your church stewards thousands of moments of truth. Every time a member talks to a neighbor, someone drives by the church facility, ministry e-mail goes out, a pastor’s business card is left on a desk, some interaction on behalf of the church has transpired.

  • A Church Communications Self-Assessment

    What does your current church creative arts and communications ministry look like? To improve your situation, discover what’s going on. By communications and creative arts, I am talking about your church’s efforts to communicate the gospel with clarity and beauty.

  • Write a Better Blog with These 21 Checkpoints

    Are there elements that should pretty much always be included in every blog post? Yep. But it’s rare to find them all together in one, awesome post.

  • 8 Ways to Leverage Smartphones in Church

    In 2011, smartphones were almost a novelty. Just 35% of American adults had one.

  • Seven Power Tools for Vivid Visual Communication

    My team and I seem to be using more and more words, yet communicating less and less.   Today more than ever, we live in a visual society.

  • What 2017’s Most Popular Tweets Reveal About Our Culture

    There are many ways to gain a quick snapshot into culture. One of the more revealing ways is to look at what has trended – or is trending – on Twitter.

  • Three Church Communication Mistakes to Avoid

    Jesus shared the parable of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew and Luke) because we need to weigh the cost of what we’re building and start with the proper foundation. The church today is scrambling to replicate communications from other churches.

  • Great Communication Part 3: Get Visual

    Are you and your team using more and more words, yet communicating less and less? Today more than ever, we live in a visual society. Especially in the online world, everyone relies on the power of photos and engagement of video.

  • Successful Communication Takes These Two Steps

    I've been recently given the Director of Communications position and have been asked to come up with a comprehensive communications strategy designed for our particular church body, mission, and vision, etc. I was hoping to not completely reinvent the wheel and was wondering if you had any white papers that could be used as a framework for developing our strategy? If you're writing a communications strategy for the first time or the fiftieth time I'm a big believer in simplicity.

  • Seven Essentials of a Great Church Communications Director

    Church communications is a burgeoning field. And the position of church communications director/manager/coordinator has become ubiquitous in many large churches.

  • Great Communication Part 2: Get Creative

    There is really no situation much worse than finding yourself caught in a presentation or conference where the person speaking has something important to share, but remains clearly unable to share it. Those moments are a great reminder that, in order to reach someone with the message of the gospel, we first must be able to capture his or her attention.

  • Six Churches Who are “Nailing It” with Their Branding

    The Auxano Team has spent some time reflecting on last month’s Guest Experience Boot Camp. We remain energized by how God brought together 25 unique teams of leaders to take an honest look at, and design a powerful moment for, every First Time Guest that visits their church.

  • Discover the Largest Social Media Platform that Few Churches Are Using

    In my latest book, Meet Generation Z, I detail the importance of the visual for Generation Z. In a new survey, Adweek confirmed the pre-existing research and conclusions.

  • Make Your Sunday Bulletin Simple AND Effective

    How many announcements should you include in your church bulletin? Pretty much… none. My philosophy about church bulletins (i.

  • The Secret to Meaningful Blogging

    I never intended to become active on social media. My boss intended it for me and I am glad he did.

  • Great Communication, Part 1: Get Personal

    There is really no situation much worse than finding yourself caught in a presentation or conference where the person speaking has something important to share, but remains clearly unable to share it. Those moments are a great reminder that, in order to reach someone with the message of the gospel, we first must be able to capture his or her attention.

  • Why Your Church Website Needs Help..Now

    Depending on who and what you read, you can find different opinions on how often you should redesign or refresh your website. If it’s a website design company, the answer is probably “six months ago.

  • Is Your Website Really Working?

    “If you’re not found in a Google search for churches in your area, you don’t exist to people moving into town. ” That quote, by church planter and pastors.

  • Communicate Change Using the Power of Momentum

    It is hard to overstate the importance of communication when unveiling a new initiative or introducing change. The communication of a change is as critical as the strategic thinking behind the change.

  • Sign Language

    A wayfinding system links different people together, even if they do not share a common language or destination, by guiding all of them through the same spaces with a single system of communication. The unifying language of a wayfinding system creates a public narrative of how people witness, read, and experience a space.

  • Why Communicating “The Why” Matters

    Do you regularly tell stories of life-change or is it overwhelming to know where to begin? To help see others see change, the leader must understand how to unlock the imagination. The very act of imagination is connected to faith.

  • Focus Your Stories on One Simple Truth

    How can using the power of life stories change your culture? To help see others see change, the leader must understand how to unlock the imagination. The very act of imagination is connected to faith.

  • Beyond the Front Door: Engaging Church Members Online

    As we’ve stated countless times at ThomRainer. com, your church’s website is the front door to your church.

  • Sidestepping 5 Communication Pitfalls that Trap Vision

    Effective communication is absolutely critical to creating movement toward your vision. The challenge then is keeping the vision of your church central in your messaging.

  • Every Environment Tells a Story

    Every day, your church stewards thousands of moments of truth. Every time a member talks to a neighbor, someone drives by the church facility, a ministry email goes out, a pastor’s business card is left on a desk, some interaction on behalf of the church has transpired.

  • The Risk and Rewards of Pastoral Facebook Pages

    While advocating for social media and online engagement by pastors and church staff, I’m continually asked about parameters for engagement. The problem is that every situation is unique.

  • Strategize Your Way to Better Communication

    Communication is a key component to leadership. If you are communicating, then you are leading in some way.

  • 5 Areas of Communication that Church Leaders Need to Audit Regularly

    Everything your church does is communication, from the condition of the parking lot to the content in your bulletin to the tone of your sermon. Everything you do communicates something about what you really value, regardless of what you say you value.

  • Three Ways Worship Announcements Struggle

    Yes, verbal worship announcements are still a good idea. Unless they're bad.

  • Creativity Needs Candid Conversations

    Do you know how to unleash the creativity of your team? In our fast-paced digital life, church leadership teams need to be creative in order to deal with the changes coming their way today – or they risk irrelevancy tomorrow. Creativity then, becomes a constant process for every ministry area of any church rather than an occasional requirement for the worship pastor at Christmas or only limited to those “creative” churches.

  • Three Branding Strategies for Your Church

    In 2004 the marketing guru David Aaker, published a book entitled Brand Portfolio Strategy, in which he describes a tool called a “Brand Relationship Spectrum” to help simplify the world of brands when companies steward multiple products or services. Revisiting his book will help us create a very simple, three-part language for church leaders.

  • Church Learnings from Falling TV Ratings

    When was the last time you sat down to watch a TV show (other than, say, a football game) when it aired live? And in the car, how often do you listen podcasts or your own playlists compared to the radio? Even just a few years ago, you likely would have answered very differently. The world around us continues to change because people are changing with it.

  • The “One-Anothers” of Social Media

    How can we avoid the potential distraction of social media and use it to really advance our mission?   As a leader, you can only influence those whom you can reach (Rick Warren). The social media platforms in use today – and the ones that will be developed tomorrow – allow you to extend your reach and listen to the people God is calling you to serve and disciple.

  • Why Your Email Should Have Been a Meeting

    Some meetings could have been an email, but some emails should be meetings. There are times that people, in attempts to handle things efficiently, resort to an email when a meeting would have been more effective.

  • 5 Big Benefits of Blogging

    I’ve been a sporadic blogger for the past few years. However, my weekly post at ThomRainer.

  • Five Common Mistakes Made by Leaders When They Speak

    Many of the failures in leadership are failures to communicate well. No matter how smart we are or how good our strategies are, they are doomed for failure if no one understands them.

  • 7 Practices of Compelling Vision Communication

    How compelling is the communication of your vision? If your vision moves the people to take action, you are on the right track. Having served alongside two incredible visionary leaders, first John Maxwell and now Kevin Myers, I’ve watched close up how they communicate vision so well.

  • A Simple Strategy for Church Communication: Inspire

    This post concludes a four-part series on church communications planning and strategy. I’ve previously written on engaging and informing your members and potential church guests.

  • Inspiring Communication Series: Use a Map

    To help others see change, the leader must understand how to unlock the imagination. The very act of imagination is connected to faith.

  • A Simple Strategy for Church Communications: Inform

    I’m currently in the middle of a series on church communications strategy. That may not sound like the most exciting topic, but it’s one that is grossly neglected in thousands of churches across the U.

  • 5 Practices of Better Communication

    So you want to be a better communicator. You’re just not sure how to do that.

  • Inspiring Communication Series: Convey One Truth

    To help others see change, the leader must understand how to unlock the imagination. The very act of imagination is connected to faith.

  • Using Definition and Repetition in Your Leadership Language Helps Keep Your Culture Steady Against the Winds of Change

    When the winds of change blow against your church culture, what keeps it steady? The visionary leader cares too much about the message to let it just blow in the wind, unattended. Wise leaders understand the importance of words.

  • A Simple Strategy for Church Communication: Engage

    In a previous post, I outlined three essentials of a church communications plan and promised to develop the three points further. Today, we begin with the keys to engaging your audience.

  • Sharing a Social Network Gospel

    In ministry, some things must never change, but others must change constantly. Clearly, God’s five purposes for his Church are non-negotiable.

  • Inspiring Communicators Start With WHY

    To help others see change, the leader must understand how to unlock the imagination. The very act of imagination is connected to faith.

  • A Simple Strategy for Church Communication

    Most churches don’t think strategically about their communications efforts. Many times, communications practices are passed on from staffer to staffer without any regard to what is effective.

  • How Many Ministry Logos Should Your Church Have?

    It’s unbelievable how quickly churches fragment their message. It’s easy for staff and volunteers the create stuff that feels good to them but is either completely unnecessary (at best) or clutters communication (at worst).

  • Eliminate Dull Sermons Using These Seven Tips

    Ever write a message or talk that even you suspected was boring? That’s exactly where I found myself this week. I’d outlined my message for our current series weeks ago, but when I went back into it 6 days before delivery, I realized I’d written a basically boring sermon on a fundamentally exciting subject.

  • Three Ways to Lose Your Leadership Creds

    The most important characteristic in effective communication and effective leadership is credibility. Incredible passion cannot overcome a lack of credibility.

  • Unleash the Creativity of Your Team by Cultivating a Creative Spark

    Below is a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book.

  • Fine-Tune Your Team’s Vocabulary to Shape a Creative Culture

    To  change attitudes and behaviors, it helps first to change the vernacular.   - David and Tom Kelley, IDEO Language is the crystallization of thought.

  • 5 Social Media Cautions for Pastors

    Recently, Mark DeMoss addressed a group of fifty senior pastors on the topic of social media. As a well known Christian public relations guy, I expected a list of pros and cons.

  • 5 Communication Tasks to Stop Doing

    How your church presents itself visually is incredibly important. People are increasingly visual learners, so your church needs to ensure it presents a compelling visual aesthetic in everything you do.

  • The REAL Front Door: Guests Visit Online Before Onsite

    Imagine if it was your first day on staff and you just discovered that your church’s front door was: – hidden from view and hard to find – still decorated from last Christmas – covered in dirt and cobwebs – cluttered with ministry flyers and notices. Without hesitation, you would clean and repaint it immediately.

  • Cuyahoga Valley Church Restores Hope to Slavic Village Community

    Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless.

  • Your Best Brand Asset is Understanding Yourself

    The world isn't looking for a copy of an existing writer, musician, politician, CEO, or leader; they're looking for someone new, innovative, and original. Your job is to discover how your unique gifts and talents can differentiate you from everyone else.

  • Too Busy to Connect: Avoiding Invalidation in our Communication

    Do we care about talking to each other anymore, or are we settling for mostly texts, emails, tweets, and similar electronic quickies? We often think that quick communication saves time. This is true in some cases.

  • Get Flexible: 4 Communication Channels to Consider When Crafting a Message

    Last month I wrote about how the meaning of your communication is the response you get, measured by the other person’s behavior. In that post, I mentioned that communication gaps can be prevented if the communicator is more flexible to meet the needs of the listener.

  • Learn to Talk WITH People, Not AT Them

    Hit a wall? So many ambitious and talented leaders plateau and even regress once they “reach the top” of the ladder, mountain or organizational structure they’ve been climbing. There’s a simple reason this can happen, and it sometimes come down to conversation.

  • The Wayfinding Design Process

    The job of the wayfinding designer is to present information in public spaces that helps facilitate a seamless guest experience.  - David Gibson, The Wayfinding Handbook When people attempt to navigate a place for the first time, they face a series of decisions as they follow a path to their destination.

  • Why Wayfinding Matters: What We Can Learn from Disney Culture

    Walt Disney World is aptly named: Spanning 40 square miles, Walt Disney World Resort is approximately the size of San Francisco, or nearly twice the size of Manhattan. The property features: Four theme parks Two water adventure parks 35 resort hotels (26 owned and operated by Walt Disney World, including seven Disney Vacation Club properties) 63 holes of golf on four courses Two full-service spas Disney’s Wedding Pavilion ESPN Wide World of Sports complex Disney Springs, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex On an average day, there are approximately 250,000 people on Walt Disney World Resort property – including Cast Members, other employees and guests.

  • Say It Again: You Can Never Repeat Your Vision Too Much

    And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:24 I find it interesting that Jesus would have to say anything again.

  • 4 Ways to Lead Change with Your Team

    You have a meeting coming up with your team in which you need to walk them through a change at your church … how should you structure the information? The way you communicate change is a critical part of the process. The following approaches work well as frameworks for presentations in meetings.

  • Speak Like Yoda, You Must

    Despite being famously grammar-challenged, Master Yoda has a thing or two to teach us about being a powerful presenter. No, it’s not sharing profound thoughts like: “Always in motion is the future….

  • Mind the Gap: 2 Ways to Prevent Communication Breakdowns

    Good communication is critical. There have been mountains of books written and countless seminars delivered on the subject.

  • 5 Ways to Share Your Compelling Story

    Have you ever gotten lost in a great story? Maybe it was a book you couldn’t put down, a movie that made you feel like you could take on the world, or a story told around a campfire. Stories have the power to make us laugh, comfort us in challenging circumstances, bring us to action, and help us see the world with new eyes.

  • How a Mere 18 Inches Can Start a Counter-Culture Revolution

    Look at this picture. What do you notice? These guys that change oil and rotate tires made a small adjustment to their store that could also make a big difference in a first-time guest’s perception of your church: They came out from behind the counter.

  • Five Insights to Help You Communicate Better as a Leader

    Former President Ronald Reagan was known as the Great Communicator. That title wasn’t an award, it was just true.

  • Are You Telling a Story with Your Church Logo?

    Have you seen Auxano's TeamUP download that focuses on one of our six services: Communication? As a “vision shop,” we believe that all vision should be communicated visually. This gorgeous, free PDF will share a little bit more about our philosophy of communication and how your design can elevate and demonstrate the unique work of God in your church through your church logo.

  • 6 Bad Habits Affecting Your Church Announcements

    Announcements are a great tool for moving people to action. [I wrote all about this in my ebook called Effective Announcements.

  • Is Your Worship Bulletin a Primary Tool to Reach Guests?

    In many circles, the church worship bulletin or worship folder is perceived to be old school, the tool of staid and traditional churches. Leaders with such a perspective are missing an incredible opportunity to put something in the hands of guests that, at least anecdotally, increases the chances they will return.

  • Leveraging Social Media to Help Extend the Discipleship Experience Beyond Sundays

    According to a recent Pew Study, 69% of internet users utilize social media on a regular basis. The same reported showed that 92% of internet users aged 18-29 used social media regularly.

  • Reaching Today’s Culture Requires Your Church to BE VISUAL

    The Lindisfarne Gospels, a 1,300-year-old manuscript, is revered to this day as the oldest surviving English version of the Gospels. Lindisfarne is a small island just off the Northumberland coast of England.

  • Words Create Worlds – The Language We Use Shapes the Culture We Lead

    In his book The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle tells the fascinating story of some experiments that Stanford psychologist and author Carol Dweck has conducted with fifth graders in multiple settings. The fifth graders were put into two different groups and given the same tests.

  • 4 Communication Lessons Churches Can Learn from the Brian Williams Controversy

    Brian Williams seems like a good guy. He’s been married for almost 30 years … consistently reported news to the American public for NBC News for almost as long … gosh, the guy even won “Father of the Year”! [ref] Over the last six months, it all started to unravel for him.

  • 5 Reasons It’s More Important for Pastors to Use Social Media Than Churches

    When I first encountered Facebook it was when I was at a speaking event on a University campus that had access to up-start social network trying to take on MySpace. The student leaders we met with for lunch we’re talking about this amazing new tool for connecting with each other.

  • Welcoming Your Guests with Effective Website Practices

    As a frequent traveler, nothing beats the feeling of being expected versus being accommodated. Creating break-thru clarity for church teams, as a navigator for Auxano, I have dozens of moments of engagement with hotel, rental car, airline and Starbucks employees every week.

  • Pastor’s Primer for Periscope Now Available

     You may have heard of Periscope, the shiniest new app on the social media landscape. It’s an insanely simple, live streaming tool that connects with your twitter account.

  • Communicating Your Vision Visually

    If you are clear about who you are and where you are going as a church that’s awesome. Now it’s time to help everyone else in the world to see it, catch it and pass it on.

  • Don’t Lose Clarity in Your Church Communications

    Clarity is the highest goal of all church communications. Our role is to cut through the clutter and deliver the message we are giving with as much precision as possible.

  • 10 Ways Buzzwords Are Undermining Your Leadership

    On several occasions when teaching, I’ve noted the difference between buzzwords and leadership. In fact, I think that a key facet of leadership is knowing the difference between a strategy and a collection of buzzwords.

  • The Genius of Being Simple and Obvious Every Time

    Simple and obvious leadership tip for you today. But it’s one that I’ve seen pay big dividends over the years.

  • One HUGE Opportunity Most Churches are Missing in Their Greeting Every Week

    So your church has a website and a Facebook page. The adventurous have perhaps added Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

  • 180 Seconds of Vision

    Dear Pastors, Campus Pastors and/or whomever is on the rotation this Sunday… Please do not just stand up on the platform for 3 minutes and “make announcements. ” We already know the announcements.

  • What’s the Difference Between Church Mission Statements and a Tagline?

    Just Do It.   This may be the most known marketing slogan in the world.

  • The Way You Use Words Determines the Culture You Create

    Words create worlds. Words are powerful, and the way you use them determines the culture you create.

  • 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Ministry Postcards

    Last week, I opened our mailbox to find one of the worst church direct mail postcards that I have ever sent or received. First, you need to know that I have been a part of sending some real doozies, like an “F-Word” (forgiveness) pun on an Easter invite one year… not my idea, but I was definitely a willing participant.

  • The Announcement Dilemma: 8 Reasons Your Congregation Tunes You Out During Announcements

    This weekend all across the country people are going to get up in front of their churches and talk about upcoming events and opportunities to connect with community. They want to move their people to action but in reality a large portion of the room will simply tune out for that part of the service and then tune back in when something more interesting comes along.

  • Stop Promoting. Instead, Start Telling a Story Worth Sharing

    "Our biggest problem is awareness" If that's your mantra, you're working to solve the wrong problem. If your startup, your non-profit or your event is suffering because of a lack of awareness, the solution isn't to figure out some way to get more hype, more publicity or more traffic.

  • How Better Listening Can Improve Your Conversations and Your Leadership

    For a leader, listening is perhaps the most important skill of all. As a leader, we must learn to listen while navigating along with the person speaking toward a common destination – mutual understanding.

  • Using Social Media as a Christ Follower: One Principle and Three Questions

    After taking LifeWay Christian Stores through a vision process, I not only shop there often, I go with a different mindset. Their mission is passionately engaging believers on their journey of faith.

  • 15 Ideas to Help You Evaluate Your Church Bulletin

    Recently I emailed some friends and asked them to grab their bulletins from their weekend services at their church and mail them to me. I was overwhelmed when just over 100 that arrived in my mailbox or email! It was so fun looking in at what’s going on at so many churches across the country.

  • 6 Things Learned from 2 Great Communicators

    All leaders communicate. Not all leaders communicate well.

  • Perfecting Your Pitch by Finding Words that Work

    Have you ever been faced with settling family financial squabbles, asking for a raise, offering tough but constructive criticism, rejecting a friend or relative’s request for a loan, selling and holding to a price, making budget denials and requests, dealing with customer objections, or negotiating a contract where you feared the other side had all the leverage? And have you, said something to quickly solve the problem and in an instant thought to yourself: “Wow, why did I say that?” How often do we come out of an important discussion or a negotiation and ponder what we could’ve done or said differently to achieve a better result? Ron Shapiro is an expert negotiator, sports agent, attorney, educator, civic leader, and best-selling author. Having negotiated the contracts of more Baseball Hall of Famers than any other agent, he knows a little about the art of negotiation.

  • 8 Bad Habits that Keep Your Church Communications Stuck in a Rut

    We can get stuck in a rut when it comes to our leadership and church communications. Even in the most “progressive” churches we can just do things the way that they have always been done.

  • Welcome to “No” Church – 4 Steps to Reversing Your Negative Church Messaging

    Almost without exception, churches somewhere utilize negative messaging for very practical reasons. After all, someone parking in the wrong spot can create havoc.

  • 9 Reasons What You Say About Giving Goes Unheard

    At some point every church leader needs to get in front of their community and ask them to give to the mission. These moments can be some of the most awkward moments ever in your services.

  • Capture Your Audience’s Attention through Brevity – or Lose Them

    Are you guilty of committing one or more of the following seven capital sins of brevity? Cowardice Confidence Callousness Comfort Confusion Complication Carelessness The world today is full of information overload and there is not enough time to sift through it. If you cannot capture people’s attention and deliver your message with brevity, you’ll lose them.

  • 10 Rules of Raw That Will Make Your Church More Relevant, Part 2

    If you have not seen the first part of this series, check out the explanation and illustration of the first five Rules of Raw. The post was spawned by the last 5 years of seeing the patterns of churches that do an excellent job reaching the 18-29 year olds.

  • Learning to Listen, Not Listening to Speak Next

    What if active listening is really just the baseline level of acceptable listening rather than the ultimate destination point? What if, instead of us viewing active listening as something to achieve, we look at it as more of a basic expectation upon which we build and grow? There are at least three levels of listening that can be layered on top of active listening. 1.

  • Wal-Mart vs. Mom & Pop Stores: The Power of Branding and How It Can Help Your Church

    I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail with lead actors Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Ryan’s character runs a small independent bookshop in Manhattan, while Hanks’s character is opening a large retail bookstore with low prices (if only he’d known how technology would change the way we read) just down the block.

  • 10 Rules of Raw That Will Make Your Church More Relevant, Part 1

    Raw is the best way to articulate the new relevance of church. Keep in mind that the term itself has varied definitions, most of which are helpful in describing mindset of church leaders that are better at reaching people in their 20s and 30s.

  • Illustrating How Elevation Church Tells Its Mission Story

    “So that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ. ” That is the mission of Elevation Church.

  • 3 Helpful Rules for Pastors Using Twitter

    If your pastor is new to Twitter or hasn’t found a good rhythm of how to use it, try my 30/50/20 rule for Pastors using Twitter: 30% message application: Drop hints in your weekend message that you’ll be tweeting life application from the sermon topic every day for the upcoming week.  This helps engage those in audience (especially those via broadcast) who can be encouraged and have practical application for the past weekend’s message M-F.

  • 8 Tips for Better Church Announcements

    When “announcements” are done well they help move the community to be more engaged in the vision your church. When they are done poorly they drag on the service and make everyone wish they would just stop! The difference between these two extremes is often really simple things.

  • 7 Alternatives to Sunday Morning Announcements

    Ministry leaders think if they just get their event or program “promoted from the stage” people will flood into it. Church communications people are peppered with requests all the time for people wanting to get “their deal” in the announcements.

  • 7 Reasons Your Church Should Create an Annual Report

    You’ve heard of annual reports, but have you thought of creating one for your church? The point of course is not to imitate a common corporate practice, but to leverage every opportunity to cast vision. As we scan a few reasons why you should do this, let’s start with a definition.

  • Using Social Media to Make Change: What Pastors Can Learn from Arab Spring and Occupy Fall

    Social media has started a revolution in how people connect, learn and communicate, and its effects cannot be undone.   - Brian Solis In 2011, the world was introduced a powerful uprising in the Middle East that would later become known as the “Arab Spring.

  • Hype, Hope, or Help: Writing Sermon Series Promotions

    When promoting an upcoming series of messages at your church you need to think carefully about the language you use to promote it. The right promotional copy can encourage your people invite friends while if you get it wrong it can actually repel people from your church.

  • What Your Church Should Measure on Social Media

    In the Facebook and Twitter social circles, adding more ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ is a popular and accepted measurement of reach. It is assumed that the greater the reach, the greater the influence.

  • To Grow Disciples, Start by Rethinking Your Church Communication

    Are you familiar with the well-known website, church marketing sucks? Or, if you’re put off, perhaps church marketing stinks? I’ve always loved the blunt challenge the domain presents against the dominant framework most local congregations bring to the idea of church communication.  Like the site’s owners, I am against misunderstanding church communication as a mere tool to share information.

  • Good Organizations are Storytellers. Great Organizations are Storydoers.

    Discussions about story and storytelling are pretty fashionable today. On the one hand, as a lifelong advocate for the power of story, I find this very encouraging.

  • Vision is Always Visual: Illustrate the Process

    Illustrating your church’s process is vital. The simple process is more likely to resonate with each person if it is visual.

  • The One Social Network Every Church Leader Needs to Use Regularly – for Now

    If you could only be on one social media network as a church leader which one would it be? If you wanted to focus your efforts on a single network for simplicity sake where should your energy go? Where should you start your social media work as a church? Facebook In the current state of the social web Facebook represents the best place for church leaders to invest their time. Over 1.

  • Church Signage, Part 1: Exterior Signs

    Besides the building itself, a church’s primary sign is its first impression. It’s our first chance to tell the community who we are, what we value, and what we do.

  • 5 Types of Social Media Content Your Audience Really Wants

    Why do we follow brands? What’s the point? They’re not our friends. We’re not going to make plans with them on a Friday night or invite them to our birthday parties (though some we would if we could).

  • Intentional Communication

    Every day, your church stewards thousands of moments of truth. Every time a member talks to a neighbor, someone drives by the church facility, a ministry email goes out, or Facebook page is liked, some interaction on behalf of the church has transpired.

  • 10 Steps in Preparing a Powerful Presentation

    The talks I give usually take me a comfortable 45 minutes but in a recent TED talk I needed to get the insights out in 18 minutes. The culling process forces you to convey only the most important information for spreading your idea.

  • Using the Physical Attributes of Your Campus to Intentionally Communicate Your Story

    “I ask all of our first time guests why they decided to come to our church and 90% of them said they were driving by and were intrigued by our site and our new building, and that is all thanks to the creativity of Visioneering Studios. ” David Garison, Lead Pastor,  Northside Christian Church, Spring, Texas If you were driving down a road in your town and saw the above building, would you be intrigued?  Would you want to check it out? As you look at that picture, who do you think this building meant to attract?  Who was the primary target to get sucked in by the design and amenities? If you said MEN…then you would be correct.

  • 9 Secrets of Dynamic Weekly Team Emails for Ministry Leaders

    Sending out a weekly email to your team is an effective way to make sure that your people are focused on the same thing going into the weekend. A good weekly email is part logistics reminder part talking points and part motivational propaganda.

  • Your Words are the Technology of Leadership

    The Things We Don’t Know We Know When we drive, there are hundreds of things that we do every minute that we don’t consciously think about.  Over time, we get so good at making these constant adjustments to speed and direction, gas and brakes, that we forget just how hard it is to actually drive a car.

  • Your Brand is a Story – About You

    Why prefer Coke over Pepsi or GE over Samsung or Ford over Chevy? In markets that aren't natural monopolies or where there are clear, agreed-upon metrics, how do we decide? Yes, every brand has a story—that's how it goes from being a logo and a name to a brand. The story includes expectations and history and promises and social cues and emotions.

  • Using Profiles to Build Your Communication Strategy, Part 2

    Every church has different personas that make up the congregational body. Each of these personas—New Visitor, Return Visitor, Engaged Member, and Mature Disciple—all need different things from portions of the church website.

  • Using Profiles to Build Your Communication Strategy, Part 1

    Every church is made up of different groups (or personas) on any given Sunday. Collectively, you may not be able to tell the difference between them.

  • Your Communication Strategy Starts at the Top: Why Senior Pastors Are to Blame for Bad Church Signs

    We’ve all seen them—bulletin bloopers and bad church signs. Both provide good fodder for blog consumption.

  • Keeping Your Ministry Brand Top of Mind: A Lesson from Disney

    Though it was founded in 2006 (which makes it older than Twitter), BuzzFeed stormed onto the social media scene in 2012, more than doubling its 2011 traffic (per Alexa). The format is perfect for the way audiences consume and share media today.

  • Connection Trumps Conflict: 3 Exercises to Improve Your Leadership Communication Skills

    I'm sure it's happened to you: You're in a tense team meeting trying to defend your position on a big project and start to feel yourself losing ground. Your voice gets louder.

  • Developing an Online and Offline Personal Communication Strategy

    I’ve been in a situation in life here lately where it has been necessary to develop a communication strategy online and offline. In the past, I have not given much thought to how I communicate with other people.

  • 7 Things Every Pastor Should Do Every Week on Social Media

    The most recent study shows that 67% of adults use social media regularly. [Study] If 2/3rds of your church showed up to a meeting every week would you want to use that meeting to communicate with them? If that percentage of folks in your community came to an event in your town next week would you want to find a way to use that platform to reach people?  Church leaders that ignore social media are missing a significant channel for reaching people in their community.

  • Utilizing Storytelling in Promoting Your Ministry Brand

    The most effective mass media is the stories we tell and conversations we have with each other. If you don’t believe me, let me prove it to you.

  • Understanding Trends in Church Websites: Mobile First is Growing

    If you wanted to predict the future of the web, how would you go about doing it? Further, what if you wanted to know how people accessed and utilized their church's website? For starters, you take a look at the hard data. We've been collecting data on 50+ churches for over three years and the data, dear friends, is astounding.

  • Four Focusing Questions to Save Time with Social Media

    The way to keep social media simple is to be selective. Social Media can be overwhelming.

  • What Does Your Ministry Brand Say About You?

    Every tweet, every status update, every avatar, every social network background image—they all say something about your digital brand. Have you taken inventory to see what they’re saying? For most organizations, the answer is, “no.

  • Leaders Communicate with Certainty

    The charisma of a great speech, a powerful graphic design or a well-designed tool (and yes, a well-designed tool can have charisma) comes from certainty. Not the arrogance of, "I am right and you are not," but from the confidence/certainty of, "I need to say it or draw it or present it just this way and I want you to hear it.

  • 7 Questions Your Ministry’s Social Media Must be Answering

    The leader who shapes culture understands that not all stories are created equal.   The use of social media continues to rise at at a rapid rate into our world.

  • 4 Easter Promotion Hacks to Drive Attendance

    We are just a few weeks away from Easter! This is one of those days in the calendar when people are willing to invite their family and friends to attend your church with them. This year we are adding some new components to our communication plan with our people.

  • Make Sure Your Ministry Communication is Not One Way by Asking “What Are People Hearing?”

    Effective communication is one the most valuable commodities in any organization. Excellent ideas or initiatives without a corresponding level of excellence in communication will never get off the ground.

  • How to Use Web Analytics with a Service-Minded Mentality

    Objections abound when it come to tracking, analyzing, and acting on church website data. Confusion about where to start, faulty beliefs about data application, and dreaded assumptions lead many a church worker to believe web stats don't matter.

  • Don’t Let the Screen Strangle Your Soul, Part 2

    Let me suggest three ways in which the digital revolution, for all its benefits, is also an accomplice to our experience of being hassled, frazzled, and crazy busy. For if we understand the threats, we may have some hope of finding a way forward.

  • Brand Storytelling: What Fear Can Teach You

    KAREN THOMPSON WALKER—WHAT FEAR CAN TEACH US Walker, a fiction writer, explains that fear is a kind of unintentional storytelling we’re all born knowing how to do. We imagine our own futures, accurately or not, by creating stories.

  • Brand Storytelling: The Technology of Storytelling

    JOE SABIA—THE TECHNOLOGY OF STORYTELLING In less than four minutes, iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces the audience to Lothar Meggendorfer and explains how Lothar’s invention of the pop-up book is helping us tell stories today. He also makes me realize that I’m underutilizing my iPad.

  • Brand Storytelling: The Danger of a Single Story

    Novelist and storyteller Chimamanda Adichie, a native of eastern Nigeria, has learned firsthand how listening to only one story can lead to critical misunderstandings. She tells of how her U.

  • Brand Storytelling: The Clues to a Great Story

    TED talks are a gold mine of knowledge. Because the TED website’s topics include not only technology, education and design (TED) but also business, science, activism, health, storytelling and everything in between, one can get lost on the site for days.

  • Building a Digital Footprint in 8 Easy Steps

    "Where do I start?" More often than not, that is the first question many professionals have when it comes to dipping their toes into the digital channels. They simply have no idea how to begin.

  • Don’t Let the Screen Strangle Your Soul, Part 1

    The first time I really became aware of the full intensity of the problem was in a conversation with a couple students training for the ministry. I was speaking at one of our top seminaries when after the class two men came up to me in private to ask a question.

  • How to Create a Content Calendar and Engage More People in Your Church

    One of the best ways to connect with your church throughout the week is with social media.   Statistically, over half of your congregation will spend some portion of their week actively engaged on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.

  • Jesus and Bad Advertising

    I was on a road trip about a year ago and my son Elijah needed to use the bathroom. There was a gas station that said “clean restrooms,” so we pulled in.

  • What Shape is Your “Front Porch” In?

    If you lived around the turn of the century until the 1950′s, the front porch of the homes, the general store and local business was a vital part of culture. If you wanted to know what was happening in your community, especially your immediate 5 minute walk, you could sit out on a front porch and see and hear what was going on.

  • Church Communication Hero: Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the greatest champion for social change in 20th century America.

  • The Biggest Church Website Needs for 2013

    We asked a simple question: What is something you will need on your church website in 2013? Hundreds responded and we picked the ones most indicative of the overall themes. Here is what church and ministry leaders from across the country will be implementing on their websites in the next year: Content Organization   Investing in finding out what catches someone who is looking at your site for the first time.

  • Is Direct Mail a Part of Your Church’s Communication Strategy?

    The number of potential ways that church leaders can communicate with their people can be staggering at times. Email blasts, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your own website, billboards, flyers, postcards, smoke signals … pony express … list this goes on and on! In the midst of all those channels I’m still a big believer in well done direct mail being an effective part of the mix of tools used to communicate to your people.

  • Stay Grounded in the Basics to Avoid Boredom in Your Work

    A challenge for communicators is to continually tackle the work we do, regardless of how fun and exciting it is. Sometimes, it’s downright boring.

  • You Have to Earn the Privilege to Keep From Being Boring

    A challenge for communicators is to continually tackle the work we do, regardless of how fun and exciting it is. Sometimes, it’s downright boring.

  • Even Fun Will Become Boring

    A challenge for communicators is to continually tackle the work we do, regardless of how fun and exciting it is. Sometimes, it’s downright boring.

  • What’s Boring for You May Be a Home Run for Someone Else

    A challenge for communicators is to continually tackle the work we do, regardless of how fun and exciting it is. Sometimes, it’s downright boring.

  • Mile 2 Means Absolutely Nothing Without Mile 1

    A challenge for communicators is to continually tackle the work we do, regardless of how fun and exciting it is. Sometimes, it’s downright boring.

  • 7 Tips for Communicating Well

    Whether you are a seasoned leader, college student, author, professor, CEO, politician, or pastor, we all have to learn to communicate well. Whether we are speaking to thousands, speaking to our staff, giving a report, making a speech, teaching your kids soccer team, or addressing your company, it’s imperative as leaders we know how to communicate.

  • Does Your Church Have a Content Strategy for Its Website?

    Creating awareness for local churches becomes increasingly difficult as more time demands are made on faith community members. When a user goes to a church website to find information on programs, services, or to find directions, you have 7-30 seconds to keep their attention.

  • Designing Style Guidelines for Brands and Websites

    A website is never done. Everyone has worked on a project that changed so much after it launched that they no longer wanted it in their portfolio.

  • Six Tips for Using Instagram in Your Church

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Instagram is a pretty big deal. It’s not breaking news but something I thought about as I was going to bed last night.

  • Lessons in Live Polling at Your Church

    Last month we hosted a series of messages at Liquid where we featured “live polling” as a core part of the message.  The “big idea” of the series was to use national interest in the upcoming election as a jump off point to talk about the Kingdom of God.

  • Leveraging Social Media for Your Next Church Event

    As our people use social media all the time it’s becoming a growing expectation that as a church we leverage these tools to help them experience what we do. How can you use these tools within your ministry? I sat down with Ali Raney who is the Social Media Coordinator at The Meeting House to talk about how they leveraged these channels at a recent event.

  • Is Your Church Website Mobile Friendly?

    I have a tiny computer in my pocket. I bet you do too.

  • Using Just Enough Words

    Free Coffee, Next Exit That's the most effective billboard one can imagine, particularly if it's typeset properly and if the coffee is good. Most billboards aren't nearly as useful, because the wrong service is promoted, or, more likely, because someone saw all that space and worked hard to fill it up.

  • Using Repetition to Reiterate What’s Important

    A CEO of a large start-up recently made this comment: "I used to assume everyone on the team knew the grand vision, but an informal survey revealed the opposite. New employees had no idea what we were aiming for in the long term…" Clearly, he felt he was falling short of his leadership responsibility to clearly articulate goals.

  • 12 Essentials of Church Communications

    The church is the hope of the world. As church leaders we have the responsibility of communicating the greatest message known to mankind; the only message capable of changing a person’s entire eternity.

  • The 2 Secrets to Success for Social Media in Your Church

    It’s getting hard to keep up with all the different social tools that are flying at us every day.  We constantly hear things like: “If you’re not on Pinterest you’re in big trouble.

  • Reducing Communication Confusion

    Leaders often confuse followers by communicating imperatives as declarative statements. An imperative is a command.

  • Say It Over and Over

    Here's a simple and obvious leadership tip for you today. But it’s one that I’ve seen pay big dividends over the years.

  • The 6 Elements of Compelling Vision Illustrated

    A few days ago I posted some church leaders take-aways from the Kony 2012, Invisible Children video, 70 Million Views in 7 Days: A Vision Analysis. I also mentioned  the opportunity to see this video through The Six Elements.

  • Warning: If Your Brand is You

    Here’s a principle you need to understand in leading a church, team or organization. I see many church planters, pastors, and other leaders who build their organization closely around their own identity.

  • What Storytelling Means for Your Brand

     What does Cinderella have in common with Fight Club? Lots, according to Jon King, Story Worldwide’s Chief Storyteller. During the ‘Storytelling for Brands’ session at our London office last   week, part of Social Media Week London, we shared Story’s brand-centred approach to narrative content.

  • The Top 3 Approaches to a Multisite Church Website

    The multisite revolution is underway as more churches nationwide are choosing to launch new campuses. According to Outreach Magazine, 75 of the 100 Largest Churches in America are multisite.

  • Multisite Church Website Approach 1: Keep It Under One Roof

    Multisite church planting has gone mainstream. As goes the church, so goes the website.

  • Multisite Church Website Approach 2: Standalone Sites

    We continue our Multisite Church Website series this week by looking at "Standalone Sites. " This is when churches choose to create separate sites for each one of their campuses.

  • Multisite Church Website Approach 3: Campus Select Option

    We conclude our series on Multisite Church Websites with the most common approach of the three, the Universal Website with a campus select option. One of the most well-known examples of this approach comes from The Village Church in Flower Mound, TX.

  • Isn’t About Time Your Brand Adopted a Mobile Strategy?

    I received a sobering yet enlightening Facebook message from my aunt two weeks ago. After getting over my shock that she even knew how to use Facebook Messenger (she is not a technophile), I read her message: Aunt: Guess what I got today? Me: What? Aunt: The iPhone 5 [cue jaw dropping] I was reading this on my iPhone 3Gs, yet I’m the one who works at a global post-advertising agency.

  • Communicating Effectively

    Note from the Vision Room Curator: If you think church leaders don't need to know about advertising, please rethink that position. Read the quotes below with the church, your target audience, and yourself substituted where appropriate.

  • Renegades Write the Rules

    Amy Jo Martin (@AmyJoMartin) has written a book about connecting. About being human.

  • How Will Social Media Reshape the Way We Do Church?

    With the increasing use of GPS enabled smart phones and apps like foursquare, social media is attempting to mimic omniscience.   We find ourselves in a world where our technology has enabled more meaningful interactions with someone on the other side of the world rather than our next door neighbour.

  • 3 Communication Lessons from iPhone Launches

    It seems like every 6 months Apple does it again.  Somehow they are able to capture the imagination of literally millions of people to get them to line up at their stores to purchase the latest version of their devices.

  • 3 Ways to Create a Successful Blog for Your Church

    When it comes to reaching people on the Web, few online tools are more advantageous than a blog. A church communications blog can help you better disseminate your message, create stronger connections with church members, and drive more people to your church website.

  • Organizations Lose $1.3 Trillion by Not Engaging in Social Media

    I was shocked. Two presidents of organizations began using Twitter in the past two months.

  • Leadership Matters, but So Does Preaching

    God uses pastors in many diferent ways. He uses them to cast vision.

  • The 5 C’s of Social Media Dominance – Part 1

    Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time helping leaders navigate the waters of social media. I don’t consider myself an expert, especially since I haven’t put in the 10,000 hours of expertise yet that folks like Malcolm Gladwell talk about.

  • The Power of One Word: Can You Describe Your Church in One Word?

    “The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in a person’s mind. ” A church will be in better position to grow if it can find a way to own a word in the minds of people within the community.

  • Developing a Tagline for Your Church, Step 1: Clear Vision

    If you are new to my blog, you may not know that everything I do in helping ministries begins with clarity first. In order to help teams with clarity and vision, I developed a tool called the Vision Frame.

  • Developing a Tagline for Your Church, Step 7: Final Decision

    By now you are ready to pull the trigger. Use your external ranked list as a very serious perspective for input, but not necessarily  the final basis.

  • Developing Your Church Tagline, Step 6: External Testing

    There are many ways to test your top five taglines. The most important thing is that you DO test it.

  • Developing a Tagline for Your Church, Step 5: Top 5

    Now its time to identify your top five ideas. I recommend a two step process.

  • Developing a Tagline for Your Church, Step 4: Collaborative Awareness

    When developing a tagline for your ministry it’s important to consider the taglines of two other kinds of organizations in your ministry environment. Think of this next piece as a step toward ministry environment awareness.

  • Developing a Tagline for Your Church, Step 3: Team Brainstorm

    With your new two-word brand promise in place, its time to engage a team brainstorm to list many, many, many and then many more tagline ideas. The key here is, as you might have guessed, quantity.

  • Developing a Tagline for Your Church, Step 2: Gospel Promise

    Step two in this process is really quite fun. You now want to determine the best promise for your church to make to people outside of the church, in a way that will resonate with people inside of the church.

  • How to Develop a Compelling, Gospel-Centered Tagline for Your Church

    Sometimes conversations that mix marketing and ministry don’t go well. In this post, I will not being dealing with a biblical basis of branding or marketing, but I will discuss the biblical integration with one branding tactic- the development of an effective tagline.

  • Taking Your Vision Public, Step 3: Crafting Your Church’s Key Messages

    In our journey toward Vision-Soaked Communication, we’ve filled the pool by articulating vision and boiled it down to a great tagline. Step 3 is like describing the water: crafting your church’s key messages.

  • Taking Your Vision Public, Step 5: Leveraging Every Medium

    I’ve been in a series called Taking Vision Public: Six Steps to Vision-Soaked Communication.  We’ve been looking at the steps involved in sharing your unique vision in compelling ways, inviting people to join in and be a part of what God has called you to do and be as a church.

  • Taking Your Vision Public, Step 1: Articulating Your Church’s Vision

    You can’t take your vision public until you’ve articulated your vision. Seems like that should go without saying, right? Kind of like the assumption that you’ve got to fill the pool before you’re going to dive in.

  • Taking Your Vision Public, Step 6: Talking Your Church’s Vision Daily

    Drip, drip, drip. It’s constant and you can’t not think about it.

  • Taking Vision Public, Step 2: Developing Your Church’s Tagline

    How do you take your vision public? How do you communicate it clearly and in a way that compels your audience to join in and be a part of it? The answer is what I’m calling “vision-soaked communication. ” Last time, we looked at filling the pool by articulating your unique vision in the Vision Frame.

  • Taking Vision Public: 6 Steps to Vision-Soaked Communication

    How do you effectively invite people to take an active part in your vision? This is a constant challenge for leaders of every organization I work with. The answer? Vision-soaked communication.

  • Taking Your Vision Public, Step 4: Communicating Your Church’s Big Why

    What is it that causes some communication to grab people and stick with them? What is different about communication that causes people to move from being observers of a mission to participants in the mission? The answer, plain and simple is emotion. I once heard it said, “There is no motion without emotion.

  • 6 Ways to Maximize Stage Announcements

    Inside the church (internally), stage announcements are a constant battle. The people programming services, who are in charge of the flow of services, are constantly asking: Do we really have to do announcements? When can we do announcements so it doesn’t mess up the flow of worship? Is it worth it since people aren’t even listening to the announcements?   Then you have every single ministry leader fighting for stage time.

  • One Way Your Church is Missing It with Twitter

    A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Social Media Church for a conversation about—you guessed it—social media. I had a great time talking about how I like to use social media as a connector and strategist.

  • Is Your Church “New” Enough?

    When people think about our churches does the word “new” ever come to mind?  We live in a culture that leverages “new” to draw people in . .

  • If You Build It, They Won’t Come

    Dear Church Leader, I’ve wanted to write this letter to you for a while now but I never knew exactly how to say this.  However, we’re heading into an incredibly critical season as a church and want to be as clear with you as possible.

  • Before You Start Talking – Think

    Uncertainty — market uncertainty, regulatory uncertainty — can adversely affect the success and growth of a company. But there's another kind of uncertainty that takes a big toll on performance: the lack of certainty that exists within a company.

  • Choices and Your Announcements

    In an earlier post I referenced Barry Schwartz's work The Paradox of Choice, which advocates that too many choices leads to regret because we are never confident we made the right choice. While I pointed out that this regret is really a result of our sinful hearts seeking satisfaction in things other than Christ, I do agree with Schwartz's hypothesis that too many choices leads to "decision paralysis.

  • Branding Talk Isn’t Helping Your Company. Here’s What Should Replace It

    Last week, WPP brought out its league table of the world’s most valuable brands. It values Apple at $183 billion and McDonald’s at $95 billion.

  • The 5 C’s of Social Media Dominance – Part 2

    In a previous post we looked at the role “Content” plays in Social Media Dominance. Today, let’s talk about: 2.

  • Social Media is the Glue of Innovation

    ‘What is the role of social media in innovation? (Either inside or outside the organization)’   Social media serves an incredibly important role in innovation. Social media functions as the glue to stick together incomplete knowledge, incomplete ideas, incomplete teams, and incomplete skillsets.

  • The 5 C’s of Social Media Dominance – Part 3

    In previous posts from this series, we talked about the first two C’s for Social Media Dominance, Content and Context. Today let’s talk about: 3.

  • The 5 C’s of Social Media Dominance – Part 4

    In previous posts, we talked about the first three C’s of social media dominance: content, context, and clarity. Today let’s talk about: 4.

  • The 5 C’s of Social Media Dominance – Part 5

    In this series of posts, we’ve been talking about the 5 C’s of social media. We covered “Content, Context, Clarity and Consistency.

  • 10 Principles for Good Design

    Design is normally thought of as applying to things - which it does. But design also applies to systems, structures, and communication tools.

  • Church Communication Heros: Steve Jobs

    Yes. I know what you’re thinking.

  • Steal Like an Artist

    A pastor is likely the last person to pick up this book, but they’re arguably the person who needs it the most. A big chunk of Steal Like an Artist is exploring that idea of how artist create, by borrowing, imitating and stealing.

  • 7 Biggest Creativity Killers

    A crime scene investigation is underway to investigate a death. This is not an average death, this is the death of creative thinking.

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for this information. I'm going to use this article to improve my work with the Lord.
— Abel Singbeh
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.