Social Media for Ministry Leaders Training

How to Throw the Ultimate Social Media Dinner Party

(Taken from my book, Why Your Ministry Facebook Page Isn’t Working, a resource on social media for ministry)

Communication has changed drastically over the past decade. From online marketing to 140-character nuggets of information, we’ve learned to communicate in new and exciting ways. This shift in communication has required churches to examine former methods and styles and to make drastic course corrections. As cutting-edge platforms for communication are being developed, we must embrace this shift. In so doing, we multiply our efforts to be dealers of hope, reaching out to communities in current and exciting ways, and begin to understand the needs of those around us like never before.

Though social media provides countless advantages, here are my top six reasons that your church/ministry must have a social media presence.

  1. Connection. Using social media allows you to establish a familiar face among people in your community you may not normally meet. It also allows you to connect with people in your community by breaking down the “walls” that often exist before someone ever physically enters your building. You might also be surprised to learn that social media fosters a deeper sense of community among current your congregation. And finally, discipleship is possible through the use of social media.
  2. You instantly become more relatable. Showing yourself as a church and as individuals will help people realize that they’re more like you than they may think. Many unchurched people have preconceived notions about what people within the church are like. Many times, those notions are wrong. Because of this when a person sees your ministry as relatable, you instantly gain a bit of credibility.
  3. Promotion. With so many people on social media, why would you not use it to promote your church? (Don’t make the mistake that a lot of churches make in using social media only for promotion–that’s a big mistake.) If you’re taking the time to read this book, I assume you have some exciting things happening within your ministry and you’d love to share them. There has never been such a time in history when advertising has been so easy and virtually free.
  4. Credibility. Long before people visit restaurants or any sort of business, they check them out on social media. Ratings and reviews say so much about your church or ministry and go a long way in helping establish the fact that you are credible, you care about people, and that you have a visible presence within your community—one that makes a difference.
  5. Website traffic growth. Getting people to visit your church website is a big win. Giving them the opportunity to explore your church further (on their own turf and terms) is powerful. Ultimately, this is the final step most people will take in checking out a new ministry online. They often start with social media, where they will scroll through pictures and posts and read a few reviews, then they will move on to your website if they want to learn more.
  6. Outreach. Social media is an often untapped mission field for churches. If our churches aren’t there, they are missing out on an important opportunity to share the love of Christ with our communities.

So what’s keeping you from developing a strong social media presence?

Time

Pastors and ministry leaders wear too many hats. But what if you could learn to leverage social media in a way that doesn’t cost you hours per week? It is possible to develop a quality social media ministry without spending a lot of time on it. Stick around. We will chat about that.

Fear

Are you afraid of what people will say or do on your page? Afraid you won’t be able to maintain posting? Well, stop living in fear. The truth is, sharing your faith is always risky. Learning something new is scary. Exposing yourself to controversy and conflict will make you feel vulnerable. By turning fear and insecurity into a boldness to share Christ, we can become like the apostle Paul who, because of the transformation Jesus made in his life, was willing to share the message using unconventional means and methods.

I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it! (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

Learning to “do” social media well in a ministry sense is a lot like planning the ultimate dinner party. I am now booking trainings for districts across the country. “How to throw the ultimate social media ministry” training is now available. Below is the menu!

Schedule now

Social Media Training For Ministry

 

New Devotional Book For Christian “Lifers”

Dear Church. . . .Thirty Devotions to Challenge YOU in the Pew

A New Devotional Written for the Christian “Lifer”

Dear church…..
I have a deep love for you. I count myself among the many who have sat in the pew week after week for decades now. I have seen pastors come and go. I have witnessed new trends and waves in the world of corporate worship that have come and gone. Some have been successful; others have been mere flashes in the pan.
I have witnessed how beautiful it is when someone finally finds his or her “home” in a church sense. When home is found and community is experienced, church is a place of both healing and of sending. The church at its finest.
I have also been given a front-row seat to seeing how the church has pointed a finger at people who were different or who they deemed didn’t belong. Sadly, I’ve watched as churches become full of Christians who have become adept in faith matters. They study, soak up, and learn all they can but fail to allow the message to change them. So many of our churches are full of apathetic Christians who appear to be merely existing. I love thinking about all the church could be if each of us committed ourselves to more.
It is to you, dear church, this love letter is written. I believe in the power of you. I believe we could, together, embrace this beautifully messy institution known as the church to rise and accept our true calling. I believe we could learn to lead people to Jesus ourselves rather than assuming it’s our pastor’s job. I believe we could begin to bust out of our mediocre approach to following Christ and learn to follow with reckless abandon. The charge is great. We’ve been commissioned. Dear church, how will you respond?

All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.
—Ephesians 1:20–23

Dear Church Devotions for Christians

If you love the church like I do and want to see it become all God intended it to be, check out my 30 day devotional book “Dear Church…Thirty Devotions to Challenge YOU in the Pew” click here.

Let me know what you think!

Imagine This: Online Bible Study Week 4

Parable Anthology

With this weeks online Bible Study, we are taking a different approach. Rather than going deep into one parable for seven days, we are going to explore seven different parables.

Here you will find the printable guide for this week’s study: week 4 parable anthology

Here is the link to our online study group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/120523541945189/

Online Bible Study

Imagine This Online Bible Study Week 3

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

In this week’s online Bible Study, we are taking a look at the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Here are some possible truths found in the parable:

  1. We are the oldest son. Most of the people who originally listened as Jesus shared this story, assumed the oldest son represented the Pharisees. While they were right on one level, Jesus also invites us to “imagine a world” where, as people within the church already, we are the oldest son.
  2. The love of the father is truly unconditional. For the father to embrace this young son who had committed (by cultural definitions) a crime against his family, was simply unheard of and would be frowned upon.
  3. Sinners are welcome. Reading the scripture leading up to this parable, you will see Jesus shares this story as a way to explain why He was eating with “sinners.” Jesus’ very mission was to bring lost people home.
  4. We can still live at home, and yet be “lost.” The older son offered complaints to his father regarding the celebration being thrown. “I’ve played by the rules” and “I’ve done everything you’ve ever asked” was the cry of the older son. He was unable to celebrate what was happening in the father’s kingdom because he was so focused on his own. This parable points out our own selfishness as the older son.

Here is the link to the downloadable/printable pdf. As usual, I’d love to hear from you. See you over in the Facebook group as, together, we plow through week three “Imagine This.”

the parable of the prodigal son

Online Bible Study Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/120523541945189/

Online Bible Study The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Imagine This: Online Bible Study Week 2

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

In this week’s online Bible study, we are taking a long look at the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Here are some truths we can glean through our study:

  1. There was a “surprise” hero. The audience of this parable was Jewish men. For Jesus to make their enemy the hero would have been jarring and unnerving, to say the least. We are left asking, who would the “surprise hero” be in my world if Jesus were retelling this story to me today?
  2. Beliefs or Behavior? Which is more important when it comes to our faith journey? The priest and Levite are often given a bad wrap. But, they were following the guidelines of the Torah that taught about not touching dead (or nearly) people. So, they were simply living out the law as they knew it in this parable. Jesus ends up reminding us that love trumps law. (The Torah also teaches to love others as yourself.)
  3. We must redefine what neighbor means. A neighbor isn’t necessarily one who looks like us, acts like us, or enjoys the same things we enjoy. Jesus asks us to redefine neighbor.
  4. Loving others is central to this parable. Learning to love people who are not like us is tough but possible.
  5. Discrimination is an issue Christians must address. As Jesus followers, we have to avoid the temptation to become self-righteous in any way.
  6. We have to get close enough to care. We have to be willing to get our hands dirty. We were created to make a difference…not to notice differences.
  7. We must seize the moment. Sometimes, we are simply nosy. We like to be in the know when it comes to the needs of others. But, how often are we really moved to action?

Here is the link to the downloadable/printable pdf:imagine this week 2 the good samaritan

As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can comment here or over in our closed group.

 

online bible study good samaritan

Ministry Leaders: If You Get One Thing Right, Let It Be This

While visiting over a cup of coffee recently, I listened to my friend talk about a job she used to have. She was required to check in with a control center over the phone periodically. As she talked about this job, her face lit up as she explained that she called in so often, the person on the other line could identify her by her voice. They called her by name. She was known to them. They knew her name and her story. She mattered. Changes within the company resulted in a change in call centers. She was no longer known by the person on the other end of the line. Ministry Leader, do you know their names? Do you know their stories?
When it comes to ministry, ministry leaders who do this ONE THING right, can make a HUGE difference. Making relationships a priority results in community……..community is what people long for and so often feel they are lacking.

Ministry Leaders get this one thing right

The pace at which ministry happens is so overwhelming that, as pastors, we often overlook the importance of just BEING with people…..learning their names and their stories.

People want to be known. Are they known by my ministry? Here are some questions to help you evaluate how relational your ministry is. This could be a great list to share with your ministry team.

Ministry Leaders, when it comes to people (kids, teens, adults) who are a part of your ministry:

  • Do you know their name?
  • Do you know their story?
  • Are they missed if they’re not here?
  • How do you communicate to them that they’re known?

How about your ministry teams? One of the best ways I can build a healthy team of leaders is to develop a sense of community….to allow everyone on the team to know they belong and matter. Here are some questions to help you evaluate how relational you are as a leader when it comes to your ministry team.

Ministry Leaders, when it comes to your team:

  • Do they know you know them?
  • Are they comfortable coming to you with needs they may have?
  • Do they seek your advice/leadership when they have questions because they know they will be heard and valued?

Are those to whom you minister known by you and your ministry team?

Are your team members known by you?

If you want to grow your influence as a leader, I challenge you to know people. Know their stories. Listen to their hearts. Show them they matter.

You might find this article on relational currency helpful if you’re working to know those who are a part of your ministry or ministry team.

Imagine This: Insight Into the Parables Online Bible Study

Week 1: The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

For those who are a part of my online Bible Study, Imagine This: Insight Into the Parables, you’ve found the right place. Welcome to my home base! I’m glad you’re here.

As you know, most of what we will do will be through our Facebook Group. This is where you will find the written documents designed for those of you who enjoy more of a tactile experience. Hope you find them useful.

I’m attaching this week’s study on the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard as a printable pdf version in case you prefer that method. I’m also attaching each day as a jpg image that you could simply pull up and process either in a notebook, journal or with a friend.

Online Bible Study Imagine This

 

 

Imagine This-2 (pdf printable–entire document)

Why No One Pays Attention To Your Church Announcements

And Three Easy Fixes

Quick, grab your phone and start scrolling. It’s time for the church announcements. Sadly, this is the reality for many who sit in the pews on any given Sunday. People are checking out during your service announcements. Here are 6 reasons why.

Why No One Pays Attention to Your Church Announcements

Six Reasons Why No One Pays Attention During Your Church Announcements:

1. You’re trying too hard to be cute. Church announcements are often high in cheese factor. Stop. It. Youth Pastor giving announcements, in an attempt to be funny, your message often falls flat. We love you but stop.

2. You have too many. I seriously sat through 21 minutes of “preliminaries” this past week in a service. No one can pay attention that long. Men’s Ministry, Back to School Bash, and committee meetings are all important but there is no reason to highlight more than one major thing per service. Stop bogging down what really needs attention by giving too many announcements.

3. You put them in the wrong spot. Church services often feel choppy. Placing announcements in awkward spots makes people want to check out mentally and emotionally. They will do so if you are giving announcements in the middle of a worship set.

4. You’re not creative. Oh sure, you think you’re being creative by having different staff members give the announcements. That’s not creativity. That’s cycling through the staff. C’mon. Consider using video announcements or text messaging. Stop reading from the church bulletin. Post announcements in an email you send throughout the week. Hey, here’s a creative thought: don’t feel like you have to do announcements every week.

5. You’re not addressing the need of your audience. Announcements that appear to be about the person making the announcements aren’t useful at all. “I need volunteers for this” isn’t effective because you’re making the announcement about you and not your audience.

6. The announcements are insider focused. Oh Church, could we please stop saying things like “if you’re interested in this meet Mark in the foyer,” or “see Jody to sign up.” Nothing will make someone “check out” quicker than telling them your “club” is for those who already know Mark or Jody (their way around).

Three quick fixes to get your announcement time the “punch” it needs:

1. Only give announcements that pertain to over 50% of the congregation. Do not bog your announcement time down by giving meeting reminders and the like.

Why no one pays attention to your church announcements

2. Choose one announcement that you want to share. Less is more. Be diligent about this.

why no one pays attention to your church announcements

3. Watch your language! Really understand to whom it is you’re speaking. If you’re sharing an announcement for a community outreach event, for example, you’re appealing to a larger community. Don’t say things about your “narthex” or “foyer.” Don’t talk about “signing up by seeing Mark.” Understand the person you’re sharing this information with.

why no one pays attention to your church announcements

By tweaking just a few things your message will reach more people and you’ll feel less frustrated.

What have you found to be true for announcement time? Have you done something that had been highly successful in this area?

10 Social Media Post Ideas For Ministry

Stop scratching your head wondering what to post

Let’s face it. Ministry is exhausting. There is always one more thing to do. If you’re like most of the pastors I know, you wear a lot of hats. The last thing you have time for is being creative when it comes to posting to social media. But, because you understand the value of your ministry having an online presence, you want to make it a priority. Use the 10 ideas below to generate some posts that will get your ministry noticed.

Social Media Post Ideas For Ministry

The average American will spend 2.6 hours today alone on social media. Knowing that this is where people are, why wouldn’t your ministry seize this outstanding opportunity?

The #1 mistake churches make when deciding to up their social media game is not clearly defining for whom the social media exists.

Before you do anything else, answer this question: “for whom does your social media exist?”

MOST churches think they’re doing an outstanding thing just because they simply have a Facebook page or Twitter acct. When visiting their page, ALL of their content is “insider focused.”

“Please pray for so and so.”

“Sister so and so passed away. Here are the arrangements.”

“If you’d like to join Club 456, see Jennie.”

Maybe an occassional verse thrown in for good measure but that’s it. This is all INSIDER FOCUSED. Insider information about insider people using insider lingo. If you want to leverage the power of social media, it should exist for those who are not yet part of your church. This dictates what you post. Though sister so and so was a pillar of your church, others don’t need this information. Nor do they care.

Get your calendar out and schedule your posts for the next month. Lather, rinse, and repeat next month. You know the potential of having an online presence. Now get to it. You’ve got this!

Avoid these 10 social media mistakes

5 Reasons your ministry needs to have an online presence

Ten Social Media Content Ideas

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