All posts in Articles

Small Improvements, Big Results – Small Improvements, Big Results

One of the biggest traps that we can fall into is believing that progress can only be accomplished through huge projects or complete overhauls. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, I would argue that one of the best ways to move your organization forward is with small, consistent improvements.

I serve in a brand new church plant that’s only six weeks old at the time of this being written. Although we are only a few services in, this is a principle that I’ve had to remind myself of constantly.

Whether your church is a few weeks old or has been around for a hundred years, there is always room to improve your Sunday services.

It can be easy to get discouraged that any change to make things better is out of reach due to lack of time, money, or other resources. But we’re better than that. God has equipped us for the exact season that we’re in. We simply have to embrace where we are and make the improvements that we can make.

Last week, rather than wallowing in my pile of can’ts, I sought to make small improvements in areas all around our church that would make a noticeable impact on Sunday. Some were technical. Some were practical. All were creative.

  • We created what I call “Pinterest-y” themed centerpieces in our coffee area.
  • We used pumpkin spice air freshener all around our building rather than our traditional scent.
  • We changed our lobby/pre-service playlist to a more spirited, hipster vibe. Listen to it here.
  • We updated the design of our announcement slides.
  • We changed up our stage lighting to include more colors.
  • We started using a new set of motion backgrounds for our songs.
  • We changed our order of service to include a fun, warm opening from one of our pastors.
  • We took more photos on Sunday morning of real people in our church for social media.

Announcement Slide

All of these were relatively easy to accomplish, but made a huge impact on Sunday. People really took notice of the changes and I can honestly say that it was our best service yet.

You’ll also notice that I said we changed, we used, we started…

That’s because I got other people involved on these small projects. Even when it was in the smallest capacity you can imagine. But do you know what happened when these projects turned out to be a success? We celebrated our victory.

Getting people involved in small, tangible improvements is the easiest way to keep your church progressing and your volunteers smiling.

It’s a win-win.

So, what can you do this week to make your church better? Who can you get involved to help you do this? Creative Ministry is more than what happens in the tech booth. Don’t be afraid to use your creativity all around your church.

Small improvements make a big difference.

3 Ways Your Church Can Win On Facebook – Three Ways Your Church Can Win On Facebook

This morning, I walked into our neighborhood Starbucks and took my place in line for a Fall classic – the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte.

This is one of my favorite places to invite people to church.

Several times a week I grab a seat here and as I work, I make an effort to invite people to our church. More often than you would believe, I get a surprising response to my friendly invitation.

“Oh yeah, I heard about you on Facebook.”

Ahhh… music to my ears. As soon as I hear these words, I immediately know that half the battle is already won. (I also consider it a good pat on the back that I’m not wasting my time on social media each week!)

You see, there are three big goals that I’ve established for our church’s social media efforts. They are simple, yet have been totally effective for keeping our posts focused on what will actually result in lives changed.

1. Introduce Yourself To Your Community

Promote Your Pageknown name brings legitimacy. It brings validation. It brings comfort. People want to know that your church can be trusted and that you’re respected in the community.

Leading up to our church plant’s first service, one of my biggest goals was for everyone in our city to have already “met us” online.

While a website was critical for this, I’ve always found it important to go to where the people are instead of expecting people to come to you. That’s where social media really comes in handy.

Make sure that your Facebook Page is a clear representation of who you are as a church. Then, be willing to spend a reasonable amount of money to promote your Page.

Just to be completely clear, you will have to spend money on Facebook for any of this to work. But, it’s a minimal expense compared to the return you’ll see.

Tip: To promote your church’s Page, simply click the “Promote Page” button located on the left side of the Page. The minimum daily budget allowed is $5, so make a plan on what your ministry can afford.

2. Show Your City What You’re About

Social Media SampleOf course, with every name comes a reputation. And if people are going to recognize your church, you want something admirable to go with it.

Make sure that you’re constantly posting messages and images that express what you’re all about as a church. 

I recommend thinking outside of the box on this one. You might be tempted to simply post scriptures and pictures of crosses every day. While that is what your church is about, you must remember that it doesn’t always translate well for your audience.

Instead, post messages that reach people right where they are and that nearly anyone could get behind. Often, this comes back to principles that Jesus taught. Focus on material that is easy to Like and Share.

Here are a few examples:

Today is not just another day. It’s a new opportunity, another chance, a new beginning.

Mondays can be tough. No matter how your day is going, remember that God is always faithful and His grace can get you through anything.

If you can’t get past your PAST, you will never make it to your PURPOSE.

Each of these got a tremendous response for us. And because we paid $1-$3 to boost each of these posts, those messages showed right up on the timelines of our followers’ friends and family members.

Tip: I’d also note that it makes a HUGE difference when you add images to these posts. I create square images that we can use on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We use these with posts 1-2 times a day.

3. Get The Word Out About Services/Events

Social Media SampleTo successfully promote your church’s services and events on Facebook, the key is to not talk about them much at all. 

While it can be tempting to post messages about services or the next church picnic frequently, it will simply drive people away. Instead, focus on 1-2 great posts per week that have exciting images.

Then, pay a little bit more to boost those posts ($5-$10, perhaps). This will allow more people to see it without bothering your faithful followers with repeated posts.

Keep in mind that churches have a reputation for being all about themselves. Because of this, you must tread lightly with posts about you.

Post messages that are important to your audience on social media, not just what’s important to you. Then, when it comes the time for you to promote your next event, your audience will be much more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Extra Tips:

Be sure to have your church’s staff and faithful attendees be quick to offer a supportive Like and Share to get the ball rolling on all of your posts.

Your church’s social media is only as good as your willingness be social. Be sure to answer messages and comments when they come in. Pastors, add new Page likes as friends and build relationships.

To see more of what my church, Piedmont Chapel, is doing on Facebook, check us out here. Feel free to get inspiration for your social posts and photos from our page.


3 Essential Elements of Video Announcements

Three Essential Elements of Video Announcements

Today’s post is from my friend, Brady Shearer. He is an extremely talented blogger, podcaster, and church media guru. I highly recommend following him on Twitter at @BradyShearer.

Video announcements for churches can be a toss-up. When they’re done well, they’re enjoyable to watch, informative, and brief. But when they’re done poorly, video announcements can be painful to endure.

In the last year alone I’ve produced more than 1000 different editions of video announcements. I’m the founder of and we create video announcements every single week for churches across North America.

We’re continuously refining how we approach and produce video announcements. Instead of simply making minor tweaks, I like to find easy changes that produce maximum benefits. For instance, rather than obsess over motion graphics or perfect lighting, I’ve identified what I think are the three most important elements of quality video announcements. If your church can focus on these three core values, your video announcements will be excellent.

3 Essential Elements of Video Announcements

1. Tell a story. Don’t tout information.

Observe the following two examples…

Announcement Example #1

“Men’s Retreat is next week. The cost is $85 per guy. Make sure you get your money in to Pastor Dan before Friday at noon. We’ll be meeting at the church at 5:00 PM and leaving from there. Don’t miss it!”

Announcement Example #2

“Men’s Retreat is next week. [Insert hilarious story from last year about the flag football game] Every detail you need is on the website. Don’t miss it!”

Despite popular belief, the purpose of video announcements is not to share details, specifics, and extensive information. The purpose of video announcements is to inform your church of the most important things happening, and compel them to get involved. The two examples above are very similar. But in Example #1, every possible detail is crammed into the announcement. The problem with this approach is that people don’t remember details!

Hoping your church remembers dates, times, phone numbers, or email addresses mentioned during video announcements is a losing approach. If you want men to attend your men’s retreat, share a story that connects with them. They can always find the details later on your website.

2. The perfect length is…

Using stories is a smart approach, but it won’t really matter if your video announcements are eight-minutes long. We’ve found that the perfect length for video announcements is three-minutes or less. Anywhere between two-minutes and three-minutes is the absolute sweet spot. This works out to approximately five announcements included each week.

Remember, the purpose of video announcements shouldn’t be to share an exhaustive itinerary of church life. The purpose is to share what’s most important, and compel your church to get involved.

3. Don’t put that person on camera

Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma produces some of the best video announcements around. They’re a church of more than 10,000 people, and can you guess how many video announcements presenters they have? Fewer than 5.

Presenting on camera is unlike any other type of presentation. I’ve seen the most dynamic pastors freeze in front of a camera as soon as it begins to record. Growing to be a quality on-camera presenter takes time – a considerable amount of time. Be conscious of whom you’re putting on the screen.


Of course, I think outsourcing your video announcements is a great idea. When I was the Media Director on staff at my church, I spent more than 10 hours per week coordinating, scripting, producing, and editing our weekly video announcements. I can help with that.

The best question to continuously ask yourself is – what are we trying to accomplish with this announcement? Share stories, keep it brief, use a quality presenter, and your video announcements will be excellent.

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 9/4/14

Five Creative Ministry Tips - September 4th, 2014

Every week, we’re excited to share a five-pack of useful tips for those serving in creative ministry! Each Thursday, we post practical advice on topics such as media, social networking, design, and marketing. While these tips may be simple, they have the potential to radically improve your church. These images are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ready, so help us spread the word by sharing them with your followers!

Lyrics should be displayed just before they're sung. Sermon points should be displayed just after they're spoken. Most people won't listen to a hour long sermon online. Consider creating five minute recap video or audio clips that highlight key points. When was the last time you learned a new tool in your design software? Make it a priority to explore new methods often. Posting flyers in local businesses and on community bulletin boards is extremely affordable and still works great for promoting events. Try hard. Pray hard. Everything else is just details.

Like these photos? Get them here: Photo 1Photo 2Photo 3Photo 4Photo 5

6 Game-Changing Tips For Multi-site Production

Six Game-Changing Tips For Multisite Production

When your church has multiple locations, there is an entirely new set of hurdles for your media and production team. It’s often difficult to duplicate the quality experience of the home campus at other locations. There can also be the challenge of keeping volunteers aligned with the same vision. Here are some simple tips that have made life easier for us and will make a big difference when you’re managing teams across multiple campuses.

1. Use Consistent Equipment

Keeping your equipment consistent across environments will make your life much easier. For example, at our church we have a Behringer X32 for audio, Jands Vista software for lighting, and use ProPresenter for on-screen content. Having the same hardware and software in each space makes it significantly easier to cross-train volunteers, roll out software/firmware upgrades, and diagnose any problems that may arise when preparing for a service.

2. Distribute Content And Share Files With Dropbox

One of the first hurdles that comes with multi-site ministry is figuring out how to distribute content. With the advent of the cloud, gone are the days of hand delivering flash drives (or dare I say, CDs) to all of your environments to distribute media. Dropbox is a file-syncing service that makes file distribution a breeze. Just create a free Dropbox account and install the Dropbox app on any computer you would like to distribute to. Then, simply put your media file in your Dropbox folder, and this service takes care of copying that file to all of your computers. Dropbox Basic plans provide a free 2GBs of space or a Dropbox Pro account provides a whopping 1TB of storage for just $10 a month. Check it out here.

3. Train Your Volunteers Well

The longer I serve in ministry, the more I realize my job is to train people to replace me. Training your volunteers well – not just about your equipment, but about your vision & philosophy for ministry – will really help to create a consistent experience at all of your campuses. If you only train your volunteers to be able to handle a service if everything goes smoothly, you’ll be slammed with messages the second anything goes wrong. Training your volunteers on how to handle unexpected situations can become the difference between leading and babysitting on a Sunday morning.

4. Schedule Volunteers With Planning Center

I’ve been using Planning Center for years now, and I don’t know what I’d do without it. We recently wrote about Planning Center in this article, and for good reason. Planning Center doesn’t just help you plan a service; you can use it to schedule and communicate with volunteers, distribute worship documents (e.g. lyric sheets & chord charts), and even plan your stage layout. Pricing varies depending on the size of your ministry, but rest assured, it’s worth twice what you pay. Check it out here.

5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Communication will make or break your teams. Make sure you have open lines of communication during your services—with your band, your pastor, and your production team. Volunteers need to feel confident that they can reach out to you when they need help. Your worship team and pastor need to know they can reach out to you when there’s a last minute change. Make sure that you communicate your vision for the weekend service clearly and make yourself accessible for any questions that may come up. I recommend using GroupMe for keeping in touch with your team. You can have different message threads for different teams (band, production, church staff, etc.), which makes keeping everyone up to date during a service super easy. Check it out here.

6. Screen Share With TeamViewer

Often times, it’s difficult to diagnose a computer problem when you’re not in front of that specific computer. Remote Desktop allows you to log into and control a computer over the internet, just as if you were right in front of that computer. TeamViewer is one of many remote desktop tools out there, but it’s our favorite because of its cross-platform compatibility and ease of installation. When a volunteer calls with a ProPresenter problem, or if you just need to log in and grab a file you left on another computer, TeamViewer can save you a lot of time and hassle. Check it out here.

Final Thoughts

Multi-site ministry can be a challenging beast, but with the proper tools, you can keep a high bar of excellence across the board. Above all, always be sure to communicate well with your teams to really set them up for success. It can be the difference in dividing yourself and multiplying yourself in ministry.