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The Latest On Our Church Planting Adventure

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In October, I shared the big news that Holly and I would be moving to North Carolina to pursue a new church planting journey. This was a move that had been in the works for quite some time. I had been dreaming about this day with my best friend, Mitch Lunceford, since our college days. I always had full confidence that he would one day become an incredible lead pastor. So, when he approached me with the news that the dream was finally coming to pass, I knew that this was an opportunity that we could not miss.

On December 1st, Holly and I stepped out on faith, loaded up a U-Haul, and moved to Greensboro, NC to be a part of this new church – Piedmont Chapel. Leaving our home, family, and a full-time ministry position to move nearly seven hours away was a big deal, but it has been so worth it. Being able to build this church from the ground up has been such an incredible process. There’s nothing like seeking God’s guidance for something that’s so much bigger than yourself. We have given more thought, creative energy, and downright hard work to this church than anything we’ve ever done.

I’m happy to report that things have been going great! We have grown our Launch Team to over 30 people and we’re connecting with new families in Greensboro almost daily. People in our area genuinely seem excited when we share our plans with them. We’ve locked in an amazing location for services and we just spent a week with Portable Church Industries planning how to use it to its fullest potential. We’re even pioneering some really creative video elements into our services that I believe are going to help portable churches everywhere. God has truly blessed us and honored our hard work.

Check out our latest video to see our progress:


Piedmont Chapel – Our Story Begins Here from Piedmont Chapel on Vimeo.

With great vision comes a great need for resources. After a lot of planning, we set our Launch Budget at $100,000. As of today, we’re already over halfway there! Please prayerfully consider investing in this life-giving church by helping us fulfill our Launch Budget.

Holly and I put it all on the line to pursue this dream. If you have been blessed by the ministry that we do here at The Creative Pastor, I’d ask you to consider giving to help us turn this vision into a reality. It may be just $5, $10, or $20, but it could make a huge difference to us as we launch this church.

Please keep us in your prayers as we move forward on this great journey. We’re believing God for amazing things as we spread His “love story” in our new city.

Find out how to get involved here.
Give online to Piedmont Chapel here.

8 Things To Remember As You Prepare For Easter

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Easter Sunday is less than a week away and it’s likely that your church will experience your highest attendance numbers for the year. We all understand that making a good impression on visitors is crucial and that it’s important to communicate the Resurrection message in a fresh way to your regulars. But I’ve been in ministry long enough to know that this week can be really rough on the people working behind the scenes. Because there’s so much emphasis placed on this one Sunday, there’s a lot of pressure to strive for perfection and do extraordinary things, all while still finding time to do all of your normal, weekly duties. It can be downright exhausting.

Here are eight things to keep in mind during this hectic season:

1. Your hard work is worth it.

The hours that you’re pouring into making this service special are so important. Easter Sunday matters because people matter. Each individual who walks through those doors on Sunday was created by God with a purpose. Your hard work and dedication are leading the way for them to connect with the risen Savior.

2. Going the extra mile can make all the difference.

No matter your role in Sunday’s service, give it all you’ve got. When we give our best, we can have confidence that we’ve done our part and that the rest is up to God. Remember that even the smallest detail of a service could be the one thing that stands out to someone; the thing that keeps them coming back to hear more about Jesus.

3. Easter Sunday is important, but so is your family.

This is where it gets tricky. Yes, it’s important to work hard and give our best to make Sunday great. But, we have a responsibility to our family that should always come before the church. In the midst of the craziness, make sure that you’re connecting with them. Be intentional to show love to your spouse. Spend some quality time with your kids. Be careful that this doesn’t become the most dreaded week of the year for them.

4. Two is better than one.

The more people that you can get involved in your Easter service, the better. Not only will it take some of the pressure off of you, but it also helps to get more people to attend your big service. Experts say that you can expect four additional people in attendance for every person involved in an event. For example, if you have 25 people involved, you can expect them to attract 100 friends and family members. Even if it’s a small task, get people plugged in.

5. Everything cannot be perfect.

This is always a tough one for me. I’m all about striving for excellence in everything that we do, but you just can’t do it all. Rather than stretching yourself thin with a long list of projects, focus on a few things and give them all you’ve got. Place your emphasis on the projects that will make the biggest impact on your crowd and are the most noticeable.

6. No matter how hard you try, something is still going to go wrong.

Expect problems to occur – that’s simply the nature of Sunday morning. No matter how many times you rehearse, proofread, or practice, mistakes are going to happen. This is especially true when you’re working with technology. ProPresenter may crash in the middle of service. A microphone may malfunction mid-song. Stuff happens and it’s out of your control. Expect it and prepare for a quick comeback.

7. The power of God is not limited by your budget.

No matter the size of your church, you have to work within a budget. Some budgets are smaller than others, but we all wish we could spend more than they allow. This is a good thing – our dreams should always exceed our budgets. Keep in mind that the power of God far exceeds anything that you could purchase to make your service great. Use what He’s given you to its fullest potential and let Him cover the rest.

8. Jesus wants to connect with you.

In the midst of all of this work for God, we often forget to connect with God. You’re at your best when you’re in communion with Him and you need Him in this season. Be intentional about seeking Jesus in this week leading up to Easter. Remember that this is all about Him. This Resurrection Sunday, let us lead the way in having an authentic relationship with the risen Savior.

 

Introducing The “Shift Media Creator” App

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Unknown-1Our friends over at Shift Worship made a big announcement this week that I believe is going to make a huge impact in the Church Media world. With the release of their “Shift Media Creator” app, you’re able to create custom, high-quality motions right from your iPhone. I downloaded this $5.99 app to check it out for myself and it far exceeded my expectations. No matter the size of your church or budget, this is a must-have for your ministry. The ability to create custom backgrounds for your services so easily is huge.

“You could keep finding worship media the way you’ve always done it. Search. Sort. Search some more. Or you could use that powerful, high-end camera you’ve got in your pocket to shoot exactly the image you want, quickly and easily make it exactly the right size – and make it gorgeous – before sending it straight to your ShiftWorship account to download into your software.

It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s fun. And it puts all the creative power right in your hands. Worship media will never be the same.”

Find out more about Shift Media Creator here.

What do you think about this app? Will you download it?

Getting Started In Church Communication Ebook

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Congratulations to @locklear_jay, @cralex3, and @anthonymcmurtry! You’ve won a free copy of the “Getting Started In Church Communication” ebook!

The year of the Church Media ebook continues! The Center for Church Communication has just released a new 3-in-1 ebook that covers the basics of getting started in Church Media by focusing on three topics—copy, web, and jobs. Since these are three subjects that often get neglected, I was really happy to see this release.  I checked out this ebook over the weekend and it seems to be really practical. I like that it has real insights from church communication pros that deal with this stuff every week. The way it’s laid out definitely makes it easy to read and apply a little at a time. Each topic is available as an individual volume for $2.99 each, but I’d recommend picking up the complete set for $6.99.

Find more info on this 3-in-1 ebook here.

Purchase here: Kindle, iBooks, PDF

We’ve also partnered with the CFCC to provide copies for three lucky TCP readers! We’ll announce the winners next week, so be sure to go ahead and enter so that you don’t miss out!

OFFICIAL RULES & SUBMISSION INFO:

1. To enter, tweet I just entered to win the new “Getting Started In Church Communication” ebook at @creativepastor! Check it out here – http://ow.ly/uKxdx to your followers.
2. Entries will be accepted through Friday, March 21st, 2014 at 11:59pm (Eastern).
3. Three winners will be selected at random by our staff.
4. The selected winners will receive a free copy of the “Getting Started In Church Communication” ebook (3-in-1 edition).
5. We will announce the winners on our site on Monday, March 24th, 2014.

Spread the word about this contest to your friends and followers!

7 Innovative Ideas For The 21st Century Church

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The continual danger confronting the church is irrelevancy. We live in a world filled with innovation and ever-changing technology. In the midst of this fast-paced modernization, the local church is often left behind as it’s seen as stuck in the past and irrelevant to 21st century life. I believe many of the unchurched don’t necessarily have a problem with Christianity. Rather, they simply cannot fathom how the church could possibly fit into their modern day life.

It’s with this idea that a passion began to grow inside me for meeting 21st century people on their digital turf. Asking people to be a part of your church shouldn’t mean that they have to step back in time on Sundays. Technology is available for us to step up our game in every department of our ministries and it’s more affordable than ever.

Here are seven forward-thinking ideas that create an atmosphere of progress and communicate that your ministry is willing to meet people where they’re at in 2014:

1. E-Bulletins

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.09.42 AMThe bulletin is no stranger to today’s church. While ministries have been using them for decades, I still see pretty much the same format in churches big and small. It’s time for an upgrade. While most paper bulletins never make it out of your building, you can deliver digital bulletins with all of your church’s announcements straight to your attendees’ inboxes. I’ve seen this done really well through services like Bulletin Plus and Mail Chimp.

2. Text To Give

Giving is a integral part of every church, but passing the plate isn’t always the best method anymore. Only a small percentage of your congregation still carries cash and checks, because they’ve shifted to a digital lifestyle. Many ministries have added online giving to their website and some have added giving kiosks in their lobby. But my favorite new method for digital giving is with services like Kindrid where donors can give right from their cell phones.

3. Mobile Connection Cards

This is another area where paper may not be the most effective route. I’ve recently started to see churches add their connection card to their mobile website. This allows attendees to quickly submit their data right from their cell phone. I love this idea because data is automatically emailed to ministry leaders and it saves money on printing/pens. Here’s a sample from a church I recently visited.

4. Retweetable Sermon Points

retweet-buttonThe retweet is the digital “amen” of this day and age. When a point in a pastor’s sermon really resonates with someone, their instinct is to share it with their social networks. I like to make this really easy by having a social media coordinator live-tweet the pastor’s big sermon points to the church’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. This allows for attendees to simply tap one button to share rather than having to type the entire quote.

5. Walk-Through Videos

It’s very nerve-racking to visit a church for the first time. One of the best ways to take the edge off for your guests is to provide a walk-through video on your website. This gives visitors an inside look on what your Sunday morning experience is like. Here is one of my favorites from a church that I often visit.

6. Sharing Worship Set-lists Through Spotify

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.24.30 AMA great way to encourage continual worship outside of services is to provide Spotify playlists of your worship songs from Sunday morning. This is really easy and free for both your church and congregation. Simply create a Spotify account for your church, make a playlist that includes your songs from service, and share the playlist url to your social media sites. Your congregation will be able to sing along to the Tomlin, Israel, and Hillsong versions of your worship anthems in their car, at the gym, and at home.

7. Instagram Announcement Videos

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks for photos and videos, but did you know you can use it to share announcements? Instagram allows for videos up to 15 seconds, so with a little creativity, you can easily promote your church’s events right on your congregation’s newsfeed. Check out how Radiant Church in Surprise, Arizona is using Instagram to promote their activities.

Do you have any other ideas for reaching people on their digital turf? Let us know in the comments below!