All posts tagged plant

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.

 

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!

 

6 Affordable Ways To Promote A Sermon Series

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One of the most practical ways to equip your congregation to invite their friends to church is a sermon series. It gives them a tangible event where they know the exact topic that will be discussed. This makes it a lot easier to explain to their neighbors and coworkers because it’s not just, “Hey, you look like you need Jesus. Do you want to come to church with me?” Instead, it’s something exciting that will only be happening for a few weeks and, if you’re doing it right, will have a topic that is appealing to the outside eye. A series gives outsiders an excuse to check out your church for the first time.

Here are six easy and affordable ways to get the word out about your sermon series and equip your church family to invite their friends:

1. Invite Cards

This is one of my favorite ways to spread the word about a series. You can get 1000 business cards printed with your series details for around $25 and put them in the hands of everyone in your congregation. I like to give everybody a bundle of five cards and encourage them to personally invite five people to come check it out. Be sure to include your series graphic, dates, times, address, and website. Printers that I use regularly for these cards are Overnight Prints and Next Day Flyers.

2. Shareable Social Media Graphics

Social media is one of the best ways to spread the word about events, but you can take it a step further than simply posting on your church’s profile. Provide downloadable square (612x612px) promo images with all of your series details on your website. This will allow people to share them with their friends on their own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. The potential for reaching people in your community is endless with this method.

3. Exterior Banners

It’s likely that numerous people drive by your church every single day. Take advantage of this by hanging a large banner that’s easily visible by drivers. Next Day Flyers has a 10’ x 5’ banner for only $140 that we’ve purchased several times for promoting events. When I was promoting for our movie theater church in Baltimore, the cinema manager even allowed us to display banners like this for movie-goers throughout the week.

4. Facebook/Twitter Ads

Facebook ads and promoted posts are super affordable and truly reach a lot of people. They are also really easy to target a very specific audience. These ads have been really effective for us. Also, Twitter has recently added some extremely powerful tools for advertising with graphics. Nothing stands out more on a feed full of 140 character tweets than a large photo.

5. Post Flyers Around Town

Take advantage of every community board within a 20 mile radius of your church. Print some flyers with your series graphics and post them at Starbucks, Panera Bread, and anywhere else that will allow it. These kind of places get a ton of traffic and require people to wait in line for their food. This is the perfect opportunity for them to read up about your upcoming event.

6. Email Current & Past Attenders

Have a database full of email addresses from people who have filled out your connection cards? Why not send out an email with the details of your series? Keep it quick and use images, rather than words, to do most of the communicating. Services like MailChimp are perfect for emails like this and have templates that make it easy to plug in your graphics.

 

Have you found any other affordable ways to promote a sermon series?

 

Mobile Giving With Kindrid

Mobile Giving With Kindrid

Giving is a integral part of every church. Outside of personal, one-on-one evangelism, it takes money to make ministry happen. While tithes and offerings are important, I’ve always been passionate about keeping the “big ask” on Sundays from being awkward. One of the best ways to keep things from feeling weird is by providing options for givers outside of the traditional collection plate. By providing online giving terminals on your website or even giving kiosks in your lobby, you meet the needs of those who don’t regularly carry cash or checks.

However, the best giving method that I’ve seen comes through a new service called Kindrid. It allows your congregation to give to your ministry via text messaging. Speaking as a millennial (the champions of awkwardness), I can tell you that this is not only convenient for my generation, but also feels much less obtrusive than a plate/bucket being passed down the row. As we move forward into a world where individuals rarely carry cash, but never leave home without their iPhone, this is a route your church should probably consider.

Find out more about Kindrid here.

How does your church accept donations?


Intro to Kindrid from Marc McMurrin on Vimeo.


How To Give via TEXT from Marc McMurrin on Vimeo.

That Time I Ran Jentezen Franklin’s PowerPoint

That Time I Ran Jentezen Franklin's PowerPoint

My heart was pounding so hard that I was sure the crowd would hear it over the sound system. As I sat backstage, illuminated by the glow of my computer screen, my eyes were locked onto the bright stage lights shining on him.

Ten years ago, rather than running his sermon slides, I was in the audience of this youth conference with my life being turned around. But now, Jentezen Franklin was preaching to a crowd of 3,000 teenagers and I was the one responsible for projecting his media. I was crazy nervous. I’ve ran sermon slides more times than I can count, but this was different. As I thought back to what a huge difference Pastor Franklin made in my life as a young Christian, my heart became heavy with responsibility. He was speaking to teens whose lives would be changed just like mine had been. His messages were the first sermons that ever actually stuck with me. Now I was playing a part in making a lasting memory for this audience.

To bring some of you up to speed – because our new church isn’t launching until September, our weekends are pretty open. Since we relocated to our new city, Holly and I have spent our Sundays visiting various churches for inspiration. But, when the opportunity arose to spend five weekends working production for a youth conference, I knew it was an invaluable experience that I couldn’t pass up. As I spend these few weeks in a different kind of Church Media environment, expect to see posts coming from a new perspective.

Thankfully, I can say that Jentezen’s sermon and the included media went off without a hitch that night. The response from that group of teenagers was absolutely phenomenal. After my heart rate had slowed down a bit and my nervousness wore off, I came to a realization of which I’m quite proud. While it was an extreme honor to serve Pastor Franklin and those 3,000 teenagers that night, I don’t feel that it’s what God has called me to do. If I was to be honest, my heart hadn’t raced in that moment out of excitement for the opportunity. I was simply fearful of messing something up. I didn’t want to be that guy who made everyone shake their head.

Instead, there are other parts of ministry that make my heart race for all of the right reasons. As I serve in our new church plant – even in these early days of planning – my heart overflows with excitement. There’s no other place that I’d rather be serving and I’m the happiest volunteer that you’ll ever meet. There’s an indisputable sense that I’m in the exact place at the exact time doing the exact thing that God wants for me. It was because of that security that I was able to leave a full-time ministry position with salary and move my family to another state.

As I write these posts each week, my greatest goal is to inspire and equip you to better serve in your media ministry. But my greatest prayer for you is that you’ll get to experience the joy of serving in a way that aligns with God’s calling for your life. It’s a life-giving feeling like none other that I fear so many in ministry are missing out on.