All posts tagged sermon

Ten Years In Creative Ministry Taught Me This

TheCreativePastor.com – Ten Years In Creative Ministry Taught Me This

Having spent over ten years serving the Church through creativity, I’ve learned a few things. Whether through projection, audio, lighting, marketing, print, branding, web, or service planning, I’ve faced many hits and misses over the years that have shaped me into the creative pastor that I am today. But, as I stand back and assess my journey over this time, one truth stands out to me.

As you can imagine, I have my share of horror stories from over 500 Sundays.

I remember a service back in the day where I used my personal laptop to run our PowerPoint (yes, I said PowerPoint) and a screensaver full of pictures of my friends filled our church’s projector during the sermon. And you think your lead pastor has it out for you! ;)

I can remember being right in the middle of one of the most heartfelt messages I’ve ever heard and when the pastor called on a video to be played ……..cricket…cricket…….. something went wrong and despite a LOT of prayer, that video never played.

I’ve made major typos in bulletins, designed graphics that looked hideous, let cringe-worthy feedback through sound systems, and tried many ideas that simply didn’t work.

But, while it’s fun to look back and laugh at these kind of things, it’s not the mistakes that you should remember over the long haul. You must hold onto the wins.

This week, I travelled to Baltimore, MD to a church where I worked full-time for five years. My wife and I had made the trip for a funeral and it had been over a year since we’d been there. While we certainly experienced the tears of the occasion, there was a lot of joy found in the reunion we had with members of the congregation.

I was able to connect with so many people that I had served in that ministry and I was incredibly blessed by their genuine excitement to see us. After many hugs, stories, and laughs, I felt like God was using this time to remind me of a simple truth.

Ministry is about people.

This time of reunion reminded me that all of the hard work that I had given in my time serving there wasn’t about making perfect ProPresenter slides or a compelling brand. It was about ministering to them.

Our wins in creative ministry should always come back to changing peoples’ lives.

Did we successfully bring people a little bit closer to Jesus? Did you help people experience the wonder of the Gospel? Did we use the creative resources God gave us to minister to His children? Did you invest in volunteers who served with you? Did you, like a good pastor, cater your “message” to minister to the unique group of people that He’s entrusted you with?

Over these ten years, I’ve seen the things that I thought were so important fade away. Videos come and go. Logos get redesigned. Services are forgotten. While we should certainly strive to give both God and our congregations our best, we must not forget what is truly important. It’s peoples’ lives that matter for eternity.

Creative ministry, like all ministry, is about the people.

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 12/11/2014

TCP-Five_Creative_Ministry_Tips-12_11_14

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!

Standing on a stage is not required to lead people into the presence of God. Whether by media, sound, or lighting, you are a worship leader. On Sundays, most of your congregation has a smartphone in their pocket. Don't be afraid to encourage its use for interacting with the service. When designing your sermon slides, keep text to a minimum. Be as clear and concise as possible. An email list can be one of the most valuable tools for marketing events at your church. Email works. Creative ministry is all about exceeding expectations. Our job is to help people experience the wonder of the Gospel again and again.

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

9 Easy Ideas For A Memorable Christmas Service

TheCreativePastor.com – 9 Easy Ideas For A Memorable Christmas Service

The Christmas season is such a unique time of the year for ministry. Not only do studies show that more people are likely to fill your pews in this time, but that their hearts are much more conditioned to receive a message. Because of this, it’s common to see churches everywhere working diligently in preparation for the coming crowds at their Christmas service.

As your church prepares for this big day of celebrating the birth of our Savior and sharing the hope found in Him, I’ve come up with nine easy ideas to make your Christmas service memorable. I selected each of these to share with you from personal victories. I’ve seen these ideas work wonders and I know they’ll do the same for you. Check them out and let me know which are your favorites in the comments below!

1. Create An Exciting Christmas Playlist

One of the easiest ways to improve an atmosphere is with the music playing in the background. With a Spotify account in your tool belt, you’re equipped to make an awesome playlist that really sets the tone for your Christmas services. This works great in your lobby, before service, and as people exit. For our church’s “How To Survive The Holidays” series this month, we went with a fun playlist, but I’ve used other lists similar to this in the past.

2. Add Some Holiday Tastes And Smells

Imagine taking a pan of fresh baked Christmas cookies out of the oven and taking that first bite. Or imagine decorating a fresh, live Christmas tree. I’d be willing to bet that tastes and smells immediately came to mind as you read this. Scents and tastes provide such powerful memories for us. Around Christmas time, our church strategically sprays holiday themed air freshener all around our facility 15 minutes before our guests arrive for a noticeable scent. I also love bringing in fresh baked cookies and hot cocoa for the day. Even offering peppermint syrup with your normal coffee is a plus.

3. Create A Holiday Photo Booth

Whether it’s a simple DIY backdrop made of wrapping paper or a custom printed banner, this is a fun way to encourage guests to pause and snap a photo. If you have a willing photographer on your team, you can even capture these photos and share them on your church’s social media pages. Photo booths are an easy win that create lasting memories and they equip guests to share their experience with others.

4. Use A Roll Up Banner To Mark The Occasion

Roll-up banners not only look great in your church’s lobby, they are an awesome way to celebrate special events. I’ve been ordering this affordable banner for our church and have been extremely impressed with the quality. Plus, it seems huge compared to other roll ups that I’ve ordered in the past. Use one of these banners to showcase your sermon artwork for the day or simply a “Merry Christmas from Your Church” message as people enter your facility.

5. Host A Fun Christmas Poll On Social Media

PC-Social_Quotes-Set_4-39On Sunday, I had some fun with our congregation as I welcomed everyone to our service. Using this graphic, I polled our audience on their favorite Christmas movie by asking them to vote by commenting on this same image on our church’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Using their smartphones, they casted their votes and we revealed the results later in our service. People loved it! It was an easy way to bring some interactivity to our service and we boosted this post on Facebook so that all of their friends would see their involvement.

6. Add Some Christmas Songs To Your Setlist

Not only can Christmas songs bring some excitement to your services, but they can bring some well-appreciated familiarity for guests. Every year, popular artists inside and out of the Christian music genre release updated versions of these classic favorites. There is also an extremely large number of these songs available on MultiTracks.com. Simply adding one or two to your setlist may be just the thing you need for a memorable day.

7. Use Christmas Motion Backgrounds

Motion backgrounds are a great way to make your time of singing more engaging. Because there are so many producers these days, there is no shortage of variety. I recommend choosing motions that not only look good, but complement the overall theme of your service. For example, our large Christmas service on the 21st has a warm, rustic theme centered around the nativity. A fast-paced, red motion with snow fall wouldn’t work well with this theme, but a slow, amber bokeh motion would fit right in.

8. Use A Real-Life Nativity Photo For Sermon Art

lightstock-56933-baby-jesus-in-the-manger--3I’ve been truly impressed by the nativity photos at Lightstock and chose to use one of them in my own sermon artwork for Piedmont Chapel. For a lot of people, their view of Christ’s birth is wrapped up in years of tiny, porcelain nativity scenes or glowing plastic decorations in front of peoples’ homes. Using real-life imagery has a way of reminding us that this miracle truly happened.

9. Use An Out of the Box Sermon Illustration

One of the easiest ways to make your Sunday sermons memorable is by using an illustration to make your point. The use of a simple prop, photo, or video can make a massive difference on the retention rate of your audience. Simple, spoken word sermons come and go, but people hold on to messages that use a visual aid for years.

Do you have any other ideas that you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

10 Do’s And Don’ts For Pastors On Facebook

TheCreativePastor.com – 10 Do’s & Don’ts For Pastors On Facebook
While there is an abundance of social media platforms, Facebook continues to be the single best place for churches to connect with the majority of people online. While I’m a big fan of adding Twitter and Instagram to the mix, I keep Facebook as my primary means of social evangelism at our church.

More than simply a place for your church to have a digital presence, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a pastor’s involvement in this online community. It’s one of the easiest ways to speak into your congregation during the week, build a growing trust with your church family by inviting them into your life journey, and connect with new people who may make their way into your church.

So, if you’re a lead pastor, campus pastor, creative pastor, or really any kind of minister who would like to make the most of your time on Facebook, here are ten do’s and don’ts that will help you along the way:

1. DO Friend Members of Your Congregation

People love connecting with their pastor and this is a simple way to let your congregation know that you’re available to them. More than that, that accepted friend request from them lets you know that they trust you enough to invite you into their digital life.

2. DON’T Ride The Emotions of Your Friends

When you’re connected with your church family on Facebook, you’ll see them go through the highs and lows of life. You’ll witness their faithful times and their moments of failure. The key is to love them through all of these seasons and don’t let their posts make or break your day.

3. DO Accept Friend Requests From Nearly Everyone

When you serve as a minister, you’ll see friend requests from people you’ve never personally met. This is a good thing. Whether it’s a friend of someone in your congregation or a family member from the funeral you recently led, these are people who want to get to know you better. (Pro Tip: Check their mutual friend list to get a better idea of who you’re adding.)

4. DON’T Do It Alone

Because you’re connecting with so many people, Facebook can be a tempting place. It’s led to countless cases of infidelity and ruined a lot of marriages. Always be careful to live above reproach and keep things public as often as possible. I’d also recommend inviting someone to keep you accountable in this area. Do everything you can to not let your good be evil spoken of.

5. DO Share Encouraging Posts

Facebook gives the amazing opportunity to minister to your church family outside of Sunday. A simple quote, scripture, or kind post can be just the right thing to keep someone going on a hard day. If you gain a reputation for spreading positivity online, I can guarantee that you’ll see your influence grow.

6. DON’T Give Facebook A Piece of Your Mind

We’ve all seen it. We’ve all rolled our eyes and shook our heads. No one likes when people use Facebook as a personal soap box to rant. Don’t use your digital platform to tackle any issues, get involved in debate, or give anyone a piece of your mind. Keep it uplifting and avoid the drama. Whether big or small, in a Facebook argument, no one wins.

7. DO Share Family Milestones and Memories

This is one of the most important components of your social presence. When you share photos and snippets from your personal life, it connects with people in a greater way than you could ever imagine. It instantly makes you more human and approachable to people inside and outside your congregation.

8. DON’T Share Deep Theological Thoughts

If the goal is to be human and approachable, sharing deep theological thoughts is a quick route in the opposite direction. While it can be tempting to share that “aha moment” from the latest book you’re reading, it’s not worth it. Out of context, it’s likely that most people won’t understand and it just separates you from the community you’ve worked hard to build.

9. DO Be Quick To Offer Praise

Likes and comments are the goal of every post on Facebook and they’re very connected with the self-worth of many users. While you could write a whole sermon on the problem in that, I’d recommend spending your time using it as a method for affirmation. Be quick to comment “Great picture!” on their latest family photo. Like any post that shows them heading in the right direction. Give happy birthday wishes and offer short words of praise often.

10. DON’T Publicly Correct Anyone

When you see one of your friends going through a hard time or not making the wisest choices, feel free to offer kind words of support. However, Facebook is not a place for correction. “Calling out” someone online is guaranteed to burn bridges. No matter how good your intentions, text will always take on the emotion of the reader and add to the problem.

Do you have any other do’s or don’ts that you’d add to the list?

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 11/20/2014

TCP-Five_Creative_Ministry_Tips-11_20_14

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!

Using the same backgrounds every week is a recipe for boredom. Keep a log of which motions you're using so that it's easy to mix it up. Tagging people in your church's photos on Facebook is a great way to reach their friends.Your church's website should not be judged solely by how it looks, but by how well it works for the user. When someone takes the time to send your church a message on your website or social media, always write back. Always seem to be short on volunteers? Ask yourself: Would you volunteer for you?

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