All posts tagged service

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 10/16/2014

TheCreativePastor.com – Five Creative Ministry Tips: 10/16/2014

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!

Lyric transitions are great, but shouldn't take away from readability. Experiment to find the right balance of appearance and function. Tweets including Instagram links are 42% less likely to be retweeted. Take an extra moment to upload your images to Twitter separately. Combining two similar fonts is never a good idea. Contrast is essential to great design. Your church's style will not be appealing to everyone. Determine what makes you unique, then focus on reaching a similar audience. If you're trying new, creative ideas, there will always be someone who dislikes them. Shrug it off and focus on the actual results.

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

Small Improvements, Big Results

TheCreativePastor.com – 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.

Free Motion of the Month – October ’14

TheCreativePastor.com – Free Motion of the Month - October '14

This month, we’ve partnered with our good friends from Shift Worship to bring you a motion that’s going to look great in your Fall services. I’m excited for you to get to use it! We choose this motion because of its rich color and blend between futuristic and natural themes.

This freebie is only available for the month of October 2014.

This download includes HD, SD, and still versions.
This motion is free to download, but please do not redistribute. (Please link back to this page.)

To get this free motion, simply subscribe to receive our weekly email newsletter. You’ll receive your download link via email within the hour.

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8 Tweaks For The Ultimate Projection Computer

TheCreativePastor.com – 8 Tweaks For The Ultimate Projection Computer

Live media has changed a lot in the past 20 years for churches. Overhead transparencies have been replaced with presentation software. Keyboards have been replaced with MIDI controllers and laptops. And while computers have brought a new world of convenience into the worship environment, they are not perfect machines: apps crash, batteries die, and hard drives fail.  

As it turns out, many of the convenient features about owning a personal computer become inconvenient when that computer is used in a live production environment. What if I told you that by eliminating some of these features you could prevent most of the blunders that cause distractions in your services?

Here are eight tweaks that I’d recommend making on your church’s projection computer immediately:

1. Disable Instant Messaging Apps (Including FaceTime)

We’ve all been there…the pastor is in the middle of a powerful message when suddenly, an innocent but obtrusive chime comes over the PA.  Someone is receiving a message during service…and now the entire crowd knows it.  Make sure to disable – nay, uninstall – all instant messaging apps, including FaceTime.  The last thing you need is someone trying to video chat with you in the middle of worship.

2. Close Your Web Browser

Web browsers can cause computers to crawl sometimes. Many websites have popups that include audio – be it a minor chime or a full musical track. Most web-based e-mail services (i.e. Gmail) have a chat feature that, if left open, will play a sound as soon as you receive any chat-related alerts. With all of this being said, it’s best just to leave your browser closed during services.

3. Turn Off Wi-Fi

Yes, I said it.  If a computer is being used for media in your environment, it should be disconnected from the internet during your services.  In addition to solving the problems in tweaks 1 and 2, this will also prevent any alerts in the event that your computer loses wi-fi signal temporarily. (Tip: To continue using apps such as the ProPresenter remote without internet, try using the “Create Network” feature on your Mac.)

4. Disable Mouse Shortcuts (Including Hot Corners)

When using computers on a daily basis, a mouse shortcut to reveal your desktop is great. In a worship environment, it’s a nightmare. No one should be seeing your “Hang In There Kitty” desktop in the middle of worship.  I’ve also found that when training a volunteer that is not as familiar with computers, their first response to accidentally activating the desktop shortcut is to raise their hands away from the computer in panic. Your life will be easier if you just disable all mouse buttons/shortcuts except left and right click.

5. Disable Screen Saver & Display Sleep

This may seem like an obvious one, but when setting up a new computer, it can be easy to forget. Make sure to disable your screen saver, as well as display sleep, to prevent them from coming on mid-service. I’ve seen this happen too many times right in the middle of a Pastor’s message.

6. Disable Bluetooth

Again, this is a feature designed for convenience: If any bluetooth accessories that come into signal range of your computer, they’ll automatically connect.  Unfortunately, since many people are carrying around bluetooth-enabled devices, this can cause some issues.  To prevent accidentally connecting to a phone or wireless mouse that someone in the crowd has, just disable bluetooth.

7. Set Your Wallpaper To Solid Black

As convenient as presentation software is, it’s not bulletproof.  Every once in a while, it crashes.  Having a black background on your screens will ensure that, in the event of a crash, it will be less of a distraction (maybe even unnoticeable).  Having the default desktop background appear on screen is a sign to everyone that something is wrong in the booth. 

Update: Thanks to Jon Sheperd for the suggestion: As an alternative to a black background, you could use your church’s default slide or your current sermon series graphic as a background in case of a software crash.

8. Use A Wired Keyboard and Mouse

Nothing is worse than having your mouse batteries die in the middle of a fast worship song.  By using wired mice and keyboards on all your production computers, you’ll never have to think about batteries again. 

Conclusion

A good friend once told me that production is more about covering mistakes that happen than running everything perfectly.  While there’s no such thing as a perfect Sunday, using these tips will hopefully help you to prevent some of the failures that can be a distraction in your services.

Do you have any other tips that you’d add to the list?

3 Ways Your Church Can Win On Facebook

TheCreativePastor.com – 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.