Month: October 2019

Daylight Saving: Tips & Tweets to Be On-Time

Daylight Saving Time is so weird. The clocks “fall back” an hour and everybody gets confused. If people forget, they’ll show up to your Sunday morning worship service an hour early. Awkward. So we’ve got some tips and social media posts that can help you remind your congregation.

Daylight Saving Time Tips & Tweets for Your ChurchDownload our free Daylight Saving Tips & Tweets resource that explores why it’s necessary, how to communicate with your congregation, and shares some ready-made social media posts.

Some folks have shrugged off the fall reminder by saying it’s not a bad thing if once a year people show up for church early.

That’s a pretty funny joke. We can all appreciate that some church services have a constant stream of people showing up after things have started.

But in practice, not caring if people show up an hour early (or 45 minutes, for the late-comers) is an awful way to treat people.

I’ve attended church all my life, and I can tell you if I forgot about Daylight Saving Time and showed up an hour early, my family would go out to breakfast and probably not make it back to the service. I can only imagine what a first-time guest would do. They’d probably never come back.

Responding to Daylight Saving Time is about creating a welcoming environment.

Article taken from and written by Kevin Hendricks. When Kevin isn’t busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With ReadingThe Stephanies and all of our church communication books.

Will You Lose Your Faith in College?

Will you keep your faith in college? Odds are you won’t, at least according to Barna Research.

Barna estimates that roughly 70% of high school students who enter college as professing Christians will leave with little to no faith. These students usually don’t return to their faith even after graduation, as Barna projects that 80% of those reared in the church will be “disengaged” by the time they are 29.

Will you be one of the 80%? Maybe abandon your faith when surrounded by peers who don’t know God? Most people assume their early faith will carry them through their lives. King Joash probably did. He began to reign at age 7 (2 Chronicles 24:1), and he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (2 Chronicles 24:2), King Joash’s mentor and most trusted advisor.

When Jehoiada was alive, Joash faithfully followed God’s laws and made sure others did as well. He even inspired others to give joyfully to God: “All the princes and all the people rejoiced and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until they had finished” (2 Chronicles 24:10). Joash’s faith certainly seemed genuine.

Far Too Easily Swayed

But when Jehoiada died, Joash turned to his peers. When the princes of Judah came to visit Joash soon after Jehoiada’s death, the king listened to them. After the princes “paid homage to the king” (2 Chronicles 24:17), which probably meant they flattered him, Joash abandoned the house of the Lord and turned to serve idols. These “friends” may have convinced him that they were open-minded and in touch with popular culture, and that Jehoiada had been too strict and old-fashioned. Joash listened to them and reversed all the good things he had done earlier, even murdering Jehoiada’s son Zechariah when he was questioned.

This behavior seems like a shocking turnaround, but it shows that King Joash had likely been trusting in Jehoiada and not God. His faith was not his own. Since he lacked personal conviction, he was easily swayed by faithless people around him. God judged him for his wickedness and he was soon murdered by his own servants. Joash shows us that it doesn’t matter how well we start in the Christian life; it matters how we finish.

For Freshmen and Seniors

Many of us started strong. We assumed that if we were raised with the right values and involved in church, we would always stay faithful. I believed that. There was passion for the Lord in high school and college, but as I immersed myself in my career, my church attendance became sporadic and my time with God infrequent and rushed.

I found that the less time I spent with the Lord, the less I wanted to know him. My unbelieving coworkers were my closest friends. Originally, I hoped to share my faith with them, but instead they passed on their spiritual indifference to me. They had a subtle but profound influence on my priorities. As my faith was getting watered down, reading the Bible and going to church felt more legalistic than life-giving. It was only when I faced real suffering that my faith became important again.

Whether you are a freshman or a senior, if you are heading off to college, you’re in a vulnerable place. It’s easy to assume you’ll develop better spiritual disciplines and get involved in Christian community later on. But as you juggle life’s challenges, it’s tempting to put off pursuing God until you feel more settled, unintentionally falling into the habits of lost people around you. The shift is gradual and often unnoticeable.

Three Ways Not to Wander

So, what can you do, with God’s help, to be one of the 20% raised in the church who remain faithful through college and into their twenties?

First, don’t assume that you won’t drift away — or that if you do drift away, you will eventually come back. We are all vulnerable. Ask God daily for an enduring passion for him. For God to give you joy in him alone. Ask him right now to keep your heart from wandering.

Second, stay closely connected to God. It may sound trite, or even legalistic, but reading the Bible and praying really are the simple keys to the Christian life. As you read, focus and pay attention rather than mindlessly skimming words to “check off the box.” I love using a Bible reading plan because it takes the guesswork out of what to read each morning. Have a look at the Discipleship Journal plan. If you’re reading the Bible regularly for the first time, begin by just reading the New Testament sections each day. Try reading with a pen and paper, jotting down insights, questions, and observations, asking God to open your eyes to see truth and to breathe life into his words (Psalm 119:18).

Third, find real Christian fellowship. Plug into a church and a small group or on-campus ministry. Intentionally make Christian friends and spend time with them. Having good Christian friends in college reduces the pressure to conform. The people around us influence us far more than we realize. King Joash is a vivid example of how easy it is to abandon your faith when surrounded by the wrong people.

Makeshift Saints

Charles Spurgeon, a London preacher in the 1800s, once said,

Oh, what a sifter the city of London has been to many like Joash! Many do I remember whose story was like this: they had been to the house of God always . . . and everybody reckoned them to be Christians — and then they came to London. At first, they went . . . to some humble place where the gospel was preached.

But after time they thought . . . they worked so hard all the week that they must go out a little into the fresh air on Sunday; and by degrees they found companions who led them, little by little, from the path of integrity and chastity, until the “good young man” was as vile as any on the streets of London; and he who seemed to be a saint, became not only a sinner, but the maker of sinners.

None of us is immune from slowly drifting from God. As we see from King Joash’s life, even when we’ve lived an outwardly Christian life, it’s easy to start living like those around us. Yet those who truly know Christ cannot fall away. As 1 John 2:19 says, “If they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” Those who leave the faith never truly possessed it but, as John Calvin said, merely “had only a light and a transient taste of it.”

Will You Fall Away?

Will you fall away in college? You can fight the current, and hold fast to God. First, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Ask yourself if Jesus is your treasure or if you are only borrowing the faith of those around you. If you have any doubt, commit yourself now to pursue Christ as hard as you pursue anything.

But if you genuinely know the Lord, and see evidences of transforming grace in your life, don’t be afraid that you’ll fall away. He will hold you fast and will strengthen you and help you. God will uphold you with his righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). If you are his, then you can be sure “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).


Article taken from and written by Vaneetha Rendall Risner. Risner is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Desiring God, who blogs at She is married to Joel and has two daughters, Katie and Kristi. She and Joel live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Vaneetha is the author of the book The Scars That Have Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in Suffering.

Halloween: The Chance for Churches to Go Into Their Communities

Christians are really good at co-opting things. We can turn any movie title or brand name into a cheesy Christian alternative. We’ve created our own musical genre that’s not defined by music. Much of our modern Christmas traditions were co-opted from pagans.

Yet Halloween remains a mystery.

Maybe the evil associations have scared us away. But you’d think there are enough self-righteous pastors who would simply say, “Challenge accepted.”

We even have healthy and legitimate alternatives to focus on—All Saints’ Day and Reformation Day. Yet still the church struggles.

I don’t get it. It’s the one day of the year when people actually want you to come to their door and demand things.

And the best churches can muster is a Jesus Jack-o-lantern or handing out lame tracts with the candy. Or we invite kids to play in a parking lot and accept candy from strangers passed out of a yawning car trunk (I don’t like horror movies, but that sounds like the beginning of a pee-your-pants slasher flick). The fall festival is great, but sometimes I wonder how ‘go into all the world’ became ‘if you build it they will come.’

Halloween is the ideal holiday to go door to door and connect with your neighbors.

You have an open invitation to knock on their door, and they’ll reward you with candy for doing it! If you’re nervous, you can put a bag over your head and it’s celebrated. It’s an introvert’s dream.

Instead of organizing yet another giant event and doing so much work to bring people to your church, why not send your church out on Halloween?

  • Your congregation could trick-or-treat in the church’s neighborhood. It’d be an ideal youth group or even children’s ministry event. Adults who don’t have trick-or-treat age kids could volunteer as chaperones.
  • You could encourage your congregation to trick-or-treat in their own neighborhood. Instead of weird evangelism tricks like trading candy for tracts or dressing up like Jesus on the cross (no, just no), tell them to be neighborly. Say hi. Introduce themselves.
  • Send a group to the local homeless shelter. Pass out some socks and toothbrushes with the candy.
  • Instead of organizing your own Halloween event, be a part of whatever your community is doing. Join other businesses and organizations on the ‘trick-or-treat trail’ and be visible in your community.
The church has an opportunity with Halloween. And we’ve probably blown it by overdoing an event, going too far the other way with an awkwardly religious alternative, or just skipping it entirely.

Even if your church has dropped the ball, you can go talk to your neighbors and be a part of your community. And get free candy for doing it.

Article taken from and written by Kevin Hendricks. When Kevin isn’t busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With ReadingThe Stephanies and all of our church communication books.

10 Guidelines for Paying and Hosting Guest Speakers and Musicians

Money can be an awkward issue for churches and guest speakers.

It’s the issue both parties consider; but it’s often the issue around which both parties tiptoe.

It should not be that way. It’s really a matter of biblical stewardship and hospitality. Over the years, I have worked with many churches and speakers (and a few musicians) to establish some guidelines for hosting and paying guest speakers. Keep in mind, these are guidelines, not rigid rules. There will always be reasons for exceptions.

    1. Pay with a generous spirit. 

      As your church is able, try to abound in generosity to the guest speakers and musicians. Art Rainer actually developed a formula for paying guest preachers specifically. I think his approach is a good starting point for guest preachers. There will be differences for conference leaders, musicians, and others.

  1. Ask the guest speaker for expectations for pay. 

    Don’t be shy to ask guest speakers if they have specific fees or payment guidelines. There is no need to tiptoe around this matter.

  2. Pay promptly.

     Your church should have the check waiting when the speaker arrives. Get the W-9 form and travel expense reimbursement form completed ahead of time as often as possible. You should never tell a speaker you will get a check to him later after he has completed his engagement with you.

  3. Cover all travel expenses.

     Those expenses would include airfare or mileage reimbursement, rental car, meals, and lodging. There is nothing wrong with being clear about what level of expenses you will reimburse, such as coach fare instead of first-class.

  4. Provide reasonable accommodations.

     Most speakers do not like to stay in homes. They are often on the road a good bit and prefer the freedom of being in a hotel and not making up their own beds or engaging the hosts in long conversations.

  5. Inform the speaker ahead of time.

     Tell them clearly what the honorarium or fee and travel reimbursement will be on the front end of conversations with them. Outlining these details in writing is also helpful for both parties. Don’t leave the speaker wondering about it after he or she has accepted the invitation.

  6. Consider the implications of the engagement from the perspective of the speaker.

     From the church’s perspective, the engagement could be as brief as a 45-minute speaking assignment. But from the speaker’s perspective, he may have to be gone two days from his family due to travel time. Be generous from that perspective.

  7. Avoid scope creep and add-ons. 

    Scope creep means you ask the speaker for additional speaking spots after your initial invitation. The church or host often says, “Since you are going to be here anyway . . .” Add-ons refer to other groups trying to get the speaker to do engagements for them since the original host is paying the travel costs. The host church or host should ask for the specific commitment on the front-end and not add to it.

  8. Provide a specific point person as their contact and host.

     The speaker needs one person as the contact person for all aspects of the engagement, from travel arrangements to payments to sound checks to meeting them at the site of the engagement.

  9. Protect your church’s reputation.

     It does not take long for a church to get a bad reputation for how it treats speakers. Travel can be a wearying experience. The speaker needs to know the host has his or her best interests at heart.

Granted, these guidelines are written largely from the perspective of looking after the speaker. In a future post, I will address specific guidelines speakers and musicians should consider. In the meantime, let me hear your thoughts.

Article taken from  and written by Thom Rainer. Thom is the founder and CEO of Church Answers, and online community and resource for church leaders. 

3 Elements Every Team Member Needs From Their Leader To Thrive

A few years ago, the gym that I go to was undergoing new ownership.

Without any prompting, I began thinking about possibly going to a new gym down the street.

That week in the locker room another gym member entered and was upset because his credit card had been hacked. Coincidentally, he had also used his credit that week to pay his bill at the gym. He, without any proof, linked his card being hacked to using it to pay his bill with the new gym owners.

In disgust the guy said, “If that’s how it’s going to be around here, I’ll take my membership elsewhere.”

Why did he feel that way?

Why did I consider finding a new gym?

What Was Lacking?

Trust had yet to be established.

If you want to dramatically move your team forward this year, establish trust.

By the way, I love what the new owners have done with the gym. Their style is different. Their personality is different. Actually, I love the direction they have taken it.

Your Team Members Need Trust To Thrive.

In the book, The Speed of Trust, Covey suggests that a lack of trust will slow progress, but that building trust will accelerate everything.

What is trust?  Ultimately, trust is confidence.

Have you ever bought something from an unfamiliar website?

If you’re like me, you first read reviews and checked shipping times to verify that the site was credible.

Now think about customers who use Amazon. They actually pay money to buy things faster using prime. They just click a button and have confidence that the items will arrive safely.

Why do people purchase so freely from Amazon?  One subtle reason, trust has been established.

As Leaders We Must Extend Trust.

Your team members need trust to perform, excel and go to new levels. This may be difficult for you, but trust is essential to the growth of your team.

To extend more trust start by sharing responsibility incrementally. Let me explain with a brief story:

A couple years ago a lady named Stacey at my church was recommended to help lead outreach events.

The first event under her leadership, I really didn’t know what to expect. Sure, expectations were shared but it was a new working relationship. But sure enough, when I showed up all everything was covered.  She had thought of everything.

A layer of trust was established. Each event evoked more trust, all the way up to the Easter Egg Hunt. It was the tipping point.

While were loading vehicles with materials to set up a booth at the city-wide egg hunt, Stacey looked at me and said, “Can you grab that white chair too?”


It seemed like a strange request to me. The chair was not on our list of items to load up. I really didn’t want our volunteers sitting at our booth, I preferred for them to stand and to engage with the crowd. Nevertheless, I loaded the chair and didn’t say anything.

Twenty minutes into the event the Easter Bunny came walking across the grass headed toward the pavilion where our tent was stationed. I watched as Stacy approached the city worker assisting the Easter bunny and listened as she invited them to use our chair, under OUR tent, so that the Easter bunny could sit to take pictures with the kids.


At this point, in my estimation, Stacey is a genius. Most of the crowd that had children came to our booth to take a picture with the bunny which allowed us to have lots of great conversations with them.

I’ve learned to trust Stacy. I encourage her ideas. I’ll give way to her opinions and input because I trust her.

I communicate that I am readily available to help and she bounces ideas off of me – but I do not get in her way!

To Extend More Trust:

*Be on the lookout for the indicators of competency and trust.

*Identify areas of competency and extend more responsibility.

You can extend trust to the members on your team too. Start small. Observe how the trust is used and then measure more out.

Your Team Members Need Clarity To Thrive.

Craig Groeschel explains two dynamics that exist related to trust and clarity. He says that if you provide clarity without trust, you’ll create an environment of fear.

The leader will continually pull away authority from the one she has entrusted because of a lack of trust. This creates robots instead of leaders.

The other dynamic is one that is created when you give trust without clarity. Doing this will establish an environment of disappointment.

Without direction there will be unfulfilled expectations and both parties will be upset and confused.

To provide clarity to your team first make sure you understand what you’re asking of those you’re leading.

Ask yourself, “Can I clearly and simply communicate exactly what I want?”

Once you understand something, you should be able to simplify it for someone else. The goal is to give clear and concise expectations.

To Create Clarity For Your Team Members:

*Identify Needs

*Clarify Why It Matters And How It Relates To The Vision

*Write Down The Expectations

*Discuss With Team Member

*Ask For Commitment

Think of most of the fights you’ve ever had…  what does it come down to? More than likely it was a misunderstanding or miscommunication.

Your team needs clarity in order to hit objectives and stay connected to the mission. It’s easy to assume that everyone is on the same page and understands what is expected. However, that’s not always the case. That’s why the next element is equally important too.

Your Team Members Need Feedback To Thrive.

Creating a culture of feedback can revolutionize the effectiveness of your team.

As leaders we must first model receiving feedback to begin infusing a desire from our team members to ask for it too.

Feedback that is constructive is vital to employees’ ongoing development. Feedback clarifies expectations, helps people learn from their mistakes and builds confidence.

Constructive feedback is one of the best things managers can provide to their employees. When delivered properly it can, reinforce positive behavior, correct any negative performance and ensure a strong culture remains in your team.

Below Are Three Aspects To Give Effective Feedback:

Why Should You Give Feedback

*It Reinforces Values

*To Empower Team Members

*It Prevents Unnecessary Surprises

*Ensures Alignment

*To Discover Needs

When Should You Give Feedback

*Sooner Rather Than Later


*When Team Member Models What You Value

*When Team Members Stray From What You Value

How Should You Give Feedback

*In The Right Setting

*With The Right Motives

*Be Direct

*Provide Examples

*Explain The Impact (help them understand how/why the action matters)

*Ask For A Response

*Provide Next Steps

Feedback must be welcomed in order for it to be beneficial. If it’s not even constructive feedback can be taken the wrong way or disregarded.

If members on your team refuse feedback, it’ll be detrimental. Growth will be stunted, culture will be dampened, and frustration will continue to rise.

Being closed-minded toward feedback could be an indicator of one or two things (or both):  a lack of trust or a lack of security. However, these issues can be resolved over time if both parties are willing to work together.

Which of the three elements is most difficult for you? Take note and be intentional to ensure your team members are receiving what they need. When leaders provide their teams with what they need they’ll accomplish more than what you’ve asked.


Article taken from and written by Evan Doyle. Evan is a campus pastor in Southeast Indiana.  He also blogs at to help other leaders strengthen their ministry, avoid frustration and grow their church.