Month: December 2020

My Church is Not Jolly…What Should I Do?

It is likely that you have heard or been involved with a situation that escalated to a place it had no place being at in the first place. The situation had no eternal impact, but it quickly became the focal point of your church. Despite your efforts, these moments kill momentum and church-wide unity. If meetings are tense and gatherings amplify grumbling within the body, things likely are not jolly. So, what do we do?

The answer to this kill joy is unity. Ephesians 4 calls each believer to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1). This requires humility, gentleness, patience, love, and an intentional aim towards unity (Ephesians 4:2-3). Unity does not just happen. It takes a constant denial of self and a work of the Holy Spirit in the life of each believer. We must fervently pray that the Spirit unites the body! Our preference and pride will easily get in the way without a work of God. 

We must realize that there is more to the mission of God than our preference and convenience. The inclusivity of the Gospel is the same for all who repent and believe. God’s Grace is sufficient and all powerful to unite our differences for His Kingdom expansion through the local church. 

Jolly churches do not just happen. It is a work of the Spirit that God alone can accomplish. We must understand that the church is not about me, but God working in and through me. A Spirit united church then equips individuals for Kingdom work (Ephesians 4:12). Kingdom work is the body “joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16). 

If your church is not jolly, uncover the root of the problem. That problem is likely a spiritual malnourished to body or a body not functioning together with the same end goal in mind. Preach Christ and His grace saving work and pray for the unity of the Spirit to do a work that He alone can do.


Written by Justin Beville. Justin has been married to Amanda Beville for over six years and has one son named Luke and twin boys, Tucker and Turner! He received his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies with a minor in Student Ministry from the College at Southeastern. Justin went on to complete his Advanced MDiv. at Southeastern. He currently serves as the Pastor of Students and Outreach at Kingsland Baptist Church. Like this article? Read more from Justin here!

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

Love Your Church, Not Theirs: 3 Steps to Avoid the Ministry Comparison Trap

I check my social media accounts often. I check them on my laptop, my phone, and even my watch. I check in on my friends and strangers everyday. There they are with their new recipe for spinach artichoke dip, vacation pictures, and smiling kids who won the spelling bee. I like social media, but I often find myself comparing myself to my friends and strangers on social media. They take way better vacations than I do. Their houses are larger (and cleaner!). Their kids seem happier than mine. Their life must be awesome.
 
You also find yourself doing this. Right?
 
In her book Love Your Life, Not Theirs, author Rachel Cruze says this constant mental comparison is dangerous and can lead to all sorts of mental, physical, and spiritual issues. She points to recent studies that have shown a direct correlation between the increasing amount of time we spend on social media and increased rates of anxiety and depression.
 
I think this is especially true for ministry leaders. I’m a bit of a church geek. I follow way too many churches and ministry leaders on social media. I love seeing what other churches and leaders are up to. I learn from them. But sometimes, I feel a bit down when looking at them. I don’t feel as smart or effective as those leaders. My church isn’t as large as theirs. People in my church aren’t smiling like the people in their pictures. It must be me.
 
I’ve seen this phenomenon referred to as “Pastor Porn.” That title fits – ministry leaders viewing unrealistic versions of ministry and feeling down because of it. Pastor and author Carey Nieuhoff says “Someone else’s success should never make you feel like a failure.” But, it sometimes does.
 
When we look at the success of others online, we can’t help but think they are somehow at an unfair advantage. “If we only had their technology budget.” “If we only had their location.” “If I only had their staff..” That’s jealousy. When we cross the line between comparison and jealousy, we start to feel helpless, apathetic, and a bit sad about our own abilities and ministry. Ministry is hard work. Trying to keep up with other ministries is harder.
 
When you feel yourself comparing your leadership abilities and your ministry to other on social media, pause for a minute. Here are some things that might help motivate you instead of depress you.
 
3 Steps to Avoid the Ministry Comparison Trap 
 
1. Give Yourself a Reality Check
 
What you are seeing on social media is real, but it is not reality. You are seeing real pictures from a ministry in action, but those pictures do not tell the whole story – they only capture one moment in time. You are not seeing pictures of the people that are angry because of a recent change the pastor made to their worship services. You are not seeing pictures of the budget meeting. You are not seeing pictures of the pastor stressing over recently declining attendance. You are not seeing tired staff members wondering if they should look elsewhere for another job. I guarantee those moments exist in those ministries. They exist in yours. You don’t highlight and broadcast those moments, neither do they. In the past year, several high profile mega-church pastors had to leave the ministry because of burnout or personal failures. I follow them on social media. They didn’t post any of the events or feelings that lead to their downfall while it was happening. Social media wasn’t their whole story. Social media isn’t the whole story – don’t think that it is. They do ministry in the real world – so do you.
 
2. Think Blessed vs. #Blessed
 
Recenter your thinking on the blessings that you have in your ministry and the blessings in other ministries. Be thankful for the people and opportunities that you have in your ministry right now. It is also important to be thankful for the people and opportunities that other ministries have in their community and context. If you are thanking God for your opportunities and their opportunities, it is hard for jealousy to work its way into your heart. Focus on the real blessings in your ministry and not the #blessings you see in other ministries through the filter of social media.
 
3. Maintain a Learning Mindset
 
I do not suggest that you stop following other ministries or give up social media altogether. In fact, follow more ministries and ministry leaders. Learn from them. While comparing your ministry to others can steal joy, learning from others should motivate you. Look at other ministries, analyze them, and steal their best practices if they fit your ministry. Leaders are learners and learners are motivated by more learning. The dangers of constantly comparing your ministry to others are real. But the opportunities for real reflection and learning are just as real. It is a choice you must make Either approach what you see on social media with a learning mindset or a comparison mindset.
 

Bryan Blackford works with ministry leaders to help their ministries grow. He walks ministries through a planning process and resources ministry leaders, so they are equipped to lead well. Bryan serves as an Executive Director at a large church, so he gets ministry and the everyday struggles of ministry leaders. Check out his resources at blackfordsolutions.org

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

How Not to Waste Your Churches Money

Managing church finances is a huge deal. People have given their hard earned money to the church so that more people can hear the most amazing story ever told. So for those of us who manage those resources to best tell that story, it’s a huge deal that we get it right. It’s up to us to find the best way to tell the story effectively for the least amount of money possible which with tech is an insanely difficult balance.

So how do we know that we’re making the best decision?

Today we’re going to look at 2 measurements we can look at to help us make the best choices. 

Now before we dig into those it’s also worth mentioning that most production equipment should last at least 10 years (longer in some cases) so we need to be thinking about that kind of life span as we are considering things.

So first…

Only buy it once

Let’s look at video switchers from 2 companies.

Company A – $6000 – integrator warns about reliability issues, marketing makes it look like it’s used for pro events. Switcher and control panel 6 useable inputs

Company B – $8000 – brand is used for Pro events all over the world Switcher and control panel all in one 10 useable inputs

When you go with company A, there is a high risk that the equipment will fail quickly and you will have to purchase it again or that it will only have enough inputs for what you need right now. So as soon as it breaks or your pastor wants to add more function (this will happen) you have to go out and buy something different (or worst case get the same thing again). So now you’ve spent more money than if you had gone with the better solution to start with.

Second…

On the flip side we also have to look at a concept known as:

The law of diminishing returns

The law of diminishing returns refers to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

What does that mean?

Quality VS Expense 
On the vertical axis, we’re looking at the quality or effectiveness of the experience created, and on the horizontal axis, we’re looking at the cost.

Find the sweet spot

Some of you may look at how much can I afford and stop at that point. The problem is that may mean that you’re selling the story short. Instead of “How much can we afford?” The question should be “What do we need?” Followed by “What do we need to do to afford that?”

Sometimes, when the dollar amount for your current strategy just seems unreachable, you may have to ask yourself “Is this the best strategy, or do we need to look for a totally different way to accomplish our mission?”.

Others look at “What’s the biggest best thing on the market?” And it’s completely overkill for your needs. But it makes your ego feel good because you have the “best sound console in the lineup”.

So find that sweet spot where you get the most quality for each dollar and do your research so that you aren’t buying things multiple times. Talk to someone who has used whatever it is that you’re looking at. Ask them what they don’t like about it.

If you’re interested in talking through specific ways to effectively find the “sweet spot” send me a message, I’d be more than happy to talk with you. 

Written by Chris Eslinger. Chris is from Fairfield, OH where he’s married and has three kids. Chris is the Production and Technical Media Director at New Freedom Church. To learn more about Chris, read his blogs or talk more about how he can help you create quality experiences, visit his site.

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

My System for Leading An Awesome Meeting

Ministry is about people. Therefore, ministry leaders have many important conversations and meetings.
As a busy church worker, you need to make the most of every meeting and conversation that you have. Just think of all the meetings that you have each month.

Team planning meetings
Talking with volunteers
Board meetings
Staff meetings
Annual performance reviews
Coaching talks
Counseling sessions
Hiring someone
Firing someone

Most ministry leaders are busy and don’t have the amount of time they’d like to prepare for these meetings and conversations.
The result? Unfocused conversations and unproductive meetings.

You need to enter a meeting with a clear purpose and course of action.
You need a method to take notes and document your conversations for future reference.
You need a way to remind yourself of decisions made in meetings.

I have developed a simple one-page tool that has helped me prepare for my meetings, keeps me on track during conversations, and provides me a way to follow up if needed after a meeting.
I’d like to share it with you.

My Ministry Meeting Notes can keep you focused on the topic at hand and the people you are conversing with. The templates remind you to plan ahead for your meetings, stay on track, and keep you accountable for following up on important action items.

I hope that gives you an organizational edge.

Ministry is important.
People are important.
Being organized is important so you can carry out your ministry to people.
 
Link to Free PDF here
 

Bryan Blackford works with ministry leaders to help their ministries grow. He walks ministries through a planning process and resources ministry leaders, so they are equipped to lead well. Bryan serves as an Executive Director at a large church, so he gets ministry and the everyday struggles of ministry leaders. Check out his resources at theministrygeek.com.

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!

4 Ways to Create Sermon Graphics

Everybody learns differently including the members of your congregation. Some learn with the sound of a voice, while others need something visual to connect the dots. Do not miss this: God’s Word should be front and center during a sermon. A well placed graphic design or sermon PowerPoint can fuel God’s word in the life of a believer. This list is not exhaustive, but here are four easy ways to make sermon graphics stand out. 

POWERPOINT

This one is not revolutionary. However, with minimal knowledge, you can make your sermons stand out. I encourage you to create series templates and then plug in each sermon from there. Time spent upfront creating a compelling look, will save you time down the road. 

CANVA/OVER

Many are choosing apps to create graphics. Both of these options offer free options and Canva even offers its premium service to nonprofits for free (insert link). Both of these companies offer their services on mobile and desktop. Creating sermon graphics can be easier and you have more flexibility in your design. You may need this added flexibility if you are seeking to create lower third overlays for your livestream or if you are finishing up the graphic on a tablet on your couch. 

LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE

This option comes with a hefty price tag, but it may be a resource you already have residing on your hard drive. This is my favorite way to create sermon graphics because I already use the sermon builder  to write my sermons. With a few clicks of a mouse, my sermon is formatted for my sermon notes and presentation simultaneously, with minimal extra work. Other options provide you with more customization options, but Logos has well built templates that will give the presentation some flair. Learn more about this here (insert link)  

PROPRESENTER

This is another option that costs money, but it is something you may already have on your computer. ProPresenter takes some time to learn, but you may have a tech guy that already understands it well and would be excited to create your sermon presentation. The downside is that ProPresenter is generally located on a stationary computer. However, the right craft may make this a useful resource for you, especially if you are looking to not branch out much and use some stock presentations. 

Again, sermon graphics should be secondary to God’s Word. Though, a well placed graphic could stir up someone’s faith because God’s Word convicts them through the graphic. 

How do you like to make graphics?


Written by Justin Beville. Justin has been married to Amanda Beville for over six years and has one son named Luke and twin boys, Tucker and Turner! He received his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies with a minor in Student Ministry from the College at Southeastern. Justin went on to complete his Advanced MDiv. at Southeastern. He currently serves as the Pastor of Students and Outreach at Kingsland Baptist Church. Like this article? Read more from Justin here!

Looking for a new position? Stop by MinistryJobs.com and have a look at the jobs that are available! Ministry jobs are hard to come by and job hunting is no fun. We help ministry job seekers find their ideal role in their next ministry – for free! More than 6 million search for a job every day. Be found! Looking to list a job or an open position? We help churches and organizations get job openings in front of potential candidates. We have several plans and packages available. Today is the day!