Tag: Leadership

3 Priorities for Every Pastor in 2021 Despite All the Uncertainty

As we get closer to the last page of the chapter that is entitled, 2020, you may be feeling discouragement, exhaustion, and you may even feel a little at a loss when you think about what to prioritize in 2021.

You may even be at a point where you feel like you don’t have enough energy to tackle this next hill. You’re trying to plan, but you don’t know what to plan for. Everything just seems out of sorts. The budget? Attendance? Discipleship? Programs?

I get it. There is a lot of uncertainty for anyone who leads a church, an organization, a business, or really anything.

And when you combine uncertainty with discouragement and exhaustion, you’re set up for despair and overwhelm. Why? Because when you’re discouraged and exhausted, it’s really hard to plan. It’s really hard to focus. It’s really hard to think clearly.

But allow me to encourage you today. Let me do some of the thinking for you. In this article, I want to give you 3 priorities you can count on for next year despite all the uncertainty.

3 Priorities for Every Pastor in 2021 Despite All the Uncertainty

1. Preach and teach the Scriptures

That’s right. This is your first priority. And the good news? This is what you do best. This is one of the reasons you’re a part of the Rookie Preacher community — you want to always keep learning just as if you were still a rookie in this.

So preach and teach the Scriptures. Do it with vigor. With passion. Do it with care. With dedication.

Now, let me be clear… The way this happens may need to change as I’m sure it already has for you. You may be preaching and teaching to people in person and you may be preaching and teaching to people through a camera. You may even be doing both at the same time in some venues.

But no matter the medium of delivery, preaching and teaching the Scriptures, this needs to be priority number 1 for every pastor in 2021.

In addition to preaching on Sundays, you may decide to:

  • Start a blog and teach the Scriptures through that
  • Start an email list and send weekly encouragement to people who want to receive it (or utilize your church email list and do this through there)
  • Dig into the power of email automation, set up a few week-long devotionals, and then utilize social media advertising that is targeted to your community and reach people through inviting them to subscribe to that email devotion (then invite them to watch or attend a service or read your blog or all of that)
  • Start a weekly show on YouTube or through a podcast where you teach on topics that people in your community and in your church are curious about
  • Go live on social media more often for Scripture and prayer
  • Start a book club where you and a small group of people read books together and discuss them either in person or virtually
  • Take a sermon series and re-work it into a book

No matter what kinds of things you do specifically, my point remains: the number one priority every pastor needs to have in 2021 is to preach and teach the Scriptures. The medium might change, but the message is still about good news for today.

The number one priority every pastor needs to have in 2021 is to preach and teach the Scriptures.

2. Disciple people to become disciple makers

This is the mission of your church, right? So don’t overthink it. Make this a priority.

And to be honest, this really is number one because it encompasses the goal of preaching and teaching people the Scriptures — to make disciples. But I have separated them because I want to give special emphasis to both.

If you and I have learned anything from 2020, it’s that small groups are still as vital as ever to the mission of the church.

Jesus’ model for making disciples who make disciples still works and is still the way to go. And the good news? If it has to, this can happen in a virtual environment through Zoom or Google Meet or whatever other platform your groups ministry chooses.

One action item, though, to make sure your groups ministry is keeping the main focus of making disciples as the target is asking this question:

Is our groups ministry challenging our people like Jesus challenged His disciples?

In my mind, the groups ministry must be a place where every person is known and loved (which gets at the heart of pastoral care done through the body of Christ) and every person is challenged to put their faith in action through obedience (which gets at the heart of discipleship).

Typically, if either one of these things is lacking, it’s the latter.

You may find that something needs to change. Maybe it’s just a tweak in the curriculum you send your leaders or maybe it’s a matter of emphasizing these two priorities to each of your group leaders once again through a phone call, a one-on-one meeting, or a leaders meeting.

3. Develop leaders for now and the future

Throughout this past year, you’ve likely witnessed some people walk away and some people step up.

Let me encourage you, friend: run with those who are ready to run. The people who have stepped up should be getting more of your attention versus the people who have walked away.

This is what Jesus did. The people who followed Him closest, His disciples, got the majority of His attention. The crowds got some. And there were a select few within the group of the twelve who got the most attention.

So who are those people who have stepped up over the past year? Write down their names. How many of them have been equipped and been given some leadership opportunities?

There are many approaches to leadership development you can take and the specifics will look different depending on what stage they are in development-wise. The important thing, though, is for each ministry to have a plan for leadership development and for that plan to work in conjunction and as a part of a church-wide leadership development approach.

If you’re not familiar with our content around developing a leadership pipeline, I highly recommend you check that out.

3 Priorities for 2021

So, before you put together a ton of plans for 2021, be sure that you prioritize these three things:

  1. Preach and teach the Scriptures
  2. Disciple people to become disciple makers
  3. Develop leaders for now and the future

Which of these is hardest for you? Easiest?

Original article appears here


Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons 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!

One Verse for Your Church in 2021

I didn’t realize what I had started on the second Sunday of 2019. 

I had heard in passing about a church that read the same verse at the end of their worship service for an entire year. At the time, it sounded like a good idea. The idea that there would be a consistent message throughout the entire year, and maybe, some people might actually memorize it, was appealing to me.

At the time, I prayerfully read through some of the verses that were heavy on my heart. I picked Matthew 9:35-38. Okay, it wasn’t just one verse, but it was one passage. You may recognize verse 36 and 37: When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few.’” (NLT)

Our church started reading that passage at the end of every worship service in 2019. And we haven’t stopped. We are closing in on 2 years and we have no plans to stop. 

What I didn’t know was the impact of those few verses. It has slowly shifted our eyes to see the confused and helpless souls around us. Those verses have led us to a new vision for our church. Those verses have shifted our strategy as church.

I didn’t realize what I had started that Sunday in 2019, but God knew. And God’s Word has greatly impacted our church in ways I didn’t see coming.

As you look to 2021, think about the possibility of one verse or one passage for your church. Here are a few ideas to help you think through what that verse may be:

  • What direction is God leading your church in 2021?
  • What is one way that your church can impact the community around you?
  • Is there a verse that is overflowing from your heart right now?
  • What verse have you seen that has been impactful in your church in the past?

God’s Word is living, breathing, and active. Let the people in your church see the power of letting God’s Word consistently permeate into their collective hearts. God might use it beyond what you can ask or think.

Article appears here.


Jess Rainer is the co-founder of Rainer Publishing. As co-author of “The Millennials”, Jess provides insights into the next generation of leaders. To read more from Jess, click 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!

Why You Should Lower Your Expectations for 2021 Starting Now

You’re so anxious to get 2020 over with. I get it. I feel that too.

It would be amazing if somebody returned everything to some semblance of normalcy right about now, wouldn’t it?

Sitting here in December 2020 at the end of a long year, it’s tempting to paint 2021 as a relief to all our problems.

Trust me, I feel the urge to do that too. Deeply.

But, that would be a mistake.

For some leaders, it would be a fatal one. Either because it could take you out or your organization down…or both.

Before you dismiss the post, or quickly move on to something else more ‘positive,’ let me drop some promises in (which is actually the point of this post: To help you make it through the end of 2021 and well beyond).

Lowering your expectations for 2021 now will lead to greater joy, a far more resilient organization and a much healthier you later.

As they say, the secret to happiness is low expectations. One of the reasons you’re so frustrated and exhausted right now is because you expected things would be better.

Humans do that. Christmas is disappointing because your picture of how your family will behave is different from how they actually behave.

The frustration you feel with your team emerges from the gap between the ideal person you thought you hired and the real person you actually hired.

Lowering your expectations increases both your resilience and your happiness almost every time.

Here are 5 ways that lowering your expectations for 2021 is a really good idea.

1. The Shut Down Happened Overnight. The Reopening Will Be Far More Gradual And Intermittent.

It’s slowly dawning on most of us that there may not be a reopening ‘day’ or season where everyone floods back in and everything is at it was.

For most organizations, the shut down happened overnight. You were open for business as usual March 9th 2020, and were shut down completely or radically impacted by March 15th.

It’s easy to imagine that the reopening would happen exactly the same way.

There’s incredible news with a vaccine on the way, but both the roll out and its impact on the spread of COVID-19 is going to take a while.

While nobody wants it, we’ll likely have months ahead of the virus surging and retreating, and with that, regulations that move you in and out of degrees of lockdown.

The restrictions themselves will take a while to lift completely.

Government regulations are one thing. Human behaviour is quite another.

It might take a while longer for most people to feel comfortable being in crowded public spaces, and some of the pattern changes people have adopted during COVID will likely be permanent.

I think the metaphor of having green light, yellow light and red light people is sound.

Green light people are those who will rush back and be perfectly comfortable.

Yellow light people will be more cautious for months or maybe longer.

And red light people, made so either by disposition or medical condition, might change how they operate in the public sphere for a much longer time.

Simply realizing that this will be a longer, gradual process will help you plan for a longer, gradual re-entry and make you more effective as a result.

2. Normal Is Being Redefined As We Speak

You long for normal. I long for normal.

I also understand everyone is oh-so-tired of hearing about “the new normal.”

So, what can you actually expect?

Emerging out of the pandemic, in all likelihood, won’t be the return to normal you hope for.

That’s because normal is being redefined as we speak.

The longer the current crisis goes on, the longer temporary habits become permanent ones.

We will eventually settle into some kind of normalcy, and that’s likely to have a strange and unpredictable mix of familiar and new patterns.

So sure, people will return to live events.  Schools, gyms, restaurant and churches will one day be open without restrictions. (Cheer now).

And to be sure, offices will reopen and traffic jams will happen and people will vacation and airplanes and resorts will operate at capacity again.

But don’t miss the nuance underneath all this.

Will company offices return to exactly where they were pre-pandemic? There is zero indication that’s going to happen. Of course, some offices will reopen as they used to be, but most will change their patterns. As this Harvard survey shows,  remote work will, in all likelihood, become much more prevalent than it was pre-COVID. Many companies have already downsized and hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions?) of people have already sold their homes and moved to more remote places now where they can easily work from home.

It will be interesting to see what happens with shopping (more home delivery?), school (more homeschooling?), fitness (fewer gym memberships now that people bought their own Peleton?) entertainment (are direct-to-home movie releases more of the future after 2021?). Will in-person church attendance take months or years to go back to pre-pandemic levels?

So post-pandemic, whenever we get there, will definitely feel more normal than things do today. But normal will have shifted. And even a 10-30% variation in patterns is massive disruption and something every leader needs to plan for starting now.

3. The Biggest Certainty Is Unpredictability

Every leader longs for certainty. I do. But even long before the crisis hit, you didn’t really have certainty.

What you had was some form of predictability.  The crisis, of course, took that away.

The unpredictability and uncertainty are likely to continue for a while longer. Months for sure. Perhaps longer.

A good way to look at 2020 is that it helped build some skills that are essential in unpredictable times: Agility, flexibility and the ability to move fast and change again.

Those will likely be even more important in the future.

The last few decades are filled with companies, organizations and churches that died because things changed and they didn’t.

When the autopsy is done on those organizations, you usually discover they lacked not only the vision to see that change was necessary, but the flexibility and agility needed to change.

You’re developing agility and flexibility as a result of everything you’ve been through. Keep developing them, and don’t let those muscles atrophy.

4. An Unhealthy Rhythm Now Means You Might Not Make It To Then

I recently asked over 75,000 leaders (over email….you can sign up here to join my list) what they’re struggling with. By far, the #1 challenge is exhaustion: Their exhaustion and the fatigue of their teams.

The thing I’m most worried about for leaders who see 2021 as a panacea, or a finish line of sorts, is that they’re not going to make it into 2022. (I explain more on that in point 5, below.)

Imagining that 2021 is going to give you rest is kind of like thinking you’ll be fine after the tornado, only realizing too late that you now have to rebuild everything.

Yes, things will eventually be better. No, we’re not there yet.

Finding a healthy rhythm during the crisis is essential to being okay after the crisis.

In the same way that so many leaders looked to time off to save them during 2020, only to discover that a week or two off didn’t solve anything, looking to 2021 to save you will just be an exercise in disappointment.

Time off won’t save you from an unsustainable pace when the problem is how you spend your time on.

And if 2021 won’t bring instant relief, it’s critical for you to find a sustainable pace now.

I have a lot of free resources on how to manage your time, energy and priorities to stay healthy, and I have a session in the free 2021 Church Leader Toolkit if you want to learn more (non-church leaders are welcome to the Toolkit as well).

Time off isn’t going to heal this one. How you spend your time on is.

5. The Greatest Leaders Confront The Brutal Facts (But Never Lose Hope)

Let’s finish up by going back to what Jim Collins calls Stockdale Paradox, one of the principles that a lot of leaders talked about early on in the crisis.

As you may remember, Jim Stockdale was an American Vise Admiral captured and imprisoned during the Vietnam War. He was held and tortured for seven years.

Stockdale said the first people to die in captivity were the optimists, who kept thinking things would get better quickly and they’d be released. “They died of a broken heart,” Stockdale said.

Instead, Stockdale argued, the key to survival was to combine realism and hope.  In Stockdale’s words:

“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end–-which you can never afford to lose–-with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

That, essentially, is your job in crisis leadership. The greatest leaders confront the brutal facts but never lose hope.

And sadly for you and me, the crisis and instability will soon drag into their second year.

You will prevail in the end, but there’s some brutal stuff you and I need to get through before things get better.

Crisis leadership falls apart when leaders embrace the extremes: Pessimists only see the real, and naive optimists only see the ideal.

When you embrace both, you discover true leadership. You’ll also emerge out of the crisis stronger and into a much stronger tomorrow.

Original article appeared here


Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church. He’s the author of several best-selling books, including his latest, Didn’t See It Coming, and speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change and personal growth.

The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast and Carey’s blog at www.CareyNieuwhof.com are accessed by millions of leaders each year.

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 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!

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.
 
 
 

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!

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!

5 Things a Christian Should be Thankful for this Year

2020 is likely the year you did not plan for. However, 2020 does not catch God by surprise. In fact, this year is part of His plan to unite us closer to Him. The Holy Spirit is moving and drawing people closer to Him like never before. I pray He is doing the same for you! 

This year has been filled with COVID-19, cancelled vacations, limited sports, and churches venturing into uncharted waters. The year may have you wondering if there is anything worth being thankful for this year. Despite the world’s current situation, our position as Christians is the same. You may not feel as thankful this year, but here are five reasons and reminders of why your heart should bleed thanksgiving.

1. THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL

The Gospel has the power to save lives (Romans 1:16). 2020 has not put a stop to lives being transformed. With nowhere else to turn, many are running to the free gift of the Gospel. 

2. THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH

Quarantine, mask mandates, and whatever else 2020 throws at us has no hold over the mission of the church. We are called to share the Gospel with the ends of the earth. Our methods may change a bit as we utilize technology more, but our mission remains the same.

3. THE EQUIPPING POWER OF THE SPIRIT

We do not live this life on our own if we are believers in Christ. Praise God that we were left with the Holy Spirit to guide us and direct us. The Spirit is able to carry us through these uncharted waters  

4. THE DAILY DOSE OF FORGIVENESS

Many people are struggling with various life issues this year. Struggle can often lead to sin in our life. Praise God that He forgives us of our sins. 

5. THE PROMISE OF A BRIGHTER DAY

2020 is not the end of the game. We live in a broken and fallen world. This year continues to prove that this is not our home. Be thankful that there is hope in Jesus. A new day and new earth await. 

Despite our circumstances, we can always be thankful. New life in Christ places a new perspective on life! Rest in Christ this holiday season and trust in His promises. If there is anything worth our thanksgiving, it is Jesus and His saving work in our lives! 


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!

PLAN AHEAD – 5 ADVANTAGES OF PLANNING IN ADVANCE

The deadline is five minutes away and you are scrambling to complete a simple task made difficult because you waited. I have been there, but I typically avoid such situations by planning in advance.

Planning is engraved into my workflow. I was the student who sat down with all my syllabi prior to a semester to efficiently plan each day. I am the traveler who looks at maps to find possible stopping locations and alternate routes in the months prior to the trip. Planning ahead will likely eliminate obstacles that you otherwise are limping through. Planning ahead may be the difference between you completing a project or allowing something to fall through the cracks.

Here are five key advantages to planning ahead:

1. PLANNING AHEAD ENABLES YOU TO PRIORITIZE TASKS.

Every task is important, but some require more focus and have a higher priority. When you plan ahead, you have a larger perspective on the upcoming agenda. Knowing the outlook of your week will allow you to set goals that are attainable at your pace. Plan to tackle the harder tasks when your energy level is up and your mind is sharp (morning, afternoon, evening, etc). 

2. PLANNING AHEAD SETS YOU UP FOR EASY WINS.

You should start each day with an easy win. Completing a task quickly and efficiently sets you up for further success. As you plan your week, month, and year, assign easy goals that you can accomplish to get the day rolling. Accomplishing tasks early and quickly give you the motivation to keep going. 

3. PLANNING AHEAD ALTERS YOUR WORKFLOW EFFICIENCY.

Organized and unorganized people both have a workflow. Typically the unorganized individual has a workflow that is a wild ride to the finish line. While this works for some, planning ahead and spending some time up front, could frantically increase your efficiency. Always be prepared for possible changes, but planning ahead provides you a path for future success. 

4. PLANNING AHEAD PAVES THE WAY FOR THOSE TIMES YOU MUST SAY NO.

Let us be honest, it is hard saying no. Helping people and serving is what we do. However, if we are going to be most effective, there are times where saying no is the best thing we can do, even if it is a good thing. Your probability of saying no is challenging to determine if you do not know your plan. A solid thought out plan builds in time to say yes. Knowing your plan also enables you to say no without scrambling or submitting to another’s plan. 

5. PLANNING AHEAD ALLOWS YOU TO BE SENSITIVE TO THE SPIRIT.

There is nothing worse than feeling tied to an agenda. While an agenda is necessary, often our agenda can easily get in the way of God’s agenda. A well thought out plan should be Spirit led as we pray and ask for God’s will to be done. Our willingness to plan ahead often keeps us on target with deadlines and tasks. Therefore, when the Spirit moves, we do not feel the overwhelming pressures of deciding which way to turn. Planning ahead helps us to be sensitive to God’s Spirit. 

Take time at the beginning of the week, month, and year to plan. Write out goals and tasks. Use an app if necessary. Plan ahead and be excited about what God has directed you toward. Be sensitive to the Spirit and plan according to His plan for your life! 

What do you use to plan ahead? Do you have any helpful apps that you use? How far do you typically plan ahead?


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!

Cultural Intelligence: How Do We Engage Faithfully in a Polarized and Hostile America?

A week from tomorrow, the climate of our nation will be in upheaval as the counting of presidential ballots begins. Presumably, the total number of ballots won’t be counted for at least a few days or weeks after Election Day, as the number of mail-in and absentee ballots will dramatically increase this year. Regardless of which candidate is declared the victor, the inflammatory rhetoric and hostile stance of various groups will be intense…and the Church will be in the midst of it all. 

How can we engage faithfully in a culture and atmosphere that’s arguably more divisive than ever before? How can we make sure our tone is prioritized alongside our beliefs? Can we do so successfully while avoiding inflammatory and hostile responses?

Darrell Bock addresses this in his new book, Cultural Intelligence: Living For God in a Diverse, Pluralistic World. Bock notes that Western Christians have maintained the individual level as their prominent communication focus, when the Church historically has been designed to address issues on three levels: individual, community, and society. While some interpret the latter two levels as a nod to political responsibility, Bock presents it in the context of how we establish and carry on in one-on-one conversations.

Highlighting six different New Testament passages, Bock crafts a theology of “cultural intelligence,” arguing for the eradication of an “us versus them” mentality (which Christians have largely not done a great job of recently). People made in God’s image are not the enemy – sin and brokenness are. As ministers and messengers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21), we are to consider the elements of love and relationship in every interaction.

While Scripture makes clear that forgiveness is a command and not just a viable option, reconciliation (forgiveness + trust) is admittedly not always possible this side of heaven. However, no matter our depiction in the media or greater public’s eyes (or our frustration with it), the body of Christ is to proceed with love, kindness, and intentional seeking of understanding and mutual ground. Reconciliation defines our relationship to the Father through Christ’s death and resurrection, so it should be foundational to how we approach any person or issue.

Bock provides details and strategies for a “triphonic” dialogue structure (triphonic means three sounds or tones playing simultaneously), so the analogy highlights that we should take all three levels (individual, community, and society) into account when conversing with others. 

A simple contrast can be realized by asking the question, “How do I talk about culture, and how do I engage culture? Those two questions should have different answers and resulting methods. Much like the Scriptural contrast of Paul in Romans 1 and Acts 17, our tone in engaging culture matters greatly. 

We consistently need to ask ourselves if we care more about facts and being right than being an example of Christ’s love in conversation. Next, we need to see if our actions reflect our answer to that question. Of course facts are important.

But if people know we belong to Jesus by how we love one another, will our “undeniable facts” root them out of their opinion stronghold…or will our tone and actions be a better method?

If you have the best answers and information (which we do with the gospel), but terrible tone, your answers and information won’t matter to other people. Yes, God is sovereign and can use and work with things however He chooses. But a big part (if not the biggest part) of making disciples is modeling for those disciples. You can and should stand firm in your beliefs, but that doesn’t mean your tone always needs to be firm. In fact, it rarely does if we’re modeling an appropriate strategy of loving others well. Again, if we are people of the resurrection, then we are ministers of reconciliation.

Finally, how we engage culture has to do with salvation. While an unfortunate amount of Christians have an unhealthy link between salvation and good works via legalism, salvation and sanctification (the process of being brought into closer relationship with and attaining the likeness of Christ) are linked. They’re not just linked in some theologically abstract way, but in a practical way for us to live out. If we are new creations who are helping to usher in the kingdom, as Jesus preached, than we must realize a truth that Bock masterfully states in his book. “Salvation is not about gaining a place but about regaining a Person and learning to live in ways that are pleasing to Him” (Bock, 77) Conducting ourselves in a manner that reflects our reconciled relationship to the Father is a big part of that, but so is our willingness to engage others by demonstrating we believe and desire to love our neighbor as ourselves. 

I encourage you to read Cultural Intelligence, as we all require a long-term methodology of healthy interaction for ministry and relationship purposes… especially starting next week. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see our nation and culture becoming less polarized any time soon. Let us not lose hope, but remain humble, lead with love, and lean in dependence on our one true hope – Jesus Christ. The author and perfecter of our faith. 

If you would like to hear my interview with Dr. Bock about his book, it will drop on November 3rd (Election Day) via my podcast, Youth Ministry Maverick. You can listen on youthministrymaverick.com or wherever you stream podcasts.


Jeff Harding has been working in youth ministry since 2004. He currently serves as youth minister at Trinity Fellowship Church in Richardson, TX. He is also the Dallas/Ft. Worth Area Coordinator for the National Network of Youth Ministries, blogger for Youth Specialties, and host of the Youth Ministry Maverick podcast. Oh, and he loved Chipotle before it was cool. He hopes you can connect with him on social media @jeffdharding, or through youthministrymaverick.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!