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Liquid Church is coordinating support from communities and organizations outside of NJ for the #SandyThanksgiving project. The outreach coordination leaders are asking churches across the country to consider taking up a special offering for the Hurricane Sandy victims on the upcoming Sundays – November 11, 18 or 25.

Details for how your church can support the relief efforts are available at: www.SandyThanksgiving.com.

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We’re about at the end of summer.  Soon enough we’ll have fall weather around and before you know it, Christmas will be here again.

Time to start thinking about Christmas and what your church will be doing this year.

Last year, at Liquid Church, we hosted our first ever Silent Night Virtual Choir which allowed all of our NJ campuses as well as our Church Online campus to participate.  Check out the final rendition from last year:

What is your church planning for Christmas 2012?  Would love to hear your plans or even brainstorm new ideas right here in the comments.

Timothy Keller Center Church Book

In the new book trailer video, Tim Keller talks about how the model for city-center church ministry developed at Redeemer reflect the following components:

  • Biblically Balanced
  • Urban Centered
  • Gospel-Centered
  • Theological Values

60 days left before you can get your hands on a copy!

Timothy Keller’s next book, Center Church is now available for order on Amazon.

Pinterest Pinboards of Churches
Recently, I pointed out that Pinterest is prime for churches to embrace and start pinning.  If you do it right, there’s potential to generate word of mouth and traffic to your church website.

Here is a complete list of churches that have a presence on Pinterest:

Denomination Pinterest Pinners:
  • http://pinterest.com/presbyterianusa/ PC (USA)
As you can tell, there really aren’t a ton of churches that have hopped onto the Pinterest platform yet.  (Actually there are — but a lot of them are still with zero pins, no photos, no profile photos, no descriptions, etc.  I didn’t include those in this list above.)
I think a big reason for this is that most church communications people that have thought about getting onto Pinterest haven’t really figured out what you’re supposed do on Pinterest if you are representing a church.
Strategically, there’s a bunch of things you should consider pinning in order to gain exposure and start engaging with your community.  I’ll share more of the details for some of this soon, but here’s a category list to get you started:
  • Help prospective visitors figure out your church — take photos that help propsective visitors know what they’ll encounter if they come to visit.  Take photos of your worship environment, your fellowship hall, kids ministry rooms, bathrooms, parking, offices, people, greeters, worship services, etc.
  • Illustrate a dynamic church life — events, neat photo angles of various parts of your building, staff, leaders, etc.
  • Show your links to partner organizations — any organizations you work with, partner with or serve
  • Collect sermon / discipleship content — Books, resources, your sermon notes, scripture references.
  • Become the #1 advocate for living in your town — the church should become the advocate for living where you are.  Become the tour guide, the local expert, the concierge that shows up all the nook and cranny goodness of the city and surrounding towns you live in.  This means pinboards for restaurants, professional services, sports, schools, annual events & festivals, and more.

Do you know of any churches that have a Pinterest presence (with at least ONE pin please!)?   Please leave the name, location and URL in the comments below.

When you think of church, do you think of a white building with a steeple or do you think movie theater, hotel, or school?

Because we live in a post-Christian culture today, meetings in “third place” are becoming increasingly important so that people who have not grown-up going to church can find a safe, neutral ground to explore faith and spirituality.

  • There are approximately 24,000 trailer-stored churches in the USA and Canada.
  • A 2007 national survey of newly established Protestant churches found that 12% met in schools [source: LifeWay]
  • Acts 29 Network, the Seattle-based evangelical coalition which has started 350 churches in the past five years says about 16% of these meet in school spaces.

After watching this video, I wondered if our church has effectively squashed worship and faith for most people in the pews?

Has our church basically pushed our people to “opt-out” of a outrageous faith life? A faith where we identify a super natural God?

Does this “fear of judgement” which David Kelley speaks about in the context of psychology come into play within our church walls to?  Can we foster “self-efficacy” so that people can take ownership of their own faith and personal relationship with J Christ in the most empowering way?

Take a look at this video where Kelley talks about building your creative confidence as one of this most aspirational objectives for humanity.

What is the church’s snake handling experience?  Is it possible to build some type of guided mastery for personal faith development?

Just got out of a team meeting where we reviewed Andy Stanley’s leadership talk on Trust.

Aside from the call out he makes in the video where he challenges ministry organizations to become (start by defining it as a goal!) the best place to work in your own city, he makes a great case for ensuring one aspect of team culture that is vital to success of any ministry organization:

Choose to Trust over Suspicion

Stanley’s premise is simple: “To maintain the relational integrity necessary to operate as a team, we must choose to trust and be trustworthy.” Stanley emphasizes that trusting and being trustworthy both are choices. “Often there are unexplainable gaps between what we expect people to do and what they actually do. We choose what we place in those gaps. Our choices determine the integrity of the relationships. We can choose to fill them with trust or suspicion.”

 

While the talk itself could have benefited from some message compression, the core principles he teaches are so important for healthy teams.

Andy Stanley leadership talk on Trust vs Suspicion

This is a great example of a basic operating principle that might not normally warrant a full-blown staff meeting.  But if you do circle wagons around core issues that can drive (or kill) organizational culture, it not only makes sure everyone is on the same page, introduces common language, but it also signals explicitly the expectations for culture norms.

Here’s the talk from Andy Stanley that we reviewed together as a team:

 

Sure, he probably didn’t need to spend a full 40 minutes on this stuff, but I appreciated the “protocols” for:

(a) defaulting to trust when there are unexplainable gaps between expectations and performance

. . . and in particular, his spelling out of

(b) how to choose to be trustworthy with your peers:

  1. Do what you say you will do.  And more importantly, when we don’t deliver on what we said we were going to do, tell them immediately.
  2. Don’t over promise, and under deliver. Promises > Delivery is a BAD thing.  Here’s the kicker — when you are mid-stream on a committment and know you’re headed in this direction, flag it out loud.
  3. And lastly, you have to build a trusting environment, where you invite others to flag it for you.  When someone points out gaps in your commitments or promises and what you’re delivering, choose to tell the truth.  What is the cause of the gaps?  Sometimes they are great reasons.  Sometimes, you just messed up.  It’s time to put out all on the table.  When you do this in an environment of ongoing trust and trustworthiness, the margins are there to absorb the occasional gaps.

One of the best one-liners I caught in this talk was:

Being trustworthy is not the equivalent of being flawless in character or performance.

~ Andy Stanley

 

If we are successful in these areas, it can become a great example of living out the tension between grace and truth — which at the end of the day is the distinctiveness of our Christian faith — applied in the workplace.  Faith & work integration at its best.

 

Your church marketing worked.

New people that have never been to your church before walk through the doors.  So what do you do?  

Do you accost them and demand they fill out the “visitor card” so you can stalk them or nag them like a telemarketer?  Do you have a committee that instantly has a dozen people “friend” them on Facebook out of the blue?  Do you ask them to stand-up in front of everyone during service and make them stand out literally like a sore thumb with the intention of making them feel “welcome”?

One tactic that is widespread is the first time visitor bag. . . A goodie bag filled with marketing collateral that probably hardly gets read, along with some tchotchke or knicknacks that are are usually branded with your church logo or carries a cross or a dove or an icon of the bible.

Here’s some ideas to keep this tactic fresh:

 

What did you find in a first time gift big when you visited your currently minstry? Anything out of the ordinary”

 

We’re in the 11th hour before Christmas Eve services here at Liquid Church and our Church Online team is totally pumped about our first ever Christmas Virtual Choir that we’re pulling together.

What started as an interesting idea to allow our Church Online community to participate in our church-wide services, has become a great tool to talk about Christmas at church — and invite family and friends to one of the 6 services being held on Saturday at our campuses as well as 2 services for Church Online.

Since there is some novelty in a webcam- or “YouTube Christmas Choir” it has to potential to draw in some people that might be sitting on the fringes of the crowd.  I love that aspect of it.

So our video producer and media team has been rocking it all night since the deadline for submitting individual renditions of Silent Night over the web. . . And here’s a first peek at the Virtual Christmas Choir which will sing Silent Night:

Yes, we’ll have a traditional preached message and live worship band, etc that go along with a church service, but this one of the small ways we’re aiming to mix it up a bit… keeping the church experience fresh and inviting for those that walk in the door — some for the first time in a long time, others for the first time ever.

QUESTION: What is your church doing to mix it up this year at Christmas?