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7 ways to involve older people in your church
I’m not that old – I’m 54 – but I increasingly realize that I’m not young, either. Sometimes I, too, long for what I thought were the “good old days.” At the same time, I realize the importance of being involved in a local church today. I may not speak for all older folks, but here’s how you could get me more involved in your church’s ministry: 1. Understand that I’m not opposed to change. I’m honestly not. I may not like change, but it’s more because everything seems to be changing than it is my opposition to church change. Help me understand the change, and I’ll be with you. What I’m opposed to is change that’s not well thought out. 2. Ask me to serve. Sometimes it easy for me to think I’m not as needed as I used to be. I realize the church needs younger leadership at some point, and I don’t want to get in the way of that transition. I’ll help in any way I can, but you may need to recruit me directly. 3. Trust me with some of your prayer concerns. Some of us have spent decades trying to figure out how to pray, and many of us have more time than others to pray. I want to pray specifically and intentionally for you as my spiritual leaders. Share a bit of your heart with me, and I’ll be on board with you. 4. Invite me to join you on a ministry visit. I know that would take more of your time, but I’d be genuinely honored to assist you. If I can, I’ll even clear my calendar to help you. I’ve been around long enough to know not to take your invitation lightly. 5. Keep reminding me that you want to reach my kids and grandkids. I want them to be faithful to God, yet I don’t always have the answers to lead them. They really are a different generation. If you can help me figure out how to help them walk with God, I’ll be willing to overlook little things that tend to bug me. 6. Help me understand that younger folks really do want older folks in their lives. I’m learning that young people understand the importance of cross-generational relationships much better than my generation has. They even like to listen to my stories about black-and-white TV’s, dot matrix printers, and computer modems that sounded like an airplane. Connect me with young people who like to hang out with me, and I’ll have new life in church. 7. If you’re a church planter, recruit me. I’d want you to talk to my pastor also, but you might find that I’m praying about and looking for a new adventure. The older I get, the more I want to make sure I’m maximizing my gifts for the kingdom. I can tell you for certain that I’ll be your friend if we’re walking together for God’s glory. Older folks, what would you add? Younger readers, what do you think? Let us hear from you. Be sure to check out Dr. Lawless’ daily blog posts at www.chucklawless.com. The post 7 ways to involve older people in your church appeared first on My Christian Daily - Church.Read More
7 strategies to grow web traffic and influence
I receive so many questions about using your website and social media presence to increase your influence that I decided to ask my friend Miles Anthony Smith for his advice. Miles works with Rawhide Boys Ranch as their Digital Marketing Director and is the author of Why Leadership Sucks and Becoming Generation Flux. Miles shared with me his 7 key strategies for growing your web traffic and influence (and how to do it on a budget). Here’s his advice: We have all been there. Maybe you have written a book, created an online course, or composed some music. Or you have something else to sell. You create a website, offer your wares for sale, and launch social media accounts which take a ton of creative energy and time not just to start but to keep rolling. Then crickets… I was even there once, and so was Phil. But just like the both of us, we have to decide if we are going to persevere long enough to get to a certain level of renown. We have to pay our dues, but the amount of time it takes to get a decent amount of traffic to build a tribe energized by your stuff, requires you to add strategy. Perseverance on the wrong tactics will only lead to frustration and failure. So combine the right strategy and perseverance, and you have a winning combination! Without further ado, here are my 7 secret strategies to gaining web traffic and influence (on a shoestring budget). And each of these costs little to no money but does require your sweat equity. 1. Create long form (1,000-3,000 word) posts replete with engaging images, videos, and invaluable infographics. While you do need to write the copy, by all means you should use other’s images, videos, and infographics that fit with your topic. Then strategically ask others to share, link, and or email these articles with their tribe who are already interested in your topic. Don’t forget who your target audience is. Check out one of my Rawhide team’s long form/infographic posts. ADHD: A Growing Concern for Youth and Adults 2. Pick one social media channel for 90 days and focus all of your effort on it. This way you can become better; it is way too easy to get stretched too thin. We all have many spinning plates. I chose to focus on Twitter; I don’t even do Facebook. It’s just not me. Use the native scheduling tool, and in an hour or two you can setup the next month of tweets. Make sure to add images and links to all of your tweets. 3. You can supercharge your Twitter growth and engagement by targeting followers interested in keywords related to your brand. Check out my Twitter & Klout Growth Case Study to add rocket fuel to this strategy. Explosive, Targeted Twitter & Klout Score Growth: 113% In 59 Days 4. Leverage free Pay-Per-Click ads to drive brand awareness or even direct sales of your products like I did with my audiobook. How I Got $145 in Audiobook Sales With $475 in FREE PPC Ads 5. Find new ways to generate other revenue sources; in addition to my book sales and speaking engagements, I created an online video leadership development course on Udemy based on my book Why Leadership Sucks. 6. Generate inexpensive, yet targeted email leads by offering a sample of your ebook, music album, or audiobook on NoiseTrade. How To Get 889 NoiseTrade Email Subscribers In 121 Days For Pennies Per Day 7. Need help reaching new ebook customers on Amazon, iTunes, Audible, or Nook? You must check out Bookbub! How to Get 172% ROI & 8,841 eBook Downloads With $85 In 3 HOURS. Phil Cooke is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media.” Find out more at www.philcooke.com The post 7 strategies to grow web traffic and influence appeared first on My Christian Daily - Church.Read More
10 ways through the same-sex tsunami
Some say this is the one issue that will single-handedly destroy the church in America. I don’t buy that. But I do anticipate that some churches will suffer unnecessarily because of their mishandling of the same-sex controversy. Whether they like it or not, churches will increasingly face decisions related to homosexuality. These include: References to homosexuality in preaching and teaching. Guidance for those who teach and lead youth and children. Counseling: with those who experience same-sex attraction, and with affected family members, and with those who wonder if they should attend a loved-one’s same-sex wedding. Church policies: membership and leadership qualifications. Rites: if a gay or lesbian couple asks for their child to be baptized, or if church facilities may be used for a same-sex wedding or reception. Accommodation: restrooms for transgender individuals. Legal: the threat of civil or state legal action. And what actions are covered–or not–by insurance? Some churches will navigate these issues successfully. Others will make serious missteps that will damage their ministry. In a recent webinar I outlined 10 ways for churches and all followers of Christ to find their way through the prevailing same-sex controversies. Before I share these tips with you, please understand that my purpose in this article is not to advocate a particular position on homosexuality. My purpose today is to offer some practical tools to help you navigate some potentially explosive situations–regardless of your established position. 1. Be proactive. In an online poll during my webinar, two-thirds of the listeners said their church had not yet addressed the topics of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. It’s crucial to get ahead of the discussion–to deal with it before it deals with you. Due to societal shifts and court decisions, ignoring the topic is no longer a healthy option. 2. Talk with and listen to those who differ with you. Regardless of your personal position, get to know those who hold opposing views. Do as Jesus did. Converse with, get to know, share a meal with those who don’t think as you do. You’ll build bridges of understanding and trust. 3. Acknowledge and discuss opposing perspectives. Ramming through one position without discussing the other leaves your people unprepared for those other arguments when they encounter them outside of Sunday. This includes differing perspectives on what the Bible has to say about marriage and homosexuality. Compare this article from Family Research Council to this one from Christian Century to get a feel for the contrast of different thinking out there. 4. Use love language–rather than hate language. Today we often hear, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” And we also hear references to “homophobic merchants of hate.” Regardless of intent, after such discourses, most people report hearing only hatred. That’s not helping the cause of Christ. Let’s give “hate” a rest. 5. Understand the difference between acceptance and endorsement. People fear if we accept a person we tacitly endorse the person’s every behavior. And then love gets lost. Jesus demonstrated love and acceptance when he encountered the woman caught in adultery. He accepted her, loved her, and protected her from the religious people who sought to condemn her. After declining to condemn her himself, he told her, “Go and sin no more.” He did not endorse her adultery. But he loved and accepted her. 6. Engage in fearless conversation. Navigating this topic is best served by dialog rather than one-way bullhorn communication. People need to interact, and ask questions. Sociologist Josh Packard found that millions are walking away from churches because they’re not given ample opportunity to engage in the conversation about such topics as homosexuality. A new resource, Navigating the Conversation, provides a platform for biblically based discussion on same-sex issues. It’s time to trust that the Holy Spirit will prevail when tough topics are carefully opened to discussion. 7. Use genuine humility. Admit you don’t have all the answers. People are repelled by Christians who pose as know-it-alls. Tone down the bravado. Acknowledge that some questions remain. Such as, what is the cause of homosexuality or same-sex attraction? 8. Beware of making homosexuality your signature issue. Some churches–on both sides of the argument–have made this issue their poster child. That’s a mistake. It’s driving people away. Yes, we need to talk about this issue–along with scores of other important things facing God’s people today. But homosexuality is not the defining issue of the gospel. 9. Remember your true mission. Is it to draw a line in the sand on one aspect of sexuality? Hopefully, a church’s mission has something to do with drawing people into a close relationship with Jesus Christ. Make that what people think of first. 10. Pray. Ask God to direct your thoughts and actions. Pray together as a community of faith. This issue can be tricky for a congregation or an individual Christian. The good news: God is faithful. He stands ready to help you do your part. And he will do his part. Thom Schultz – www.holysoup.com The post 10 ways through the same-sex tsunami appeared first on My Christian Daily - Church.Read More
8 reasons many churches are living in the ’80s
Nine out of ten churches in America are either declining, or they are growing so slowly they are not keeping up with the growth rate of the community in which they are located. It’s a long sentence. Read it again carefully. Soak it in. Across America 90 percent of the churches are losing ground in their respective communities. Most of them are declining. Many of them will close. As I have worked with thousands of churches over the past three decades, I have noticed something fascinating, yet disturbing, about many of these churches. They are still acting like it’s the 1980s. The world has passed them by. They are deemed irrelevant by members of their communities. They are frozen in a time warp. Why has this tragedy fallen on so many churches? Though I don’t want to oversimplify the issue, I see at least eight reasons for this crisis. 1. They are trying to shelter themselves from culture. In the 1980s, congregations were typically part of the mainstream culture. They were accepted in most places, and embraced in some. That is not the culture of today. Many church members use their churches as a getaway from the realities they don’t want to face. 2. Programs were easy answers. The vast majority of churches in the 1980s were program-driven. If there was a perceived need, they would order a resource that best solved that need. Many churches today still think they can get quick fixes from programs. 3. Churches largely catered to the needs of church members in the 1980s. We thus created a culture of membership that is me-driven. Many church members do not want to make the sacrifices necessary to reach our communities and culture today. They are demanding their own needs and preferences to be the priority of their churches. 4. Change was more incremental. If your church is stuck in the 1980s, it does not have to worry about the rapid pace of change today. Members can pretend like their church does not need to change despite the massive upheavals of change in the world. 5. Church growth was easier. In the 1980s, a number of people would visit our churches without much effort on the members’ part. One church member told me recently, “If lost people want to come to our church, they know where we are.” Sigh. 6. Denominations provided solutions. Not all churches in the 1980s belonged to a denomination, but many did. And many members expected the denominational organizations to guide them and resource them. Denominations work best today in partnership with churches, but too many church members want to return to the paradigm of the 1980s. 7. Others did evangelism for the members in the 1980s. Evangelism was the responsibility of the pastor or the denomination or a few people in a program. Church members paid others to do the work they were supposed to do. Some church members today are more concerned about their worship style preference than lost people who need to hear the gospel. 8. Some churches would rather die than to get out of the comfort of their 1980’s paradigm. I feel certain they will do just that. Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. www.thomrainer.com The post 8 reasons many churches are living in the ’80s appeared first on My Christian Daily - Church.Read More
How to spot the best leader in the room
I’ve worked with national level leaders and creative people for a long time and sometimes I’ll be with a group I haven’t met personally. In those situations I’m always curious about who has the most experience, knowledge, wisdom, and vision, because that’s the person I want to get to know. And I’ve discovered a method that’s almost foolproof for quickly discovering that person within the group: It’s the person who talks the least. Invariably, the wise, experienced, and mature leader is the one listening, not talking. And for what it’s worth, the opposite principle works just as reliably: The least experienced person in the group is usually the one who does all the talking. I’ve confirmed it time and time again in all kinds of situations from conferences to strategy sessions, casual meetings in coffee shops, and simply hanging out. The least experienced wants to share his knowledge with the group, impress everyone with his or her credentials, and is desperate to prove he’s a top level person who belongs. But non-stop talking about yourself undermines the very thing you’re trying to achieve – credibility. Check it out the next time you’re with a group of leaders or creative people, and let me know what you see. After all, there’s a big reason why some people are wise, smart, experienced, and mature: they’re listening, not talking. Phil Cooke is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media.” Find out more at www.philcooke.com The post How to spot the best leader in the room appeared first on My Christian Daily - Church.Read More
Brian Houston: Have you ever been knocked down?
Leaders keep getting up when they’re knocked down. Longevity is perhaps the greatest strength anyone can have… Longevity is perhaps the greatest strength anyone can have… Have you ever been knocked down? I know what it feels like to be knocked down. I had the privilege of sitting down recently with one of the leadership greats of this generation, a friend and tremendous leader, Bill Hybels, for an interview. We talked about leadership and longevity – and the ups and downs of life in ministry for over 40 years. What I’ve come to realize is that longevity in any form doesn’t come without its setbacks. Life itself is full of surprises – some good and some bad – but in order to maintain a steadfast heart and in order to not develop a wounded spirit, we must have an unchanging vision. In order to maintain a steadfast heart & in order to not develop a wounded spirit, we must have an unchanging vision. Mine has always been about building the church and building peoples lives. What’s yours? I am so excited about my new book, LIVE LOVE LEAD, and that we are only one month away from its release in North America. This book shares with you some of my own untold story, and is all about helping you to write yours… Included in this email is a link for you to download a free copy of Chapter 1 – Life in the Faith Lane. I pray you are encouraged and blessed by it and that whether you find yourself in a season of blessing or season of heartache, your decision to pursue God and His calling and vision for your life will lead to incredible fruitfulness and longevity. I hope that if you are in the USA you will consider joining me and the Hillsong Worship Team for ‘Hillsong Nights’ – nights of worship and teaching in your hometown. Our team has been working hard to make these nights memorable and we are bringing with us the best of the best. Check out the nearest city to you HERE – can’t wait to see you! Brian Houston The post Brian Houston: Have you ever been knocked down? appeared first on My Christian Daily - Church.Read More