Copycat – Implement Proven Strategies from Other Churches

Conventional wisdom says to be a ‘copycat’ is bad, especially when it comes to business, ministry or church affairs. “Spend time identifying

 

copycat your uniqueness” we are told.I don’t know about you, but I wasted a lot of time, energy and money being preoccupied with discovering my uniqueness.

A retired pastor friend of a 1400 member church once told me that every year he and his wife go on a vacation. He allows his wife the privilege of choosing the vacation site. Once she has made the final selection, he would seek out the ‘largest’ Christian church in that area to attend worship. Before you consider him to be so holy, I asked him why he did this. He told me that he was there to ‘OBSERVE.’

“There is a reason why that church is large and is attracting so many people,” he replied.I asked him what he observes. He told me ANY and EVERY thing.

Gun Control or Anger Management?

Anger managment

Is it really gun control or a NEED to manage our anger to life’s disappointments in whatever ways they present themselves?

There is so much talk about gun control especially as so many innocent lie in the murderous wake of obviously sick individuals.

What would drive a person to go and shoot up people in a movie theater or kill innocent children at an elementary school or kill people on your job or officers of the law? One word – ANGER.

I am an advocate for gun control, however, I believe if all the guns were confiscated people would still find other ways to hurt others. Why? Because ANGER is the real source of the problem.

Anger is a God-given emotion given to all of us.  I think without it we would all spontaneously combust.  There are legitimate times when we have the right to be angry with people and circumstances.

However, the Bible is clear in that we are to be careful that in our anger we do not sin.

In other words, the expression of our anger must be properly managed.

Are we helpless?

When we hear of senseless crimes on the innocent, we often feel helpless.  All we can do is talk about it, question what would possess them and lastly on a positive note, we can pray for those mourning  family members left behind.

However, the church does not have look far to see that our congregations are filled with people living on the edge.

Challenge for the churches

We need to teach from our pulpits on the subject of ANGER Management.  The truth is any of us are subject to lose control and could quickly find ourselves on the other end of the law.

Here are some topics to get us started on perhaps a sermon series on the subject of Anger Management. Be creative!

  • Anger – the emotion God created in me.
  • I have a right to be angry about ____?
  • Healthy vs. unhealthy anger
  • Anger, the cover up (what’s really going on with me?)
  • Anger: Your thoughts are your enemy
  • Uncontrolled anger can lead to:___________
  • Signs you need a temper time-out
  • When anger becomes danger
  • Anger management techniques

Be relevant – illustrate life application

As I opened up this blog I think the problem with people is more than guns and one’s access to them and more about the management of life’s frustrations, pains and loss.

It’s important to connect with people on their real life issues.  Jesus did it.  The Bible is filled with passages in which to draw from.   Issues that are never addressed can lead to devastating results.

Now instead of just talking about what’s been plastered over the news, use it as a sign to assess whether or not you need to give birth to a sermon addressing that topic.

How are you being relevant to real life issues concerning your congregation?

 

 

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Kick Start The New Year: 21-Day Fast

Why not kick start the New Year in a 21-Day Fast?


 

Corporate Fast – – click here to listen to audio.

Calling a “FAST” is something you and your entire congregation can participate in together as you seek the will of God.

FASTING is one of the most significant Spiritual Disciplines that leads to greater intimacy with God.

Jentezen Franklin, the Senior Pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia starts EVERY year off with a 21-Day FAST with his congregation.  Together they seek the will of God for themselves and for their church.

Franklin has written several ‘best selling,’ easy to read books on the subject of Fasting.

Some interesting nuggets from the video by Jentezen Franklin on Fasting include:

  • He never made a major decision without first seeking the Lord in prayer and fasting
  • He was called to ministry during a fast
  • He received his first million dollar donation to his ministry while on a fast
  • The growth of his ministry in terms of increased attendance is a direct result of fasting
  • Increased finances through donations is a direct result of fasting
  • Increased salvations is a direct result of fasting
  • Great testimonies and reports of: healings, family restoration and breakthroughs in people’s marriages also a direct result of fasting.
Franklin's latest book on the subject of FASTING

Franklin’s latest book on the subject of FASTING

Jentezen Franklin’s latest book is called, “The Fasting Edge.”  It takes you through all the facts about fasting including the why’s, how-to’s, when’s, etc.

At a time when church membership and attendance is shrinking, I think we all could use a kick start in the right direction.

If you have never done a ‘Corporate’ Fast, this is the greatest time to start.  Pick up one of Jentezen Franklin’s books on fasting.

You can also look at some of his teaching videos on Youtube and get some ideas on how to approach the subject with your congregation.

May God bless your churches this New Year as we all Seek First the Kingdom of God.

Have you ever started the New Year off with a Corporate Fast? If not, do you think this is something you would consider implementing?

 

 

 

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Church Improvement – Just Start Somewhere!

Church Improvement – Just Start Somewhere!

I was at an event and was engaged in small talk with some friends who attend another church.  I asked them, “How’s things going at ABC church?” One of the men replied “Ah… we’re okay.  We’re just trying to make it like every other church. It sure would help if the preacher didn’t preach so long. Our preacher preaches over an hour.  A lot of people are leaving.  I think that is why we are having money issues.”  He ended by saying, “The good news is that other churches seem to be having money issues too.”

I thought how sad. It actually makes us feel good that others are going through the same thing we are.  While it might bring us some comfort to know that we are not the only ones going through dry spells, it actually casts a dark shadow over the CHURCH as a whole.  For example, the church is known for always beggin, wanting things for free, being broke, busted and disgusted.  Well, who would want to join an outfit like that?

Sometimes, all the average church has to do is commit to making some minor adjustments to start yielding positive results or be willing to make an investment into itself.  I’m reminded of the following saying,

Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.

Start with Small Steps

Shaving 10 minutes off the sermon time, include a 5-minute skit or 3-minute video in the mix and commit to a weekly 2 minute ‘offering message’ to address the who, what, when and whys of giving before taking up the tithes and offering are just a couple of ideas that churches can begin to implement immediately that will yield them tremendous results.

The above hyperlinks in blue offer sites where you can get free skits, discounted videos and a sample video on the effectiveness of an offering message.

As we embark on a New Year won’t you commit to making some minor adjustments?

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Sermons: How Long is Too Long?

Alarm clock

Sermons: How Long is Too Long?

Just how long should your average Sunday morning sermon be? There is no real ‘right’ answer to this question because it largely depends on you and the congregation you serve.

I say this because I have heard well-prepared pastors speak over an hour and have left me wanting more. Then again, I have heard pastors speak as few as 10-15 minutes and it seemed like the longest sermon ever.

On-Line Survey Reports

You may find the results of this online survey which reported how long pastors typically preach, of interest, especially in determining where you rate compared to the average.

  • 49% preached 20-25 minutes
  • 44% preached 30-45 minutes
  • 7% preached greater than 45 minutes

Facts About Human Behavior & Response

I thought it would be helpful is sharing some research about human behavior and response in order to assist us in getting a grip on what is reasonable considering the times we live in.

No one knows people like the media giants, especially in terms of what it takes to get people to buy. They study human behavior and responses to a variety of sensory inputs such as sound, sight, color, etc.  Did you know that 40 years ago commercials use to be as long as 90 seconds and now the average commercial is only 15 seconds long? That’s more than an 80% reduction!

Can you guess why?

If you guessed budget you are partly correct, but the main reason they cut the length of commercials is because of the shorten attention span of the public viewers. 

Attention span is the amount of time that a person can concentrate on a task before becoming distracted.

It seems people would glance at the commercial and move on whether it was for a bathroom break, to get a snack or to change the channel.  The media moguls had to make the necessary adjustments based on people’s behavior, and had to come to terms with the approaches which ONCE worked were NO longer working.

As a result, they created more attention grabbing clips, used clever and more innovative ways to attract views to their products all in less time. This forced them to focus on what was important.

Shrinking Attention Span – Growing Epidemic

If the world has determined that the attention span of its viewers is shrinking overall and has made certain adjustments, doesn’t it make sense that the CHURCH would have to do NO less?ADD-Squirrel

We are living in a mobile media technological age where the Internet, smart phones, tablets and computers are all competing for our attention.

Gone are the days where we can even expect people to give us two hours of their undivided attention as we preach long auditory sermons from our pulpits.

I read an article that stated that we are processing information at 400 times the rate of our ancestors. Everything is quick and instant. We text messages in short hand and tweet in 140 characters or less.  It is no wonder that more and more people young as well as old are being diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.

A Different Generation

We are in front of a different generation of people – people who are consumed with social media which, by the way, is ONLY 8 years old.

Don’t let them get bored or believe me they will be Facebooking, texting, tweeting, etc. in your church services or worse yet, you will simply start seeing your attendance decline where they have stopped coming altogether.

That being said, let’s be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. I challenge you to be like the media giants to a degree.  Find creative ways to respond to human behavior.

Here are some suggestions

  1. Always prepare and plan your sermons
  2. Aim for a goal of 20-25 minute sermons
  3. Consider some visual aids (props or video clips) to accompany your sermons
  4. Consider implementing a 2 minute skit before or into your sermon
  5. A good rule of thumb is for a 2 hour service, 25% dedicated to ‘audible’ sermon (30 minutes tops)

How long are your sermons? Do you know many pastors who regularly preach greater than 45 minutes and keep their congregation’s attention?  If so, are they using any of the above suggestions?

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