Categories
Perspectives

How to Increase Spiritual Fruit in a Digital World

As a member of His family, God is deeply concerned that my life produces spiritual fruit (John 15:16). But, how do I walk that out as a Web worker? In the regular, daily routine of carrying out my work online, what does it mean to increase spiritual fruit in a digital world? How do I do that?

How Can Church Web Workers Increase Spiritual Fruit in a Digital World?

Right after I acquired Church Website Ideas more than a year ago, I felt so apprehensive. I couldn’t put my finger on it.  As I prayerfully considered God’s purpose for the blog, I just had a sense that writing about design strategy, ideas, and techniques was only a portion of the work I’d been given to accomplish.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 ESV

For the first time, I had a real sense that there was more to church website design than developing a strategy, choosing colors and fonts, creating intuitive navigation structures, and applying content creation best practices.

Too much emphasis seems to be placed on the pragmatic. Something is missing in the way we generally think about and talk about and go about building and tweaking and maintaining and using our church websites.

That’s why I’m so grateful for the like-minded communicators—gifted brothers and sisters in Christ— who’ve put words to the stirrings in my heart!

As they labor to complete the work God’s given them, their commitment to “hold fast to the faith”, and to teach and encourage others to do the same, is such a blessing to the Church.

Kent Shaffer is one of those dear brothers.

Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of listening to a talk he gave this past June at Biola University. Leading a breakout session in the Theology track at Biola’s 2014 biola.digital conference, Kent explored how we can increase spiritual fruit in a digital world.

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Kent also published notes from his talk on ChurchRelevance.com.

Categories
Web Content

The Secret to Creating Inspiring Ministry Descriptions

Composing ministry descriptions that are both informative and inspiring to visitors of your church website is a bit of a balancing act.

It’s also easier to accomplish than you think.

Why you need content for brains AND hearts

Tim Peters, a church communications advocate, coach, and leader, published a short but insightful article on his blog about the two types of essential website content.

To make your church website engaging to any audience, you must publish  brain content and heart content.

As Tim points out,

Brain content is informative and knowledge driven. Heart content is inspiring and emotional. These two are not at odds with each other; rather, they work together to give visitors a total experience. Each serves a specific purpose.

He goes on to offer some great examples of both types.

Now, maybe you’ve got the brain content covered. Most churches do. But, what about the heart content?

I’d venture to say most small-church communicators would admit that consistently producing, adding, and updating their website with warm, heart-tugging content is one of their biggest challenges.

I can certainly admit, it’s a challenge for me.

If that’s you, too, and your church website is missing heart content, what’s needed is a simple way to kick-start production, right?

Here’s an idea! And the good news: you can use content that’s already on your website.

The secret sauce for inspiring ministry descriptions

It’s no surprise that Tim included Ministry Descriptions in his list of “brain content” examples. Brain content is commonly used to construct ministry description pages.

However, one of his “heart content” points focused on the need to communicate how your church helps people grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. That point made me think about, well, ministries.

So, why not start by expanding your ministry descriptions. Heart content is the secret sauce.

Don’t stop at merely describing a ministry in your church. Make your ministry descriptions head-filling AND heart-tugging by describing the benefits people receive by connecting.

How to do it

Begin by breaking down a ministry description into a list of features.

Think of ministry features as the who, what, when, where, of your ministry descriptions. The benefits of the ministry are the why.

An easy way to talk about the benefits they’ll receive is to answer the question, “Why is this so great?” for each feature you list.

For example, say your website describes a feature of your youth ministry like this: “Youth (who) meet together in the Fellowship Center (where) every Tuesday evening at 6:30pm (when) for games and fellowship, and then break up into middle and senior high groups for age appropriate Bible study (what).

That’s all brain content. Head stuff. Informative, but not too captivating.

Now, add the secret sauce—the heart content. Why is this so great? Your answer might be something like,

Connecting here is AWESOME, because getting together for fun and learning encourages teens to grow relationally and socially. They also become skilled at applying God’s principles to the issues they face in their everyday lives–at home, at school, everywhere!

BOOYAH! Here’s what you’re really offering them!

Here’s why they want to be a part of your congregation. This is what they’ll get: not merely access to a youth ministry, but an opportunity to see their teens grow relationally and socially, and become skilled at applying godly principles to every-day life.

What parent wouldn’t want THOSE BENEFITS for their kids (and for themselves)?

So to recap…

[process_steps type=”vertical” size=”small” number=”5″] [process_step title=”Step 1″ icon=”desktop”]Check out Tim’s article: Church Website Content Checklist[/process_step] [process_step title=”Step 2″ icon=”search”]Carefully review the pages of your website, especially the pages where your ministry descriptions live.[/process_step] [process_step title=”Step 3″ icon=”list-ol”]Break down each ministry description into a list of features of that ministry. [/process_step] [process_step title=”Step 4″ icon=”edit”]For each feature, answer the question, “Why is this so great?” [/process_step] [process_step title=”Step 5″ icon=”heart-o”]Assemble the pieces into a new ministry description that’s both informative AND inspiring. [/process_step] [/process_steps]

Now it’s your turn

Do your ministry descriptions inspire people to connect? Share your ideas (and methods). Leave a comment!

Image Credit: Paxson Woelber | Flickr cc

 

Categories
Perspectives

Fear of Failure?

What are you afraid of?

You’re afraid. Getting more done would mean exposing yourself to considerable risk, to crossing bridges, to putting things into the world. Which means failure. – Seth Godin

Is 2012 the year you face your fears? I pray that it is.

via: Seth Godin Blog

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Perspectives

Quotable: Howard Schultz

What is driving your actions today?

When we love something, emotion often drives our actions. This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. They are our families. Our lives. – Howard Schultz from Onward

Categories
Perspectives

Quotable – Andy Stanley

What is your tipping point?

“Often times a single act of courage, is the tipping point for something extraordinary.” – Andy Stanley

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Perspectives

Quotable: Seth Godin

Are you trying to make a change? Will you accept the responsibility without anything else?

“Change is made by people who eagerly accept responsibility without expecting authority.” – Seth Godin

What are you trying to change? Let me know…

Categories
Perspectives

Quotable: T.D. Jakes

What are you passionate about?

“When people are passionate about what they do, they are far more effective in what they do.” – T.D. Jakes

Categories
Perspectives

Things that annoy me as the “Church Website Guy”

This is more of a rant post than anything. Being the website guy/girl at your church often you get asked to do a variety of other, non-web related, tasks. I find that most pastors assume that since you know how to update a website, you can do just about anything. I get tired of being asked to do things, simply because I own a Mac and love Jesus, so today I want to share a few of the things I have been asked to do as the “church web guy”. I hope some of you can relate to these!

Categories
Perspectives

7 Blog Posts to Check Out

I wanted to share with you 7 links I was challenged to post. I looked back at all my previous posts to share with you my thoughts on some of the first, most popular, my favorite, and more. Check it out.

Categories
Perspectives

Top 10 Pastors to Follow on Twitter

It has been awhile since our list real update, so now that things have calmed down over at Simple Church Marketing, we will be getting back to regular, daily updates to the blog! Last month we shared 45 Twitter Apps for Churches, today we wanted to share with you all top 10 pastors you should follow on Twitter. These pastors are very active with updates and have really embraced Twitter as a way to expand their reach and offer another way in which church members can connect to their pastor.

Categories
Perspectives

7 Reasons Your Church Should Use MySpace

MySpace has been around for six years now, it’s not going anywhere. I still talk to churches that are not sure if they want to jump in with a church MySpace page. MySpace provides the church an opportunity to engage in culture, connect to their community, keep members up to date on events, share sermon audio and video, and the best part is that people can find your church online, unlike your church website. I like to think of MySpace as one of many tools that churches and pastors must use in order to keep connected with their members and more importantly, their community. Over the next few weeks I will cover a few of the social network tools available to churches in an effort to help overcome the fear of taking the social network leap.