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Leadership
“You’re right, we were wrong” I’m trying to remember the last time I EVER heard a church say something to this effect. That’s probably because most churches only operate out of what is safe… thus there’s very little chance of being wrong. Read these words from Seth Godin over a couple of times, and let them sink in… keep reading
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Leadership
If you’re like most church leaders, you probably constantly struggle with a full email in-box. Some email is necessary, to be sure. But many times, it gets overwhelming. Too many people want a piece of your day… and email is the perfect way to demand at least a piece of your time and attention. But how long should it take you to reply to email? keep reading
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Technology
Lauren Hunter has shared a list of 12 church technology goals for your church for the year.  I think these are an excellent start for ANY church.  You don’t have to be a huge church to do these things… in fact, most are free or very low cost! And the thing I like about them is that they are measurable… and we all know that the things that are measured are the things that get done.  Here are the first six… then you can head over to Lauren’s blog for the other six. 12 Possible Church Technology Goals for 2012:
  1. Blog at least once a week.
  2. Update the church Facebook and Twitter accounts on a daily basis.
  3. Update the church website daily or weekly.
  4. Send regular email newsletters to congregation (include video if you can).
  5. Make better use of church management software to track involvement.
  6. Make sure to follow up with visitors as quickly as possible through email, snail mail, a phone call, or a visit.
Visit here to see the other six goals. What are YOUR church’s tech goals this year?  Do you have any?  Will you adopt any of these?
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Technology
I know there are many things about technology that seem intimidating.  I will attempt to explain the simplicity and reasoning behind having email addresses setup with your domain.  In general, I realize that most people go to gmail, yahoo or the others and just get an email for simplicity sake.  I’ll admit, it is very simple to get a gmail address with something like mychurch@gmail.com.
But is that really the best way to set things up?
Email is beyond becoming a primary means of communication.  That matched with Facebook and it is just one of the many reasons our USPS can’t stay in business.  Most people are pretty savvy with email and I’ll attempt to offer several points on best practices for setting up email at your organization.  It’s Professional – I was working with an individual a few months ago on a loan restructure.  I got all the information about what they could offer me and then it was time them to send me to the person who actually collected the info from me.  When I received the email from that person, his address was something like pharmacyman@msn.com.  Needless to say, our business with that company stopped at that point.  By not having an email address at the domain of the company he was working for, a red flag was thrown up for me and I was not comfortable anymore. Get email addresses setup @yourdomain.com.  Most hosting companies offer this for free or at very little cost. It’s Consistent – When there is only one person in your organization it is tempting and often simpler to just setup the free account.  Most will setup something like mychurch@gmail.com or something like that.  Resist the urge.  While it may be simple in the short term, it’ll cause headaches in the future. It should cost around $15 per year to purchase your domain name for your organization.  Most companies will offer a number of accounts for free with that purchase.  Google Apps offers up to 10 addresses for their basic accounts at your domain. Now, when you add people or avenues for communication, it is consistent throughout your organization. Choose a nomenclature and stick to it throughout.  We’ve all seen them, first.last@ initialLast@ firstname@ and so on.  Pick a format and use it for everyone.  This will make it very simple for people to figure out how to contact everyone in your organization if they know the names and format. It’s Personal – How many times have you sent an email to someone that is like frankandlinda@msn.com?  Maybe its even more generic, mychurch-office@gmail.com.  What assurance does this give to the sender that you will be reading their message?  I realize that most of us are not sending confidential information, but many times, it is just nice knowing that the message we are sending is getting straight to the person we are sending it to. A consistent setup – When we work with churches and organizations, we’ll setup the email addresses as follows in the example below: We get the pastor setup with 2 addresses.  One is the primary email address and the other is an alias “nickname” that forwards to the primary. firstname@church.com (e.g. jeff@church.com)– alias pastor@church.com We then setup the secretary. firstname@church.com (e.g. linda@church.com) – alias office@church.com Perhaps there is an associate minister. firstname@church.com (e.g. fred@church.com) Maybe a ministry leader needs one to. firstname@church.com. (e.g. tom@church.com) Do you see a trend?  Very consistent, professional and this setup would take about 10 minutes.  Also, if I know one address, I can pretty much figure out anybody else on staff. I’d be happy to discuss with your organization how to get setup and make your email setup simple. I’m interested in hearing other thoughts on email setup.  Comment below and let me us know how you setup your accounts and why.   Josh Henry is a Managing Partner with theChurchBusinessGuys.com.  They partner with churches to handle their business operations so the church leaders can focus on ministry.  Everything from accounting to design, they have resources designed to meet “Virtaully Everything for Church”  You can contact Josh at josh@thechurchbusinessguys.com check out their website at www.thechurchbusinessguys.com or call 618-283-9542.
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Trends
KillerChurch.com writes:  It’s not that people can’t read . . . they just don’t. Did you see the changes to the “warning labels” on cigarette packages that are coming down? It’s amazing to see the contrast between the original warning label on cigarettes from 1966 . . . and today. Our culture continues to march towards being totally post-literate.  More people in your church relate to ideas, concepts, and data through images and visual stimulation than in any other point in recent human history. If you think this isn’t affecting your people . . . think again!  What difference does this make to way we communicate to our churches and communities? Show don’t tell A picture has always been worth a thousand words . . . now a good picture or object lesson is worth 10 minutes of words in your message. Your environment matters The way things look at your location are communicating to visual learners.  Messy and unorganized? People are judging this like never before! Preacher + Graphic Designer It used to be a good graphic designer was a “nice to have” on your staff team . . . now you need to find a way to work hand in hand with someone native to the visual culture. Less is more Stop using so many words on everything . . . people aren’t reading them anyways. (I know how ironic this whole post is!) People of the Book? There are huge ramifications for our faith if we continue to focus on the written text.  The Christian faith shifted toward the text in the enlightenment era with wide levels of literacy.  We’re going to have to learn from pre-literate cultures around the world and look into our past to understand how to disciple people in this new world. Read more at  KillerChurch. Do you think the way people absorb information is changing?  How does that change your strategy as a church?
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Leadership
One key to communication vision is frequency.  Often as leaders, we think if we our people something once… they’ll get it.  If we tell them something twice, they’ll for sure understand the concept.  And if they aren’t acting out the vision after we’ve told them three times, they must be lazy or not buy in to what we’re telling them.  The truth is, however, they just haven’t heard it yet. This quote comes from a recent Signal vs. Noise post, but Scott McClellan reposted it at the Colide Magazine blog.  It’s just a great quote from political consultant Frank Luntz:

“There’s a simple rule: You say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and then again and again and again and again, and about the time that you’re absolutely sick of saying it is about the time that your target audience has heard it for the first time.”

There’s no better way to propogate your vision for your church than to repeat it.  Often.  Until you’re blue in the face. Don’t be obnoxious, but do work your main points into your messages, your meetings, and your one-on-one conversations. Repetition is key. Repetition is key. What do you think? Todd
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