Church Video Announcements: Great Examples and Inspiration

At the church where I pastor, THE PLACE, we always have a ton of stuff going on. I mean activity after activity after activity after… (well, you get the picture). We are always looking to take it to the next level and get the word out to our congregation. One way that we do that is through our announcements.

This week, as I was searching for some Youtube wisdom, stumbled across this great video. If you are looking to take your church announcements to the next level… check this out:

I hope that will help you STEP IT UP SON!

Much Love!

GP

Looking for something to read? Here are some books I wrote. Enjoy! 

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Cheap and “Fairly Easy” Church Stage Design Ideas

As a church planter, we are always looking at our decor and wondering what we can do in order to make it better. We currently have a very boring stage backdrop. We have four TVs, but are really lacking any true decor. It was in my search that I uncovered this gem. If you are in a church or want to get some fresh ideas, I got a great link for you! 

This is from the website www.churchstagedesignideas.com

Here is a link to the “BEST OF” for April. Check it out and be inspired -> http://www.churchstagedesignideas.com/most-popular-april-2014/

Here’s my favorite and a design we are toying with today.

Image

Which one is your favorite? Do you have some cool links? I’d love to see them. 

GP

Leadercast 2014 Recap: Skydiving, CEO’s and Braveheart

I spent the day at the Chick-fil-a Leadercast 2014 in Phoenix. It was quite enjoyable. Here’s my thirty second highlight…

Started with a bang with Andy Stanley and Dr. Henry Cloud. (if you’ve never heard Cloud’s skydiving story, you are missing out).

Big Lull in the middle with Desmond Tutu. Didn’t get much for him except a kick out of his infectious laugh. (If you’ve never heard, try here.)

Ate lunch at THE PLACE restaurant with my man Gilly Pollard. My FB post… “THE PLACE is eating at The Place” [That’s the church where I pastor… THE PLACE]. (if you go, get the turkey burger with guacamole. Yum! The restaurant… not the church.)

Gained momentum. Laura Bush followed by Malcolm Gladwell. (Gladwell is such a classic storyteller! If you haven’t heard him, try here.)

### THE ENDING WAS AMAZING, SPECTACULAR, and APPRECIATED ###

A trifecta of awesomeness… Randall Wallace, Bill McDermott and Simon Sinek

Randall Wallace = the most amazing, touching talk of life, death, Braveheart and making your life count. Tears were present. Here is a past talk of his.

Bill McDermott = incredible storyteller, motivator and accomplished businessman who knows how to motivate. Here he is in the boardroom talking.  

Simon Sinek = stood in the shadows of the previous two giants, but held his own. Here he is sharing “Why Leaders Eat Last“. 

If you get the chance to go to this conference next year, it is definitely worth it.

Big Thanks to my man Jeff Baugus and his ministry “The Ripple Effects” for having us.

Now… my favorite video clip from today. If you have ever been on a conference call, you will appreciate this. Enjoy…

Thanks Tripp… that was funny!

GP

 

A Rock Star, A Soul Man and a Preacher: Speakers of Wisdom

I like to say that it is the difficult times that you discover who your true friends are. This includes refining some existing relationships and building new ones. I am always excited to see what God is doing in seasons of transition in my life. Some of my greatest relationships have been built in seasons of testing and difficulty. This is one of those seasons of my life and it has been neat to see what has happened.

I am a strong believer in the proverb from the Bible that says:

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverb 15:22

So, whenever I have to make big decisions, I immediately want people around me speaking into my life. I discern wisdom from their words and I see God speaking in them and through them. This season of my life has been interesting.

There are some people that I would go to in the past, but in this season I have been unable to reach them or they were too busy to return calls. (No big deal though. People are in your life for seasons and when He closes one door, He often opens another). I couldn’t be happier with the doors that He opened this time. New relationships. New wisdom. And new opportunities to learn and grow.

There have been many who have been there for me in this season, but let me just let you know about three that I am so honored to have in my corner:

Tim Nagle.

Part rock star/Part Jedi Master. This guy is a brother in law of a close friend and an answer to prayer. I played Facebook tag with him and then ended up hooking up on the phone for about an hour one Sunday afternoon. We talked and shared and thought out loud… talking about everything from small towns to styles of worship. He was an encourager. He was a friend. The coolest part for me, however, was when we spent some time in prayer over the phone… He in the cold lands of Idaho and I in the hot deserts of Arizona. Worlds apart, but united in prayer in that moment. Thanks Tim!

If you haven’t seen the amazing video of Tim’s daughter, check it out here. It is SO inspiring! 

Brandon Holt

This guy puts the “SOUL” in Soul Man! Our paths converged via Facebook. Some random video that popped up of this guy singing and when he sang… I stopped to listen. There was something deep and real about his words and I just wanted to hear more. I sent him a message on Facebook. He answered. We became friends on FB and the next thing I knew we were on the phone. He spent an hour sharing with me about worship and God and wisdom on how to move forward in the season that I was in. We prayed and listened to the spirit together… He in the humid jungles of South Carolina and I in the hot deserts of Arizona. Worlds apart, but united in prayer in that moment.

If you haven’t heard this guy sing yet, you are missing out. Check out one of many songs by clicking here

Reginald Steele

Pastor, Preacher and Investor in Leaders. This story started one night as I was watching Christian TV (which I don’t do too often), and there was a woman sharing with the logo of a church I never heard of called “Kingdom in the Valley Christian Church“. I looked them up and checked out their website. It seemed like they were building leaders and building up men and I needed wisdom on how to do that. So, I sent an email in the “general email box”. I didn’t expect a response because I’ve never heard back from so many churches, but I heard back from Pastor Steele’s assistant and he called me direct to make an appointment. Within a week and a half I was sitting at a table gleaning wisdom from a pastor of thousands who was taking time out of his schedule for a church planter from Wickenburg, Arizona. So grateful, thankful and impressed with this man. He in the busy streets of Phoenix and I in the small, quiet town of Wickenburg. Worlds apart, but united under God in that moment.

Here is my message to you. If you need wisdom… seek it out. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t always lean on those that you used to lean on. Be open to new faces… new voices… new wisdom. You may be surprised at where God brings it from. He may bring someone that you’ve never met into your life to make an incredible impact. I know that is what He has done for me.

Thank you!

GP

5 Reasons Why Church Planting Sucks… and why you should do it

So, we planted a church 4 1/2 years ago. We started in a living room with a small group of folks who loved Jesus and wanted to do a “new thing” in our community. We’ve seen that group blossom as we’ve moved to three different buildings, added staff members and seen our numbers grow to around 300 on a weekly basis. I’m at the point now where I don’t even know if I can legally call myself a “church planter” or if I simply have to be called a “pastor”.

(I do prefer the former. Just being called a “pastor”  feels like going from “Super Spy” to “Office Clerk”… but that’s just me.) 

The one thing that I’ve learned along the way is that Church Planting Sucks! There are a ton of reasons why it does. Let me just highlight a quintuplet of reasons… 

REASON #1: No Money

OK… maybe you are one of the lucky ones who has partnered up with Daddy Warbucks to do your plant, but I didn’t. If you are marching out after Jesus humming “I Surrender All” – including a paycheck – then you know what I mean. I had a family of four with one cooking and walked away from all security to the promise of no money. It was SUPER SCARY and it sucked. Things were tough. Things were hard. Things were stressful. But, we were able to see God provide all of our needs.

We had nothing, except a call from God. In that call, as I accepted no paycheck, God began to move miraculously. He opened up a job that I could work while we started building the church. He brought tithing couples around us and began to bless their socks off until finally I could collect a small paycheck for the work at the church. It was a difficult time, but is was in that season that I learned what it was like to follow Jesus. I wouldn’t trade that time for the world.

REASON #2: Other Churches

Depending on where you plant, there may be other churches who aren’t very happy to see you. Now, you may be thinking that we are all in the army of the Lord and every pastor, deacon and elder from every congregation is going to throw their arms around you and lead a round of “Kumbaya My Lord”, but that probably won’t happen. In fact, you may be seen as the enemy as suspicions abound that you are there as a “sheep stealer” who could take down their religious empire. It may lead to awkward moments in the grocery story line. But, we were able to send a message to the churches and the community about a different way of doing things.

We started to focus on areas of the community that were overlooked. We sent a strong message that we were not after “churched” people. In fact, we discouraged “church people” from coming. If one stumbled in on a Sunday, we would encourage them to plug in to the church that they called home. We began to reach out to the broken and the hurting and assure them the our church was a “safe place”. It was a place where you could come “broken” and be accepted and see God heal you. So many in our community never would have been reached if we only thought about how other churches would receive us. I’m glad we took a gamble to reach out and do something different.

REASON #3: No Staff

My staff was myself, my wife, a small group of people who were already extremely busy and some child labor that came from my brood of children. That was it. We had no staff and no people. I was the worship leader and the greeter and the website designer and the preacher and administrator and the donut getter and the “bang my head against the wall because I’m so stressed” guy. I learned the power of the volunteer and how to appreciate them, but when you are first starting it doesn’t come easy. But, this taught me how to inspire, train and appreciate volunteers.

We never walked into a multi-million dollar budget. We had to inspire people with a vision and have them partner with that vision. We had to pour out thanks and appreciation to the many that worked hard each and every week. This made me truly love and value every person in our church. We didn’t have “hirelings”, but we had “sons and daughters”. We had people who called THE PLACE Church their home because they were immersed in a God vision to reach their community for Jesus. This blessing came because we didn’t have anything to begin with. This absence brought appreciation and love.

REASON #4: Church Hoppers

For me, this is the most frustrating and sad part about church planting. We have seen SO MANY people hop in and they are on fire. They love the church and the preaching and the vision and the donuts and the… (the list could go on and on). They are the ones singing your praises until one Sunday, they just stop coming. You follow up with them, of course, and you find out that they are now going to another church. You are flabbergasted! You thought they were the “ones”. You thought they were sent by God. You thought that they were going to be the next best thing since sliced bread, only to find them sucking up to some pastor at a “bigger church” or a “better church” or a “church with more anointed worship” or a “better children’s ministry” or a “cooler youth group” or a “manlier men’s group” or a “more feminine women’s group” or a “you get the point”. However, these people have taught me how important the ones that stick are.

I LOVE OUR CHURCH! I love those people who stick with us… who are enthralled with the vision… who weather the storms… who don’t abandon me when I’m an idiot. They live out grace and I love them for it. And, when the church hoppers  just jump ship, it helps me refocus on those that are in it for the long haul. Don’t get me wrong, I still love those people that leave too. I pray for them to find a home where they can put their roots down and experience a healthy spiritual family. But, for me they help to make sure that I’m pouring into those people who call our church home. They are so special to me and our leadership team.

REASON #5: Past Mistakes

There are a TON of past mistakes. Some of these mistakes you made. Some of these mistakes were made by other church planters or churches in your community. When you plant a church you come face to face with all of it. You are told things like, “That was tried and it didn’t work” or “You know you can’t do that”. Everyone has an opinion and they are all going to want to share it with you. These opinions and mistakes may start building a heavy weight on your chest and begin to weigh down the vision that God has give you. I know that they were blurring my vision when we first planted until I began to see the wisdom in the past and the freedom to make mistakes with grace.

We decided that we were going to be a church that tried new things and that we weren’t going to be afraid to pull the plug when they flopped. And, flop we did. For example, we tried a Saturday afternoon service once at 4:30pm. It went over like Garth Brooks at a Rap Battle… it was BAD! One week, only two women showed up – AND ONE WAS A FIRST TIME VISITOR! I can imagine her waiting for me to pass the Koolaid around (good thing it wasn’t ‘communion Saturday’). Needless to say, she never came again and we squashed the Saturday service shortly after that. But… we tried it. We have to be willing to try things and we have to be willing to fail and to learn lessons for ourselves. We appreciate opinions, but prefer to create our own through experience.

So, as you can see… there are plenty of reasons why church planting sucks. There are lots of reasons not to plant a church. However, being a “church planter” who has gone through them all, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It has changed me, changed my family and helped to form the awesome faith community that I call home. Plus, it is fulfilling the Great Commission that was given to us by the Lord Jesus Himself:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Be encouraged, shine bright and continue to work hard to make Jesus famous in your world. It is SO WORTH IT!!!

GP

5 Keys to Common Sense Biblical Counseling

Now, I’m not talking about the kind of counseling where you need a plaque on the wall to do it. I’m talking about the “‘down and dirty’ representing Jesus to help someone” kind of counseling. As Christians, we are called to be available to help others throughout life.

Let me give you five quick keys to making sure that your Biblical Counseling time is fruitful:

Key #1: Keep Christ First and Last

If you are going to sit down and provide someone with counsel, make sure that you start and end the time in prayer. This is the moment where you can invite the Holy Spirit to be part of the conversation. Ask Him to lead the conversation and help you hear what needs to be heard. Too often we just dive right in without taking time to pray. Take a few minutes to focus on God… it will make all the difference in the world.

Key #2: Listen More Than You Talk

This simple key has revolutionized my ability to counsel. There is something about silence that makes us want to fill it. I get uncomfortable when no one is saying anything so I try to fill it with words. When counseling, you need to embrace the silence. Sometimes, the silence allows the opportunity for the person you are counseling to say what they normally avoid saying. Don’t be afraid to sit, be silent and let THEM fill the void.

Key #3: Don’t Excuse Behavior or Make Excuses for Them

In the past, I would find myself trying to defend or “make sense” of people’s situations. This is not my responsibility. Trust me… people can make enough excuses for themselves and they don’t need my help. I am not here to justify mistakes or actions that they have done, but simply hear them through. Bite your tongue next time and don’t let yourself make excuses.

Key #4: Delineate Between the Need for an Ear and the Need for Advice

Sometimes people just want someone to listen to them. In fact, I’ve found that some people can actually come up with great conclusions for their lives by simply hearing themselves speak. Others, however, need an action plan or steps to apply to their lives by you. As you are counseling them, try to keep an ear open to what their need is. This can happen by asking them near the end of your time, “What are you going to do with what we talked about?” If they don’t have an answer, this may the moment for your two cents.

Key #5: Don’t Tell Them What to Do, But Allow Them to Search Scripture and Pray to Make Decisions

In Biblical Counseling, I want to point people to the Bible and Prayer. God wants to speak to His children. He wants to lead them in their decisions. The more that I can get someone to focus their heart, mind and attention on God… the more wisdom they will be able to attain from Him. This will happen, sometimes, by opening up the Bible and pointing to verses that deal with the subject of the counseling time. It can also come from giving them portions of scripture to read, think about and commit to memory. Point them towards spiritual action and you allow them to develop strong, healthy habits.

There it is! A few keys to help you help others. Now, get out there and get busy helping people make great decisions and find wholeness in their hearts and lives.

GP

Top Ten Reasons Every Church Should be Using Facebook

There is a great book out there that can help the church grow Exponentially. Most of the population uses it… but we may have not thought about it as a “church growth” vehicle. It is FACEBOOK!

Let me break down the TOP TEN reasons that every church should be using Facebook from the book “Facebook Jesus: Using Facebook to Build and Grow a Church“.

Reason #1: Everybody is doing it! Duh! That’s right. There’s nothing like some good old fashioned peer pressure to start the reasons off. However, this is one time where this peer pressure is good because it leads us into…

Reason #2: Facebook gives you the potential to reach millions with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth which has the power to set people free and bring hope and salvation to the world. Jesus called us to “Go into the nations of the world” (Matthew 28:16-20) and there is no easier way to touch every nation right now than through technology. Technology has opened up the world to us.

Reason #3: Communication is the key and Facebook makes it easy. Getting the word out to your church congregation has never been easier. With a few simple key strokes you can inform your entire congregation about an upcoming event, special announcement or a change to the schedule. Not only that, but it also helps with…

Reason #4: Gaining feedback from your congregation. What do the members of the church really think about the current sermon series or the next location for the youth summer camp? Facebook opens up the doors of communication wide and allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of your congregation.

Reason #5: It allows you the ability to share the vision of the church through photos and videos. Words can’t capture the life of your church as well as pictures and videos. However, videos are hard to add to a monthly newsletter that is sent out to mailboxes across your city. With Facebook you can share the life of the church visually with only a few clicks of the mouse.

Reason #6: Building Relationships. Your church website is a one way street that leads from the staff of a church to the members of the church. Anyone who tries to travel the wrong way down that street can get ran over. Facebook opens up a superhighway of conversation as staff can talk with members and, more importantly, members can talk with staff and other members to develop deeper bonds and relationships with one another.

Reason #7: Gain synergy and momentum. There is no greater way to keep the momentum of your church moving throughout the week than a lively discussion on Facebook. It gets the ball rolling and keeps it going as the flames of interest are fanned from the leadership and the members that are involved in the discussion through comments.

Reason #8: It’s fun! If you are new to Facebook, you may be scared silly right now. It looks like so much work, but I promise you that in a very short amount of time, you will be enjoying the fresh interactions as you watch the church grow in a greater community and you are able to shine God’s light to so many people.

Reason #9: Your staff gain a personality and a voice. There are many people who are working hard to grow the church and the more interaction that they have online, the greater the reward is for the entire church body. The members of your church want to know that they can contact the pastor or the youth leader if they need to talk. I am still perplexed at how many times I have called and left a message for a church leader or staff member and have NEVER been called back. With Facebook, direct contact is opened between the staff and the members of the church. This will pay off in HUGE dividends as your church grows.

Reason #10: It’s FREE!!! Yes, that’s right… free. You don’t need to pay anything. If those reasons aren’t enough, you need to know that most of your congregation is probably already hanging out there. For absolutely no financial investment, you can begin to have a profound impact with those in your community and, ultimately, those around this globe. So, what are you waiting for?

To read more, buy the book in paperback or Kindle format by clicking here