Friday, May 23, 2014


Some straightforward counsel to outward focused churches from Perry Noble.


Information is advancing daily on a global stage through the connectivity of the Internet. Email, blogs and social platforms contribute to the viral spread of content in real-time to shape culture, capture polarized opinions and broadcast the news of "right now" to the ends of the earth.

On Facebook alone, there are 1.3 billion active users who log in monthly to read news, connect with friends and share relevant content. People are not only getting information online but they are living their lives there as well and the church can be a part of the conversation.

Here are 7 ways you can leverage social media this week to help your church grow!

1. Be an active part of the conversation on social media platforms.
Before stepping foot into your building, people get their first impression of your church online. If your social media platforms are empty or haven’t posted anything new for months, people will think your message is out of date too!

2. Contribute content worth sharing.
We're all strolling around the Internet asking, "What's in it for me?" while hunting the funniest video, the latest controversial article or the cutest picture of puppies we can find. Once we do, what's next?

We share it! People share content that moves them, and creating content that stirs emotion takes effort.

Social content is often visual so think about how you can leverage what you’re creating for Sundays or midweek services that will empower and encourage your fans to continue conversations around what Jesus is doing in your church in their social circles. Short tweets, sermon recap videos and content formatted for phones can be great content that’s easy to share.

3. Answer questions people are asking.
Everyone is asking three questions: What happened? What’s happening? What's next? If you're not answering one of these three basic questions about your church on a daily basis, you're missing a great opportunity to contribute to the conversation online and in the workplace.

4. Know your audience and the platform.
All social media platforms are not created equal. Posting the same message on all the different social media outlets is like using a hammer to put screws in the wall or painting with a fork--it may get the job done, but it’s not the best way. Know who’s there and why they are there. Then, craft your message and communication specifically for them.

5. Listen to the conversation.
Broadcasting information but not engaging in conversation is like holding up protest signs in a public place but never speaking to the people around’s just stupid! Similarly, hijacking conversations instead of participating in them is rude in real life and the internet too.

6. Provide excellent customer service.
Excellent customer service lets your audience know that you’re listening. And, when they know you’re listening to them, they’ll listen to you. You are the expert for your organization. If someone asks a question on your Facebook page or tweets it @you, let them know they matter by answering it in a timely manner.

7. Empower your staff and volunteers.
One of the greatest ways your church can reach people in your community is by empowering staff and volunteers to share their stories and connect with others. Gather your church’s leaders and volunteers and teach them to share their story. Then as they live their life and faith online it will naturally point people to Jesus and let your area know that your church is a place where people can grow in a community.

(This post was put together by our AMAZING social media team. This year at our Double Conference they will be doing breakouts on how to do promotion for your church that is VERY inexpensive…but more effective than television commercials!! To learn more about using social media to advance the Gospel and help your church grow, make plans to join us for the Double Conference on August 28th and 29th. It's going to be AWESOME!!!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014



Who are your neighbors?

Increasingly traditional churches cannot answer that question with any specificity.  Some congregations are reverse commuters, returning Sundays and perhaps Wednesdays to gather and worship in a community in which they no longer live.  Other churches live in a bubble of doctrinal isolation (i.e., we do not want to tainted by the world and therefore have little contact) or inward-focused fellowship, spending almost 100% of their time with other church people.  Some congregations are even afraid of their neighbors.  As a result no attempt is made to reach those unchurched neighbors except the billboard or sign out front.

Who are our neighbors?  The scriptures make it very plain – they are the people for whom Christ died and who Christ loves.  Some of them are connected to churches, some are not.  Some are Christians, some are not.  Some are church drop-outs.  Some have absolutely no Christian roots and have barely a clue as to what you do behind closed doors on Sunday morning.

If we think of those neighbors at all, we generalize them as the lost and then act as if they’re not really lost by largely ignoring them.

Do you want to reach your unchurched neighbors?  That is an essential question for every congregation that claims to be an obedient and faithful part of the Body of Christ.

If you truly want to reach your unchurched neighbors, then there some realities you must come to grips with.

1. They are not your enemies, nuisances, nor your project.  These are three perceptions that will drive your neighbors away or create barriers across which they will never pass.  They may not like your faith nor approve of it, but if you see them as your enemies and approach them as such, they will fight back.  They are not persons who get in the way of your ministry. They are people who need your ministry.  Reaching them is far more important than all the church suppers, small group Bible studies, and projects your church may pour its energy into.  They are not a project, a number to be counted, a victory to be one.  They are people, created in the image of God, loved and respected because Christ died for them.  They are people who need a relationship with Jesus Christ and with you, the Body.

2. They have needs that you must first understand and then respond to in the name of Christ.  Too many of us do not know our neighbors well enough to know their needs, let alone address those needs.  We often assume we know them, but that usually leads to assuming they are like us and just need to be persuaded to behave as such.  If you don’t build relationships, listen, and seek to understand–you will not reach your neighbors effectively.

3.  They are have values and dreams.  You may think those values to be sinful or their dreams to be shallow; but you do not build a redemptive relationship with people who you do not respect in some way.

There’s more to be said on this subject, but for now; know that if you want to reach your unchurched neighbors, you will have to begin thinking in new ways.

(C) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn
This post originally appeared on the blog BRIDGES TO THE BRIDGE

Sunday, May 18, 2014



One of the most popular forms of outreach for a local church is that of the Vacation Bible School. With more and more working parents looking for meaningful experiences for their kids during the summer, the potential for VBS remains undiminished.  It is clearly the front door to the church that even secularized parents appear willing to open.

Some people within the church resent being used as a babysitting service  and even seed the soil negatively by expressing that thought within the church.

Resist that feeling.  It comes from hell and smells like smoke.  Do we think Jesus resented the people who came to him in crowds out of their unspiritual needs?  No, Matthew 9:38 says clearly, “He saw that they were harassed and helpless … he had compassion on them.”  He prayed for more harvesters.

VBS is important for these reasons—especially within an increasingly unchurched culture.  (1) People like Jesus but not the church.  It is a chance to let them the love and joy found in the real church. (2) It allows people to learn what’s in the Bible and find practical applications for life.  This may be the only time these children receive any Bible teaching (and God’s Word does not return to Him void.)  (3) This babysitting can be the first step in building redemptive relationships—building bridges to the Bridge.(4) VBS is not a tool of church growth—it is a resource for evangelism and discipleship. (5) VBS gets your people interacting with the community in practical ways. (6) VBS gives your people practical ministry experience as a team. (7) VBS says “children matter God” and they matter to us as a church.

(c) 2014 by Stephen L.Dunn