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A Simple Formula For Church Administration (via Jared Olivetti)

At Gentle Reformation Jared Olivetti offers a formula that seeks to narrow the gap between communication practice and communication desired outcomes.

The formula is: Information + Inclusion = Importance & Involvement
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So before we start pointing fingers at congregation members for not showing up to work days or not “buying in” to the latest ministry, it may help to re-examine how well the leaders are informing and including in every possible way they can. Often, by examining and evolving in these areas, we will see involvement increase as people understand how valued they by their church family.

Read the rest of the explanation here.


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Praying Together (via Megan Hill)

A curious modern situation: churches that focus on the Bible(though not necessarily reading the Bible, but that’s another post) when they meet , but not on corporate prayer.
Megan Hill points out how historically anomalous this is, and how counterproductive in mission:

In 1646 John Eliot, a minister in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, began preaching in a local Native American community. At the meetings, he also prayed aloud in the Massachusett language “in proof that if they thus prayed, God could understand them.” And as Eliot faithfully ministered God’s Word, hundreds trusted Christ. Those Christians came to be known in the colony as “Praying Indians” and their settlements as “Praying Towns.” The distinguishing mark of Christ’s newborn children was obvious to all: they became praying people.Throughout redemptive history, corporate prayer has been a primary feature of the redeemed. From the godly descendants of Seth who “began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26) to the Israelites who worshiped God in His “house of prayer” (Isa. 56:7) to the first members of the early church who “devot[ed] themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14), God’s people have always been praying people.
And so we should ask: Is this a distinguishing mark of our churches today? Do our worship services devote time and attention to substantial prayer? Do our church calendars feature regular prayer meetings? Do our families and community groups prioritize calling on the name of the Lord together?
Brothers and sisters, like all the saints before us, we must be praying people.

Read the whole post here.


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Maybe It’s Time To Take It Down

Recently we’ve been sorting through lots of items at MGPC and finding an embarrassing amount of material that was pretty much junk when we put it into storage and now simply looks weird that we’ve still got it.

Just south of Penola there’s something called Greenrise Lake.
It’s always completely devoid of water, even when the rest of the region is awash.
The water table would need to rise, or the lakebed would have to be sealed for it contain water again.
But this sign still sits adjacent to a depressed paddock of grass.
Hope springs eternal, even if the water doesn’t.
Maybe it’s time to take the sign down.
You’ve got to embrace change before it’s obvious to everyone else but you that the situation is ridiculous.


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Six Distinctives Of A Resuscitated Church (via Thom Rainer)

The king of numbered lists, Thom Rainer produces six distinctives of churches that experience resuscitation.
I like them because these are distinctives that any healthy church must have, and if any church neglects or forsakes them they would run into decline.
Rainer writes:

Is church resuscitation common? No.
Is church resuscitation possible? Yes.
In God’s power, yes.

And these are the ways God usually does so.

  1. A prolonged period of prayer.
  2. A covenant to forsake self.
  3. A willingness to kill sacred cows.
  4. A commitment to see through the eyes of the outsider
  5. An agreement to connect and invite.
  6. A decision to move beyond the negative naysayers.

Read more commentary on these points here.

Number 4, A commitment to see through the eyes of the outsider. is large in our minds at MGPC presently.
Raiiner comments: “As the members continue to forsake self, they begin to ask how the church is viewed from the perspective of the outsider. They may actually engage a person to visit their church and share their experience. It is amazing to see how this process transforms facilities, worship, greeters’ ministry, and children’s ministries, to name a few.”


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A Personal Reason To Be Thankful For The Reformation

In contrast to justification by faith, this Reformation distinctive may seem rather small by comparison.
But as a pastor who is married I’m very thankful for it.


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Making Church Communications More Efficient (via Jonathan Howe)

Jonathan Howe writes about communication strategy for church, the necessity of effective communication, and how more is not always the same thing as better:

I would suggest that instead of being concerned with simply communicating more, churches should be focused on communicating more efficiently and effectively. These four steps will help your church determine what efficient communications look like in your context.

  1. Determine what works best for your people. There’s no one-size-fits all communications plan for any church. Different churches need different methods of communication. If you listen to your congregants, ask for their input, and pay attention to what seems to resonate with them, you can determine what you should stop doing, keep doing, or start doing.
  2. Don’t be afraid to try new methods. Unsure if your congregation would respond to an email newsletter? Try sending one per month for a few months and see what the response is. Find champions for new technology in the church to help you spread the word about the benefits of different communications methods.
  3. Be persistent, but not stubborn or wasteful. Give a new communication initiative a few months before throwing it out. But don’t be afraid to kill something if it doesn’t take, even if you like it, or if you want people to like it. Don’t stick with a communication method just for your own benefit or pleasure. If it isn’t working, don’t continue to waste time and energy on ineffective communications.
  4. Use tools that foster efficiency. Software—both online and computer-based—is widely available for communications. You have templates in Mailchimp, design templates for Canva, and social media auto-schedulers like Buffer and Hootsuite, dedicated social media apps for on-the-go posting. Use tools that work for your workflow and messages. Finding the right tool, or even a better one, can make a huge difference in the efficient use of your time and your message’s effectiveness.

Red the whole post here.