I’ve got some inside info from my publisher for you – today thru Tuesday, August 4th only, you can save 75% on the electronic version of my new book, Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live. See the P.S. below for several links where you can pick up the e-book today!
With this one-week special, I’m excited to help you uncover the power of language and rethink how you wield the words you use every day.
Words are never neutral. None of us has ever spoken a neutral word in our entire life. Every word that comes out of your mouth and mine has a consequence attached to it, and that consequence will either be positive or negative. What you say will either take your faith, your health, your relationships, your work, or whatever else you may be speaking about in a better direction or it will slowly chip away at the foundation of those same things. Every word is a seed that takes root somewhere and begins producing a crop.
I’m very proud of the book and know it will deeply impact those who read it – its the first one I’ve written for a general audience of both Christian and non-Christian (it’s also a book you might want to use for a sermon series or small group study).
God created the world with his words and he has given us the power to create ours in the same way. Thanks for considering this – and I pray that you find new insights and understanding on the important role the tongue plays each and every day!
Your partner in ministry,
P.S. This $3.99 e-book publisher special is available at all major online retailers including the following – click the links below to pick up your copy today!
“The preaching of Christ is the whip that flogs the devil. The preaching of Christ is the thunderbolt, the sound of which makes all hell shake.”
– Charles Spurgeon
I’m writing to you from Walt Disney, Orlando – in the middle of our 3-day Church Systems Check-up & Boot Camp. We are blessed to have our largest event attendance ever – just look at this amazing group of pastors!
We’re focused these 3 days on the 8 Systems of a Healthy Church, but with a specific focus on Stewardship, which impacts ALL of the systems.
I shared this story here today – so funny, yet so true . . .
There were two men shipwrecked on an island. The minute they go to the island one of them started screaming and yelling, “We’re going to die! There’s no food or water!” The second man relaxed by a tree and was calm as can be. He simply said, “My pastor will find me.”
The first man looked at him dumbfounded and again said, “We’re on an island with no food and water, we’re going to die!”
The second man answered, “I tithe $5,000 a week to my church. Don’t worry – my pastor will find me!”
This second man is an example of an extravagant giver – and yes, the kind that all of us want to develop in our churches.
The key is to have a system to move your people from first-time givers to extravagant givers. As a leader of your church, it’s up to you to demonstrate and encourage good Stewardship for one key reason -Stewardship is Discipleship!
Some key reminders I shared here today in order to develop extravagant givers in your church:
- You have to model it.
- You have to teach it.
Most people have never been taught about giving and as pastors we may be hesitant to. But remember, that Jesus taught frequently on giving – in fact, 30% of his teachings were about money!
- You have to challenge people.
You need to be the chief challenge officer in your church.
At this event we went in-depth on the subject of how to develop your stewardship system and move people up the ladder of generosity to a full life of blessing! As it is written – “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.“Your partner in ministry,
P.S. I have several resources available on Stewardship:
For more information on How to Conduct Your Own Tithe Challenge, something we will be doing at The Journey this fall, just click here to learn about my proven resource.
Today’s guest blog comes to us from Karl Vaters, pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, CA. Karl is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking that Divides Us and is a regular contributor on NewSmallChurch.com.
We all make assumptions.
I do. You do.
And they’re almost always wrong.
Especially on complex subjects, like those that involve God and people. Subjects like church health and growth.
But over the years I’ve made many assumptions about church growth anyway. And I’ve heard others make them.
Then I lived a few decades as a pastor. Experience challenged, then changed my assumptions. It showed me that many of them were not valid.
So what should we do when our assumptions are challenged? Let go of them.
With that as a backdrop, here’s a partial list of assumptions many people make about church health, growth and size – many of which I made myself – that have proven to be wrong.
So we need to give them up.
I Don’t Assume…
…that small churches are doing something wrong
…that bigger is better
…that bigger is worse
…that small church pastors are lazy or sinful (or automatically righteous, either)
…that big churches are shallow
…that a healthy church will grow numerically
…that a lack of numerical growth is a sign of ill-health
…that big churches steal sheep
…that small churches are friendly
…that big churches aren’t friendly
…that more programs equal better church
…that small churches need to think like big churches
…that numerical growth is always a sign of God’s blessing
…that great preaching alone will build a great church
…that doing what the growing church down the street did will make my church grow
So what do you think? Have you made any other assumptions about church growth?
Click here to read the entire post.
Your partner in ministry,
It’s Day 1 at the Church Systems Check-up and Boot Camp in Orlando and one of the the things we’re doing live in front of a group of 200+ attendees is a message run-through. We’re literally running through this Sunday’s message – rehearsing it ahead of time to get feedback and make changes well before Sunday.
Why do we do this? For the same reason that actors to speak the words of a script out loud before they go into an audition room. Because no matter how many times they run through their part in their head, no matter how well they’ve committed it to memory, no matter how clearly they can see their delivery in their own mind’s eye, they understand this truth: Things sound differently when spoken aloud.
Though you and I are not performers, the same rule applies. Your message should not leave your lips for the first time on a Sunday morning – ever. If it does, you will have missed an incredible opportunity to strengthen your delivery and your overall craft.
Now, one of my mantras has become, “Never preach a message once.”
And preaching it in multiple services during the same weekend doesn’t count. Your first service is not your trial run. If you want to increase the effectiveness of your preaching, you absolutely must develop the habit of doing a weekly message run-through – that is, the habit of preaching your message ahead of time, gathering feedback and integrating the changes into your notes for Sunday. At minimum, put yourself in the room with an audio recorder or a video camera. Better yet, pull together some interested, trusted staff to listen and give you feedback.
(For the full process of conducting a message run-through, click here to download my e-book “How to Double the Effectiveness of Your Preaching.”)
I have a friend who says that preparing a good sermon is like preparing a good soup. After you add all of the ingredients, you have to let it simmer. Effective preaching grows out of early preparation – the kind of early preparation that scheduling a message run-through helps move you toward. When you place the message run-through on your calendar for Thursday afternoon, knowing you will be getting up in front of staff members and/or key people in the church – not to mention with a recorder in front of you – you are forced tobe prepared earlier than you may have otherwise been. Forced preparation yields great rewards.
Your partner in ministry,
P.S. I’d like to also help you plan your preaching now for the fall – and save! This week only you can save HALF OFF on my newest and best fall sermons. Click here to save half off – today thru Friday, July 24th only!
It’s an interesting thing we do as pastors – preparing a sermon every seven days. I have a lot of motivational speaker friends who only have to develop one or two speeches a year, but we have to develop one every week!
Add to that the responsibility of transforming lives for Christ with our messages.
Preaching sure requires a lot of advanced planning – but theseresources will cut that planning time dramatically! I’ve already one through my full library of powerful, “done-for-you” sermons to provide you with this list – the newest and best of the best that will be perfect for the fall season.
And today through Friday, July 24th these proven sermon series will be available for HALF OFF.
Here are My Top Fall Sermons – all HALF OFF:
DON’T BELIEVE IT – NEW 6-week sermon series that will help you debunk common myths that even well meaning and intelligent Christians believe (like “faith can fix anything” and “everything happens for a reason”) and teach them the dangers of believing these misconceptions.
STEP UP – NEW 5-week sermon series to challenge your people to step up spiritually and fulfill God’s ultimate goal for their lives – to look and act more like Jesus than ever before.
IT’S PERSONAL – NEW 4-week sermon series that helps you examine the words of Jesus and some of his most challenging statements in scripture that teach your people how they can personalize these “I am” statements into their lives.
GAME ON – NEW 5-week sermon series that will help you teach the central idea that “God want to use you.” You will challenge your people to discover how to use their God-given gifts to change the world and get in the game – instead of staying on the sidelines.
UNSHAKABLE FAITH – 6-week sermon series that will help you teach your people how to face even the toughest of situations with their faith not only intact, but stronger than ever!
CONQUERING THE GIANTS – 5-week sermon series to teach how to overcome the giants of fear, finances, career, temptation and failure. Give the people of your church and community the solid Biblical principles they need to triumph over life’s major challenges.
BOD4GOD – 4-week sermon series that will help you teach yourpeople to honor God with their bodies – and understand how physical health is connected to spiritual health! This series specifically addresses the importance of dedication, inspiration, eating, exercise and teamwork – but also teaches the sound Biblical principles that will help your people get fit, and stay fit for life!
FROM STRESS TO REST – 5-week sermon series to teach how to move from the overwhelming stress of life into the rest that God offers in Christ. Messages include “My Future,” “My Finances,” “My Job,” “My Faith” and “My Sex Life.”
FULLY ENGAGED – 4-week sermon series explores how your congregation can be “fully engaged” and teaches the people in your church the power of a committed life. Messages include “Fully Engaged with My Walk with God” and “Fully Engaged with My Friends.”
UNSTUCK – 6-week sermon series to teach your people God’s plan for getting “unstuck” and the Biblical principles to experience the transformed life that God promises us in Christ. The series specifically addresses the areas of faith, family, career, friendships and future – but also teaches the sound Biblical principles that will free people up, no matter what they face.
TEMPTED: SOME CHOICES KILL – 6-week sermon series to teach your people God’s plan for overcoming temptation and the Biblical principles to experience the transformed life that God promises us in Christ! This series specifically addresses the areas of sex, greed, anger, addiction, vanity and happiness.
DARE TO BE GREAT – 5-week sermon series to teach your people the Biblical principles they need to live a GREAT life! By studying through Jesus’ “great” statements from the New Testament, you’ll be able to provide inspiration, motivation and practical next steps directly from the Bible for your people to live a God-honoring life of greatness.
TRAIN TO WIN – 8-week sermon series to help your people discover and strengthen their “spiritual muscles” by learning the theological basis and living out the eight doctrines that all healthy Christians need to know.
FORWARD IN FAITH – 5-week sermon series that will help you challenge your people to grow in their faith and move forward in their walk with Christ. Your church will be challenged to put their faith in action and move beyond their comfort zone.
FINANCIAL FREEDOM CAMPAIGN KIT – 8-week campaign kitincludes everything you need to move your people to a solid, Biblical plan for financial success. Messages include “How do find financial peace?”, “How do I get out of debt?”, “How do I save in this economy”, and “How do I honor God with my finances,” among other topics.
NEW TESTAMENT CHALLENGE CAMPAIGN KIT – Full 3-month campaign kit to teach the major themes in the New Testament while your congregation simultaneously studies the New Testament verse by verse throughout the week in small groups. Messages cover topics like radical love, generosity, perseverance and obedience.
Each sermon series includes sermon notes, transcripts, outlines, graphics and over 60 hours of sermon preparation by our teaching team. And all are fully downloadable so you can start using these resources immediately!
We’ve already done the heavy lifting so you can focus on delivering a powerful, Spirit-led message, adapting it to your culture to see life change in your congregation.
I don’t want you to miss this opportunity for us to partner together to grow God’s kingdom this fall.
Your partner in ministry,
P.S. Make this the week to start planning your fall preaching calendar – and save big!
Hurry! This Half-Off Fall Sermons Sale Ends Friday, July 24th!
This is Kerrick Thomas – and for the last 12 years I’ve served alongside of Nelson Searcy as Executive Pastor of The Journey Church. I’m guest blogging today and would like to talk to you about the simple power of a sticky note.
Using a Post-It to add a personal touch can bring about impressive results.
A university study1 showed the simple power of a sticky note. This experiment involved sending out lengthy, tedious surveys to three different groups of professors (fifty professors in each group) through interoffice mail:
- Group 1 received a survey with a sticky note attached asking for the return of the completed survey.
- Group 2 received a survey with the same handwritten message on the cover letter instead of an attached sticky note.
- Group 3 received a survey without a handwritten message.
- It doesn’t match the environment. The sticky note takes up space and looks a bit cluttered. The brain, therefore, wants it gone.
- It’s difficult to ignore.
- It’s personalized. (That’s the difference between Group 2 and Group 3 in the experiment.)
- Ultimately, the sticky note represents one person communicating with another important person, almost as if it is a favor or special request, which makes the recipient feel important.
How we can apply it to our ministries?
- Reminders. Put it on your computer or desk – it demands attention. You’ll want to get rid of it.
- Follow-up. Use sticky notes for follow-up to baptisms, new believers and membership classes. When sending out a new believer packet, for example, you can put a handwritten Post-It right on the letter. I recently wrote out 58 sticky notes to follow up with new believers from the kickoff of our “God on Film” sermon series.
- Delegation. Use a Post-It note when delegating a task to your staff – put that personal touch. See if that doesn’t improve the quality of the task and how quickly it gets done.
1Original study printed in Harvard Business Review in an article by Kevin Hogan, PsyD, author of The Science of Influence and The Psychology of Persuasion.
Tell me honestly – how does it make you feel when you hear those three little words:
“Can we meet?”
If your first reaction is to make an excuse and run – you are NOT alone. There are three reasons why pastors avoid leading meetings at all costs.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- “I’m too busy and my team is too busy.”
- “I’ve had bad experiences in the past.”
- “I don’t want to micro-manage my team.”
The reality is, you’re not too busy for meetings – you’re just not planning and leading the RIGHT kind of meetings.
For many years I had this same negative reaction to meetings. It was only through the process of serving several healthy churches, and then growing a healthy church at The Journey Church, that I realized the opposite is true:
Meetings can be very powerful tools in maximizing our ministry!
In my bi-vocational days of growing The Journey, when time was an extremely limited resource, I learned quickly how to get to the point, take action and hold people accountable. That was the beginning for me in discovering the power of meetings.
John Maxwell famously said — “Meetings are the playground of champions.“ If you find this hard to believe (and feel more like meetings are where dreams go to die!), you’re in for an eye-opening and ministry-transforming reality.
There is no more powerful tool at your disposal that will help you lead, motivate and grow your staff and volunteers than the effective meeting.
As The Journey began to grow and we added staff and then started new campuses, communication, teamwork and being on the same page became vitally important.
So – we developed a meeting schedule and guidelines for planning and leading effective meetings that made our meetings shorter, motivational and yes . . . sometimes even fun!
These include all staff meetings, one-on-one meetings, specific team meetings and even 5-minute stand-up meetings.
There is so much potential being left on the table because we aren’t meeting with our staff — our meetings are under-planned, poorly-led and a waste of time. Help turn your staff culture around and transform your dreaded meeting into a playground for champions!
P.S. I have the privilege of sharing a new resource from a master of meetings who has been working with me to grow The Journey since 2002. Kerrick Thomas serves as Executive Pastor at The Journey and is one of the primary leaders of our staff team. He is also one of the most disciplined people that you will ever meet.
And in this new resource, Planning and Leading Effective Meetings, recorded live at one of my coaching networks, you will learn from Kerrick the secrets to accomplishing more in less time through the power of meetings! As a pastor you can transform your meetings from dull and dreaded to engaging and effective!
And through tomorrow, July 17th, when you pick up Planning and Leading Effective Meetings you will save 89%!
This is Kerrick Thomas – and for the last 12 years I’ve served alongside of Nelson Searcy as Executive Pastor of The Journey Church. Today we continue our discussion of the power of meetings – are you familiar with these important types of meetings?
There are three reasons why pastors avoid meetings. Do any of these sound familiar?
- “I’m too busy and my team is too busy.”
- “I’ve had bad experiences in the past.”
- “I don’t want to micromanage my team.”
SEVEN TYPES OF MEETINGS YOU CAN USE TO EFFECTIVELY LEAD YOUR TEAM:
(To review the first 3 types of meetings listed in Part 1, click here.)
- Stand-Up Meetings
These are quick check-in meetings. At The Journey we have two types:
- Thursday stand-up meeting: about 3:00pm
We check in with each team to make sure everything’s ready for Sunday. We have a “Thursday Midnight Rule:” everything for Sunday service has to be completed by end of day Thursday.
- Direct reports stand-up meeting: 9:00am every morning
At this meeting, we run through the list for the day.
- Brainstorming Meetings
In this type of meeting, you have an issue or goal you set (like baptizing 50 people this year). The mission of the meeting is to get as many ideas or solutions on the board as you can (think 50–100).
Break these up into shorter meetings, about 15 to 20 minutes focused on one department or area, so the right people are in the room. Always have a specific agenda for each meeting.
- Confrontational Meetings
This isn’t an easy meeting to have (as pastors, most of us are people-pleasers by nature), but the more you put off addressing an issue in this kind of meeting, the worse it gets. Schedule this type of meeting as early in the day as possible.
Pick up my brand new resource Planning and Leading Effective Meetings and save 89% this week only – through Friday, July 17th!
More Free Stuff...
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Just complete the form below and you will receive your free copy:
God designed all the parts of the body - both the church body and the physical body - to work together, allowing us to fulfill God's purposes and plans on this earth. And both of those respective bodies function best through well-developed systems.
Nelson Searcy's revised Healthy Systems, Healthy Church E-Book has been updated to include diagnostic questions for you to determine the current health of your church's systems and practical help as you lead your church to greater health and effectiveness. Just complete the form above to receive your FREE copy!
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