3 Helpful Rules for Pastors Using Twitter

If your pastor is new to Twitter or hasn’t found a good rhythm of how to use it, try my 30/50/20 rule for Pastors using Twitter:

30% message application: Drop hints in your weekend message that you’ll be tweeting life application from the sermon topic every day for the upcoming week. This helps engage those in audience (especially those via broadcast) who can be encouraged and have practical application for the past weekend’s message M-F. It also, obviously, has the added benefit of increasing followers.

50% family/personal life: People want to feel like they know their pastors. Since you live in a glass-house anyway, offer them the view you want to share as you live life transparently. Not everyone can get to spend 1-on-1 time with you. Yet when you share “life”, they do feel like you’re more their pastor than just a pastor.

20% inspiration/information (including ReTweets): You don’t have all the answers, and you’re learning, too. Be human and share what’s inspiring/challenging you and who you’re learning from. This applies to all of us. Those who only tweet their own thoughts, promote their own events and don’t reply to others from time to time are missing the point of social media: engagement.

What other helpful practices have you found in using your personal Twitter account?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Coppedge

Anthony Coppedge

On the team at Auxano. Lover of Jesus, my wife and my kids. Unapologetic Apple fanboy. Slightly addicted to MindMaps, but in a good way.

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Beyond the One Dimensional Scorecard: Count Vertically AND Measure Horizontally

Disclaimer: I’m not a certified church growth expert. I’ve not written a book on growing churches, nor do I pastor a large church that’s had a ton of numerical growth. But in talking with a very good friend of mine I’ve thought through some ideas and wanted to share my thoughts on measuring growth.end of disclaimer

Previously, I’ve blogged about the Fellowbackgrangepoint Church model as a way of trying to describe what I’ve seen happening with churches. You might have your own church model that might look more like the Willoharvesttemple Church or the Friendshipcommunityofbible Church or any other mash-up of churches that your leadership has tried to emulate.

At the end of the day there’s a lot of ‘me too’ churches that are honest and sincere in their application of proven lessons. But the results are an overlay of formats that are missing the key ingredient: who God called your church to uniquely be.

There seem to be a couple of prevalent schools of thought floating around:

  1. Measure attendance, because each number is a life in need of Christ
  2. Measure discipleship growth, because life change matters most

Why is it either/or instead of both/and? If a church has 10 people that go very deep in studying Scripture and are a tight-knit fellowship of believers, but never reach people in need of Jesus, they’re ignoring the Great Commission (go and make disciples). Conversely, if a church has a huge front door with thousands coming in and nearly as large back door with thousands going out, why aren’t they discipling those people who are in and out?

So here’s the question I want to posit:

If we count involvement vertically (attendance) and measure growth horizontally (how many serving/changing lives), our metric system is holistically valid.

Obviously, measuring attendance is a lot easier than measuring changed lives. But isn’t that worth the effort? I think it is.

We have to be careful in implementing this process, as it would be very easy for a leader to stop counting and begin judging those who are growing and serving with personal life-change. Yet, with a solid leadership infrastructure and a commitment of group leaders, capturing both anecdotal as well as tangible data is very do-able. In the end, I don’t think we should look for a hard and fast number for the horizontal growth, but maybe more of a barometer that gives an honest and accurate sampling of the result.

Given the plethora of church management systems software packages available, I know first-hand that the right reporting tools exist. The question is, are we being trained to use them to capture both the vertical and the horizontal?

How about your church? Is this honestly what’s happening? Or do you find yourself in an either/or situation?

It’s time for a new scorecard – one that counts vertically AND measures horizontally.

 

How can you move from where you are to the genius of the and?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Coppedge

Anthony Coppedge

On the team at Auxano. Lover of Jesus, my wife and my kids. Unapologetic Apple fanboy. Slightly addicted to MindMaps, but in a good way.

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Anthony Coppedge — 04/02/14 11:09 am

Deb, The concept of a barometer is key to measuring horizontally; a barometer has a number of where it is...but the point of a barometer is less about the current number and more focused on both the increase/decrease of that number and the rate of change. Is the air pressure increasing or decreasing - and how quickly is it doing that? Similarly, we're looking for ways to understand Life Change, which is a relationally-driven measurement; we want to know how people are doing spiritually (good - increase; not so good; decrease) and their rate of change (have they begun to disciple others). So, it's possible to look at anecdotal information from group leaders, volunteer team leaders, pastors, deacons, elders, etc. to provide insight into the spiritual growth and well-being of their congregation. From a reporting standpoint, the old axiom of "you only get out what you put in" holds true. Every major church management system has relatively simple ways of getting pertinent information into the system, associated with the person/family. And while this is helpful for reporting on individual situations, it's more helpful to use as a trend analysis tool for the general rate of change (like the barometer) congregation-wide. Nothing replaces actionable insight like relational connection. Capturing snapshots of that information and providing trend analysis over time is a starting point for providing church leadership with the information that helps guide resource allocation and staffing utilization. Does that make sense, Deb? - Anthony Coppedge

Deb Troxel — 10/18/13 2:54 pm

I'd love to hear what tools others have found effective for measuring horizontally. When my congregation faced that question we developed an assessment tool with personalized resource guidance. The tool sets out clearly articulated goals, provides measures for church leaders, and encourages personal growth in members. We've made the tool available for other congregations - you can learn more at lifemarksjourney.com.

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Tradition Prefers Failure to Innovation

I remember the first time I heard of IDEO – a famous firm that seemingly few have heard about – a company that helps others innovate. It was at a company meeting with Fellowship Technologies where CEO Jeff Hook was inspiring us to help innovate in the church market. I was surprised at the number of products that we use today were actually birthed at IDEO on behalf of the company that gets all the credit. Notable examples are Apple’s first mouse, Microsoft’s second mouse, and the Palm V PDA. Major clients have included Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Eli Lilly, Ford, and Steelcase.

What struck me most about them was that they’re not an invention firm, but an innovation firm.

I think innovation is the art and science of taking something that exists and improving on it in a significant way. This, of course, has huge implications for local churches, who have the timeless message that never changes but innumerable methods for applying that message to culture. Where I think churches trip up along this journey is when traditions become more important than the teachings from the text.

Traditions begin as personal preferences. I made this simple statement in a blog a couple of weeks ago:

I have preferences. We all do. Some of these preferences have meaning to us, so we create a consistent pattern around them. Before you know it, we’ve told others how to operate within our preferences. One step removed from us, what was once a preference is now a tradition. I think traditions are a lot like money: they’re neither good nor bad – it’s all about how you approach it. If a tradition gets in the way of loving people, it’s a clear sign that the tradition has to change or go.”

It is my personal experience and opinion that the main reason mainline churches are failing and dying is because they’re holding onto denominational or local traditions at the expense of connecting culturally with their communities. Further, they hardly ever bother to acknowledge the other Christian denominations (or non-denominational churches) in any of their community efforts. Even in (perhaps especially in?) small town, rural settings, the row of various churches along main street fight to keep their own and avoid being associated with – much less collaborating with – these other faithful flocks. Even Jesus himself said “if they’re not against us, they’re for us”.

Traditions are powerful and can be helpful – as long as they follow the heart of the Father and not merely the letter of the law. I do not believe traditions are inherently bad, but the very nature of perpetuating traditions eschews innovation. We live in a time when change is constant and communication is real-time. At what point can a tradition offer itself on the altar and die to facilitate needed innovation?

Our culture is moving on. Perhaps for the sake of the Gospel we can move on and innovate, too.

QUESTION: Is tradition really in the way of innovation? What say you?

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Anthony Coppedge

Anthony Coppedge

On the team at Auxano. Lover of Jesus, my wife and my kids. Unapologetic Apple fanboy. Slightly addicted to MindMaps, but in a good way.

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7 Key Steps of Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Church Volunteers

I’ve written on burnout (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & also this one) and volunteer issues before, but the key to avoiding those issues is right-fitting volunteers and placing safe boundaries around their workload.

In my experience, there are three parts (Recruit, Train, Retain) to this process, so I’ve included my 7 Steps of Recruiting, Training and Retaining Volunteers. Feel free to share and comment.

1) Invite someone to learn with you. There’s something powerful about being invited and asked to participate in something bigger than ourselves. Most of the best volunteers I’ve met at hundreds of churches came because someone asked them if they’d like a chance to see what it was like to do what we do! Your pool of current volunteers are the best possible recruiters. Why? Because, chances are, they are friends with people similar to themselves. That means techies know more techies. It also means that your non-techie volunteers (more on that below) know people like them, too. Leveraging the spheres of influence that your volunteers have is the best way to invite new people to your ministry.

Another important recruiting tip is to find college interns, stay-at-home moms and retirees who have the time to give on a Monday thru Friday basis. Unlike your other volunteers with full-time jobs, these folks have more flexible schedules and can help you with a host of necessary areas including volunteer scheduling, administrative support, copywriting,  organizing, documenting and encouraging other volunteers with handwritten notes. I have had men and women help me out during the week so that I was freed up to do the work that only I could do instead of work that anyone could do. One of my best volunteers was a brilliant administrator; she just kept me organized and helped me with the myriad of daily tasks that I didn’t like or have the time to do.

When you use interns, keep a log of what they do and give them the chance to apply their time and effort towards their high school or college credits. It may mean you need to go and visit with their high school counselor or college professor, but those real world on-the-job training hours can result in applicable hours towards their degree.

2) Guide someone through the process, initiate them slowly through the ropes and give them a lot of freedom to watch and observe. There’s a great deal of safety in knowing that an invitation to come into the tech booth has no expectation for them to perform. If possible, have a trained techie with the observer to point out what’s happening and to answer their questions. De-mystifying the tech is a big part of alleviating their fears.

3) Encourage those who have a giftedness at certain tasks or in certain areas. We all love hearing when we’ve “got it” and like to know we’re doing something well (or have the potential to do so). Your best volunteers will ‘own’ their role, taking your ministry to new heights because of their joy, passion and talent! Plus, really happy volunteers are also highly motivated volunteers who show up early and stay late.

4) Develop the people who show the most interest, have the best servant attitudes and are teachable. I’d much rather have a person who is inexperienced and teachable than an “expert” who can’t be taught. If you’ve got a soccer mom who doesn’t know technology but is highly teachable, pour into her and see where she can serve. I’ve quite often found that soccer moms make some of the best presentation software volunteers and excellent camera operators. Truly, you don’t have to have a techie person to keep up with detail work. They don’t have to know the operating system or even how the camera really works. They just operate with confidence and style!

5) Evaluate honestly. Hurting feelings doesn’t have to be a part of the job, so be gentle when you have to redirect people out of areas where they can’t accomplish the job. Keep written records of evaluation and offer tangible steps for people to either improve or find new ways to serve.

Also, as blog reader Mark Alves points out, evaluation is easier when done against a set of pre-defined expectations – a job/role description. He’s right, too, because it’s hard for a volunteer to hear they missed a mark they didn’t know they were supposed to hit!

6) Participation has to be consistent. There’s not an expert or professional on the planet who simply showed up and started being a genius without any failures or dedication to their role. This is a “team sport” and it takes all of us working together in unison and not flaunting individual talents.

For worship and church tech arts, I’m personally a fan of having a volunteer team serve the entire weekend and then not serve again for at least two more weeks. This means you will have the same team for all rehearsals and services so that you’re all very consistent and work fluidly as a unit. By building these teams and operating in a one-week-on, two-weeks-off rotation, they’re consistent in their roles while having the time off to recoup from a long weekend.

7) Reproduction should be a natural part of someone becoming seriously qualified and competent in their role. Far too many churches have “the sound guy” (as in ONLY ONE PERSON) or “the worship leader”. While there can (and should) be a leader for decision-making and administration, a team of leaders is the only way to obtain consistency, quality and growth. An example of this reproduction came from my own life as a volunteer. One of my roles at a large church was as a volunteer trainer. Sure it was training, but I looked at it as loving on volunteers. It was also the first time I viewed myself as a volunteer pastor, by taking the time to connect with these other volunteers outside of weekend services to listen, encourage and share life with them.

How are you recruiting, training and retaining volunteers? Leave your comments below and share your successes, lessons and failures with us!

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Anthony Coppedge

Anthony Coppedge

On the team at Auxano. Lover of Jesus, my wife and my kids. Unapologetic Apple fanboy. Slightly addicted to MindMaps, but in a good way.

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What Your Church Should Measure on Social Media

In the Facebook and Twitter social circles, adding more ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ is a popular and accepted measurement of reach. It is assumed that the greater the reach, the greater the influence. However, social media often produces “false positives” based on numbers alone, so what should a church or ministry measure when engaging in social media?

FACEBOOK

A simple rule of thumb about your church and ministry Facebook Fan Pages:

‘Likes’ are good. ‘Comments’ are better. ‘Shares’ are best.”

  • When someone ’likes’ your page, it means your wall content can show up in their News feed. This means you have a chance of them seeing what you’re sharing without them coming directly to your Facebook page.
  • When a person ‘comments’ on your page, it means they have chosen to verbally respond and engage in dialogue. Note: it’s a good idea to respond to their comment by name if a response is warranted.
  • When someone ‘shares’ your wall post, they’ve found enough value that they believe what you shared is worth sharing with their friends, too. This is the beginning of something ‘going viral’ (gaining momentum) in social media, and increases your reach to include those not in your ‘friends’ list to those in your friend’s friends list.

TWITTER

This 140-character, short status update service has put a lot of emphasis on the number of ‘followers’ you have. Early on (and still to this day), it was easy to gain thousands of followers by simply following people and hope they follow you back out of consideration or obligation. In fact, there are services that will allow you to mass-follow people by the tens of thousands. Some people have auto-follow features that reciprocate your follow, while others feel the obligation of courtesy to follow-back. What you end up with is a whole lot of followers, but very few people you actually influence.

Without a relationship of value, having a zillion followers on Twitter is insignificant.

When people choose to follow you, they find what you share to have value, which means you have some level of influence in their lives.

WHAT TO MEASURE?

These social media truths beg the question: What should churches measure with social media? The answer is simple, but gaining the answer is highly intentional and somewhat complex:

Your metrics should only consist of that which you value and track.

Good metrics are measurements against your goals. Any other kind of measurement is potentially true, but irrelevant. Build social media metrics from existing references of data. In other words, find a correlation & track it because the metrics you gather are only as useful as the insights you can apply from them. Metrics are indicators; over time, they reveal trends.

Obviously, this means that each local church will track and measure different aspects of their social media activities because the context of their church, vision and ministry is unique. No two churches should measure the same things for the same reason in the same order of priority. 

How is your church measuring your effectiveness and Return On Ministry in the social stratosphere? What values and goals match your church’s unique vision that you find valuable to track, measure and evaluate? Based on these truths, what will you begin to measure differently?

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Anthony Coppedge

Anthony Coppedge

On the team at Auxano. Lover of Jesus, my wife and my kids. Unapologetic Apple fanboy. Slightly addicted to MindMaps, but in a good way.

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3 Critical Systems for a Healthy Culture

There are many systems in place at churches of every size, location & style; most are borne out of necessity, but some are adopted because they’ve been seen at work in other churches. While the list of church systems could be exhaustive, I’ve come to define them into three distinct but important categories. There are, of course, many, many sub-systems within these broad categories, but I believe each of the three to be vitally important to creating, maintaining and exporting a healthy culture.

The diagram below illustrates the following:

Right Fit + Right Systems = Consistent Results

Right Fit + Wrong Systems = Frustration

Wrong Fit + Right Systems = Inconsistent Results

Wrong Fit + Wrong Systems = Poor Outcomes

Systems Quadrant

I believe that it’s possible to “right fit” every person. As my good friend pastor Brad Stahl (Volunteer pastor at Gateway Church) says, “Everybody’s a ’10′ somewhere!”. The right fit with the right systems is always the goal.

Relational Responsibility System

Once you get past about 50 people that you can know well, it’s hard to keep up with the rest of the people in your sphere of influence. So, in essence, any local church with more than 50 people is, for all intents and purposes, a mega church (which is commonly associated with being “too big” for many). Today, many churches have adopted some form of an electronic database for keeping track of attendees (some still track membership – but if they’re a member, aren’t they attending & serving? Why count membership?). The practicality of an electronic ‘Rolodex’ is helpful, but ultimately insufficient.

The point of keeping up with ‘people information’ is to help facilitate relationships, so any tool that merely acts as a glorified Rolodex is only marginally useful.

Of course many companies have realized this, thus the plethora of church management software offerings for churches of every size. Every one of these software solutions has built their tool from their own bias and understanding of how they would ‘do ministry’. As a result, while many offer similar features, the reality is that the way the software works is ultimately geared towards a way of doing ministry. If you go this route (and I recommend that you do), make sure the software you choose values what you value and functions along how your church does day-to-day ministry. A quick note: there’s not a single platform that’s doing everything really well, so you’re simply choosing the one that fits >80% of your relational responsibility needs.

Stewardship System

Church finances are obviously important, but I’ve come to understand that finances are only one part of being a good steward. As such, I believe that stewardship encompasses a different mindset than is typically found in the conventional church financial office.

Being a steward is defined as a responsibility to take care of something belonging to someone else.

From shepherding people well to wisely managing finances to designating resources effectively, a stewardship system involves a holistic approach. The leader overseeing this system is both generous and wise and manages this system (and sub-systems) through the filter of being a good steward more than ensuring Account Receivable and Accounts Payable are up-to-date. Church leaders are entrusted with much, so much is required. Luke 12:48 says: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” The fundamental shift of leading from this paradigm changes things up.

Communications System

It’s interesting to me how much emphasis the vast majority of churches place on having an event, promotion or need shared from the platform on weekends. Announcements have their place, but the truth is that by the time something makes it to the announcements from the senior pastor (which should be very few things indeed), the audience should have had the opportunity to hear about it from at least five other methods. I don’t think enough churches are thinking about their external communications nearly enough. Email (mass group emails as well as demographic-specific campaigns), print, website, social media, word-of-mouth, advertising, groups promotion and the like are all avenues that should be strategically coordinated (editorial calendars, anyone?).

Great communication ensures the right message is getting to the right people in the right way at the right time.

In addition to external communications, churches need to also put the same effort into internal communications. Frankly, in even smaller churches, the proverbial left hand doesn’t often know what the right hand is doing. As a result, people and project details often fall through the cracks.

In both cases, a unified communications system is less about a specific tool(s) and more about defining a healthy way of communicating effectively.

Owning these three systems is critical to churches. Is your church leveraging these three important systems? Share your thoughts in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter: @anthonycoppedge

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Coppedge

Anthony Coppedge

On the team at Auxano. Lover of Jesus, my wife and my kids. Unapologetic Apple fanboy. Slightly addicted to MindMaps, but in a good way.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.