We hope you enjoy reading our feature blog posts this week. There is some great content to help you!
This week I tweeted, “Meeting with my personal prayer team. I’m confident I’ve underestimated their influence in my ministry. Every pastor should have one.”
I received numerous replies asking me questions about the specifics of who this group is, what they do, how often we meet, etc. I thought it as worthy of a post.
Years ago when I was a layperson, a group of my prayer partners formed our own pastoral prayer team. We would pray during the church services and make appointments with church staff members to pray for them. It was a great marker in my spiritual growth and it seemed to be valued by the ministers.
When I became a pastor myself, knowing the importance of prayer, I decided to be intentional in soliciting people to pray for the church and my ministry. I have done this various ways. I’ve emailed individuals and groups with specific prayer requests. I’ve had Sunday morning meetings before church and recruited a few people to pray during each service. I’ve had a few men that I met with in accountability/prayer groups.
In the past couple of years, I started something new. It’s become my preferred model, simply because it’s intentional, it’s highly functional with my schedule, and I’ve seen the results of prayer working in my ministry.
Esteban Vázquez wrote a blog post not long ago, reflecting on a decade of biblioblogging on his part:
Biblioblogdom, as it once was, has ceased to exist. Which isn’t to say that no one is blogging about the Bible and theology—far from it! (Witness the monthly Biblical Studies Carnival, ongoing since 2006, and hosted this month by our old friend Jason Gardner.) But the community, with its vigorous exchanges across all levels so often chronicled in “round-ups,” seems to have disintegrated in favor of a more autonomous approach. While this is doubtless a cause for regret, there is also a certain freedom in it: it is frankly impossible to keep up with 200 or more posts a day, let alone to participate meaningfully in that many conversations, and less still to produce contributions that will keep the entire community engaged. The conventional wisdom these days is that, in the age of Twitter, no one reads blogs any more. I’m not sure that’s quite true, but perhaps this perception signals that the conditions are right to venture out once again, even if only occasionally.
The feel of the biblioblogosphere has certainly changed dramatically and perceptibly, although it is very hard to pin down precisely what has changed and why. But one thing, which Esteban mentioned, is the sheer volume of blogging that there used to be, and would be if all the biblioblogs that once were had been continuing their prodigious output. I’ve noticed a couple of blogs on which things had gone silent, but where activity has just revived. Sci-fi author Jack McDevitt has just started blogging! Whether any of that means the trend of decline in blogging may reverse remains to be seen.
It was a sunny, California Wednesday morning.
We were having our weekly staff meeting, innocently sorting out the details for an upcoming service, when I mentioned an illustration I wanted to close out my sermon with.
Then it happened.
One of the staff members spoke up. “We already have a lot going on in the service agenda for that day. We can only do that if you shorten your sermon a bit, because the last couple weeks you’ve gone long.”
No one in the room gasped, averted their eyes, or thought “Oh, that’s too bad, I’m going to miss working with you.” It was just another piece of honest feedback, and we all took it as such.
I responded with, “yeah, I’ll have to cut back if we’re going to add that illustration.”
Then we moved on to the next agenda item.
The moment meant so little to us that no one thought anything of it. In fact, they’re probably scratching their heads as they read this, trying to remember when the meeting in question happened.
Every healthy staff should be able to offer constructive criticism to other members, including the lead pastor, with that little amount of concern.
Going to church is a bit like hanging out at Starbucks.
The coffee’s hot, the people are friendly, and the Wi-Fi is almost always free.
Seven in 10 Protestant churches (68 percent) provide Wi-Fi for both guests and staff, according to a new survey of Protestant senior pastors from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
Most also have a website (84 percent) and a Facebook page (84 percent).
But few churches have ventured on Twitter (16 percent).
Once wary of technology, Protestant churches now seem all in, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. It’s another way to connect with guests and worshipers alike.
“Not long ago churches’ use of technology was often limited to a website that functioned like the Yellow Pages or a bulletin board,” said McConnell. “Now they see technology as a way to interact with people. Wi-Fi is just one more way to do that.”
Churches love Facebook
A website and Facebook page are the most common online tools used by Protestant churches. Both are used for similar goals—to interact with the congregation and to reach outsiders.
Among those with a website, 99 percent use their site to provide information to visitors, while 94 percent use it to inform the congregation. Seventy-one percent use their site to recruit volunteers or let people know about their ministries.
Thank you to our sources for this week’s blog posts:
Ron Edmondson – How My Personal Prayer Team Is Structured
Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath – The Future of Blogs and Blogs of the Future
Christianity Today: Karl Vaters – Constructive Criticism: The Day A Staff Member Told Me I Was Preaching Too Long
Facts & Trends – Churches Like Facebook, But Don’t Follow Twitter