Top 10 Posts of 2017

A Quick Look Back

Happy New Year! I hope you saw God do some incredible things in your church last year, and I’m sure you can’t wait to see what He’s going to do in 2018. I feel the exact same way. I have some posts coming up in 2018 that I’m really excited about, but before we move ahead, let’s take a quick look back at my most viewed posts of 2017. Enjoy!

My Christmas Wish List – A list of some of my favorite items that have helped my church grow, and I believe could help yours.

One Big Mistake Rural Churches Make – Do you have a rogue sheep that’s killing your flock? In this post I give you five steps to help them straighten up or move on.

Talent Isn’t Enough – One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made as a leader is putting someone in charge based on their talent alone. I don’t make that mistake anymore. Now I evaluate them based on the three areas mentioned in this post.

Some Churches Don’t Need to Change – “I feel like some of us believe our churches need to do a complete 180 in order to reach our community, when the truth is, we just need to get better at the things we already do.”

Five Stages of Church Growth – What do churches and babies have in common? More than you think, as you can see in this post.

10 Tips on Church Growth – You want to see your small town church grow? Start by implementing these tips.

Small Town Church Growth – The post that started it all. If my small town church can see crazy growth, so can yours.

Four Thoughts on Christmas Services – I know, I know, it’s a bit early to be talking about Christmas, but you may want to bookmark this post for next year.

5 Reasons We Made the Switch from CCB to PCO – And I’ve never regretted it. If you’re looking for a church database management system, Planning Center Online is a great option.

5 Elements of a Great Worship Experience – I knew this post caused quite a stir, but I had no idea it would become my most popular post by a very large margin. Read it yourself, and see why it had everyone talking.

Looking back is fun, but I’m more excited about looking forward to 2018. I’m believing this is going to be an incredible year for you and me both. If I can ever serve you in anyway please shoot me an email, or check out my coaching page for the different options I offer.

P.S. I’ve added a store to feature some resources I’m developing this year. Currently you can pick up my 8 Steps to More Impactful Preaching ebook if you don’t already have it, or my new ebook The Basics: 13 Steps to Turn Around Your Small Town Church.

Merry Christmas Website Giveaway

Merry Christmas! Thanks so much for being a part of the blog this year. Each one of you are an awesome gift to me, so with some help from my friends at Clover I’d like to give one lucky reader a gift as well.

One lucky reader will receive a free website from Clover Sites. The church I serve has used Clover for years and we’ve been very happy with the product. It’s super easy to use, looks great, and is affordable.

Especially for one of you because they’re waiving the normal $1,000 up front cost. Pretty awesome.

If you’re interested in an amazing new free website, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your name, church you serve, and current website address. On January 30th, I will choose a winner.

In the meantime you can demo the beautiful themes on cloversites.com. Test everything out to make sure Clover is a fit for you. There are lots of site designs to choose from.

Again, a website from Clover normally costs $1000 up front, plus $25/month for hosting and support. With the link I give the winner, the entire up front cost is waived, so you will just be paying the monthly fee.

What are you waiting for? Leave a comment below and let me bless you this Christmas.

Four Areas to Evaluate Your Church Brand

My seven-year-old daughter recently wrote Santa a letter with a list of items she would like for Christmas. Most of it was typical toys and things of that nature, but I was surprised to see that Jordan shoes had made the list. She has never seen Jordan play, and I’m not sure she would recognize him if I showed her a picture of him. Yet the brand was important to her. Your church also is a brand, so how can we make sure it’s a positive one?

Branding is something a lot of small town churches don’t even think about, but they should. Your brand communicates who you are, and whether you realize it or not, what you’re currently communicating could be hurting your church.

So, let’s take a look at the four areas that communicate your brand the loudest.

  1. Your Website. In the majority of cases before anyone ever visits your church, they’ll visit your website. This is the day and age we live in, and it’s not changing anytime soon. If your church doesn’t have a website by now, what are you even doing? In order to reach people, you have to go where they are, and 87% of the people in America are online. The only thing worse than not having a website is having a terrible website, which many churches have embraced. And I get it, you’re preachers, you’re not web developers. So, pay someone who knows what they’re doing to help you. Find a church in your community that has a nice website and ask them if they can help you with yours. This isn’t rocket science. There’s no reason for churches to have terrible websites. It comes down to laziness and not caring at this point. Fix it! Here’s a post that can help.
  2. Your Logo. My youngest daughter can’t read yet, but she knows every time we pass a McDonald’s. You know why, because she recognizes the golden arches. Your logo is ten times more likely to be remembered than any other piece of your brand. So you need to keep it up to date and relevant. Clipart is not going to cut it. Again, invest the money to get a nice looking logo you can be proud of. One of the sites we’ve used in the past is called 99 Designs. For a few hundred dollars, you can choose from multiple options and get something really nice.
  3. Your Social Media. I encourage every church to at least have a Facebook page. Facebook is where a lot of your congregations are hanging out, so you need to be there too. However, just like your website, you can scare people away from your church if you’re not careful. If you post a picture of Jesus and say, “Share if you love God. Ignore if you want to go to hell,” you need to have your computer taken away from you. Find a young person to run your social media. They have way more experience, they’re going to be better at it, and they would love to do it.
  4. Your Church Sign. It’s possible that terrible church signs have done more damage to Christianity in America in the past 20 years than anything else. If you have a sign that allows you to change out the letters and come up with clever sayings like, “Stop, drop, and roll doesn’t work in Hell,” I want to give you a very clear next step. Take a few of those letters, put your service times and website on the sign, and throw the rest of the letters in a fire. I don’t care if its sister so-and-so’s ministry. She’s destroying your church, and you’re letting her. Stop It!

One last thing that doesn’t really fit into any of these categories, make sure there is consistency and unity with your branding. The student ministry and women’s ministry and all the others can have their own logos, but they need to have the same look and feel as the main church logo.

Putting all this together takes time and money, but if you’ll do it, you’ll discover it’s well worth the investment.

How would you rate the branding at your church? What areas do you need to work on the most? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.