Orginally published on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 7:38 AM
by Todd Rhoades
This is from the latest Willow Magazine (from Willow Creek Association). They asked a bunch of church leaders what innovations they are using and came up with this list of fifteen or so innovations that they think have merit in local church ministry. Take a look at the list and see what you think. What's missing? What would you add or take off this list? I'd love to hear your response!
Here are the 15:
1. Podcasting - circuit riding at the speed of light
In addition to your weekly messages, how about spicing it up with special editions? Try doing interviews with church neighbors, the mayor, volunteers, staff intros., etc. If it’s worth preaching it’s worth podcasting. Any church of any size can exponentially increase its impact via MP3 technology.
2. Blogging - digital discipleship
Don’t blog for an audience, blog for you. The more you write about what’s on your head and heart, the more people will respond. Blogging increases your bandwidth and allows you to digitally disciple just about anybody, anywhere, anytime.
3. Video Technologies - postmodern stained glass
The medieval church used stained glass to tell the gospel story in pictures. We’re using screens to tell the gospel story in moving pictures. Jesus isn’t just the Word of God. He is also the Image of God. The Church needs to communicate in images!
4. Viral Video - get contagious quickly
Use YouTube to spread the love. There’s even a first-time visitor orientation.
Use it creatively for things like behind-the-scenes sermon prep, church staff meetings, or videos created by the congregation. There’s a reason why this is one of the top visual communication sites on the Web.
5. Multi-Purpose Church Buildings - doing ministry in the marketplace
Jesus didn’t hang out at synagogues. He hung out at wells. Wells were natural gathering places in ancient culture. Coffeehouses are postmodern wells. That’s why National Community Church, in Washington, D.C., built a coffeehouse on Capitol Hill instead of a church building — to create a marketplace environment where the church and community could cross paths. Less than a year after it opened, “Ebenezers” was rated the #2 coffeehouse in the metro DC area by AOL CityGuide 2007. They serve 600+ customers seven days a week. Instead of asking people to come to them, the church is going to the people.
6. Multi-Site Churches - one church, multiple locations
Once thought to be a mere fad, satellite campuses are here to stay. This is one of the most effective ways to plant strategic, intentional churches … and bring economies of scale to boot!
7. Web Site - your church portal
Guests can watch a Webcast, read your history, and get as much information on your church as they want. And they can do it from the comfortable confines of their computer. Most people will visit your Web site long before they visit a service. Your Web site is your first impression.
FREE BONUS TIP: Ruthlessly eliminate lame Web sites (you know who you are!)
8. E-Mail - word of mouse
Churches should avoid spam at all costs, but an e-letter is an easy and affordable way to keep the church connected. An e-mail is a simple way to keep a ministry team on the same page or evite a friend to church. Think of it as word of mouse. Many pastors preach to more people via e-mail than they do via voice. It’s a form of e-vangelism.
9. Branding - the greatest message deserves the greatest marketing
In the last decade, branding has become the marketing rage. And there is a reason. The opposite of brand is bland. The most important truths ought to be communicated in the most unforgettable ways. Churches need to be intentional about branding themselves and branding their messages. Branding isn’t dumbing-down or watering-down the message. It’s putting the creative energy into marketing the message that it deserves.
10. Social Networking - church as a tag-team sport
Create a MySpace page and build an online congregation. The way we network has radically changed with the advent of myspace.com, facebook.com, and even eHarmony.com. The Church needs to piggy-back off of the networking trend for Kingdom purposes.
11. Get a [Second] Life! - “Go into all the [virtual] nations…”
Check out LifeChurch.tv’s campus at SecondLife.com (an Internet-based virtual world). It may be more real world than this world.
12. Get Joost - the magic of television meets the power of the internet
The guys behind Kazaa and Skype are shaking it up again with Joost (Joost.com). Imagine watching your service (or other content) online and chatting with viewers at the same time on the same screen.
13. Text Message - get instant feedback
Instant audience polls. Text to vote during the service for immediate results posted live on the sidescreens. Or text to donate to a cause, building campaign, etc.
14. RSS - the feeds that matter most
Use RSS feeds to get your info fed fast (weekly bulletin, small group announcements, daily devotionals, blog entries, etc.)
15. Live! Missionaries - bridging the geographic distance
Link up around the world with missionaries your church sends and/or supports.
Put them on the big screen and have Q&A with the pastor as everyone sees in real time.
So… what do you think?
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