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The Daily Proffitt

I was a little worried when I ordered Jon Acuff’s new book that it wouldn’t apply to me. After all, since the release of Quitter I’ve started a blog, entered full-time ministry and planning to go back to school in the fall. I feel like I’ve come a long way since I first cracked open the pages of Quitter, but I’m glad I was wrong. I’m a few chapters in and already gleaning a lot of really great things from the pages of Start. I can’t wait to share those gleanings here on the blog.

In the early pages Jon Acuff says something I’ve never considered. He says, “Before you start you need to first ask the question, ‘Where am I?’ You have to take into account where you are as you think about where you’re going.” These few sentences have me asking the question, “Where am I?”

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I thought this post had some really good insight into the church “announcement time”. Lots of time congregations are bombarded with announcements and are not really told why they should care or be interested. I think this would be a great route for churches to take.

Launch Clarity

Dear Pastors, Campus Pastors and/or whomever is on the rotation this Sunday…

Please do not just stand up on the platform for 3 minutes and “make announcements.”

We already know the announcements.

They were on the screens before the service.

They were the bulletin we read during the sermon.

They were definitely handed to me on the card by those well-meaning, but intense, women in matching t-shirts when we came in the door.

They were the same announcements about this time last year.

Instead, show me how these activities fulfill our mission as a church.

Connect my spiritual growth to this sign-up, and if you cannot, why are we doing it? 

Create a conversation and inspire me to learn more than dates, deadlines and catch phrases. Because I do.

Thanks for taking a few extra minutes of prep time to paint the bigger picture for us.

180 seconds of vision

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My sister has left campus for Christmas break.
My husband starts his Christmas break today.
Since I am now out of school and have a real person job I no longer get a Christmas break.
This is quite sad.
So, to take a little rest I am going to take a Christmas break from blogging, so I will see you all in the new year.

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

You know, I think as churches and as Christians we are afraid to deal with pain and darkness.
It seems like a lot of times we would rather not deal with it because it is hard and uncomfortable.

Non-Christians know pain and darkness.  They recognize it, and I’m not saying that Christians do not, but I would say that we try to get around it.  Pain and darkness is not easy to talk about or to confront.  Non-Christians realize when we try to get around a subject.  I think we can bring more people to Christ and have a stronger witness if we are open and honest about our sin and the hard stuff that has happened in our lives.  After all, darkness makes the light of Christ and our witness of his light in our lives even brighter.

I recently read an article about whether or not Christians should watch violent R-rated movies, and while that is not a topic I want to try to tackle right now, the article did have some interesting parts.  The writer mentioned that without brokenness, the redemption of Christ would not be as powerful and I agree with this.  This author’s argument was that oftentimes R-rated moves show true pain and darkness and that because of this their stories of sacrifice and redemption are in turn also much stronger.

A few weekends ago I watched “The Green Mile” for the first time.  And while it is R-rated and does have some unsettling violence, I have to be honest when I say that I was deeply moved by it. I sat on my couch and sobbed for the last half hour of the movie and then some.  Watching “The Green Mile” I had one of the most personal realizations of Christ and what he did for me that I have ever had.  It was because of this movie, of the deep, heart-wrenching pain that the convict went through that I was able to see the true beauty of that sacrifice.  I knew the beauty of the sacrifice because of the story of Christ.  For the first time, the emotional pain of the sacrifice, the weight of a guilt-less man paying for a debt that was not his became truly real to me.  Because of pain and darkness, the true beauty of Christ’s sacrifice was revealed to me.

I truly believe that if we are not real with people about sin, pain, and suffering, then we are not being good witnesses to what Christ has done for us.  Christ gives us the power to triumph over these things and there is great freedom and beauty in that realization.  As I was thinking about this the other day, I asked myself, if sin is not important, not real, or not acknowledged, then when is Christ’s sacrifice important?  I think that when we ignore sin and skate around it, we downplay Christ’s sacrifice.  Christ died to free us from sin, but if we do not acknowledge that sin, then we have taken away the meaning of his sacrifice.

All of these thoughts have been weighing on me and I simply wanted to share them with you.  It is fine if you do not agree with me, and if you do not, this is something that I would like to discuss further.  I hope that if you do not agree with what I have said, I have at least brought up something for you to think about.  I simply want us to be real, even if it is uncomfortable.

I have been thinking and working on a new blog post and it is coming soon.  This one will be a little different than what I have written before, so look for it to come out this week.

Once you decide to use social media, you must decide how you are going to use it.  With social media being such a big trend in the world today, churches need to embrace it.  A recent “Lookout” article stated that “the mutual mission of community building makes churches and social media a natural fit.”  Where it may be seen as such an obvious fit for a church, the approach to social media must be approached like any other ministry outreach of the church.

Before entering into the ministry of social media, the church should consider a few questions in advance:

  1. What are you trying to accomplish through your social media program?  How will you measure your goals?
  2. What will your church be able to do through social media that the church would otherwise not be able to achieve?  What needs does it fulfill?
  3. What resources will you need in order to start and maintain the social media program?  Consider additional time, talent, and funds that will be needed.
  4. Most importantly, how will God be honored through your churches use of social media?

Here are some suggestions for how your church can approach social media.  Firstly, a Facebook page is becoming more and more common for all brands.  This is a good way to post information and to gain information about interest in your church.  Secondly, Twitter is now the leading “microblogging” site.  Twitter can be utilized by churches by encouraging real-time feedback, share links, blog posts, announcements, and other interesting information.  Youtube can be used to upload videos to a churches channel.  The benefits of this is wide access and interest.  Links can be sent via Twitter and Facebook to encourage traffic between all of your networks.  Churches also have the option to start a blog.  “When a blog is built into a church’s main website, it can help the site’s search engine optimization through its natural supply of keywords” (Lookout).  Finally, one platform that many more churches are using is podcasting.  Churches are using podcasts to post their sermons for many people to listen to.

So how do you start your social media plan?  It is important to remember that “social media must complement and enhance your ongoing communications and methods of outreach.”  Most churches will need a full social media team in order to successfully utilize social media.  Social media must be frequently updated.  Social media must be open to feedback.  Social media must have clear guidelines and expectations.  Ultimately social media must be simple and clear or people will get lost in the mess.  Social media should be an extension of your church and not a separate part.

Frequency is the key to effective social media.  Most people suggest these guidelines:

  • Blog once a week (200-500 words per post)
  • Update Facebook information two to three times a week (include images when possible)
  • Tweet one to two times a day (can be used more, but don’t over-do it)

I think this quote expresses the key to why a church should use social media: “It is a lot less intimidating to go online and experience a church than it is for people to walk through the doors of one.”  People often find walking into a church they know nothing about very intimidating.  A churches’ social media presence is now often a person’s “first look” into that church.  It can communicate so much to an interested person and depending on how social media is used, that message can be a positive one (“I’m interested in knowing more, maybe I’ll go see what it’s all about”) or a negative one (“I don’t think I even want to try that one”).  Ultimately, social media is simply “a very remarkable tool that when used well can bring God’s people together.”