WHO WILL WE HONOR-FIRST ANNUAL BRIDGEBUILDERS CHURCHES OF THE YEAR

30 07 2014

We are taking nominations for the 2014 Bridgebuilder Churches of the Year–churches who at some point have participated in our training are demonstrating leadership in building redemptive relationships with their community. Please send your nomination and a description of their ministries to BRIDGEBUILDERS MINISTRIES, 225 Lurgan Avenue Shippensburg PA. Nominations close October 15

BRIDGEBUILDERS - Building bridges to the Bridge

BRIDGEBUILDERS – Building bridges to the Bridge





8 THINGS PASTORS SHOULD DO ON FACEBOOK

5 07 2014

Bridgebuilders Ministries is a firm advocate of a social networking presence by pastors in particular. This article first appeared on the CHRISTIAN POST’S blog ON-LINE MISSION.

8 Things Pastors SHOULD Do on Facebook

Facebook Pastor

We spent a couple of days earlier this week discussing 18 Ways Pastors Can Ruin their Reputation on Facebook. It stirred some emotion as a number of people vented about some of the misuses of Facebook they’ve seen pastors make. If you’re a pastor, I hope that hasn’t scared you away from Facebook, as it remains a great tool for connecting with people within your church and community.

Today we turn towards the positive and look at 8 things pastors should do on Facebook.

1. Listen. James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” Nothing could be more important on Facebook. Listen more than you speak. By listening you’ll get to know people better and learn what’s going on in their lives. You find out who is hurting, who is frustrated, who is thriving, who is gifted in ways you never realized.

 

2. Pray. James 5:16 tells us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Whether your Facebook friends post good news or bad, a success or a failure, you can always pray for them. When you do, ask God for guidance as to how to respond if at all. He may prompt you with the words to type in a reply. He may prompt you to pick up the phone. Who knows what could happen.

3. Engage/comment. Of course, if all you do is listen and pray, you’re not going to have much impact on Facebook. In fact, nobody’s going to even know you’re there. Show you care about your Facebook friends by engaging with them. Comment on people’s updates. When other people comment on your updates, reply back to them. Respond promptly to messages and new friend requests.

4. Publicly encourage. One of the best ways you can engaged with people and show you care is to encourage them. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort either. Posting a comment on someone’s update with a simple “Congrats!” “That’s awesome!” or “I’m praying for you,” shows the person (and their Facebook friends) that you really are listening and you care.

5. Respond privately to sensitive issues. Facebook not only provides the means to respond publicly to your friends, but also privately. If someone posts an update alluding to a personal or sensitive issue – their relationship status changes, they’ve lost their job, they sound depressed – in addition to publicly encouraging them, you may want to want to send them a private message. Not only does it give you the opportunity to say something you might night want to say publicly, but by asking open-ended questions you invite them to open up more privately about what’s going on and how they’re really doing.

6. Be human. People are not connecting with you on Facebook so they can hear about God and church all the time. They want to relate to you as human being. Post about what’s happening in your life. Share photos and video of your family. Talk about your other interests and hobbies. Share links to articles you think are interesting.

7. Be authentic. People are also not connecting with you so they can see how perfect people live. Don’t just post the good stuff that’s going on in your life. It’s OK to express sadness, anger and frustration. In fact, it’s not just OK, it’s necessary. We are all frail and sinful. People need to understand that as a pastor you are not better than they are. You are just blessed to be forgiven and have the Holy Spirit at work in your life.

8. Initiate friend requests. Some people are afraid to initiate a friend request with a pastor. After you meet someone in the community or meet someone for the first time at church, initiate a friend request with them the next time you’re on Facebook. Remember Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors, so you should be hanging out on Facebook with people who are not Christians too.

 

 





STOP INVITING PEOPLE TO CHURCH–AND GROW YOUR CHURCH ANYWAY

2 07 2014

Bill Tenney-Brittian partners with Bill Easum (Dancing with the Dinosaurs) in a ministry called 21st Century Strategies.  Recently he posted an article on their blog EFFECTIVE LEADERS that committed Bridgebuilders might want to consider. – Steve

 

Stop Inviting People to Church … and Grow Your Church Anyway

Stop Inviting People to ChurchThis weekend I’m working with a church that desperately wants to grow … well, the pastor wants it to grow. He asked his core leaders about their inviting experiences and to a one they all said shades of the same thing: “I’ve invited all my friends to church and they’re not interested.”

Well, Duh!!

Unless you happen to be inviting a formerly well-churched person who somehow misses the falderal of doing church, there are few people out there just waiting for an invitation to come to church … pollster’s statistics notwithstanding. As I’ve said before, pretty much everyone who wanted to be in church last week was in church last week. That means that everyone else really didn’t want to be in church. So why bother inviting them? Especially since they’re unlikely to accept your invitation anyway.

Besides, there’s a better and significantly more effective way.

Typically, people only accept invitations to events (functions, meetings, etc.) that they perceive will add value to their lives. Of course, “values” are as personal as they are ephemeral. What one finds valuable another finds pointless. The truth is, a lot of people believe they get more value out of staying in bed than they would from attending a worship service on Sunday morning. On the other hand, these same folks find value and invest their time in hanging out with friends, going to concerts, attending workshop on improving their lives or their golf game, and taking their children to endless soccer, t-ball, gymnastics, and swimming practices. Value is in the eye of the beholder … and for a growing number of people, attending a worship service just isn’t worth the investment.

If your church is serious about reaching these folks, and if you depend on member’s inviting those in their circles of influence to come to church, then the church will need to host something “valuable enough” (in the eyes of the beholders) that your members’ friends are willing to say “Yes!” to an invitation.

Here’s an example:

A church in a very small town is located next door to the town’s single-screen theater. They’ve got a good relationship going with the theater owner so they get a heads up about upcoming movies a good bit in advance. They’re offering a Family Friendly Dinner Date Night a couple times a year and they encourage their members to invite their friends to it. For $15 per adult, the date night includes a sit down dinner at the church, the cost of admission to the movie, and childcare for the kids.

Of course, the childcare isn’t just babysitting. The children’s team pulls off full programming with the children that’s gentle-faith based and over the top fun. The kid care is designed to encourage the children to be excited about coming back.

But like Ginsu knives, “But wait! There’s More.” Just before the movie lets out, the church sets out a family friendly bedtime snack spread to encourage lingering and mingling. And as the families linger, the church members serve, and mingle, and build new relationships.

But the real genius isn’t the invite-worthy event; it’s what comes next. Sure, the kids go home with their handmade craft (that’s always a lot better than a coloring sheet), but the parents go home with a “handoff” as well. They receive an invitation to a special three-week series on a topic targeted to these mostly unchurched families. Sometimes there’s a three-week series based on the movie, but more often it’s a three to four week series that’s compelling such as the date night was.

For instance, following one of the date nights, each couple was given a VistaPrint magnet card that advertised an upcoming three week sermon series titled: A Guys’ Guide to Relationship Sanity. The series is based on how husbands (and prospective husbands) should treat their wives (prospective wives). The church was intentional in creating a series that guys could get into … but that the women were invested in getting their guys to go to.

But the genius just keeps on coming. Before the series is over the church will be delivering another handoff event or series to keep the guests (and the members!) coming back.

So, stop inviting people “to church” and start inviting them to church hosted events that your target finds value-able enough to accept an invitation to. And then make sure you’ve got a handoff … because it’s those handoffs that can move them from an event participant to an exploring disciple who’s attending worship





BRIDGEBUILDERS SUMMER NEWS

1 07 2014

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As the summer heats up, the ministry of Bridgebuilders is picking up speed.  Dr. Steve Dunn introduced our newest training program for Bridgebuilder churches, “Building an Elder Team”on June 20-21, 2014 in Durham NC.  Bishop Victor Glover brought elders and potential elders for the three congregations of the Last Days World Outreach for a seven hour training experience. (These congregations are part of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Churches of God and are located in Hillsborough, Raleigh and Warsaw NC).

“Building an Elder Team” is based on developing a discipleship culture and training persons to share with the pastor the responsibility of being shepherds if the flock.

Two more Bridgebuilders Seminars have been scheduled in the Allegheny Regional Conference of the Churches of God. July 26 the first one will be held at the Barkeyville Church of God in Pittsburgh,  (The church currently has no pastor, but has Winebrenner Seminary student Heidi Mikulin is coordinating this event.

September 5-6, 2014, Pastor Lee Kline and the Center Bethel Church of God in Alverton PA will host Bridgebuilders.

A new tool begins a 40 week pilot at Barkeyville following their event.  Bridgebuilders is developing Real Disciples, an extended study that uses a variety of tools including an Individualized Disciple Education Plan to help build a small missional culture within a traditional, to model the changes needed to be more effective as Christ’s disciples today.

Publication of The Bridgebuilders Principle has been slowed by the writing of some new sections and the editorial work needed.  We are still aiming to go to press the end of summer with an October release date.

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