Network News - February 2, 2017

We have created a printable newsletter which will come out each month. You can find it here and print it out for your congregation. It is a pdf file. The weekly email news updates will continue to come to your email inbox. We will alert you when the print version is available each month. February's is ready to download now. 

First impressions are important. One of those first impressions comes from the building/grounds and the greeters. Read this from your Dennis.

Greeters: An Important First Impression
Thom Rainer touched on a critical topic in one of his recent posts. I often hear the question, "How do we get them (guests) to come back?" There are many veins that could be explored in answering the question, but let’s focus on Thom’s insight - Why Greeters Are Important in Getting Guests to Return.  

Greeters are important to the first impression your church makes with guests. So, today, we talk about where greeters should be, what they should do, and how to train them. Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • Every church may think they have greeters, but many actually don’t. 
  • If I led a church, I would have greeters in the parking lot. 
  • Door greeters are an extension of your church security because they are the first line of defense. 
  • Greeters should be able to recognize guests and help them find their way when they arrive. 
  • Consistency of greeters helps them to know members and recognize guests. 
  • The worship center greeter may be the most important one because typically guests sit down, and no one talks to them. 
  • Greeters need training. They need more than just to say hello and shake a hand. 
  • Greeters are a part of your church’s outreach, hospitality, and evangelism efforts.
    (Growing Healthy Churches - Why Greeters Are Important in Getting Guests to Return – Rainer on Leadership #298)

As members of the church, we are familiar with the grounds and buildings. In our familiarity, we forget that when our guests arrive on campus they are usually very unfamiliar and don’t have a clue where to go. It’s surprising how difficult we can make it for them to find their way. Well trained greeters can remove the confusion, mystery and fear that guests might be facing. 

The first step in a successful greeter ministry is enlisting members who have a sense that greeting is a ministry. The Greeters Ministry is not the "lesser" ministry, but a critical ministry to encourage people to come back. A warm smile and welcoming voice creates and atmosphere of acceptance and diminishes hesitation.

Brother Rainer makes it clear that your greeters need to be visible. Parking lot greeters bring the first point of contact for guests. Remember first impressions are important and greeters are part of that first impression. When the car door of our guests opens, the experience begins; the question is what kind of experience are they having? When the guest quickly peruses the parking lot, do they sense all is well by the way the greeter approaches them? Are they welcomed warmly and do the parking lot greeters know where all age groups meet and what the schedule is? Do they have an information packet to give the guests? Train your greeters. 

Every church I have ever been to says they are the friendliest church in town. I wish that were true, but that hasn’t always been my experience. Could we admit that sometimes we are friendliest to those that we know? A greeter in the worship center can help guests not only find a seat, but introduce them to other members. Hopefully members will welcome them to sit with them.  

Did you notice Thom Rainer’s last bulleted statement? "Greeters are a part of your church’s outreach, hospitality, and evangelism efforts." That’s why I encourage you to see the Greeters Ministry as not the least of ministries in your church. They are your church’s ambassador to the guests from their arrival to their departure. Oh, by-the-way, do your greeters give your guests a friendly departure message? One that would make them excited about coming back!

Much Love,

The other important first impression we have today is our Website and Facebook pages.

Our church livestreams our service each week. On a livestream, those who are watching can post comments, emoticons, and even chat back and forth during the service. Last week our associate pastor posted a note which received several responses from people in the congregation who were in the service and had also tuned into the broadcast to comment (or who were on their phones when his message popped up, but we'll assume the best for now). I'm not quite sure what this says about the church today, but the truth is, technology is a part of life, and, while we want to minister to the non-tech savvy as well, if we are going to reach this generation, we better be tech savvy too!

This blog post deals with common mistakes churches make on their websites:
At this point, we all know that every church needs a website.  It is the first impression of nearly everyone who visits your church. If we really believe it’s a first impression for most visitors, we have to be careful not to fall into some of the most common church website mistakes.

Studies show that you have less than three seconds to make a first impression online.  Churches today must be careful to not drive visitors away by making some of the following mistakes.
continue reading...

7 Keys to an Effective Church Social Media Strategy from Lifeway Pastors

Social media is here to stay and some churches have done well as early adopters of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. But many churches are still either hesitant to use social media or are using it poorly and not seeing any positive results.

As the pervasiveness of social media grows, it would be unwise to continue to ignore your church’s social media strategy and presence. And like any other ministry in the church, social media needs planning (a strategy), people (someone in charge), and a purpose (measurable goals) to be effective. These seven keys will help your church engage both members and guests on social media.
continue reading…

8 Arguments Against Social Media – And Why Pastors Must Use It Anyway from Christianity Today

When a pastor refuses to be on social media, they’re telling a large chunk of the congregation, “If you want to talk to me, you’ll do it my way.”

by Karl Vaters

If you’re a pastor and you’re not using social media, you’re not pastoring your church as well as you could.

Whenever I say that in a minister’s conference I make some pastors mad.

I’m okay with that. Because I also get looks of relief and whispers of “thank you” from staff members and volunteers. They’ve exhausted themselves trying to convince their lead pastors to get on social media, so they’re grateful when an old coot like me backs them up.

I’m probably safe stating the need for social media here, because the fact that you’re reading my blog means you’re already connected. But if you know of a pastor who isn’t convinced of it yet, email this to them.

If they don’t have email, go old school on them. Print this up and snail mail it. Or hand it to them on Sunday (after the service, not before). Seriously. Go analog. On paper. And make sure you include this part where I tell you to print this up and hand it to them. That way some of the blame is on me and off you.

If you’re not on social media, let me answer some of your arguments. I’ve heard them all. And if I miss any, you’ll let me know, won’t you?

continue reading…

Facts&Trends has a "Technology" section with many great tips, ideas, and information for churches.

echurch is one of the companies that offers online giving for churches. Their blog offers ideas of tech that churches might consider as they grow: 8 Tech Tools Every Growing Church Staff Needs
read it here

CTPastors has The Technophobe's Ministry Survival Guide in their membership area. (Remember, you can sign up for a free membership to read these articles on their website).

With more than 87 percent of American adults online, churches of every size can benefit from a variety of technological tools. An increase in options during the past decade has led to more advantages—yet it's also caused confusion for many churches. Pastors and staff often feel overwhelmed by the shear amounts of work involved just to keep up with changes.

Let's look at several technology-related initiatives, broken down by church size (although all of them should be considered by churches at all levels), that can help your church and its goals without becoming overly complex.

Small Churches (fewer than 100 members): Tweets, Blogs, and Facebook

If your church is just getting started, or it's been around for a while but doesn't yet have a strong presence on the Internet, several simple and inexpensive technology projects can help you build awareness for your church, keep in touch with people within your congregation, and achieve broader communication goals.

continue reading…

And From Online to Offline: How our online ministry is bringing seekers through the doors of our church.

I'm sitting in a room at a large conference table with a few of my closest friends. The conversation is punctuated by frequent lapses of silence where we all type feverishly on our laptops.

If someone walked in, they'd probably think we were slaves to technology, and advise us to get outside for some fresh air. But strange as the scene may look, we are far from isolated. We're all in the same physical—and virtual—room.

This is online church, and we do it week after week. Every Sunday, our church connects with people from all over—right where they are. People we have never met, people who need someone to talk to, people who need Jesus.

Our goal is similar to any other church ministry: help people connect to the church and to God. Our method, however, is less conventional. We're trying to move people from online to offline. In other words, we provide an experience of church through the Internet that we pray will result in them walking through the doors of our church. We turn virtual connections into face-to-face friendships.

Our Approach

There are some incredible models of church online. Perhaps the most impressive is in Oklahoma. If you want to see what's possible in a global ministry context, visit there.

But we felt God was calling us to focus our efforts locally. We wanted to reach Birmingham and the surrounding cities. Our online campus was born to extend our reach by providing a virtual experience of the weekend service through a live video experience and interactive elements, such as group chat and one-on-one prayer. We also have online small groups.

People want to know more about a church than they can discover browsing text on a web page.

I'm consistently amazed by the types of people who log in. I was thrilled to see the Pelham Fire Station #1 join our live chat. Firefighters don't always have the ability to take Sundays off, but this provides church for them right there in the fire station. Others who attend online are military personnel serving abroad, healthcare professionals, moms with sick kids, people with chronic illnesses, just to name a few.

Initially, I thought our online ministry would only be valuable only for people who were physically unable to attend church. And, of course, we knew able-bodied people would enjoy attending church online if they were traveling for work or on vacation. But we've also been able to connect with many people who are disillusioned with the church. They're confused, but seeking. Physically attending church is still too difficult; but at this point, they're open to experiencing church online.

continue reading…

4 Ways Your Church Can Be Innovative from Outreach Magazine
by Larry Osborne, January 16, 2017

In today’s rapidly changing spiritual and cultural context, pastors and church leaders are being forced to choose between leading like a missionary or curating a historical preservation society. The days of successfully blending these two perspectives are long gone.

Those who choose a missionary mindset tend to value results. They hold fast to the eternal truths of Scripture. But they’re also quick to jettison methods and paradigms that no longer work. They’re agile and open to change, adapting their ministry to the real world, not the world they wished they lived in. Like the apostle Paul, they become all things to all people so that they might save some (1 Cor. 9:22).

Those who choose a curator mindset tend to value the past. They’re resistant to change because of a belief that the intrinsic beauty of our old methods and paradigms are worth protecting—even if they no longer work.
continue reading...

There are many online Bible studies available. Most include a video or live message from the author. It is a way for groups to gather and discuss what they've studied either on social media or together at someone's home. Consider reaching your homebound members through technology in between visits. Consider being able to "meet" online with those whose work hours don't allow them to join a small group during the week. Consider the members whose jobs cause them to travel and miss week after week of small group Bible study. They could join on Skype, Zoom, or other program from a remote location while on the road. Consider the moms with young children who find it hard to attend small groups in the evenings when their children need their care. Having an online group at 9 pm after the little ones are in bed gives the mom a chance to connect with other moms in Bible study. The possibilities are great for reaching those who are hard to reach because of circumstances.

Here are a few Bible studies available now. Most have no cost except for materials.
Lifeway has studies offered for men, women, and other online resources
Faithgateway also offers free online Bible studies.

Job & Ministry Opportunities
Youth Leader Internship
First Baptist Church of Winters (FBCW) is seeking a Youth Leader Intern.
The job requires about 15 hours of work each week, offers a competitive salary along with a generous budget for Youth activities. The youth group consists of 10-20 students at the Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday gatherings.
For more information, contact the church at 530-795-2821 or or you can contact SRBN.

Education Internship
Education internship with stipend, housing, and airfare at Lake Tahoe, California
August 9 through December 22, 2017 4 Preschool interns and 4 School age interns needed.
For more information, contact Debbie Wohler at 530-583-2925 or 530448-9359 or
Apply at:

Youth Director
New Hope Community Church (NHCC) in South Sacramento is searching for a part time (20 hr/wk) youth director. The position will report directly to the senior pastor and offers a competitive salary and some flexibility of work hours. The intent is to grow the position to full time and eventually a pastoral position. Some Bible college or seminary study is a plus, and candidate must be a self-starter.
For a full job description and other information, please contact NHCC board of deacons:
Board of Deacons
New Hope Community Church
1821 Meadowview Road
Sacramento, CA  95832


11   Lifeway Bookstores
free in-store family event focused on sharing the love of Christ within our communities
Create postcards to share the love of Christ to our communities. Pick up a special challenge sheet that offers ideas for reaching your community--and return it completed for a special prize. Snacks, giveaways, and one-day product specials will also be provided.

18  Children's Missions Day Explosion
9 am to 3 pm
Cooper Avenue Baptist Church, Yuba City
$10 per person, lunch included
(one leader free with every six children per church)
register online at

18   VBS Clinic in Spanish
Clinicas para Escuela Biblica de Vacaciones en Espanol

February 18, 9:30-1:30
In San Jose
register online atíblica-de-vacaciones-en-español

23   Movie: Is Genesis History?
in theaters;

25   VBS Clinic North
9 am to 2:30 pm
El Camino Baptist Church
register online at

24-25 Ministry Couples' Retreat
Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley; $235 per couple
register online at

5-12  Week of Prayer for North American Missions

24-26 Women's Retreat

Camp Alta
Register here

30   Revive Conference
9 am-3 pm
El Camino Baptist Church, Sacramento
For more information contact

30   Movie: Facing Darkness
A true story of faith: saving Dr. Brantly from ebola in Africa
in theaters

31-4/1 Disaster Relief Spring Training
In Auburn
Register online at

7   Movie: The Case for Christ
Beginning April 7 in theaters

22   SRBN VBS Clinic
El Camino Baptist Church
9 am to 1 pm (registration begins at 8:30 am)
register online

24-26 Pastor and MInistry Leader Retreat
Jenness Park Christian Camp
$150 per person
register at

28-29 Prayerwalking Seminar
"Unleash the Power of Prayer in Your Community"
led by Jerry McCullah
El Camino Baptist Church
Friday: 6-9 pm  (Dinner at 6 pm)
Saturday: 9-Noon

21-28 Associational Missions Emphasis (AME)
Week of Prayer and Mission Emphasis

11-22 Kenya Mission Trip
International Commission
Contact Sonia Burnell at; 916-784-2372

27-29 Hope Renewed/Purpose Driven 2017
Pastor/Church Leader Event, So. Cal. 


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