On a typical Sabbath, my church’s worship space is filled with a 120 people. There is laughter over shared jokes, children comparing MineCraft tips, and swapping of ministry ideas. But these days are not typical. The chairs are empty and the space is quiet. Preaching to an empty room is a necessity, not a choice. Recognizing that this change is necessary, here are my top tips for using sermon time effectively without an in-person audience. Read More
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Pastor Phil White of the Simi Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church had a problem. In his own words, he said, “I was fat, exercise challenged, and not very happy with the road my health was taking.” His wife Jan, had similar concerns, especially when she got the results of a blood test. Phil and Jan decided they wanted to improve their chances of watching their grandchildren grow up. What they did had a spill over effect in their church.
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Pastor Jose Cortes, Associate Director for Evangelism at the North American Division, recently posted this article on his facebook page with some very helpful ideas on how we, as Christians, can handle Halloween:
Halloween seems to be the one holiday in American Christianity
that we just don’t know what to do with. We happily celebrate cultural or
historical holidays like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, or New Year’s Day.
We love religious holidays like Easter and Christmas. But Halloween has quite a
dark history, and we don’t know how to approach it. As Christians we can either
pretend that it doesn’t exist (even though it does) or we can seize a great
opportunity right in front of us to reach out to our neighborhoods, friends or
colleagues. Here you will find some tips on how to use this Holiday as a
1. Be present: Don’t hide out all night. Open your church, and if
families stop by, have some cider, get to know their names and where they live
in the neighborhood.
2. Think of the Parents: Consider having some hot chocolate and
pumpkin bread out for the parents who are bringing their kids around the block.
Make church’s entryway inviting so they want to come closer or inside and hang
for a bit if possible.
3. Pass out Christian goodies: Halloween is the one night of the
year when strangers literally will show up on your church or home doorsteps
looking for handouts. Why not make sure they walk away with something
meaningful? If you’re planning on handing out candy this Halloween, you could
hand out a few tasteful tracts as well.
4. Host a Light Party! How can we be the light if we are hiding in
our homes; with the lights out, not answering the door? We are to be the light,
not hiding in the dark. You can host a Light Party in your home or in your
church. Turn on all the lights in your church, hang up some bright Christmas
lights, play Christian music, and hand out candy with handwritten notes saying,
“Jesus loves you”. You can offer free hot chocolate and free prayers.
Be the brightest place on the block, not the darkest.
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If you haven’t received one yet, you probably will. Nasty emails can not only hurt, but leave us with a sense of “what do I do now.” You’re first inclination might be to respond in kind, defend yourself, or maybe even just ignore it. But what is the best thing to do? Here’s a helpful article with practical advice on 4 Rules for Responding to Nasty Emails.
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I was worshiping in a congregation (in the last year) that had Adventist Church on the sign, but might as well have called themselves the Announcement Church, because that’s all they did. They had one person do announcements from the front in Power Point, followed by another person who reaffirmed the previous announcements with no power point, followed by the pastor who highlighted yet some others. It easily took almost 20 minutes, probably closer to 30.
This does not happen every week, but too often to be overlooked. I personally believe, through experience and research, which guests don’t really come to church looking to find out when the next fund raising car wash is. I have also been to enough growing, healthy churches that do minimal announcements from the front to know a church can thrive with a change in this area. Here are five suggestions you can use if you want to be more sensitive to guests (and members): Continue Reading…
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Many of us have visited a church where it is common place to point out the guests. “Please stand up and tell us who you are.” The well meaning church leader is trying to make the guests feel welcomed, but it usually has the opposite affect and they may not return. Read the tips on what-not-to-do in 10 Things Every Church Should Stop Doing to First-Time Guests.
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Suicide is the leading cause of death for those dealing with serious mental illness such as depression or anxiety, with one in 10 committing suicide due to poor mental health. Many people think of religion and science as two wholly separate entities. However, studies have shown recently that prayer can actually have an effect on a person’s mental and physical health, altering moods and energy levels, as well as lowering stress levels. This toolkit can be placed in your arsenal to help you fight the battle against suicidal thoughts and actions, and get your mental health back to a healthy level through prayer.
Tips to Get Started
you are currently having thoughts of suicide or have even recently made
an attempt, it is important to have resources to turn to in case you
need extra assistance. Consider storing these tips away for those days
when you are feeling alone and need a way to cope:
“How are we going to raise $40,000 for worthy students this year?” The amount was more than double what we needed last year. Our Adventist elementary school was growing rapidly (from 16 to 40 students in two years). Our needs were growing rapidly with it. Our church of 130 had a generous history of raising about $17,000 a year outside the church budget for worthy students. We could only afford to take out $10,000 from reserves. We still needed $30,000. What could we do? Continue Reading…
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Last week during the worship service at my church on Sabbath, I was freezing. I wore my heavy winter coat during the entire service and still had goosebumps. There is a problem, in that I’m always cold and many others are always hot so it’s really difficult to please everyone, but here are some helpful tips on how to maintain the best climate control for the majority of your church. As for me, well maybe I’ll just take a blanket next week! Read More
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