categories: church, church online, innovation, technology
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December 6th, 2011

by Bobby Gruenewald

Free Platform Helps Any Church Launch an Online Ministry

One of the most common questions we receive about Church Online is, “how can I start something similar at my church?” That’s why I’m excited to share this news about the Church Online Platform…

If you’d like to stay in the loop as we near the launch date of January 9, just enter your email address at ChurchOnline.org. And if you know churches who might be interested, please share this post with them!

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categories: LifeChurch.tv, church, church planting, creativity, innovation, leadership
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August 16th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Death of the Five-Year Plan

When I started in ministry two decades ago, everyone I knew made five-year plans. While planning is wise and biblical, I’m changing how I plan.

Instead of planning for specific buildings, campuses, staff roles, and outreach, I’m planning to be prepared for opportunities that I can’t name today. We are creating margin and planning to respond quickly to ideas that we don’t yet have.

Speed, agility, flexibility, and financial margin are far better than a detailed road map.

We are in the ready position. Instead of asking God to bless our carefully crafted plans, we’re trying to be prepared to move when He speaks and guides.

When people ask me what we’ll be doing in five years, I laugh. I have no idea. But I’m certain it will be more fun and more impactful than anything I could plan today.

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April 7th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

Campus Facebook Strategy

We’re in the process of overhauling our LifeChurch.tv website, and I’ll have plenty of details to share about that in the coming weeks. But for now I want to let you know how we’re employing Facebook at a campus level.

Currently, www.LifeChurch.tv has individual campus pages with specialized content management tools for each of our locations. To some extent, this solution met the need of sharing information about upcoming events and campus-specific information. But the tools were hard for our teams to use, and it relied on people visiting our site to keep up with the latest information.

Recently, we’ve been shifting much of our campus-specific content to Facebook. As Facebook has grown (currently over 400 million active users), it’s become a place where more and more people are connecting with each other in a meaningful way—keeping up with friends, uploading photos, sharing links and videos, and learning more about the people they meet.

We’re just starting to roll out custom Facebook pages for our campuses. Here’s a look at the page for our Oklahoma City campus, and some of our reasons behind this transition:

  • Instead of forcing people to come to us (our site), Facebook allows us to go where they’re already active online. Instead of trying to be a separate destination, we get to integrate with their lives.
  • The outreach potential is huge. Example: we post  a baptism photo and tag the person in the photo who is getting baptized. The photo shows up on that person’s Facebook wall, as well as in their friends’ feeds, giving them a simple way to share their new life in Christ with their Facebook friends.
  • In addition to conveying information about events, classes, etc., Facebook creates the opportunity for community and connection. It serves as an online representation of the campus, where people can get to know each other, ask questions, and keep up with what’s happening in people’s lives and the life of the campus.
  • It reduces bloat on our LifeChurch.tv site and allows us to be laser focused with our content there.
  • We don’t have to re-create the wheel. Facebook is already accomplishing many of the goals we have for our campus communication. By leaning on their tools, it frees up time and development resources in the long run.
  • It’s free!

We’re also providing our teams with some basic and advanced training so they are equipped to get the most out of their Facebook presence and interaction.

Is your church using Facebook? If so, what are some challenges and advantages you’ve experienced there?

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categories: church, generosity, innovation, leadership, sacrifice
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January 13th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Sacrificially Generous Church

The Bible is full of examples of sacrificial giving.

  • David refused to sacrifice something that cost him nothing.
  • Solomon sacrificed 1,000 bulls instead of one as an offering to the Lord.
  • The poor widow put all she had into the offering.
  • The immoral woman poured a bottle of very expensive oil on Jesus in a act of selfless worship.
  • God gave the most sacrificial gift in history: his only son, Jesus.

As churches, we should give sacrificially.

I’ve heard of churches who’ve sacrificed to give big:

  • Some give away 50% of their income or more.
  • Some refuse to build a building to give more.
  • Some don’t pay any staff and use all volunteers.
  • Some have donated buildings to other ministries.
  • In some parts of the world, people still give their lives for Christ.

How is your ministry giving sacrificially? How could you give sacrificially in the future?

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categories: LifeChurch.tv, church, community, creativity, development, generosity, global church, innovation, leadership, social networking, working together
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January 12th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Strategically Generous Church

I pray your church or ministry gives spontaneously to meet needs. But if we only give spontaneously, this style of giving will limit what we’re able to give. Another way to think about giving is to be strategic.

  • Abraham thought ahead of time to send gifts with his servant for Isaac’s future wife.
  • The Magi planned ahead of time to bring extravagant gifts for God’s son.
  • God strategically showed His love for us by sending Christ while we were still sinning against Him.

Isaiah 32:8 says, “But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.” (NLT)

We could say generous churches plan to do what is generous. Instead of just planning our next building project or fundraiser, we should also “plan to do what is generous.”

Unquestionably we should plan to help the poor and needy. (Most churches do this well or at least are trying to do so.) We can also plan to help and support other churches or ministries.

In our meetings, we have learned to strategically ask, “What can we give to other churches to help them?”

  • Do you have a building you could offer another ministry one day a week or more?
  • When you upgrade choir robes, a van, or a sound system, can you give what you had to bless another ministry?
  • Can you make your sermons, outlines, or videos available to serve other churches?

When you plan to be generous, you might be surprised how many ways you can be a blessing.

How is God using your ministry to serve others?

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November 4th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

Letting Go of the Fear of Failure

The fear of failure paralyzes too many people.

I’ve found one of the best gifts God can give a leader is the gift of failure.

Too many of us are not doing what we feel called to do because we’re afraid to fail.

As I observe the people around me, it seems the most effective have failed far more times than the least effective.

The people making the biggest impact seem to:

1)  Try something outlandish.

2)  Fail.

3)  Learn.

4)  Adjust.

5)  Try something that works better.

Failure is never final. It is often the first step to success.

If you haven’t failed in awhile, why don’t you try something crazy and see what happens.

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categories: church, communication, creativity, culture, development, future, innovation, leadership
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November 3rd, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

Letting Go of Old Assumptions

The world is changing faster every day. Too many Christian leaders are working off old assumptions rather than new revelations.

When we assume that our way of doing ministry is best:

  • We stop learning from others.
  • We rarely try something new.
  • We quickly see faults in new ideas rather than seeing opportunities.

To reach people no one is reaching, we have to do things no one is doing.

If you think the way everyone else is thinking, you’ll do what everyone is doing.

It is time to let go of old assumptions about how to reach people.

What assumptions about church and ministry are you shedding?

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October 29th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

Higher Threshold for Chaos

When we’re entering into a new season, I always challenge our leaders to have a higher threshold for chaos.

Systems tend to produce predictable outcomes. When we are innovating and growing, we never know what the outcome will be.

Many “great” ideas bomb. Then God seems to bless some average ideas in a big way.

While we are willing to allow things to get a little messy, we also work hard to make sure we are students.

  • What is God showing us?
  • What did we learn from the last failure?
  • What success is hidden in the last failure?

Our church is currently moving into a season of discovery. Once we discern what God wants us to know, we’ll recruit the right people. Then we’ll build systems and enjoy the ride—until God leads us into a learning and chaotic period again.

Personally, these are my favorite times!

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