categories: LifeChurch.tv, preaching
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April 19th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

Upcoming Series: Forgotten Virtues

Right now, we’re in the middle of a series at LifeChurch.tv called FAQ. It’s been great to answer the tough questions people wrestle with, both as believers and non-believers.

Next up, we’ll be doing a series on Forgotten Virtues. In it, we’ll be talking about:

  1. Honor.
  2. Purity.
  3. Loyalty.
  4. Integrity.
  5. Gratitude.

Here’s the trailer our Media Design team created after a video shoot in a nearby abandoned town.

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categories: OPEN, books, preaching
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April 8th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

Christian Atheist Case Discount

Many of you have asked how you can make The Christian Atheist available to your staff, leaders, or small groups at your church. We’ve negotiated with the publisher and a book distributor to offer you a significant discount.

 You can get a case of books (32 copies) at 22% - 41% savingscompared to ordering elsewhere (50% off retail). Here are the details on how to order.

And don’t forget that if you want to teach some messages based on The Christian Atheist, you can find free resources from the Practical Atheist series on OPEN.

Thanks for your enthusiasm about The Christian Atheist. We’re really excited to see God use it to transform people’s lives!

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categories: one prayer, preaching, working together
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April 8th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

Why Participate in One Prayer?

OnePrayer.comIf you’re trying to decide whether your church should take part in One Prayer, I wanted to share some potential benefits:

  • People who don’t go to church take notice when churches bicker and tear each other down. You can show them something different with One Prayer. Instead of just talking about Jesus, we display His love through a unified and global biblical community.
  • It’s a great way to bring energy to your church during what typically might be a slow season.
  • One Prayer can help your people shift their focus outward through community service and outreach projects, as well as an offering to inspire generosity beyond the four walls of your church building.
  • It’s the perfect opportunity for corporate prayer and fasting.
  • If you’ve been wondering whether video teaching would work at your church, One Prayer is a low-risk way to try it out.
  • You can build new relationships with churches in your community. Team up with them on a service project or simply use it as the reason to reach out and make a connection with other pastors. You never know what might result from those relationships!
  • One Prayer is a chance for your church to experience something global. So far, churches from South Africa, Guatemala, Great Britain, India, Nigeria, Honduras, Australia, Bolivia, and more are participating.
  • It gives pastors 3-4 weeks off from teaching, while other great spiritual leaders bring new perspectives to your church.

Now is the ideal time to register your church for One Prayer 2010.

If you’re already signed up, we’re glad to have you on board! We’d love it if you tell other pastors about One Prayer.  We don’t want to leave anyone out that wants to participate.  Don’t assume that everyone knows…they don’t.  Please take the time to invite your networks of relationships to join with us all. We’ve prepared some resources to make it easy for you to spread the word.

I’m really excited to see what God does in and through our churches during the third year of One Prayer!

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categories: OPEN, books, preaching
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April 6th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

Free Resources for Christian Atheist

It’s been great to see so many of you talking about The Christian Atheist! If you decide that you’d like to preach a series at your church based on ideas from the book, you might want to check out the free resources from Practical Atheist on OPEN.

When Craig taught the series at LifeChurch, it really connected with people who had been going to church all their lives, but had never formed a relationship with Jesus. More than 2,100 people gave their lives to Christ during the four weeks of the series.

If you haven’t had a chance to pick up the book yet, it might spark some thoughts about reaching the church-going atheists in your life. You can order a copy through any of these booksellers:

Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com, and Mardel

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categories: communication, development, leadership, preaching, relationships
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February 9th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

Results Verses Reality

To be increasingly effective as a person and leader, we must grow in our self-perception. Without knowing it, many people believe things about themselves that are simply not true.

One of my mentors says, “People are polite. Don’t believe everything good they say about you.”

Instead of simply listening to what people say (or what you believe), look at the outcomes of your efforts.

Here are a few examples:

  • If people tell you that you are a great leader; but you have extremely high turnover in your staff, maybe you’re not as great as you believe you are.
  • If you believe you are a great teacher, but few people sign up for your class; maybe your best gift isn’t really teaching.
  • If you think you are funny, but other people simply don’t get your humor; you should probably keep your day job.

In the early years, I believed that I was effective in communicating God’s principles of generosity. Even though I thought I was effective, our church didn’t seem to grow much, if any, in generosity. People would even say, “That was a good sermon on generosity.” But if we aren’t getting the desired results, it doesn’t matter what people say or what we believe.

Once I realized that I wasn’t as effective as I thought, I opened my heart to hear clearly from God. He showed me I wasn’t as generous as I believed I was. God changed me before He changed our church.

You may believe something to be true, but if you don’t see results, what you believe may not be true.

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categories: church, development, leadership, preaching
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December 3rd, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

The Timing of Feedback

Not only do you want to ask the right people the right questions, but you’ll also want to do it at the right time.

I see three different times when feedback is valuable:

1)    Before the event

Most leaders I know look for feedback on the back end. I crave it on the front end. Each week before I preach a sermon, I have no fewer than a dozen different people work through my notes with me. I always ask, “What one thing was the most helpful? What one thing would you cut? What is one other suggestion you have?” Feedback on the front end helps me make changes when changes are easiest.

2)    Immediate feedback

Receiving immediate feedback is valuable (especially if you are doing an event or talk more than once). People can be very helpful when an event is fresh on their minds. I always try to write down what they say so I can review their thoughts later.

3)    Much later feedback

Occasionally, immediate feedback isn’t wise. You may be too vulnerable after a talk or event. The highs seems too high or the lows seem too low. You (or others) might be too caught up in the moment to be objective.

Once everyone sleeps on it, has a chance to talk to some other people, and has some time to process, you might learn more from post-event evaluations. We’re often much more objective once the immediate emotion dies down.

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categories: church, development, leadership, preaching
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December 2nd, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

The Right People

Asking the right questions is helpful to get valuable feedback. It’s also important to direct the right questions to the right people.

When it comes to feedback, not all people are equal.

Two groups that shouldn’t always be trusted include:

  • Your greatest critics.
  • Your greatest fans.

These groups shouldn’t be ignored. You can occasionally learn a lot from your critics or your fans. But, generally speaking, your critics will be harder on you without understanding your full context and your fans will overlook ways to help you improve.

If you are a pastor or leader, you might be more challenged than you realize to find the right people. When I ask for feedback from my staff (or even church members), they might be slightly intimidated and hesitate to tell me the truth.

Developing a trusted group that can be objective is invaluable.

I’ve searched for constructive feedback from hundreds of people over the years, and have found a group of individuals who understand the importance of truthful and helpful feedback.

These people weren’t necessarily born with this gift. We have actually developed a relationship and trust that draws out feedback. They see it as a part of their ministry and I see it as a helpful gift.

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categories: church, development, leadership, preaching
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December 1st, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

The Right Questions

In the church world, you will almost always get feedback. But not all feedback is equal. Finding the right feedback is vitally important.

A key to finding the right feedback is asking the right questions.

Here are a few questions that won’t be very effective:

  • What did you think of the sermon? (A general question will likely draw a general response.)
  • I’m not sure if that song was any good. What did you think? (A leading question will likely draw a less truthful response.)
  • Was that program beneficial to you? (People are generally polite. You’re question isn’t likely to solicit helpful feedback.)

Here are some more helpful questions:

  • Of all the things we did, what one thing should we change next time? (This specific question is likely to draw a specific result.)
  • What one thing was the most helpful to you? What one thing was the least helpful? (By giving a person the opportunity to tell you what they liked first, they might be more likely to offer constructive suggestions next.)
  • I really need your help to make a decision. We need to cut 10 minutes off this talk. What part of the content was least helpful to you? (This direct question will certainly get a direct response.)
  • What is the one thing you’ll take away from this event? (Limiting the feedback to the one big thing should be valuable.)

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