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Pinterest Inspiration for Churches

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I stumbled across a really cool Pinterest Board today called “Beautiful Churches“. I’m not a serious Pinterest user, but I can see how these beautiful pictures of interiors and exteriors of churches could inspire us all to up our design game… whether that be in our church communications, architectural design, or environmental projection.

Feeling a bit of creative block after you’ve expended your full resources for Easter? Check out this board and see if it inspires you.

What creative ideas have you found for your church on Pinterest?

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Top Worship Songs for Easter

Untitled-1Easter is rapidly approaching, and churches around the world are preparing to celebrate an empty tomb and the resurrection of Christ. We’ve been watching what’s been popular on music resource sites, and wanted to share the Easter songs churches will be using this Sunday.

In Christ Alone

Get a video track here or here, or grab the song charts here, and lead this song in your church this Sunday.

The Anthem

Pick up the audio or video tracks, or get a cool video for your #Kidmin here.

10,000 Reasons

Get the sheet music for this modern classic here, or grab video tracks by Soul Survivor or Yancy.

Forever

Get sheet music for this brand new Easter song here.

Christ is Risen

You can get the video track for Come Awake here, or you can pick up an awesome mini-movie here.

Your Name

Grab the video or audio track for this Easter classic.

Victor’s Crown

You can also pick up the audio or video track for this one.

At the Foot of the Cross

Video and audio tracks are available if you’d like to sing this one at your church this Easter.

O The Blood

You can find audio and video tracks for this Gateway Worship song here and here.

What did we miss? What songs are you singing this Easter?

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6 Free Media Resources for April

We at the Church Media Blog have done the hard work of rounding up some of our favorite free resources. These include videos that will make you laugh and feel inspired, a worship track, a #kidmin countdown, a worship chart, and a very cool stock video clip. Take a few minutes to click through to each site and get these free resources for your ministry… but don’t be stingy. Share these free resources with others on your team, in your network, or other pastors you bump into doing sermon prep at Starbucks.

Evangelism Inspiration by Steelehouse Media Group - Video

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Download this free video at WorshipHouseMedia.com. (Available through April 30th).

Church Dynasty Welcome by Steelehouse Media Group - Video

churchdynasty

Download this free video at SermonSpice.com (Available through April 30th).

The Same Power by Worship Central - Worship Chart

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Download this free sheet music at ChristianSongCharts.com (Available through April 30th).

Peter in Action Trivia by Blake D Media - Kids’ Countdown

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Download this free curriculum at WorshipHouseKids.com (Available through April 30th).

Stock Video by Pearl - Video Clip

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Download this free clip at LightStock.com (Available through April 30th).

You Are for Me by Kari Jobe - Video Track

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Download this free song at ChristianSongTracks.com (Available through March 30th).

What are some of your favorite free resources?

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Gmail is at it Again

churchRemember when Gmail changed the way they delivered emails to users by filtering newsletter content into a promotions tab within the inbox? No doubt this had many #churchcomm folks groaning as they feared their opens and click-throughs would decline. Important information about upcoming services and devotional messages from church staff were now being relegated to an easy-to-overlook tab along with Groupon and Amazon e-mails. (The good news is, if you’ve been tracking your statistics, opens and click-throughs have, on average, been very minimally affected by the change).

Well, Gmail is at it again. Google is testing a new way of displaying promotional e-mails (i.e. your church newsletter) in the Gmail Promotions Tab, and this could be significant for you and your church.

BUT, this time, I see more opportunity than heartache.

If you haven’t noticed, the web is going more and more visual. The rise of Pinterest, cat memes, photo posts on twitter, etc. show that surfers on the waves of the internet ocean want to see pictures, not words. If you manage your church’s Facebook page – or if you spend anytime on the social network – you’ve probably seen that image-rich posts are king. So, Gmail is following suit.

The new promotions tab, currently being tested by select users, will take a cue from the success of pinterest. Here’s a screenshot of the new layout (courtesy of Marketingland.com):

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For those of you who just simply hate change, there’s not much encouragement we can give you. But, we see a lot of opportunity here. We’re no longer slaves to the clever subject line. We can now use exciting and inspirational images to grab the attention of our subscribers and drive those open rates up. The possibilities are vast.

You can read more about the changes here.

What do you think? Do you see this as a blessing or a curse?

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On Submission, Cavemen, and Upside Down Kingdoms

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Image from Lightstock

Submission is a word that when most people hear it, they define it as “walked on, degraded, defeated, etc” Often the mental picture of a caveman pulling his wife along by her hair comes to mind. To “spiritually” elaborate within that metaphor, God would be the caveman and we would be the woman. As if there is no choice on our part whether to serve and obey Him. Basically a “forced” slave told to do everything and punished if we don’t. This is NOT a picture of submission. I can’t imagine any of us wanting to be Christians if that were the case.

The truth is: submission to God actually results in “rising up, being valued, and living victoriously”. He cares for us so much that instead of beating us into submission, He gives us a choice. Think about that…the King of Kings, Creator of the Universe, Alpha and Omega cares enough about you that He lets you decide how to live your life. That in and of itself should make us want to worship Him. Sadly our ego and pride distract many of us and before we know it WE look more like the caveman dragging along everyone else behind us.

It’s only when we lay our pride, agenda, and talents before the Lord that we’re able to truly live an amazing life. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that if you submit to God life will be a breeze. Honestly, when you submit to God and allow Him to direct your life, the enemy (Satan) actually attacks more often. See, when you were living on your own you didn’t really pose a threat to him, but when you put God in the driver’s seat you immediately get his attention. He’s constantly thinking, “What is this person going to do for God and how can I stop it?” Don’t let that last statement alarm you. The Bible says in James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Satan will always do his best to divert and destroy you, BUT if you stay submitted to God, He will always be fighting on your behalf!

This concept of submission is just one of the many principles that make Christians different from the world. You can find so many other concepts/words that mean one thing to the world, but something totally opposite in the Kingdom of God… that’s not an accident. Remember God called us to be “in the world, but not of the world”. We should always be able to relate with “the lost,” but we shouldn’t live like them.

Don’t be afraid to live “differently” than the world, because it’s God that defines you!

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Our Favorite Easter Videos

Around Easter, we see a ton of great content coming in from the many talented producers making media for churches. Here is a list of some of our favorites that we just can’t stop watching.

Rescued by Igniter Media

rescuedSometimes in the day-to-day of things, we get comfortable relying on our own strengths and it can be easy to drift into forgetfulness about why we are in need of salvation, and why Jesus’ death on the cross was so significant. This video does an incredible job, sobering us to the reality of our desperate need to be rescued. Preview Now

Son of Man by Dan Stevers

sonofmanYou’ve heard the quote “Preach the gospel; use words if necessary.” Dan Stevers charge could have been “make an extremely powerful video, use words if necessary.” And it wasn’t necessary. Through excellent animation, we see Jesus’ death and resurrection blended with relevant scenes from His life and ministry. Preview Now

Empty by Disciple Media

emptyEmpty doesn’t have to be a bad thing. This video from Disciple Media is a powerful reminder that empty is what give us promise for the future! The combination of this important message with powerful music will move your congregation this Easter! Preview Now

Fearless by Centerline New Media

fearlesseasterworshipintroWhat are you afraid of? This thought-provoking mini movie reminds us that we have nothing to fear in Christ. He took our sins, our shame, and our fear and has given us a new self that can be fearless in Him. Let’s celebrate that this Easter! Preview Now

Thy Name by Shift Worship

thynameNot only does this video give a powerful account of Christ’s last days and resurrection, it ends in an incredible way that is sure to give you chills. I love the animation and focus on words straight from scripture. It’s a great option to start to off an Easter service. Preview Now

His Finest Hour by Steelehouse Media

hisfinesthourThis video recaps the story of Easter using beautiful text, simple graphic and powerful instrumental music. It concludes with a remind that our darkest hour is Christ’s finest. Preview Now

Not The End by Journey Box Media

nottheendnewversionEaster Sunday reminds us of Christ’s victory of Sin and Death which should be of great comfort to us that in the bleakest of circumstances, God is never done. Christ is victorious and no sin is too much for the Savior and no death is truly final. This video would great if your church intimately knows the sting of loss and the weight of the effects of sin and would help show them Christ as our ultimate hope. Preview Now

What are some of your favorite videos?

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Good Friday: Stations of the Cross Media

Each year on Good Friday, my church experiences the Stations of the Cross together as a community, and it’s always extremely meaningful. If you’re unfamiliar with the stations, they’re usually artistic representations of the scriptural story from Christ’s condemnation to death, following the last events of Christ’s life on earth, culminating in Jesus being laid in the tomb (or, in some cases, with the resurrection). Through art and readings, we enter into those dark hours and allow ourselves to be immersed in what Christ did for us through his suffering on the cross.

Our church has done this a number of ways. One year we simply read the scriptures and blew out candles after each reading until the room was completely dark. Another year we partnered with another local church to do a series of larger exhibits along the local train line, each stop on the train was a station. Another year we used small pieces of art from church history along with the scriptural readings at stations throughout our worship space.

If your community is planning to do something with the Stations of the Cross this Good Friday, you may want to look at a couple of really great media packages to help you walk through the service.

gra-stationscollectionStations of the Cross from illuminate – This set of ten stills depicts the scenes from that good and terrible day, and would be great to have on the screens in your service as you walk through the stations.

thewayofsufferingexperiencekitThe Way of Suffering Experience Kit from Journey Box Media – Brand new this year, this is a very cool package that includes a reflective video, PDF resources for stations, and a promo video to show your congregation before Good Friday.

How does your church experience the Stations of the Cross?

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SCP is Hiring!

Salem Church Products, the family of sites that includes WorshipHouseMedia.com, WorshipHouseKids.com, VideosForYouth.com, and more*, is hiring a Customer Service Representative for their media sites team in Dallas, TX. If you (or someone you know) would like to work in a fun, casual environment serving churches and christian media producers, you should definitely reach out!

The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills and should be detail-oriented with proven time management skills. Other attributes include: a well-rounded knowledge of the web, the ability to work well with others in a fast-paced environment, and creative problem solving skills.

If that sounds like you, check out their post at ChristianJobs.com and apply today!

*SCP’s network of sites also include: SermonSpice.com, ChristianSongCharts.com, ChristianSongTracks.com, ChurchMediaBlog.com, PastorDeals.com, SermonSearch.com, ChurchStaffing.com, and ChristianJobs.com.

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Pros & Cons of Adwords for Churches This Easter

click_blogImage from Lightstock.

As your church gets ready for Easter Sunday, chances are you’ve brainstormed an outreach & advertising strategy to invite your community to church on April 20th. In fact, you probably have 5-10 advertising tactics for the Easter season to get people in the doors. Outside of marketing on your website, on social media, through word of mouth, or direct mail, there is another option that will help connect you with people looking for a place of worship this Easter.

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is an easy way to connect online with people you wouldn’t normally reach. You may be familiar with the text ads that are displayed at the top and right sides of Google pages when you search. Those are pay per click ads, and they are a fantastic way to advertise your Easter services for several reasons.

It’s effective – The great thing about PPC is that the people who see your ads are looking for what you have to offer. When you create your campaign, you decide which keyword searches will display your ads. For example, one of your keyword phrases may be “Easter Sunday Services.” Then, when someone searches for that phrase, they will see your ad.

It’s flexible – You decide where your ads will be displayed. Location targeting is a huge bonus with PPC, and it gives you the option to focus on the area surrounding your zip code so only people in your community see your ads. In the ad text, make sure to mention your Easter service with times, address, and other details, giving the searcher exactly the information they need to find your church.

It’s affordable – You set the budget and only pay when someone clicks on your ad. As the name states, you pay per click, and you get to set the max amount you’ll pay for a click. You also set your daily budget. Suppose you run your ads for 7 days before Easter spending $20 per day and your average click costs $.20. This means your ads will be clicked on 700 times by people that are actively seeking a church for Easter. Super affordable!

As great as this all sounds, there is a con.

It’s complex – PPC can be daunting if you’re not already familiar with it. Google does a great job providing options for all types of advertisers, but this creates a ton of features that can quickly overwhelm you. Don’t let this discourage you! The folks at ChurchPlantMarketing.com have created a great step-by-step guide to Adwords to get you started.

Follow these steps and be on your way to a successful PPC campaign for your Easter services.  

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Larry Osborne and Chris Brown on Shared Leadership

Leadership Journal is running a fantastic interview with Larry Osborne and Chris Brown, the Teaching Pastors at North Coast Church in Southern California. The two fully share the lead role, which is pretty unique. Larry is several years Chris’ senior, but don’t misunderstand this as some kind of succession plan. The article takes a peek inside the way the partnership works, and is a great read for anyone interested in leadership models.

I love the way Pastor Chris talks about how their unique situation places value on the leader is a person:

…We’ve lightened the load throughout the staff by honoring a person. So when a transition happens or needs to take place, the potential difficulties are spread across a larger, more invested pastoral team. The church can feel the difference, and so can the pastors. Often in church ministry, pastors share the work but don’t share the perks—even as simple as the affirmation a title brings.

Read the entire interview here.

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