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6 Free Resources for January

“Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin’, ring ting tinglin’ too”– Oh no, never mind, that’s just the change leftover in all our pockets after our Christmas expenses. Here at Church Media Blog we get it; not only is the money in your pockets a little thin, but the hits keep on coming with The Super Bowl, Valentines Day, and Easter. Not to worry, as always your friends at CMB have you covered. We have curated some FREE stuff during the inevitable “wallet recovery time” between New Years and Easter. Although the hits seem to keep coming, our free downloads are here to help. Therefore, warm-up your clicking finger and start checking out these new resources for your ministry…or just pass it along to other leaders and friends.

Chalkboard Countdown by Playback MediaCountdown

Download the free countdown at WorshipHouseKids.com.

Retro Lines 1 by Life Scribe Media - Motion Background

Download the free motion background at WorshipHouseMedia.com.

We Give You Thanks Service Starter by Iworship Motion Movie

 Download the free motion movie at SermonSpice.com.

Awesome is He by Worship Central – Song ChartDownload the free song chart at ChristianSongCharts.com.

Diamond Countdown by Playback MediaCountdown

Download the free countdown at VideosForYouth.com.

Stock Video by PEARL – Stock Video

Download the free stock video at LightStock.com.

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Thom Rainer on Church Announcements

Thom Rainer has written an insightful post on his blog where he tackles the relevant question many church leaders are asking: should we or should we not include announcements in our worship services? Many churches of various sizes and styles have had to consider how to communicate what is going on in the life of the church without losing sight of the vision of the church or even interrupting the time of worship. But what exactly is the most effective way to do this? Some churches have eliminated verbal announcements altogether, choosing rather to offer announcements projected on a screen prior to the service. Others, however, have felt pressure from congregants on the importance of announcements, even at times when their effectiveness has shown to be of little or no avail. And one must not forget those church leaders who are often passed a note before stepping on stage or even while they are at the podium, beckoning them to mention whatever is scribbled onto the crumpled piece of scrap paper. While Rainer’s observations seem to differ on some accounts per church size, the overarching conclusion is sure:

“More church leaders do not think announcements should be a part of the worship services.”

Even though many churches have not fully eliminated announcements, especially those of smaller size, most churches have found a way to limit the announcements made during the worship service in a way that is most effective for the individual congregation. The challenge, though, for every church is communication, and communication in such a way that priority and focus remain on whom they should without leaving any one individual in the dark without a light to experience community.

Take a few moments to read Rainer’s full post here. And be sure to check out the comments to see what approaches other church leaders have taken up in their own contexts.

What approach does your church take to church announcements? Has your church found announcements to be an effective form of communication?

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Gary Molander on What People Need this Christmas Eve

Our friend, Gary Molander, has written a really great post on his blog about what people are really needing when they come to your Christmas Eve service: an opportunity to breathe. For most of us, Christmas Eve caps off a season of shopping, decorating, party after party, school concert after school concert, cookie exchange after cookie exchange… you get the point. The fact that you can get families to spend an hour or so with you the night before all of their in-laws descend upon their home is a testament to how powerful this story of a Baby Messiah born in Bethlehem is. And for those you do manage to pull away from couches or malls or last minute chores, you have an amazing opportunity to serve them by giving them a chance to breathe. Gary writes:

I promise that the good people in your church are most definitely not ready to gaze upon the newborn King as they collapse into their seats. Rather, they are desperate for someone to refocus their skewed vision, whether they can verbalize that or not. They need someone on the platform to offer them something no one else will offer them on this evening.

The post references a video that Floodgate Productions created for the very purpose of creating this kind of space. You can see it at WorshipHouse Media.

Gary has an over-sized heart for the church and those who create experiences for her (YOU!). Take a few moments to read his full post here.

What are you doing this Christmas Eve to provide a sanctuary from the crazy and the hectic?

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Top Christmas Worship Songs of 2014

TopChristmasWorshipSongs

Looking for some inspiration? Trying to find ways to sing and worship the newborn King in fresh ways? We’ve compiled a list of the most popular worship songs for your church to sing this Advent/Christmas.

10. God With Us – All Sons & Daughters (from self-titled)

godwithus

Pick up an Audio Track or digital sheet music and sing this with your church, or just get the MP3 from iTunes and worship all season long!

9. It’s Christmastime – Yancy (from Happy Day Everyday)

itschristmastime

This is a fun song for kids of all ages. Grab the video track or MP3.

8. Born is the King (It’s Christmas) – Hillsong (from We Have a Savior)

bornisthekingitschristmas

Get digital sheet music at ChristianSongCharts.com and the MP3 at iTunes.

7. He Made a Way in a Manger – Shout Praises Kids (from Christmas)

Download an audio track (or video track from Candi Pearson) at Christian Song Tracks.

6. Be Born in Me – Francesca Battistelli (from The Story)

Grab a powerful video for this song or get the MP3.

5. Joy to the World / Shout for Joy – Paul Baloche (from Christmas Worship)

shoutforjoy

Pick up a visual worship track or the MP3 from iTunes.

4. Light of the World – Lauren Daigle (from How Can It Be – EP)

You can download the MP3 from iTunes here.

3. O Come All Ye Faithful (Let Us Adore Him) – Rend Collective (from Campfire Christmas, Vol. 1)

ocomeallyefaithful

Get the digital charts for this new rendition of the Christmas classic, or grab the MP3.

2. Adore Him – Kari Jobe (from Adore Him – Single)

You can perform this at your church with a video track or audio track from ChristianSongCharts.com.

1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing / King of Heaven – Paul Baloche (from Christmas Worship)

harktheheraldangelssing

Grab the powerful video track or audio track, or pick up the MP3 from iTunes.

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The Story Behind the Story: The Gift

cpp_blogDo you remember life without Christ?

Well, I do.

I remember a constant void, an unexplainable emptiness nagging at me that would push me to stay as busy as possible to forget it was there. To go after career, money, and pleasure in search of contentment. Of course those never fulfilled me in any way, and after any achievement, I quickly moved on to the next, as if that might finally satisfy the void. When I truly discovered Christ, His unconditional redemptive love that satisfies the void that could only be filled by Him, I realized the chains I had been living with.

Every Christmas, I would hear the story of Jesus, and thought it was a perfect little religious tale to keep families feeling warm and cozy. In reality, the story of Christmas is the most important story in history, but we don’t always accept it, as I hadn’t for years. Inspired by how I felt about life before I committed to life in Christ, I created a short film entitled The Gift.

The Gift is a metaphoric story that illustrates the bondage of sin and the key to freedom. The story takes place in a mansion where the inhabitants have everything the world could offer: food, comfort, wealth, ambition and pleasure. But besides all they could want, they also have large iron shackles fastened to their wrists. They have never set foot outside the mansion, so they don’t really know what freedom is like.

Gifts arrive, addressed to each of them—each is a key to remove the shackles, so that they can leave the mansion and live in freedom. But instead of jumping at the chance, they come up with a variety of excuses as to why they should just stay where they are and not risk freedom. A young man argues that wealth is almost within his grasp, while a young girl proclaims that it isn’t that simple to just accept the gift freely. All the time, a 5-year-old boy listens to their excuses—and the end isn’t what you would expect. It leaves several members of the household (and the audience) shocked and curious about what might happen next.

This Christmas, thousands of churches will be full of people who have heard the Christmas story ten times over but have never really committed their lives to Jesus. The Gift speaks to them what it feels like to be one of those people as I was, ignoring the chains, pretending that my next ambition would satisfy me instead of accepting the free gift—the Key—offered to me (and them) by my Father in Heaven: Jesus.

You can watch the mini-movie here:

How could you use this in your church this season?

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