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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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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Facebook’s Recent Change and What it Means for Your Church!

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Facebook recently announced that they are making some changes starting in January that will affect the organic content from pages. Take a look at how Facebook is defining this change:

“As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”

So what does this mean for your church’s Facebook page? Facebook has made it very clear that any page that chooses to post promotional content will begin to see their organic distribution fall. Facebook has defined “promotional posts” as the following:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that encourage people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the same content from ads

An important thing to note here is that this change ONLY affects organic posts, and NOT paid ads. Essentially, they are stating that, if it feels like an ad, don’t bother posting it organically. Instead, buy a paid ad.

The Bottom Line
Because this change hasn’t rolled out yet, it is still unclear exactly what type of posts and language will take a direct hit. However, this change is forcing your church to change the way they think about marketing and promotions especially via social media. You will now be encouraged to be more interesting, conversational, and educational. The user should come first! If the consumer would rather see more engaging posts in their newsfeed rather than promotions, then it is our job to provide that. Maybe this means your strategy will shift from the classic call to action of “Register Now” to an announcement or description.

Check out the difference in these two posts:

Try this: We are so excited about this year’s Christmas Concert. Learn more about the event!

Instead of this: Sign up for the 2015 Christmas Concert. Register NOW!

The Problem
What if the purpose of your page is to provide information on events and promotions? If the user has “liked” the page to see information on these events, registration, or promotions, then that is the content the user ultimately wants to see. Should there be an exception to the no promotion rule?

What are your thoughts on this announcement and how it will affect marketing on your church’s Facebook page?

(For more on these developments, check out http://marketingland.com/facebook-kills-organic-reach-108160 and http://www.jonloomer.com/2014/11/16/facebook-promotional-posts/)

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7 Free Media Resources for November

It’s free resource time again! And we at the Church Media Blog have rounded up some of our favorites! This month you have more than ever to be thankful for – there’s a Thanksgiving feast of resources! There are two inspiration videos, a Chris Tomlin song chart (including orchestration), a stock video clip, a mini-collection with a countdown and a motion background, a full-sized collection with 1 countdown, 7 motion backgrounds, and 7 still backgrounds, and an audio track to get you in the holiday spirit (if you’re a no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving person, you can download it after Thanksgiving). So, as you’re sipping on those new Starbucks holiday drinks, be sure to download these new resources for your ministry and share them with your media-loving acquaintances and friends!

Oil And Water by Eric Samuel Timm – Mini-Movie

Download the free Mini-Movie at WorshipHouseMedia.com. (Available through November 30)

 

The Chains by Oneness Videos – Mini-MovieDownload the free Mini-Movie at Sermonspice.com. (Available through November 30)

 

Graph Paper Mini-Collection by Graceway Media – Motion & CountdownDownload the free mini-collection at WorshipHouseKids.com. (Available through November 30)

 

Grunge Circle Pack by Wubbleyou Media Group - Countdown, Motion Backgrounds, & Still BackgroundsDownload the free collection at videosforyouth.com. (Available through November 30)

 

Shout For Joy/Joy To The World by Paul Baloche - Audio Worship TrackDownload the free audio track at christiansongtracks.com. (Available through November 30)

 

Greater by Chris Tomlin – Song ChartDownload the free song chart at christiansongcharts.com. (Available through November 30)

 

Stock Video by Pearl – Video ClipDownload the free video clip at lightstock.com. (Available through November 30)

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