A Top Real Estate Expert Shares 5 Ways Churches Can Be More Effective With Direct Mail

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I recently had lunch with my friend Rodney Johnson, who’s a top real estate agent in Los Angeles, specializing in multi-million dollar homes. As the broker/co-owner of a large real estate firm in the uber-competitive LA residential market, he’s learned over 28+ years how to find clients using virtually every legitimate means possible. That includes door knocking, cold calling, door hangers, and direct mail. For the last four years, he’s gained listings in multi-million dollar communities through unique direct mail pieces.  Plus, his church – Freedom Church — was doing the same thing to grow their congregation. So I asked him to give us his secrets for making an impact with local direct mail. Here’s what he said:

The 7 Most Common Ways Pastors Shoot Themselves in the Foot

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I love pastors. I work with them regularly and have the greatest admiration for what they do.  But when it comes to outside criticism, bad PR, or being attacked in the media, a significant number of instances are caused by pastors themselves – and I’ve discovered a number of common threads those pastors share. Nothing here is a theological or doctrinal issue, but they’re all red flags when it comes to outside media’s perceptions. And in today’s instant message, social media world, those perceptions matter. You may not care today, but I can name you many pastors and leaders down the ministry road who wished they had. Here’s the most common ways pastors and ministry leaders shoot themselves in the foot:

Should Churches Produce TV Programs?

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It’s pretty popular these days to bash local churches producing broadcast TV programs. Even megachurches with adequate budgets for media don’t escape the criticism. After all, the history of Christian television shows us that a significant number of programs through the years were downright embarrassing, and if anything, drove people away from the faith, rather than toward it. But in spite of the mistakes, poor quality, and questionable results of some church efforts, here’s 5 reasons I still encourage churches to consider a broadcast ministry:

Pastors: Read This Before You Respond To Media Requests on The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

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There’s no question that local pastors will be interviewed about their position and response to the recent Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage. But before you answer that call, here’s a few things to remember:  Whatever denomination you’re from, just for context, you should read the statement from current and past presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention released just two weeks ago on the issue. Since they’re the largest Protestant group in America, you should know their position, because it may come up in an interview.  Regarding the ruling, here’s some thoughts that may help as you formulate a response – particularly to secular media requests on the issue: 

What To Do The First 24 Hours After a Leader’s Moral Failure

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In the religious and nonprofit world, a leader’s moral failure still has a major impact. Along with the theological and scriptural issues, there’s also a significant trust issue involved. The common thinking is that if he or she can’t be trusted to honor marriage vows, then the leader is likely untrustworthy in other areas as well. However you personally fall on the spectrum of that thinking, the truth is, churches, ministries, and nonprofits take a heavy hit when a leader has an affair, or worse, is involved in illegal sexual behavior. In these cases, how the organization reacts in the first 24 hours is critical. Having advised numerous organizations through these difficult situations, here’s my recommendations for the first 24 hours of the crisis:

How To Deal With Online Church Trolls

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I’ve consulted with hundreds of churches over the years, and sadly, there’s one common enemy some of the most effective churches in America share – online trolls.  In these cases, at least one disgruntled ex-church member has decided to launch a Facebook page, Twitter feed, and in some cases a blog with the express purpose of criticizing the church. There are many reasons: some were offended by the pastor, others don’t like the church’s teaching, a few feel they were taken advantage of, and still others are convinced they’ve uncovered secret

5 Things I Learned from the Bomb Squad Conference

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Last week I had the incredible opportunity to speak into the lives of forty top Salvation Army leaders from their Eastern Territory. We talked about engaging culture in today’s digital age, developing great teams, and becoming more effective influencers. It was a terrific time. But during our sessions, we were next door to a law enforcement conference focused on men and women from bomb squads across the country. During the breaks, I had the chance to talk to a few, and learned some ideas that all of us could use in our own leadership:

The One Thing You Should Never Do in a PR Crisis

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Every organization – particularly nonprofits and religious organizations – should be ready for a public relations crisis, but sadly, very few actually are ready when it happens.  In today’s digital world, there are many more opportunities for mistakes, moral compromises, and financial wrongdoing.  This earlier post is a great conversation about what to do during a organizational crisis, but if – and when – something disastrous happens at your church, ministry, or nonprofit, there’s absolutely one thing you should never do:

There Is No Formula For Success, But….

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Whenever a book, seminar, or speaker pitches you on a “success formula,” walk away. There is no proven formula for success, because if there was, everyone would be following it. Success happens in different ways to different people and it’s nearly impossible to forecast. But you can have the elements in place to make success worth betting on. Remember – life isn’t fair, and there’s no guarantee about anything. But if you can get these 5 elements in place, then you open the door to the possibility of the miraculous:

The Reason I’m Never Cynical

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A lot of people ask me why I’m not cynical when it comes to the Church and Christian media. After all, I’ve seen a lot of wacky stuff out there. Over the years, Christian leaders have committed adultery, embezzled money, misused donors, and lived like kings. Christian media professionals have created really ridiculous TV programs and movies. And yet, here I am, still committed to