The Most Misunderstood Role in Ministry: The Executive Pastor

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After decades working with churches around the world, I’ve discovered one of the most difficult challenges pastors face is finding the right “Executive Pastor.”  Smaller churches don’t usually need one, but as churches grow, a leader in that role becomes more and more important.  But in a significant number of cases, local pastors don’t really understand the job. In my opinion, one of the best XP’s in the country is Mike Buster, Executive Pastor at Prestonwood Church in Plano, Texas. He’s worked with Pastor Jack Graham for 28 years, and they’ve become a remarkable team. In fact, in my opinion,

Why 2015 Will Be The Year of Online Video

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A great number of media organizations are touting 2015 as the “Year of Digital Video.” Most of these predictions refer to the broad range of videos, movies, advertising, and other online content that is exploding on multiple platforms. But there’s plenty of reasons that 2015 will be the year of online video for churches, ministries, and nonprofits as well:

Have An Oscar Party – At Your Church?

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Recently, as I’ve been speaking at conferences and events around the world I’ve been urging Christians to stop looking at Hollywood as the enemy, and start looking at Hollywood as a mission field. After all, what if Christians stopped just criticizing, and actually started praying for the most influential industry in the world? Something amazing might happen. But that’s long been the focus of two very effective ministry organizations based in Hollywood: The Hollywood Prayer Network and Mastermedia International. Now, both organizations are asking churches to do something many would never expect:

The 5 Keys To A Successful Relationship with a Creative Consultant or Vendor

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I am often a “vendor.” That means our company, Cooke Pictures is hired by churches, ministry organizations, and nonprofits to consult with them on issues related to creativity, media, and engaging their communities. We advise them on a wide range of issues, from video and short film production, social media, book publishing, the Internet and more. Essentially we help organizations

Why Success Takes More Than Passion

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Everyone talks about “passion” these days, and truthfully, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s always better to be emotionally plugged into projects and excited about the possibilities. But these days, it seems that people talk about passion a lot, but they don’t see the importance of preparation. For instance, you’d be amazed at the number of people who call our office hoping I can introduce them to a literary agent – except for the small fact that they haven’t actually written a book yet. The other day someone asked me to

14 Things Every Communications Director Needs to Know

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If you work on the communications or media team at a church, ministry, or nonprofit, your job is to share the story of your organizations to the local community and sometimes the world.  While a pastor or leader may speak to the local congregation or supporters, your job is to take that message and share it on a much bigger platform.  To do that well, here’s a list of critical things you and your team need to know: 

Be Cautious When Hiring Your Family

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Although nearly every church, ministry, or non-profit client I’ve ever known hires their family, I always urge caution when doing it.  Sure – there’s nothing we’d all like better than to hire our spouse, children, or other relatives.  The idea of a “family company” sounds great.  But in truth, it doesn’t work as well as you think.  Entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki is direct and too the point, but worth listening to when he says: 

The Secret to Stopping Unwanted Speculation and Rumor

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Whenever a crisis happens at an organization, rumors begin. We shouldn’t be surprised because human beings are wired for curiosity. We want to know what happened, what’s going on, and what’s next. Channeled in the right direction, curiosity creates inventions, cures disease, and births great art.  But channeled in the wrong direction, curiosity can destroy reputations, throw organizations into chaos, and undermine the common good. But there’s one way to stop unwanted speculation and rumor in it’s tracks:

The Sweet Spot of Sharing the Christian Message

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We’re seeing a lot of criticism recently of pastors, writers, speakers, filmmakers as well as others about how they share the Christian message with the outside culture. Some are criticized for making it too easy – they lead with the “grace” message, and are hesitant to talk about tough issues like sin, hell, or punishment. On the other side, those who preach a more serious message about tough subjects are labelled as “out of date,” “insensitive” and “hard core.” I know the debate well because over the years, I’ve had friends and clients on both sides of the argument. But here’s the problem: It’s the wrong argument, and here’s why:

When Leaders Don’t Enjoy Spending Time With Their Team

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In my consulting work over the last 30 years, one of the most common complaints I get – particularly at churches and nonprofit organizations – is that leaders don’t spend much time with their team.  Understand it’s not just about being busy. In most situations it’s pastors, executives, COO’s and other leaders who simply don’t enjoy spending time with their team. In case that’s happening at your organization, and since I’ve heard it from both sides, when it happens, here’s my advice for both parties: