Found some great FREE resources at demilked.com – Check out this freebie: 149 FREE PAPER TEXTURES
Here’s my latest video project. You can get a copy here
If you’re like me, stock footage is a HUGE part of your annual ministry budget. Even the least expensive options will run your $20.00 for an HD clip. I’ve found a few “free” sites here and there, but there’s usually a catch, or the quality is poor…until now. Check out VIDEEZY.COM – Launched last week, this site offers several categories of stock video footage, all for free, no strings, no gimmicks and best of all, excellent quality. Their library will continue to grow as more users submit footage. Another place to check out is BEACHFRONT B-ROLL. You’ll find a large collection of clips, all for free!
I’m sure there’s more out there. Feel free to share a link and clue the rest of us in. Happy editing!
It’s amazing to me how God chooses to use us. Broken, nasty, filthy…us. He could have chosen any vehicle to carry his message around the world, anything at all…yet He chose us. So what exactly are we doing with that?
While we’re busy complaining about this over here, gossiping about that over there, God is saying; “…but I chose the church.”
While we struggle over style, substance, presentation and feel, God is saying; “…but I chose the church.”
While we bicker over tiny, insignificant things, God is saying; “…but I chose the church.”
The local church is the hope of the world. We are the messengers. We are the voice from the mountain top. No one else is going to do our job…no one. It’s so easy to get lost in the noise of “doing church”, we’ve all been there. From a church staff perspective, more time tends to be spent overwhelmed than anything else. From a congregational perspective, things get even stranger. Personal preference, worship style, cliques, serving too much, not serving at all, doctrinal beliefs…etc, all add to the static.
It’s in those moments, when our “doing meter” exceeds our “being meter”, that we stop functioning like the church God designed us to be. The solution should be simple. The solution doesn’t require any deep biblical understanding…the solution is to simply die…to…self.
It’s much simpler to write than to live out isn’t it? It’s in those moments of combined selflessness, where the body of Christ is on mission, that the church lives up to its billing. Maybe this will help. Think of God, watching the world. His heart breaking for the lost. Aching, with every fibre of His being to draw people to Himself…and watching the tool He created to make that happen…fail.
I can hear Him saying; “…but I chose the church.”
Ideas are so fragile. They need cultivating and nurturing to truly come to life. They’re an art form all their own…each one different than the next…with the ability to transform and reshape with one simple suggestion.
In ministry, ideas are vital. The challenge is finding ways to cultivate those ideas to fruition. Here are a few things which have worked for me over the years…
– Ideas need a team. Though the idea itself may be your own, in the context and pace of ministry it needs more creative minds than simply yours. In a team environment, a simple idea can become a grand landscape of creativity in minutes. In a team environment, incomplete thoughts are completed. Fragmented proposals are pieced together and stagnant thoughts can grow legs and move towards usefulness.
- Humility. Some of the best ideas are stagnated by the inability to let someone else share in the creative process. Have the humility to open source your idea to the other creatives around you so it can become all it can be.
- Give and take. Sometimes, for the sake of team, for the sake of the process and for the good of your creative ministry, you need to let your idea take a back seat to another. If you have 5 great creatives around you, but only allow your ideas to be the ones proposed, used or tweaked, you won’t be surrounded by creative people for long. There’s always a good bit of give and take involved in successful creative environments.
– Don’t get stuck in the Idea. You can have all the great ideas you want, but until someone is willing to implement, it’s just another great idea. Ideas, at their apex, become fluid, trans-formative and potentially life changing.
- Create a fertile environment. Creativity is the soil in which ideas grow and become something great. If you’re job is about ideas and creativity, then you need to surround yourself with other creative people. The right group of creatives can take an idea and make it soar.
Remember… a single idea, surrounded by gifted creatives and carried by God given vision is an incredible, life altering work of art.
I’m certain I’ve blogged about margins before. How they’re a MUST for anyone in ministry. How important they are to your spiritual, physical and emotional health. I’m even more certain I’ve spent some time practicing what I preach. The only problem is I don’t practice it consistently. Sure, there are times when ministry bleeds into our margins…it’s just part of the deal. But, when the bleeding continues to atrophy into a complete blurring of the lines, you have something to concerned about.
Bill Hybels talks about living your ministry life just above the “overly challenged” line. In other words, we need to thrive in a challenging, sometimes stressful and certainly demanding ministry life. This is how it works…this, like it or not, is what ministry is. We live life skirting the margins. But…it’s so easy to take on just one more thing, one extra project…to say yes to one more person or try to juggle one more ball. When we do this, our margins collapse and the burnout process begins.
I’m just coming out of a week of margin recovery. Over the summer, I ended up overwhelmed with projects, events, technical fixes and life. My margins blurred beyond what is acceptable and began to wear me down. As I reflect, there are some lessons I’m going to take from this season and hopefully apply throughout the rest of my life.
1. Your margins need to be clearly defined. It’s different for everyone. Some people have a higher capacity than others. Some people begin to fry after a tough week, while others after a tough month. You need to define what “margin” means for you, your relationship with God, your family and your ministry.
2. Accountability is a must. Someone else needs to know where your margins exist. It could be a spouse, friend, co-worker or the family pet…it doesn’t matter…as long as someone else knows the plan and will confront you when you’re not following it.
3. You WILL cross the line. That’s simply life in ministry. For me, it’s Christmas, Easter, The Global Leadership Summit and the Fall (OK…wait…that pretty much covers my entire year doesn’t it?) – There are times when the lines will blur…the key is to have a plan to bring them back into focus.
4. Sabbath, Sabbath, Sabbath. You need a day off. A day with God. A day to recharge. A day to breathe. If you can get 2 days, you’re really rockin’ it…but 1 is an absolute essential. For me, I just started taking Monday’s off and, to be honest, I have to force myself to take it. But this is my Sabbath…and if I don’t take it, I’m dishonoring God plain and simple.
5. Use your calendar. Sit down and block out some dates. A day to spend with your Spouse. A day to spend with the kids. A day to escape. Mark those days on your calendar and don’t move them. Schedule around them as if they were set in cement. Little things like this help keep your priorities right and will eventually become a healthy habit.
6. Not to be cliche…but learn to say NO! If you’re good at what you do, everyone is going to want you to handle their project, their event, their design, their whatever… and there’s nothing wrong with that. YOU need to learn what to say NO to. Here’s a clue…if saying yes is going to cause chaos with your margins, disrupt your family, distract from your ministry responsibilities or cause you to put God on the back burner…say NO!
Like I said, I don’t have this all figured out. I’m still working through managing my margins as much as the next guy…but I know what works and I know what needs to happen. The bottom line is choice. You and I need to choose margin over burn-out…family over ministry fatigue and God over workaholism.
So…back to what I was saying. Here are a few more things we’ve learned as we’ve rebuilt our communications structure…
-Not everyone gets air time. This has been the biggest obstacle. Back in the day, you could get platform time, a video promo and a bulletin insert for just about anything. The Information Center was cluttered with the latest clip-art and posters hung freely on the church bulletin board. Before you knew it, you’d communicated everything, but no one heard a word of it. We made some simple/common sense guidelines and are just now seeing the fruits of our labor.
- Platform time is virtually non-existent unless it’s something which connects with the bulk of our congregation.
- Video promos are reserved for events which impact 80% or more of our people.
- Video announcements and our eNews letter (2 things we added through this process) are limited to 4 items per week and have an appeal to at least 50% of our congregation.
- Promo cards and handouts are on their way out, replaced by the website and our online event registration.
We haven’t completely finished this process, but 12 months later…we’re getting close.
-Stick to your guns. Any time you bring about change, people WILL react. Some reactions will be more user friendly than others of course. None the less, as a ministry leader, you bring about the changes God lays on your heart. If people struggle with those changes, it DOES NOT nullify the will of God. Don’t back track or give up based on the court of public opinion…PERIOD!
-Have an explanation. People follow vision. People are also more likely to follow the “what” when they understand the “why”. Though you certainly don’t need to explain every single step you take, you MUST be ready to share the vision, reason and expected results of your direction change. Remember, you’re trying to improve your church communications…start by effectively communicating change.
More coming later…