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Archive for the ‘networking’ Category

Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! – Proverbs 23:4 (NKJV)

The Word is clear.  We can be blessed with riches at birth or through some hard work.  Nevertheless, we should not work ourselves to the point of exhaustion for a few more dollars here and there.  Imagine what would happen if we just did what we were required to do and nothing else.  Imagine using your gifts and talents to the maximum capability for yourself and you family.

My profile on Shout Life reads like my other online professional profiles.  As a poet, author  and consultant, I am juggling my time, doing my best at balancing  online content and updates.  I use Lulu.com for my print-on-demand and e-books.  Most of what I have written and published so far has been faith-based and inspirational poetry.  Words from the Underground was my most secular works of poetry that was influenced by my work in street ministry in San Diego.    Additionally, I have an online storefront for my accessories and gear at http://www.zazzle.com/lifepath08 .   Join the network of support through Life Path Consulting Services.    Subscribe to Prayer Pages our weekly newsletter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

I am working hard.  There’s a pair of new books due out next month, both poetry with different themes.  I am launching another aspect of the business consulting services component and expanding Life Path Publishing’s offerings beyond poetry and guidebooks.  I am busy with work, but I refuse to overwork myself in any pursuit to become rich.

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Let brotherly love continue. – Hebrews 13:1 (KJV)

This walk of faith can seem lonely.  We can get to the point where it feels like no one is on our level.  We can feel as if we have grown into isolation.

That just should not be so.  Sadly, it is a real truth for many who believe in the Lord.  They are in church, but they feel very much alone.  They don’t feel the brotherly or sisterly love.  They feel on the outside.

Numerous churches have worked diligently on being missional and developing community.  They have worked tirelessly to create relevant ministries in their local communities.  In fact, some like Saddleback Church and Willow Creek have gone on to create resources such as study guides and e-books on ministry based upon what has worked for them.

Here I have listed some online communities of faith that may help others discover their ministry or a sense of Christian community:

Be sure to check out Christian Publications Available at Amazon

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Christian writers need to tap into their creativity just as much as any other writers.  It is especially necessary when you are a freelancer, when your gigs are not a steady of stream of syndicated newspaper columns or a growing base of endearing readers due to all of the advertising and marketing dollars that go into your books from the big-time publishing houses.  You need to have some creative ways to develop both content and commerce.

  • Publications: You may never get a major book deal with a large publishing house.  Don’t throw away all of those prayer journals and scribbled notes for that Christian memoir yet.  Publish it yourself or go to a small press.  If you have tried a small press already, try an even smaller press like a small Christian college.  You may need to work it through their journal or magazine-like publication first as a beta test prior to publishing, but it is a far cry from those outright rejections from the big boys on Madison Avenue.  Self-published books are in a whole different arena nowadays, but you have to do your homework.  They won’t simply jump off the shelves (or, out of the warehouse).  The smaller you go with publishing the more how-to knowledge you are going to need to get you through to making it.  Look at www.lulu.com or www.blurb.com to publish yourself.  Check out www.pw.org for some small press and online havens for Christian writers.
  • Products: I am a big believer in making more out of my sermons than simply a preached message.  I look and see if they could be used as blog posts, Bible lessons, MS PowerPoint slideshows, program curriculum or e-books and articles.  If they can pass the so-called “t-shirt test,” can they be placed on a t-shirt or bumper sticker, even a button, and sold? Develop products that can be sold as fund-raisers for your church or small group.  Perhaps, if you are sincere, honest and earnest, the church or the small group may be willing to partner with you or support you by purchasing some of your products and books just above costs and reselling them as a fund-raiser for a special event or certain cause.  You have to make your products something that people would buy with their hard-earned money.  With more and more people using laptops or iPads than desktop PC’s, you may do better making some cool, graphically-appealing iPad and laptop cases and covers, even sleeves, rather than mousepads.  Use a site like www.cafepress.com or www.zazzle.com, even www.spreadshirt.com.
  • Presentations: Convert your short stories into videos with Windows Movie Maker or iMovie on Mac.  Use your scripts to make mini commercial spots that offer a sneak peak of your play in production for mobile devices or on www.youtube.com or www.youversion.com , even see if you can uplaod it on www.godtube.com.  See about your slideshow being used as a presentation on your faith journey of recovery that highlights portions of your book detailing and chronicling your experience of leaving drugs behind for a new life Christ.  Share this with rescue missions, shelters and recovery centers.  Many of these programs pay their presenters.  Sign your book after the presentation.  In lieu of payment, or in addition to payment if at all possible, sell your books to the program with a volume discount.  Upload your presentations on your own site, your blog or www.slideshare.net or www.box.net, even www.christianarchives.com.
  • Postings: Let it flow out of you and online.  Post to a blog consistently.  Look at www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com.  Some people like www.tumblr.com, too.  Your blog can be read by subscribers and you can add an RSS feed to your site, too.  Technology is so cool.  Twitter is a form of “micro-blogging.” I say combine your Twitter and Facebook accounts to a degree and hit up your fans and followers through Tweetdeck.  It simplifies the whole thing and it’s splendid.  You can even add your Google Buzz and LinkedIn accounts, too.  Post links to your press releases about your new book in print, upcoming author events such as poetry readings or signings, and the storefront that carries your e-book or your podcasts.

As a believer, you want to keep the faith.  Your writing is similar to your walk.  You have to pray for some breakthroughs to keep you from some serious breakdowns.  Trust the Lord with all year heart, but be active with your faith.  Writing is a broad field.  Be sure to exhaust your resources and networks getting your writing career off the ground, up and running.  Keeping praying and stay active.

This post originally appeared on RedRoom on Rev Bruce’s Page

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 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. – Acts 4:32 (NIV)

Running short on your street mission and shelter funding or praying that the bank doesn’t shut down your community youth center? There may be some simple solutions right at your fingertips and within your reach. You can get some contributions coming in to support the ministry that you have going on within the community.

Share What You Do

You have to tell what you do and make it known to every one you interact with on any given day. Become your biggest spokesperson. People will gladly help you when they know that what you do is almost part of your natural DNA.

Build on the Business Buzz

Truly, even with a recession like this one, you can create some unique “selling” opportunities. Identify some organizations or corporations who have found themselves in hot water lately. Imagine if you had gotten to BP right after the oil spill in the Gulf. What better way to make up for a mess than to change the public’s perception of you as a public servant, corporate leader, or a marketplace mover and shaker. Get with the Better Business Bureau or local chamber of commerce in your community to see who may be prime candidates in a position to give and get press. You may have to be prepared for a media event like a press conference or ribbon cutting for the new wing of beds donated in the name of who knows who, but the dog and pony show come with the territory. That’s the decision you need to make in analyzing who you approach for help.

Create Giving Opportunities

The ability to host gala events of $50-plate roasts and special events that sizzle with the pizzazz of all of the bells and whistles may not be something within the range of your budget or even scope at this point. Create a special event and add the things that will attract niche audiences. Attach a trendy theme to the event. Don’t rent that hotel ballroom. Go for the art gallery or the contemporary art museum, even the historical landmark site. Make the place special and off the beaten path. Use everything that sets your event apart to attract the “new” rich, i.e. techies, skaters, environmentalists, vegans, and others.

Hometown Heroes

Get your local hometown heroes to help out with your fund-raising efforts. Where is that high school phenom who went pro? Whatever became of that cute girl from around the way who went to the Olympics when they were in Atlanta? Wasn’t there a pop music artist who grew up near here? Make your hometown heroes advocates and spokespeople for your cause.

Attach to a movement that’s bigger than your ministry. Create your own opportunities. Develop a plan. Explore and exercise your options. There is a way that you can get more money flowing into your ministry so that you can do more work. It can be done.

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Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon. – Daniel 1:4 (NLT)

What influences you? Who influences you? Could conspiracy theories about Big Brother and plans for world domination be valid? Are they just modern urban legends or are such plans devised behind closed doors?

There was a royal plan to influence an entire generation.  They wanted to turn the young ones against their own culture and heritage.  They wanted to take a select group of captives and make them versed in the culture and teachings of their captors.  They would assimilate into the culture of where they were being held captive.  It was a royal plan.

The Royal Plan

  • The Recipients Picked: These were to be the captives who were “young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families” (verse 3).  According to verse 4, they were to pick “only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men.” In addition, the same verse said: Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace.  These would be the recipients.
  • The Recipe Prescribed: The recipients were to be trained in the language and literature of Babylon and provided food and wine.  Keep in mind that these are the very things that make up any group’s culture; what they read and write, what they eat and drink, and how they interact with each other and outsiders.  The recipe would acculturate these young men in alignment with their captors.
  • The Results Predicted: They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service (verse 5). The king anticipated how long it would take to “train” these young men and predicted them being able to enter royal service.

Let’s be sure that we keep in mind who is supposed to be influencing our children and youth.  Sociology tells us that a child’s first teachers are the parents.  The Bible teaches us in Proverbs to “train up a child.” We have to be sure that we invest in our young ones before the world gets a hold of them.  Otherwise, they may be easily influenced by all of the trappings of what the world has to offer.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.- Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

 

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I am an avid “web-crawler.” I search the web for sites that can help me with my work and ministry. I have discovered some sites that truly can support you as you seek to enhance and expand your ministry for greater effectiveness in this day and age.

Here is a short list of sites for support:

  • http://www.outreach.com/ Great resources from banners to do-it-yourself templates; be sure to take a look at http://blog.outreach.com/ for tips and ideas on a wide range of outreach topics and http://www.outreachmagazine.com/ for articles and information on outreach. Look into their church-planting resources, too.
  • http://www.lifetreecafe.com/ If you are in ministry or seeking to get one started, here is a possible resource that will cause you to be “missional.” Check out what this conversational and casual gathering can do for your church and the un-churched. Read what it’s about. It will take some planning and strategies on your part.
  • http://www.lifechurch.tv/ This church is taking multi-site ministry into a whole new era. You have to check out their online worship experience as well as their resources and messages (even those that are not live.) Open is a great resource for downloads of templates and forms that will help administration and ministry leaders. YouVersion has to be one of my favorite sites on the web. With everything from “live” worship and the audio Bible to Bible reading plans and the means for sharing via Facebook and Twitter, this site will rock your world. Church Metrics is a cool free tool that allows you to track everything from attendance to commitments and baptisms. It’s web-based and even has a mobile application for on-the-go ministry and small group leaders.
  • http://www.urbanministry.org/ Tons and tons of information and resources for “street ministry” and beyond. I use the Word Press blog application for Saved2Serve, our network for ministries, faith-based organizations and parachurches. You have to check out their Church Grants and Volunteer sub-sites. This site is a real winner.
  • http://www.ebase.org/ I like E-Base for nonprofits and donor tracking because it does something different from Church Metrics. This download allows you to track donors, volunteers, and other things such as outreach campaigns. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t in a data storage format almost like CRM software for business.

These sites are useful and worth exploring. I see them as mechanisms for strengthening and supporting your work in ministry. Be sure to visit our web database for the free download of “When the Laborers are Few.” This will help those who have few “workers” for the harvest that is before them in their part of the vineyard.

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 Evangelism is a lot like College

It is a lot like college in many ways.  You can only imagine how so, but here are a few of the ways that evangelism resembles college life.

 

  • You are tested by people at times who may know just as much as and sometimes even more than you on the subject at hand 
  • You have to use a lot of what you have already learned to face new challenges
  • You meet people from nearly every walk of life
  • Doing your homework pays off
  • You’re own your own but you can always come back home
  • The study and discussions help you when you interact with others outside of class
  • You can just show up if you want to, but you have to put in some hard work in order to reap the rewards

 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” –Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

 

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