If you’ve been in ministry in the Western world for any length of time, you’ve already asked yourself this questions. Which is better for my ministry, YouTube or Vimeo? Or, is there a third option?
When you think of 2016, you may think of Harambe, Trump, exploding phones, stock market breakthroughs, or ISIS. You may laugh or cry, probably cry. But one thing is for sure, thousands of you have visited this site for one reason or another, and I thank you.
These are the Top 10 most read posts of 2016. This list takes into account all pageviews from January 1, 2016 until today, December 30, 2016. Most of these posts focus on organizational development of volunteer organizations. Some are random. Still, here they are. Number 1 is the most read post of the year, three years running, and it surprises me to see this every time.
I have a confession, I love meetings. I love real meetings. Real meetings are when things are discussed, dissected, torn down, built up, and planned. Real meetings lead to great outcomes. I have no problem attending meetings all day long. I enjoy it, if they’re real. I’m in the minority, though. Most people don’t like meetings, even if the meetings are productive. Most people are tired of having to meet over every little thing. Therefore, the last thing one of your volunteers wants to do after being at work in pointless meetings all day is then go to a ministry meeting at your church.
These 10 ways to make meetings better are specific to your volunteers. After-hours meetings with volunteers have specific needs. People will come to your meetings at work because they’re being paid to do so. So don’t think that just because employees attend meetings all day at with you at work means you know what makes a meeting with volunteers bearable. On the contrary, I often find the opposite true. The more accustomed you are to work meetings, the more likely you are to think that everyone is accustomed to (often pointless) meetings. Still, if you have a large amount of volunteers, organized meetings are necessary.
I work for Samaritan’s Purse. It’s not too long after telling someone this that they’ll comment about Franklin Graham’s supposed excessive salary, often incorrectly stating that he’s the highest paid nonprofit CEO. Never mind that the CEOs for The United Way, Goodwill, March of Dimes, American Red Cross, American Jewish Committee, American Cancer Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund, World Vision and countless others earn more. Not to mention, or maybe I will mention that many of these organizations have considerably lower efficiency and accountability scores.
Let me step on my soapbox for a little bit….
January 15, 2016 was ending like so many other days in the bustling capital city of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. In this city of more than 1.6 million inhabitants, there was nothing out of the ordinary. At around 7:30pm in the Splendid Hotel and nearby Cappuccino Cafe, business was good, as usual. Suddenly, gunfire and screams of “Allah u Akbar” erupted. A handful of Islamic Terrorists murdered dozens and temporarily paralyzed the city.
Recently, a new US Government Policy dealing with hostages was put into effect. This policy may greatly impact your missions ministry. US ministries are becoming more and more involved in an increasingly dangerous world. As this happens, the US Government is often caught in the middle of having to intervene on behalf of an American Citizen in trouble abroad. Many times the US Government ensure the safe rescue of a citizen abroad. Other times they come up woefully short, even endangering those they seek to help. Throughout all of this, though, families are often given little to no communication, and can even be threatened with prosecution of they seek to take matters into their own hands. [Read more…] about How the new US Government Hostage Policy affects your Missions Ministry
My good friend, Pastor Mike Lawrence, and his family just celebrated 10 years as missionaries in Costa Rica. Pastor Mike serves as the Lead Pastor of Calvary Chapel Jaco in Costa Rica. Jaco is a beautiful tourist town that just so happens to be a hub for human trafficking and is riddled with prostitution, drugs, poverty, and all kinds of debauchery. Yet this town also provides great surfing, good food, incredible views, and has some great people calling it home. I’ve had the honor of serving on their church board for a couple years and have had the privilege of visiting them many times. I hope to one day go back and visit them again.
Below is the link to his website where he shares “8 Things The Mission Field Has Taught Me Over The Past 10 Years“.
Am I biased?
With so many churches struggling to meet their weekly needs in terms of finances and volunteers, why on Earth would a Pastor encourage his congregation to apply to volunteer year round with Operation Christmas Child? After all, won’t they give Operation Christmas Child all their time? Doesn’t this take away from the Church?
What if I told you that we never leave a man behind? What if I told you we have incredible leaders, great staff members, and great volunteers? Does that convince you? No? Ok.
If you’re a Pastor, you need to read this. By the end of this (short) post, I’m going to convince you that encouraging your people to volunteer with Operation Christmas Child is the best thing that you could do.
We conducted a survey of our volunteers and one thing really surprised me. Over 90% of our over 8,000 year round volunteers serve in other organizations. The most common place they serve is their church.
I get it. I was a Children’s Ministry Pastor. I know what it’s like to have a big hole in your weekend schedule. But I assure you, someone volunteering with Operation Christmas Child isn’t going negatively affect your schedule!
Operation Christmas Child volunteers not only become better volunteers for you, but they become more aware Christians. We’re a Christian international relief organization. We’re constantly communicating the impact that our US volunteers are making across the world. That’s right. That little old grandma who has been serving with Operation Christmas Child for 10 years is probably responsible for THOUSANDS of children coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and she knows it.
This can also be intimidating for many Pastors. People in your congregation can know more about the work of the global church than you. There is so much to do week in and week out, that it’s impossible for Pastors to keep up to date with everything. You worry about your family, your staff, your church, your community, your city, and many other things. Do you really need to know exactly where that cyclone hit in the Philippines and what the response has been?
No, you probably don’t. But I guarantee you that most of our volunteers know exactly where it hit and what the international response has been.
We invest in our volunteers like no one else. Seriously, I’ve never seen anything like this. Conferences, monthly calls, eLearning, workshops, you name it. We even have an entire website, full of resources, solely dedicated to our US volunteers. Yes, I know some churches have them. I’ve seen them. The Operation Christmas Child website blows them away in terms of resources available.
Do you know that our volunteers serve in dedicated roles with ministry descriptions that they sign? Do you know that their roles are part of an org chart that covers a specific local area? Do you know that these areas end up covering the entire United States?
Our volunteers have the opportunity to become experts in recruiting, selecting, equipping, leading, and developing other volunteers. We have volunteer leaders that lead teams of other volunteers. Sounds good, huh?
What if I told you that I could give the people in your church a crash course in international ministry, train them to recruit and lead volunteers, take on incredible responsibility, teach them practical things like how to set up a booth, how to put together a presentation, or how to lead millennials in ministry, all while they continue to serve in your church?
Have I convinced you?