Shut Up Already

I remember my very first writing assignment in first grade. I had a cutout of a girl, who I had to color and decorate to look like me. Her body served as the place I would write a few paragraphs all about me–the things I liked to eat, the places I liked to go. Since then, I have been hooked on the 26 letters that can form new thoughts and ideas. Simple words that can make people laugh and bring people to tears.

I've been asked the question: If you could do anything in the whole world you wanted to and not have to worry about money what would it be?

Of course, for me, the answer is writing.

I have prayed over this desire of my heart. I have began three different novels, or maybe four. I have a notebook full of ideas–some I have seen written already by other authors. And God has blessed me with the opportunity…and now, for the first time ever, the motivation.

He gave me an idea…then His word to back it up.

Then during my fast…he slammed me over the head. Like for real. Like when you are playing with one of those bouncy soft, big summer balls with the kids outside. Somehow your son gets sidetracked and starts staring off into oblivion. You call his name, you call his name again. And then you realize you have the ball in your hand so you chunk it at his head to get his attention? No. That's just me?

So Jesus slammed me over the head with the ball, because I just haven't been pay attention. I may have been playing around with this writing dream, but I haven't really engaged in it.

In the midst of me fasting and praying–crying out to Jesus to give me a true purpose. And he did. My focus on writing was all wrong, it was about me, what I could offer and what I can write. When truly everything I do is about Jesus, and is simply an overflow of all he has done for me.

In my journal, I wrote these questions:

IS THERE WONDER & AWE AT WHAT JESUS HAS DONE?

ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMED AT WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU?

When Peter and John went before the Council in Acts 4, their goal was to shut up the Spirit led men so the message of Jesus couldn't go any further. Peter and John were warned–keep your mouth shut. This was there response:

“We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard.”

I can just see them responding in the same way I tell my kids:

“I hear you. I hear what you are saying, but No, it's just not going to happen.”

Calmly, respectfully.

It's like what the council was asking was impossible for them. It's like they were saying:

Have you seen what Jesus has done? Do you have any clue how he has changed me, redeemed me, used me? There is no way I can shut my mouth about that, even if I tried.

And that is how I am trying to live my life. This is how I am planning on writing, with an overwhelming amount of compelling of the Spirit to tell all that Jesus has done for me. I pray that you can do the same. You will have an overwhelming sense of gratefulness of what Christ has done for you, and you just won't be able to shut up about it. Not to your kids, your family, friends, neighbors, people in line at the grocery store. If you know me at all, you know that I don't really shut up anyway–so this should be easy for me.

Do you need a word from God? Do you need Him to show you something? FAST WITH US!

JULY 1

JULY 2

JULY 3

He speaks when we empty ourselves. Comment and commit. Then invite 3 people you know to fast with us!

Ever felt like you just can't shut up already about Jesus? Comment and share! I want to know!

 

Top 5 Church (Plant) Marketing Mistakes

Marketing is a necessary part of church planting in America. We would LOVE to think that the LORD will speak directly to every single person who needs to attend your church, placing a calling on their life. And He might…and He CAN. But LBR (let's be real), there are churches on every corner, and people have just as many choices on a Sunday morning as they do toothpaste at Walmart.

Marketing is important. People are impacted by your church, and God can use your marketing strategy to draw people to the work He is doing through you. But there are lots of marketing mistakes in church plants. Here are my top 5.

1. NOT INVESTING IN YOUR WEBSITE : Most church plants know that a website is necessary but are weary of investing too much money in one. A website is the new front door. As a church-planter and a new-church seeker, the website is the first thing I research. By the content and how “put together” the website is, I will make a decision on whether or not I will visit a church. Invest in your website, update your content, and make it easy to navigate. Use neutral lingo that church goers and non church goers can understand. Your website is your MOST powerful marketing tool!

2. SIGNS SIGNS SIGNS: Most churches do a great job advertising their church before Sunday, but once the BIG DAY comes…BLECH. MOST church plants are mobile, so no one is driving by your very own facility every day, noticing your building, remembering where you are. First time visitors (which is the GOAL here) need signs. They don't want to make U-Turns, or turn into the wrong parking lot. And you may think, “I have plenty of signs!” To which I ask, can anyone read them from the road? Size, color and font make a difference! Once there, visitors need to know where the bathroom is, and where to check in kids. Signs Signs Signs! It's better to OVER-educate than under!

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS: Announcements are the biggest pain for most churches. Where do you place them in the service?? What do you share? How do you communicate? Announcements share the heartbeat of your church. It shows what is important and it also sets the bar of expectation. Too many get lost, too few show a life-less church. Prioritize by deadlines, sign up requirement and volunteer need. (BTW: My personal thought is that each week, a different ministry should be asking for volunteers.) Refine your announcements. It is the tool that gets people taking the next step of involvement at your church.

4. SOCIAL MEDIA: People are on their phones/computers/ipads constantly. Social Media is the absolute best follow up with visitors and a great way to make announcements–especially the ones that didn't make the Sunday cut. I have followed tons of church plants on social media and the easiest and the marketing platform that's FREE is not used nearly enough or as effectively. The only thing Social Media costs is time. Programs like HOOTSUITE help you link your social media and time out posts so that you the bi-vocational pastor can post an encouragement from Sunday's message even though he's teaching Math. Use your SOCIAL MEDIA!!!!

5. STAY PUT: I've packed up and tore down and set up and moved and considered and UGH! the frustrations of church planting! The most frustrating is finding a space. But if at all possible, stay put! If you are investing in marketing financially, every move undoes the work and effort you've done in the last six months. Also, moving even just a block or two can change the entire dynamic of your church and you will find you might serve a totally different demographic than you were expecting (not that this is bad, but you must be prepared). Re-think your space if you can't make at least a one year commitment. When picking a place, remember that you are only as big as your smallest space. (finding an effective children's area is close to impossible). Think outside the box!

Invest in marketing your church! If someone shows up on Sunday and God touches their life, it will be worth it all! And if you need to hire a consultant, give me a shout out! tiffany@tiffanycrawford.org

What has effectively marketed your church plant? Comment and share with me, I'm always interested in new ideas.

Best Parenting Advice EVER

My expertise, and opinions for that matter, are vast and wide.  I answer questions about starting churches, running children’s ministries, anorexia, sexual abuse and parenting.  I don’t claim to know everything about anything, but there is one area I’ve got it completely nailed down…

LAUNDRY. 

I see tweets and Facebook posts all day long, “Oh I have piles of laundry!”  “Oh how do I get caught up on laundry!” I walked into my sisters room today and saw piles and piles of clean laundry on her floor awaiting folding.  

So how do I do it?  How, when I have five people in my house do I stay on top of laundry?  I’m going to tell you my secret.  It will be the best mom-advice you EVER RECEIVE IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE! I promise, it’s that good. 

Ready?! 

Everyone does there own! 

laundry room sign

Yes, everyone!  From the time Zac was five, with assistance, he started doing his own laundry.  I trained my kids young, and I was trained young, too.  I started doing my own laundry when I was in the third grade.   It didn’t kill me-obviously.  It hasn’t killed my own kids, yet.  

Now it takes time to train them.  Sometimes I still have to remind my 14 year old son not to just wash a few things at a time.  Sometimes, I see my 16 year old bringing down a load to start at 10 at night.  But the investment has been totally worth it.  

I don’t hear things like:

Mom can you wash my….

Mom, have you seen my….

Mom, I don’t have any …. 

My husband does his own laundry as well, but not because I make him, he just prefers to keep his stuff separate and stay on top of his own dirty socks.  I do my own laundry, about 2 loads a week and floor mats.  Everyone washes their own towels and sheets. 

Life made simple.  

I love the philosophy of don’t do for a child what a child can do for himself.  I wish I was more disciplined with this in every area with my kids.  Even though I’m a work in progress, laundry is not a problem in our household.  And it could not be a problem in yours either.  

What do you think? Could you make it work?  

LG|LP 

Have a great, laundry-free weekend! 

Tiff

When a Church’s Shoes are Too Small #churchplanting

One of the things that always surprises me is how fast my boys grow.  From July to November, my nine year old’s foot grew from a men’s size 7 1/2 to 10 1/2.  It was only when I bought him new running shoes that I realized that he was playing basketball in shoes two sizes too small for him.  I asked him why he didn’t tell me his shoes were too small, to which he expectantly replied, “I dunno.”

My other son, who is 14, is now just at 6 foot tall and wears the same size pants as his dad.  I have no idea when that happened.  And no idea how my budget will be able to keep up with this kind of growth.

When I visit new churches, I notice lots of things–but this growth issue is one of the most prevalent.  Too many churches are completely unaware of their size.  Church plants often follow models set forth by other churches and don’t do well at properly assessing how their model fits into their area and their numbers.  Or, a church grows at such a quick rate, that a larger church still operates as a small church, having an elite core group of people, and poor communication.  Or a church is a satellite campus, and attempts to have BIG worship, BIG media BIG BIG BIG, just like the main campus and it just doesn’t translate well with the amount of people in the worship service.

One of the most detrimental and painful mistakes a growing church can make is not truly understanding it’s size.  The new year is a good time to assess what size shoes your church is wearing and whether or not it’s time to buy a new pair.  You should assess your church size if:

1.  You haven’t reviewed your numbers and your systems in six months or longer. 

2. You have three or more new families visiting every week. 

3. Visitors attend but do not return.

4. You are losing families. 

5. You have new goals for the new year. 

I don’t want my kids playing ball in shoes that are too small, and you don’t want your church operating at a size it is not.  Just like my nine year old, your church isn’t going to tell you.  We can love people better, and honor God more if we are acutely aware of the growing pains of our church.  And loving God and People are what the new year is all about!

How’s your church doing?

LG|LP- Tiffany

 

Hey Churches: Stop With All The Logos

Blame it on my background in advertising.  Or maybe it’s the million churches I’ve been to in my life.  Or maybe it’s the clutter that already lives in my mind.  But I’m not sure why churches like logos so much.

It seems every ministry has it’s own logo.  And not only each ministry, but sometimes even every ministry under every ministry has it’s own logo.  When a person…a visitor….ME…when I dig through the website of a new church or open the bulletin/program on a Sunday it looks something like the logo quiz game.

logo quic

Stop.  Please stop.  it’s overwhelming.  Too many logos, that mostly don’t look anything alike, have no purpose but clutter, clutter, clutter. I know in your mind, in your heart, they are meaningful, but to the person trying your church for the first time, they are just confusing.

Everything we do should lead to the simplicity of the message: It’s all about what Christ did for us.  Our logos and “business” of church should remain simple as well.   Additionally, our ministries need to convey a sense of unity, as we are trying to unify people in their relationship with God.  Too many logos shows division in the church, particularly if there is no common thread within all of the logos.

I say it in love, stop with all the logos. What do you think?  When you visit a church do logos help you or confuse you? Comment…and remember….

You are loved.