George Bullard, President, The Columbia Partnership, 332 Valley Springs Road, Columbia, SC 29223-6934, Voice: 803.622.0923, E-mail: GBullard@TheColumbiaPartnership.org, TCP Web Site: www.TheColumbiaPartnership.org, Blog: www.BullardJournal.org
August: 4-29--Numerous conversations with Mennonite Brethren leaders about the future of their denominational movement. 20--Conversation with Ohio congregation on living into their Future Story of Ministry. 25--Visit to East Texas Baptist University. 26-27--North American Baptist Fellowship Disaster Response Network gathering in Louisiana.
PRAY for the year of preparation for TheCollaborative.info, the fundraising for this effort, and the research and development actions of George Bullard. Pray for the various lunch dialogues being held in various locations.
PRAY for Shelby, NC, First Baptist Church as they craft their future story of ministry. May significant new vitality and vibrancy result from their efforts. They incremental decline has happen over many years, and they must take prophetic action to move forward.
PRAY for the new vision of The Columbia Partnership that seek to empower the transformation of 2100 congregations per year by the end of 2017. Pray that we may be able to connect with an increasing number of congregations who desire to reach their full Kingdom potential.
PRAY for the work of the Baptist World Alliance led by Neville Callam, and its North American Baptist Fellowship that I lead, as we anticipate 2014 as a year that will significantly move forward our work among Baptists worldwide. Pray specifically for our NABF's 50th anniversary as celebrate the future of Baptist missional collaboration from the base of North America. The theme is FutureBaptists: A Collaborative Missional Movement.
Will the Great Commission Resurgence Plan, if Adopted, Be Effective, Or is it Strategically Naïve and Historically Ignorant?
I have been a member of a congregation affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention all of my life. I worked in Southern Baptist denominational positions for 30 years. I am currently serving the larger Baptist community as General Secretary [executive director] of the North American Baptist Fellowship of the Baptist World Alliance. As such I favor the increased vitality and vibrancy of all Baptist conventions and unions.
In response to your inquiry about what percentage of a congregation budget ought to be allocated for the direct and indirect costs of the pastor and staff, the short answer is no more than 50 percent. However, the answer is really not that easy. Here are some additional thoughts.
What if we woke up tomorrow and all the denominations were gone?
Some commentators would cheer. Some, more sanguine, would mourn, but not for themselves. Many of us would be looking for jobs. But so what? The question is not %u201CWhat if the church of Jesus Christ dissolved?%u201D God is going to get God%u2019s church -- it%u2019s just a question of whether mainline denominations in the United States will be part of that future.
There was a time when I couldn%u2019t have cared less about such an apocalypse. Denominations are bureaucracies, not churches. Who cares if a bloated 1950%u2019s-style corporation vanished from the face of the earth? Does Jesus need these fossils to get his work done? Aren%u2019t these relics of church divisions over issues that no one thinks should divide us anymore?
More than a few denominational execs probably feel this way themselves. But I don%u2019t, not anymore. The criticisms are legitimate. But the implication -- that denominations should therefore go away -- is wrong.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (ABP) -- A task force studying ways to make the Southern Baptist Convention more effective recommended greater flexibility and cooperation among state and national entities in a progress report to the SBC Executive Committee Feb. 22.
Ronnie Floyd, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Springdale, Ark., and chairman of a 22-member task force appointed last summer by SBC president Johnny Hunt, said the group will meet at least once more before releasing a final report May 3, in time to be presented at the SBC annual meeting June 15-16 in Orlando, Fla.
"We believe the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando expect change and expect the leaders in our convention to lead us toward the changes that are needed," Floyd said.
While any structural changes suggested in the report would fall under purview of boards of trustees of various SBC entities, the task force proposed six specific components of a vision for Southern Baptists to champion in the future.
The first calls for a "new and healthy culture" that provides local Southern Baptist churches with a "missional vision" to present the gospel and make disciples in North America and around the globe.
WASHINGTON (ABP) -- Presidents of five historically African-American Baptist denominations announced Feb. 12 they were collaborating to respond more effectively to human need in Haiti.
Presidents of the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention; National Baptist Convention, USA; National Baptist Convention of America; National Missionary Baptist Convention of America; and Progressive National Baptist Convention formed the African-American Baptist Mission Collaboration.
Representing more than 10 million Baptists in the United States, the coalition exists to link resources to create financial and technical synergies in responding through relief and recovery for Haiti, advocate for just and compassionate government policies toward Haiti and work toward sustainable community development in the island nation devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake.
"This collaboration is essential for the kind of response that is needed in Haiti," said Julius Scruggs, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA.
Yes, newspaper readership is down. That's old news. But it appears that awareness and a general hunger for news is actually on the rise. With advances in technology, mass reach is instantaneous and everyone has become instant experts immediately "in the know." Social networks like Facebook and Twitter enable the sharing of information to occur at lightning speed, while the widespread adoption of Smart Phones has given a new definition to the term "eyewitness reporters." RSS feeds and mobile Internet have allowed for anyone with a pair of eyes to absorb an entire newspaper's worth of content with a couple flicks of a finger. From NBC's late-night shuffle and the Balloon Boy to Mark McGwire's recent admittance to steroid usage and the latest celebrity death, mass awareness of news events has become instantaneous. Even typical barriers to entry, such as being in transit when news hits, no longer exist.
NEW YORK (ABP) -- Catholic, Mormon and Assembly of God churches all posted membership gains in 2009, while mainline denominations including the American Baptist Churches USA, lost members, according to an annual report by the National Council of Churches. And the Southern Baptist Convention -- the nation's second-largest faith group -- saw its membership decline for the second consecutive year.
The NCC's 2010 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churchesreported membership of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States -- the largest of 227 national church bodies included in the report -- at 68 million. That represents growth of 1.49 percent, after a slight membership loss in 2009.
I think the future of evangelism is search engine optimized (SEO) online content. By no means, will this replace face-to-face evangelism or other methods. However, online behavior is opening doors of opportunity that will only increase with time.
Optimizing your ministry for search engines is more than trying to show up in the top 10 search results for your church name or Churches in your city. sing Google to answer lifequestions is normal for those with Internet access. Imagine what your church could accomplish if it provided relevant answers in these moments when people are more open-minded and seeking truth.
Imagine someone in Chicago searching for Chicago divorce attorney because she is tired of trying to make her marriage work. What if a Chicago church has SEO content in the first results offering free marriage counseling or advice on how to make a marriage work?
Imagine a teen that is fed up with being the school outcast and begins searching for how to properly slit his wrists. What if a ministry had SEO content offering real time help (a live suicide prevention counselor) or guidance on alternatives to suicide?
What it looks like:
Creating relevant SEO content is not a bait-and-switch tactic. That will only fail. It is also not about Bible-thumping or aggressive evangelism. That will only turn people off before they listen.
Creating relevant SEO content is providing relevant, helpful solutions to the problems people are searching about online. These solutions may be alternatives to what they thought they would find, but that doesn%u2019t mean these solutions won%u2019t connect with them, help them, and change their lives.
Make your goal to be able to connect with the searcher and offer instant help (i.e., advice, counseling, a team of workers, tangible resources). Equally important is that you make these connections sustainable. Don%u2019t let the relationship die with the initial contact. Provide avenues for you to continue helping and for them to be able to hear the gospel and/or get plugged in to a local church at their own pace as you gradually earn their trust and respect.
Church Website Analytics /Pre-SEO Evaluation and Conference Call
Google Local Search Submission
Featured Directory Submission on Church Cloud & Sermon Cloud
Online Targeted Advertising (eg. Google Adwords)
Social Media Strategy Implementation
Full SEO Services: Link building, SERPS Monitoring and Custom SEO Implementation
Google Keyword Tool If your budget is $0, Google offers a nice free keyword research tool that identifies what topics people search for the most and how they word their searches. Relevantly sprinkling a few keywords into your content is one of many factors that will help your search engine results.
SEOmoz If you want to dive into giving yourself a search engine marketing education, SEOmoz is a great place to start. They have a well-respected blog, articles (some free), and tools (some free).
For Discussion: - What do you think are some effective strategies for church SEO? - What SEO tools would you add to this list?