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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Off to England!

We received 2 plane tickets for Christmas last year -- best Christmas present ever! Our Christmas is going to be realized on Monday June 30, 2008 when we fly to England for 2 weeks and visit family, friends and attend the Newfrontiers Leadership conference.

Our blog and Twitter might be a bit quiet for a couple of weeks but please be thinking and praying for us. Here are some top of mind requests. Please pray for ...
  1. Jones to handle the flight well.
  2. God to speak to us at the conference about his plans for our future. We need direction on where to church plant.
  3. Heather's nausea as she battles morning sickness (all day long!). By the way, if you don't follow our Twitter, we are expecting our second baby on January 25, 2009!!!
  4. Continued financial provision for us.
  5. For all the preparations for ONEBLAZE in St. Louis to go smoothly in our absence.
ONEBLAZE in St. Louis begins a week after we arrive home. The fun just never stops!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age by Ed Stetzer

I just read Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age by Ed Stetzer and it is a fantastic book for church planters. In fact, anyone involved in church planting should read this book. It has a lot of practical "how to" advice as well as solid reasoning behind planting. It effectively unpacks postmodern thinking and provides some helpful approaches to reach this generation through church planting.

The part that spoke to me the most was the chapter on worship. I think I may have shed a tear even! On page 267 Stetzer writes "The purpose of worship is also to allow unbelievers to observe the divine-human encounter and to yearn for their own personal relationship with God". Yes! Communal Christian worship is all about thirstiness. Believers should be desperately hungry for Gods presence and the worship environment should help foster a thirst in those who do not yet believe.

Ultimately, the church is about the presence of God! It's one of the main themes in the Bible -- God being with his people. This greatly stirred my soul and increased my confidence in putting together a worshiping community who drink deeply of Jesus. I need to invest good resources into making worship a big deal! There is no better way to reach people with the gospel.

In the end this is not just the best reason, it is the only real reason for someone to become a follower of Jesus. When people can feel His presence. When they are made aware of a supernatural person who is INCREDIBLY close by, then, and only then, will genuine transformation occur. There is nothing like an encounter with Jesus to change your world view. Preaching will help. Visual aids will help. Testimonies will help. Living right will help. But the main thing is God's presence!

Here are some other highlights of the book:
  1. Biblical church planters focus on the great commission by reaching the unchurched, not seeking to attract area Christians, page 4.
  2. Charismatics and Protestants are planting the majority of churches, page 14.
  3. The church needs to realize that mission is its fundamental identity, page 22.
  4. Planters must not present any message other than Christ, page 37.
  5. It makes more sense for the pastor to spend time with potential reproducers, page 92.
  6. Post-moderns have been educated in politically correct schools that Christianity is bigoted and small-minded, page 131.
  7. Spirituality is at a popular high, page 137.
  8. knocked 15,000 doors in Seattle and launched 6 months later with 500 first timers, page 206.
  9. People give to vision, not need, page 255.
  10. Marketers cannot reach everyone every time, but they do reach someone everyday, page 260.
  11. Mill Creek Community Church did 55,000 dial-ups which generated a list of 2,151 prospects and gathered 200 people at the first service, page 260.
  12. Do not have more than 3 preview services, page 262.
  13. Complaints should be expected no matter what methods of communication you use. The only post-moderns offended by mass-outreach are Christians. Spiritually seeking post-moderns are generally not offended, page 263.
  14. Hold new people going through membership with a high standard, page 291.
  15. Growth requires growing a relationship list, immediate follow-up process, assimilation, small group strategy and legal recognition, page 300.
  16. Church planters need to be the best advocates and sponsors for the next generation churches, page 320.
  17. It is not advertising, music or organizing -- it is touching, winning and congregationalizing the lost, page 330.
Checkout: Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age by Ed Stetzer

Interview with a St. Louis Church Planter: Jason Gardiner

Special update: I wrote a book for churches to give to first-time guests. It’s had a huge impact at bringing more people back as second-time guests and adding them into the church community. Get the Kindle version of Unforgettable: Your purpose in Christ here and the print version from Those outside the USA may need to order print copies from,, or
I recently met with Jason Gardiner of at a local Starbucks and interviewed him about the new church he has planted in St. Louis. You can use the podcast interface on the right to listen to my most recent interview, download the interview with Jason Gardiner or read the transcript below.

Jason is 39 years old and grew up in San Francisco, California. He was involved with YWAM for 10 years, on staff with a large church for 7 years and served an international parachurch ministry for 4 years before planting a church in St. Louis.

During the interview we met a local realtor out of the blue who is a Christian and loves to help new churches find meeting locations – what a great opportunity for a church planter! Jason and Angie exchanged details and hope to work together as the new St. Louis church looks for their own facility. They currently meet in an elementary school. The whole interaction is recorded in the audio. Listen (or read) and enjoy!

Matt: Jason, thanks for joining me today. Tell me the basics about the church?

Jason: We launched on January 27th of this year (2008) and the church really has a focus on community and also on young people. I surveyed the St. Louis church demographics and found there is very little being done effecting the college age on a city wide level. So the hundreds and thousands of people between the ages of 20 – 30 have very few churches with a concentrated effort.

Very few churches actually have a pastoral effort or pay pastors a salary to reach out to that age group. The kinda churches big enough to bring somebody on staff pro bono that age group. I kinda call it the generation who has been kicked to the curb – even though that's where our future and our leadership comes from.

That's where we go to college to be trained to be world changers whether it's secular or in our Christian lives. Yet the church fails to engage them with an intellectual-spiritual dialogue and make place for them and room for them to be a leader and trained. So, our church has very much a young leadership culture in it.

Matt: What got you thinking that way? (focusing on students)

Jason: Well, I've worked with young people of college age ever since I started ministry in the mid 80's. I love them because I find that college age is so moldable for the purposes of God. If you take a 45 year old who, whether he was saved when he was young or gets on fire again after he's lived life a bit, I find that most people in their 30's and 40's are still trying to repair their fyco scores, still trying to pay off their credit cards, they have 2.5 jacked-up kids and trying to replace the damage they did in their 20's.

So, instead of trying to fix these broken people let's just not let them get broken in the first place. Let's reach them before they screw up their lives and take a decade and a half to try to figure out what they did wrong. Let's just develop them into leaders then.

You see in the Bible a culture of young people whether it's Daniel or Jeremiah. Young people who were standing up in their generation and leading the nation. I believe that wasn't just a scriptural anomaly but I believe that is a pattern that God loves – taking people who will take him at his word. So if God says I can heal the sick they are just naïve enough to believe it. They don't have all this life experience that tells us "Well, actually I had 84 friends who died from cannibalism and, oh my goodness!" So often our experience dictates our theology instead of really just believing the word straight up on face value.

Matt: What was your strategy? How did you build up to the launch?

Jason: Over a couple of years I really built some relationships with some people. I would call them the disenfranchised, the kicked to the curb generation I mentioned earlier. So some of these folks didn't attend church, they loved God and yet there was no joy in their Christianity. Some of them were attending church like every other month. Kinda like the "I'm tipping God today for showing up, I'm doing the kingdom a favor!"

I started building relationships with some younger people and over the course of a couple of years developing some good authentic relationships. They even began asking questions "would I start a church here in St. Louis?" That really became the start of me thinking about it. It wasn't for me like "Oooh, St. Louis is needing my kind of church". I wasn't the start of the process. It was a number of people coming to me and saying "hey Jay, let's do it!" and I was like "alright". And then I spent probably a year praying about that and bringing it before the Lord and letting God confirm it through various different ways.

We started then meeting with several people in my living room. No bells and whistles or marketing.

Matt: How many people were you gathering at that time?

Jason: About 6. Then that grew to about 14.

Matt: Over what kind of period?

Jason: About 4 or 5 months. It wasn't like I had a meeting and 900 people showed up on the first day, it was building relationships and developing the integrity. I really learned that if I invest in people I have the right to speak into their lives. They will willfully place themselves in a submissive relationship were they are like pastor-talking so that you can start pointing out peoples blind spots.

Most pastors or church structures don't actually ever earn the right to speak into people so when blind spots are brought up it's usually through confrontation or an incident in a church. People just get offended and go instead of really receiving the correction, like the bible says: if you correct a wise man you make him wiser, creating an environment where you can actually bring up people's blind spots and work them through it, just like the proverb says: faithful are the wounds of a friend, well we want to be the kind of church that we stab each other in the chest not in the back. Where we can have the hard conversations but we grow through it and become stronger for it. So, people started growing and changing. I believe that one of the great tools for church growth is: changed lives, change lives.

Matt: How did you transition your house meeting to a weekly public meeting?

Jason: That is a great question. I am still trying to process exactly how we are doing this. One of the things that I felt we would have a large component in our church would be worship. There is whole boat load of doctrine behind that statement. I honestly believe the most fundamental and one of the great statements mankind has ever contributed to the Christian experience is the reduction of the Westminster's creed which says: the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

I think that worship is the clearest expression of that which is of course the picture of the throne in heaven in Revelation which is of course worship. I believe that having a place created in the local church where people can genuinely have face to face encounters with God is the absolute foundation of us living out that expression: the chief end of man.

When I was a teenager I was a drug dealing punk. I was raised in a Mormon church, so I was in a cult.

Matt: So you were really messed up!

Jason: I was jacked-up – capital "J"! I had a father who was a Catholic so we were just a religious mutt. I was using drugs. I was completely confused and I had been to religion – I had been to Catholic churches and I've been to Mormon churches my whole life.

But when I had a genuine encounter with Jesus my life dramatically changed. Nobody needed to tell me to throw away my Black Sabbath albums or stop smoking pot and taking acid. It was just the overflow of gratitude that came from the revelation that I was going to hell and that he took my place on the cross and that if I would just exchange my dead life for his life and obey him and his word that I would have a wonderful purpose and a great life. It was like a do-over. It was like Jason 2.0! It was like a whole new opportunity ahead of me.

It took me a long time going to church to figure out that Christians didn't live Christianity very much – they appended Christianity. They pay pastors to perform and impress them with edutainment rather than being a church that gets them off the couch and into the game!

The thing is we want to create a place for genuine encounter in worship. So, I had a buddy of mine who was on my staff with me in California at the church, and before we started this bible study, we started to dialogue of the possibility of them joining me in this adventure and of course I went to the senior pastor, who is a good friend of mine, who of course I was associate [pastor] for him, asked his permission, did the whole I want to steal one of your guys thing. He went "go for it", and then I said "can I steal the youth pastor and inter director as well?"

So I started having discussions with these 2 buddies who I had pastored, I was their supervisor on staff. Over the course of 3-4 month they just really felt like they would move their families out here and be part of the team and once we started having a genuine worship component. Where it was a real life-giving experience for people who had heard good music, but there is a difference between good music and being in an environment of the presence of God in the area of worship. You have your Hillsongs and your Delirious. It's not about reproducing chord charts – it's about the atmosphere of life.

So in some senses I wanted to cut the middle man out of church – the pastor! No more priests, people needing to build their spiritual life depending on whether the pastor feed'em or not, whether they brought a life changing word on Sunday or not. But they have direct access for themselves in the presence of God. When that started happening growth was really very much the byproduct.

I really found that scripture as we lift him up he'll draw people and so changed lives change lives. People started weeping and crying. Not contrived, not forced and not one of these "Come on man, raise your hands, wave them in the air like you don't care", not a hyped up cultural style. But, just an atmosphere where without the hype and manipulation, people would start crying spontaneously in the middle of worship and after church they would be like "phew, I needed that! God really touched me." And we are like "Wow, really? Praise God for you!"

That's what we wanted to happen and so one of the first forms of evangelism that we saw is a person who's now a friend, 6 months into the church, raging alcoholic, living on the streets, homeless, he got a flyer, it was probably like a garbage flyer, you know what I'm saying someone threw it, but God's into recycling as well. This guy picked up this flyer, walked onto our church, there are like 20 of us, drunk off his brain, and umm, homeless, pretty much smelled, and ah we are singing "Rain Down" by Delirious and he just starts balling. No Christian background. Just pagan drunk, capital "P". All of a sudden this dude gets saved spontaneously because God drew him.

I am going to say this not because I am better than anyone else, because I'm not. He said "This is the first church I've been to where Jesus is at!" And right there lays the heart of our church. We want to make church as accessible with as little hurdles and religious forms as possible and if we can just show off how good he is to people and really make him famous and put him at the center of it. We found that Jesus is like a great banquet table. The more attractive He is the more we can make that banquet table people will just pick up a piece of fruit of that banquet table and take a little bite and taste and see that "God is good". He is not weird like I thought, He's not religious. Life is not a bunch of chance. Life is about "I can". There is potential.

Matt: What is the balance now of your method of reaching out? Is it still just relational and viral or is it more?

Jason: It's very viral right now. With the statistics on marketing and as a church plant one of the large battles anyone has, including us, is the battle of resources.

I was just talking to one of the national Christian ad companies, that is a church planting ad agency, there stats on mailers, flyers, cold calling is about .04 per action. So, for every 1000 you might get about 4. When you start breaking that out to 30-40 cents a hit you really need $50-60,000 to bring in 30, 40, 50 people into your doors. And even then, when you do, church planting research says 50% bail. So it's a low low return. I am not saying it is not right. I got a buddy of mine who started his church on his first Sunday with over 400 people. Dropped to 200. Then first year got a 1,000. Six years later got 9,000. So I mean hey, it works!

We are spending our financial resources on investing on our core group. Buying them book and CD's, having meetings, we are feeding them when they come over. We are actually training, again, I am not trying to sound arrogant, like "we are actually training unlike other church", but we are putting our money into our people and into our team and empowering them and helping them grow and experience Christ so that, again, I really just believe that changed lives change lives.

You know, before Jesus died the disciples denied him and fled. They were like rats of a ship when he was handed over to be crucified. Now you can say whatever you want at that point but as soon as they saw the risen Christ some fundamental changes, what happened between the cross and Pentecost? They were hiding in an upper room and then the Holy Spirit filled the church, whatever that looks like, something fundamentally changed in them where they were on longer afraid to be put to death or to talk about the change that had been brought in their lives.

[At this point a realtor introduced herself to us and wanted to help Jason find a facility for his new church to meet in. She has a specific passion to help churches find facilities. What a great opportunity. God is good at setting these things up! Listen to it at minutes 14:56 – 21:00]

We were kinda talking about how we are going from here and that kind of thing right there [God given opportunity with a realtor] is a great example. We are excited, we are talking about our lives being changed and about this church plant and so here you have a little encounter and somebody happens to eavesdrop. Church growth really happens naturally.

Matt: What have you tried that didn't work?

Jason: I am not big on what I call bandwagons. You have the "worship band wagon", and when I say worship I mean style, not the doctrine. There is the prophetic movement in the 80's. There was the seeker sensitive movement and now there is the missional movement. You name it. There is the apostolic movement in Pentecostal circles. There is a new revival in Lakeland Florida movement going on.

And you know, really, people are always not sure what they are looking for they just know they haven't found it. And so, I call it "rent a vision". When you don't have a blueprint for what you are doing and you reach out there and it's transferable, this or that, and you jump on somebody's bandwagon and a decade later you look back and go "wow".

I just believe that we just need to have as leaders a clear blueprint from the word of God of what Church is doctrinally and what the basic doctrines of Christianity are and put our head down and be faithful to it. I heard that saying, not sure who said it, but men are always looking for better methods, God is always looking for better [changed] people.

Matt: What have been the lows and how have you dealt with them?

Jason: Initially there is the fantasy perhaps that ah, you know the thing is going to takeoff; we are going to rock the city. Not that we are not doing great on that, we are 4 or 5 months old and we are 80 people which is on the bell curve we are doing ok. But there is that sense of we could have had a 200 people by now. So it's that kind of natural sense of the readjusting to the expectations that we can't depend on something, the false expectations.

And then there is that whole barrier of the resource. Both at a person level and at the financial level. That you overcoming, you are constantly. Here is a classic example, I met with a great family, they were tossing up buying into what we were doing or buying into a megachurch down the street that had 5,000 people. Now, I am not saying the megachurches are not great. Praise God for them. We are all on the same tea, the bells and the whistles that an established long-term church has.

So on that secular level you are kind competing with people with a consumerism mentality, kind like "what's in it for me?" I got Bobby here, he has youth group of 20 kids, and this one has a youth group of 100 kids so that consumerism is like McChurch. "I'll have a little bit of church with this and a big Mac and this and that".

So fighting the consumerism in the culture where people are looking initially to attend something that meets their needs instead of looking at it from a biblical point of view of what do they bring to the table like in Acts chapter 2 is says that people were selling their possessions to give to those who as they had need. So instead coming to the church of "here is how I can serve because I am alive in Christ" they are looking at it more like "how does the church meet my needs and fit into my busy schedule?"

Matt: How have you kept yourself spiritually close to God and feeding yourself?

Jason: Piper has a great statement that is one of my ruling personal values that: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. It goes right back to that Westminster confession: the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. When am I absolutely emotionally and intellectually enthralled and captivated by Him and I'm meeting with him on a personal level not just to put my sermon together or I've got a 3 o'clock appointment and I'm driving and thumbing through scriptures at the red light. You know what I'm saying? It's what Pastors do.! Again, it's like rent-a-vision.

When I avoid living the cheap life like that where I have to get up everyday at 6am, seek Jesus for several hours for myself, for my wife and my family and the sheer pleasure of hearing him say "Well done good and faithful, I love you son". That personal relationship. And so when I am satisfied, like obviously you can tell the excitement in my voice, it's not just because we are doing an interview, it's just where I am living. But, that overflow of excitement touches somebody fifteen feet away and they are excited, they speak up for Christ, and we have a great little conversation here. That is the magic for me, is when I genuinely tap in.

As a pastor here is the difference. I am able to lead my church out of the overflow of what is coming into my life instead of constantly emptying myself, giving out to all my people to the point of my reserve levels are like a drought starting to go under, you know, I am starting to run thin. So I've been in full-time ministry for 20 years and what I've learned is that I need to live out of the overflow of my personal relationship with Christ and not out of the mandate and expectations my people put on me to be their pastor.

I am living for an audience of one. I am not on call. I am not you know the person who if it's 11 at night and there is a couple who are having a big meltdown, you know, I had one of those recently and I loving said, they know me so they know my heart, and I said "look, you know, how long you've been married?", "13 years", "you are having a meltdown". Pastor come, its midnight! I said "here is the bottom line of it, this has taken you 13 years to get to this point so you've been making choices to get to where you are tonight, you actually want where you are, whether by omission or commission, you have been making choices that end up here and it can't wait until 10 in the morning? I'll see you in the morning. Do you have a knife in your hand? No I don't! Do you have a gun? No! Ok go to bed and we'll fix this in the morning".

But my point is this. My people in the church don't rule my life and neither do their expectations. I am living for an audience of one. I am living for treasure in heaven. I am not living for a large church where I can write a book, go on a speaking tour and have a big 401K. I am doing it for the sheer love of the game.

Matt: As a church planter you need to be a generalist. How do you manage your time?

Jason: Well, because I saw this battle coming there where a couple of proactive things that I did before I launched this church. If you will, my eldership, and by the way that eldership they are all on a one year kind of interim, you know they are trying out for the team. At the end of the day I have to like'em. I am committed to working with people that I actually like, you know what I am saying?

Actually I don't want to work with people that I want to fire on Monday. Like "dear lord, what happened to those PowerPoint slides" and then you know on Monday I am cursing their name! I want to work with people that I love and I like. You know what I am saying? And so what I did was I really took my time getting into this.

As I mentioned earlier I talked to a few people so my entire team, my first key level of leadership all have at least 7 years of full-time ministry in large churches and successful ministries. So I have a fully trained youth pastor who had a youth group of 500 kids who ran an intern program of 50 live-in students. A worship leader song-writer who had 4 services a weekend with big bands, reporting projects. I have a church administrator. I have an experienced cell group pastor who had always been involved in that.

One of my confirmations to do this is that I believe in New Testament team leadership and I want to avoid this CEO American church. You know the personality cult. Because of my former job working for a Christian celebrity, who shall be unnamed for the benefit of … them, I got to meet everybody famous in American running large churches and have one to one conversations with them, it was my old job, and we'd go into business right at them and one such person who had 30-40,000 people in their church opened up on an occasion and told me that there biggest problem was that their church was a personality cult. And if they advertised that the senior pastor would not be there because he is speaking somewhere else about a third of the church would not show up that next Sunday. And they can barely make payroll because their tithes go down so dramatically because that "man" isn't there.

I believe in team leadership. One of the keys for me to launch out and step into this is that I was not going to be alone trying to wing this. But, I asked God for a seasoned team of mature leaders who have proven gifting. 1 Timothy 3 talks about before you choose an elder, not just a deacon, first let them serve and be tested. And so I didn't want my soft spot for somebody become my blind spot in choosing my leadership team. "I like you, you're my buddy plumber Bob! And plumber Bob might have a call on his life but it might not be to church eldership. But, plumber Bob with the best intentions ends up jacking up half the church because he doesn't know how to communicate, he ends up getting into politics.

People play off one parent against another in leadership, they go "that pastor, not that one". He doesn't know how to squelch gossip. He doesn't know the basic human elements of church leadership. He gets caught up in stuff that offends people, wounds them. I didn't want to do that. Now, our second level of leadership have also been involved for years in running cell groups in local churches.

My core of 40 people for the most part all have extensive experience. So therefore they are able to rally people around them because they know what they are called to do and they do it well. I call it the KFC principle. Kentucky Fried Chicken, they do one thing and they do it well. So, they do Chicken right. And so one of our slogans is let's do church right! Let's just do a few things and do them well. Very few people would drive across St. Louis for a four. You've heard of the Marcus Buckingham concept about you know, live out of your strengths and not out of your weaknesses, so I have staffed my weaknesses. People will drive across St. Louis for a night.

I am able to focus my time and energy on developing a culture of leadership within the church. And I have individual leaders who can handle everything related to the worship, everything related to the cell development and training and the leadership development of the church. Somebody to handle all the ministry of youth. We just had a seasoned children'''s pastor join our church. So we have an experienced children's pastor, a youth pastor, an intern director, a worship pastor and a cell pastor on my team and there is me.

Matt: That's awesome! And you have 40-50 people!?

Yes. These leaders of mine are now the 2 Timothy 2:2 principle. Paul is writing to Timothy his disciple encouraging him to find faithful men that he can entrust the message to. So that they can find faithful people to entrust it. There are 3 or 4 generations there of leadership. In other words there is a culture and a DNA of leadership that God invests in people, not in processes and structures.

I spend 80 percent of my time with people who are moving the ball down the field. If I have somebody who has secret sins, they are addicted to cannibalism, they have weird stuff in their life, we are going to help them get free, but the first question I ask them is: are you involved in one of the 8 cell groups in our church and what is your cell group leaders name, have you called them? Because I am committed to helping people win. And by doing that, if people have to go above the cell group leader to the pastor and therefore get more quality ministry because it's the "senior pastor", look, people who have the addiction to cannibalism, of course I am mocking it but that's just my budding sarcasm – I'm working on that!, but I undermine and cut off at my knees my next level of leadership.

I am committed to raising up Ephesians 4 ministries which says that pastors, the five fold ministries are there to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. So my job is to equip you to win. You are the one on the field playing the game not me. Most churches have it backwards. Most churches are reverse engineering it. They are paying professionals to do it yet they are struggling to find volunteers to fulfill the roles in the church.

What I am doing is to purposefully not be the best at what I do. Because if you have a Martin Smith as a worship leader you'll never raise up another worship leader in that church because they will be intimidated to sing next to Martin. Because Martin does it better. So I am committed to leading in a weakness so God can be glorified as apposed to leading out of this big strength and I am the best counselor and the best preacher. I am pushing my team forward all the time and publicly being generous with my words. Man, these cell group leaders rock, this associate pastor rocks and we are building up confidence in a team as apposed to the a man.

So my time is spent with my leaders. How to encourage them, how to strengthen them, how to help them with a confrontation issue. Well, here is how we help people win. Be committed to completing instead of competing. And so I help teach to the team how to deal with confrontation and politics which is 90% of where churches fail and so my time is spent with my leaders. I am developing a future DNA instead of dealing with the people who suck those pastors will to live out. And those people are never what you build a church on.

Because let's say I placate Sister Sally now who has a complaint that the music is too loud, well, she is an offense waiting to happen. Experience tells me she is going to be offended 2 years down the road anyway so let's juss go ahead and have the offence now and get rid of her. Because she has 800 other churches in St. Louis she can take that opinion to.

The bottom line is I am looking for people who are willing to forgive and cover sin, not morally like "oh that pastors out getting drunk", I'm not talking about overt, I am talking about opinion. And the people that get offended over opinion and attitude are not the people who you are going to build the church on.

The bottom line is they are going to have that opinion, keep that opinion, this is probably church 3 for them in the past year anyways. I'd rather offend them now and just say "hey, I know a bunch of pastors, I'll call them for you, I know you think you are the greatest worship leader in the free world but hey look I am Simon Cowl, you are on Christian American Idol and the distance between your perception of your great gifting and why no one here has recognized it, and you actual performance is huge".

Most Christians judge themselves on their intensions but everyone else judges them on their behavior. Most Americans just need a good loving Pastor to just bust them out and say "that sucks!" No one is being edified by that by the way, the whole Litmus Test for Spiritual Gifts in the local church according to 1 Corinthians 12:7 is that your spiritual gift is given for the common good. So it's up to the rest, when you see people run for the doors.

You can think you are a worship leader but I'm telling you that 34 people are plugging their ears and running for the doors like rats off the ship, they are testifying that your gift is not as great as you think you are. I'm loving you enough to point out your blind spot. If you can't handle the truth, if you are a Jack Nickleson in A Few Good Men "You can't handle the truth", then there are probably 800 other churches in town ready to live with your deception. So, that is when we are set free anyways. The more true we are the more brokenness we live out of the greater our freedom is. I don't mean to pontificate. You can just tell that I have some passion.

Matt: It's clear that you have your priorities set. This is where you want to spend most of your time because it's the most fruitful.

Jason: I just believe that everything in the kingdom is based on "be fruitful and multiply". Now I am not making this a major doctrine, I just believe that everything in nature that in general is healthy naturally reproduces. And within that seed that falls from the tree isn't just a seed for one more tree but the potential that is within that seed is for hundreds of seeds given that right condition.

So in that fallen seed from a tree there is another forest of trees in that seed and over generations one seed drops a seed a makes two, those two before 4, those 4 become …, and thus the principle of multiplication not just addition. So I believe that if I invest my time into people who have the ability to reproduce then in the short term it might look like we only picked up 4 people this year, but next year it will be 8 people and the next year it will be 16, then 32, then 64 and within 8 generations we are at a 1,000. But it is quality not just quantity.

In Matthew 5 where Jesus says consider the lilies of the field and see how they grow, he is not just asking for a basic simple observation. The Greek verb he is using there is super intensive, it's not just an observational "look and see how they grow" it's a call to the super deep underground realities that caused that flower to grow. The root systems, what is not seen in the simple observation.

He is saying hey, study why the lilies grow. And the lilies grow because they are in good soil. They have enough sunlight and there are principles which cause that lily to grow. And that is what he is saying. He is saying don't live in an arbitrary carefree disconnected passion. He is saying look, study!

Now, what caused people to grow as well is setting you up for success. And when you succeed and you are being passionately filled with Christ, everything in nature tells people, I call it the all-by-itself principle, the lilies of the fields don't struggle to grow and grow a church, they just do that out of the overflow of health. Because they are according to Colossians routed and being built up in Christ.

Matt: Where have you been able to draw financial resources from and are you full-time?

Jason: I am full-time right now and we have a church in California called the Fathers House which is kinda acting as our covering church where I was on staff and a number of the other members where on staff. They have given us a couple of generous checks to help buy trailers and some sound gear and what not.

Basically what we did is before we launched the church in January (2008) we had about 3-4 months of that small in my living room meeting. And we encouraged people to start investing right away. So, in the 6 months we've raised $60,000 and all of that has gone into resources and tools and curriculum and books and trailers and gear and video and websites and Mac computers and you know flyers and posters. I am just now starting to take a minimal salary.

I positioned my life where I could live on a reduced salary for probably another 4-5 months based on current growth projections. The bottom-line to is how we structured the finances is that of our 100% we take in we are going to live of what I call the 80-10-10 principle the church. We are going to tithe 10%, we are going to save 10% and we are going to live our general budget off 80%. And, of that 80% only 30% is allocated to salary. Then the other 60% of that 80% will be allocated to local outreaches and investing in local areas like offices, curriculum, youth groups, we break down the budget from there.

I am not going to have a top heavy salary church. But we are only going to be using a third of the 80% to pay staff. So, when I can pay for more staff, that we have within that 30% a reasonable budget, then staff member number 2 comes on.

Matt: What is you long term vision for St. Louis? What is your advice for me as I train to start a new church?

Jason: My long term vision is, again going back to that healthy thing in nature, that my goal is not arbitrary like "oh I want a 1,000 people!". To me that is like walking up to a tree and saying "come on, produce more fruit!". It's arbitrary, you know. Me thinking of or conjuring up a particular number that that would make my own ego in ministry. And then therefore gearing everything around that, again that's like CEO Christianity.

But whatever size our church gets to, which I believe is if it's healthy it will grow. My real goal is to help my leadership team all become senior pastors with successful thriving local growing churches as well. And so, my goal is not just to have a good church, but to raise up and launch local healthy churches.

We are going to plant a church all the way in India. I feel that the best way for us spiritually to position ourselves for God to invest in us is to be investing in a third world mission plant environment itself. So, we have 18 people never been overseas, paying the money to help plant a church in India this year. We are all going and they are going to be involved in a long term mission work from day one in our church.

We believe in planting churches. We believe in local churches. My passion for long term vision is that we are planting successful, life-giving churches that are planting successful, life-giving churches.

Now, in terms of advice to you. Man, just find out what Jesus is saying and get your head down and get busy. Now, with that, if you join a network that can help fund you or you have relationship that can gather around you to help create funding you probably got to go either on of those two roads on a practical level.

What I am seeing from experience now, not just being on staff on a big church, but starting it on day one, is you probably need anywhere between $50-150,000 to get a church off the ground depending on how big you want to start. Like I said, my friends started with probably $100,000, the first service had 400 out the gate. He spent all $100,000 on that first service. So, big risk, but it paid off. Now, 6 years later he has 9,000 people in his church. Go figure!

Or you could do it more of the way I am doing it. I just gathered in some friends, some interested people that had bought into a vision and into my life. Here is a philosophy that helps me. The Greek culture was interested in information, amongst some of their highest goals, therefore we have the Platos, the Socrates, we have the great philosophers that where informational.

The Jewish culture wasn't so interested in what information that you know, they weren't so much interested in what you know, they were more interested in who you know. So in the Jewish culture you didn't get a degree in information you got a degree in someone's life. It was: who are you mentored by? You are a protégé of who? And we see that played out in where Paul was trying to minimize some of the debate that was being created by "I follow Apollo's, I follow Paul" but yet the invitation was follow me as I follow Christ.

The Jewish culture was big on doing life together. One of the best ways to plant a church is to find a core group of 10, 12, 15 people and do life with them. And based on that relationship, and if it has life to it, God can give gifting, character is earned. And so if you have people of character and commitment it speaks life and people are hungry to be apart of something that has life and that has legacy. The unbroken chain of 2,000 years of church history. They want to be connected to something ancient and yet relevant and when people find genuine community they will buy in and it doesn't matter if it is 25 people in a living room or 400 in an elementary school or 600 in a new built sanctuary.

Anyway, those are some ramblings. At the end of the day I don't know, I haven't got a clue!

Matt: Jason, thanks for your time. I appreciate it.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Men & Women: Equal but different?

Special update: I wrote a book for churches to give to first-time guests. It’s had a huge impact at bringing more people back as second-time guests and adding them into the church community. Get the Kindle version of Unforgettable: Your purpose in Christ here and the print version from Those outside the USA may need to order print copies from,, or

The role of men and women is a hot topic in today's culture. In general men have become followers -- being selfish, submissive and reactionary. This lack of loving leadership in men often leads to two extremes. Either frustration, aggression and abuse or passivity, indifference and isolation. Men often feel like failures because of this.

On the other hand women have become the leaders -- taking a lead with responsibility and authority. This compensation leads to two extremes. Either domination and control over men (usually non-violent) or the disrespect and distrust of men. Struggles between men and women often result in insecurity and brokenness in both.

It is highly important for church leadership to understand this topic from a biblical and cultural perspective and be able to lead confidently in respect and love. This brief study deals specifically with roles within the church. There are two main positions. 1) Egalitarian, meaning God created male and female as equal in all respects and 2) Complementarian, meaning male and female were created by God as equal in dignity, value, essence and human nature, but also distinct in role whereby the male was given the responsibility of loving authority over the female, and the female was to offer willing, glad-hearted and submissive assistance to the man.

Conclusions from the Bible:

  1. Men and women share the same nature (made in God's image) and are equal in dignity and value. Both are to rule the earth. Gen 1:26-27.
  2. Men and women are also equal because gender is not a consideration for salvation, Gal 3:28. Also true of gifting, 1 Cor. 12:7-11.
  3. Women (wives, in this text) are to be treated with honor because they are fellow-heirs of the grace of life in Christ. 1 Pet 3:7b.

Even though we are equal in value, there is evidence that men and women were created for different roles:

  1. Men were created first which indicates an intentional design of responsibility and leading, Gen 2. Also see, 1 Cor. 11:8-9 & 1 Tim. 2:13.
  2. God entrusted Adam with instructions for Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit, Gen 2:16-17.
  3. Eve was created as Adam's helper, Gen 2:18.
  4. The original word for helper is "Paraclete". It literally means "called to one's side for help". It is used in to describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:16. It is a HIGHLY honorable word for women because it is used of God. It is not denigrating.
  5. Adam named Eve, a sign of authority, Gen 2:23 & Gen 3:20.
  6. God approaches Adam as the one ultimately responsible for sin although Eve sinned first, Gen 3:9.
  7. Sin is a disruption of God-intended gender roles. Women will therefore desire their husbands authority, Gen 3:16.
  8. Jesus stood against cultural beliefs that were in opposition to God's kingdom, Matt 15:3-9. Yet, Jesus chose 12 men, not women, to be his primary leaders (governmental) indicating this is not just cultural, Matt 10:2-4. (Note: Jesus had, and has, many female followers)
  9. To be deacons (a role open to both genders) in the church, men and women should be of certain character, 1 Tim 3:8-12.
  10. Eldership (governmental rule over the church) is restricted to men of certain quality. If they are married, they must have one wife and they need to be able to lead their families, 1 Tim 3:2 & Titus 1:6. (Note: If they are widowed or divorced they should still be "one women" kinda guys -- appropriate in relationships.)
  11. Teaching and preaching is a key function of elders for primary direction in the church (governmental direction). Women, and non-elder men, should not be the primary teachers but can teach under the oversight of the elders, 1 Tim 3:2, 2 Tim 4:2 & Titus 1:9. (NOTE: Elders are not given the right to delegate their primary (governmental) leadership role and tasks)
  12. Women are encouraged towards all roles within the church excluding eldership. This is because of God's design, not because of ability or value. Women are specifically encouraged and given instruction about how to contribute to public meetings (example: prophesy), 1 Cor 11:5 & 1 Cor 14:34-36.
  13. To save on time and length I have purposefully excluded references to household governing and exclusively focused on church roles.

What are the critical points?

  1. Men and women are different. Men should be men, women should be women. We should not try to be like the opposite sex as this goes against God's plan for us.
  2. Men are not better than women, and women are not better than men. Men are not given authority because they are more important but because of God's design. Men and women are designed and desired to fulfill different roles.
  3. Believers in Jesus should desire to discover how God wants us to live from his word not what is easier to fit into culture.
  4. Doing things God's way always works best. It is important to be convinced which way God wants it to be.
  5. Women can hold any leadership role in the church (example: worship leader) except that of the office and responsibilities of an elder. This is not because women are unable, quite to the contrary, many women have success in leadership. This is because of God's design. This is to reflect the beauty of God's divine authority and submission within himself (example: Jesus submitting to His Father and the Holy Spirit as our counselor). This view of women holds them higher in value than the Egalitarian position because they are especially chosen to be submissive like Jesus and a counselor like the Holy Spirit.
  6. Men must be submitted to authorities in the church and primarily to God. If a man is not submitted to God he is not worth following -- he is not worthy of respect. Men should model submission to their wives. Men are NOT ultimate authorities -- God is.
  7. Women and non-elder men are able to teach in church -- if they can! But, this should be under the oversight and authority of the elders.
  8. As we find life in Christ we should look to restore ourselves to Gods design -- rather than living in the brokenness of sin. Men should loving lead their wives and wives should willingly help their husbands. This reflects the interpersonal authority and submission of a Trinitarian God. The willful harmony is glorifying to God.


Loving authority and joyful submission are a beautiful combo. It is the nature of God. The more we can grasp loving authority (without force) and joyful submission (without ignorance) we will bring glory to God.

Gender roles are ultimately a way to worship God. It must never be an excuse or opportunity to suppress women and elevate men. Men and women alike should be released into their God given gifts within the church under the oversight of godly elders and based on the teaching of the Bible.


  1. Summaries of the Egalitarian and Complementarian Positions on the Role of Women in the Home and in Christian Ministry
  2. Article: What is the role of an elder? (John Piper)
  3. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
  4. Wikipedia article on Complementarian
  5. Mark Driscoll on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (This is an amazing message from a complementarian perspective)
  6. DVD marriage course: Love and Respect
  7. Egalitarian Christian Council
  8. Wikipedia article on Egalitarianism

Monday, June 9, 2008

Welcome to our blog!

Our blog was recently featured in a national magazine The Link and also in a Newfrontiers-USA video which was shown to about 800 people at the Midwest Celebration conference.

I thought I'd take the opportunity to welcome any new visitors and give a brief overview of some of our recent posts. To receive new posts please use the email or RSS subscription feature at the top of our blog.

Blog Recap:
  1. Checkout the first post where it all started. This entry outlines our plans and explains some of the background to our decision.
  2. This post reports what had happened in the first month of moving to St. Louis and starting the internship. Learn about some of the contacts we had made and the activities we had started.
  3. I interviewed a Church Planter in Kansas City and learned a great deal about his experience. You can listen to the phone call or read the transcript.
  4. I did a church "theme" study on how to involve students in church planting. I found this study particularly stimulating. This article was given to church leaders as a handout in a recent seminar on college ministries.
  5. I completed a theological study on Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This was very helpful to me as North American culture diminishing the expectation of encountering God's presence. This study renewed my passion and desire for more of God.
  6. I did a book review on The Multiplying Church by Bob Roberts. I highly encourage you to read this book as it will increase your vision for the church.
  7. I interviewed a church planter from Portland, Oregon. This guy launched with 150 people and has some great things to share with us.
  8. I just completed a theme study on Online Marketing for Church Planters. This post was fairly long but does contain the secrets of creating a successful web presence.
Please comment on posts if you have questions or thoughts. I'm always interested in how we can improve the content for our subscribers.

If you are new to our blog please watch our video and support us through prayer as much as you can. Please also consider supporting us financially if you feel God might desire you to do so.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Online Marketing for Church Planters Part 1

Recently, Jubilee Churches city location in St. Louis discovered that 8% of their new guests came from online advertisements. Jubilee is running one type of online ad campaign which means this source of guests is not maximized and has great opportunity for improvement.

I wanted to explore the different online marketing tactics that a church planter could use to create interest in their launch and build greater connections with people. So here it is! Please comment below if you like what you read or you have additional ideas.

Blog or Web Site

You need a site, blog or at the very least a simple page to do basic web marketing. That's obvious right? Well, yes and no. The real key is not just having a website or blog but driving traffic to them.


  1. If you are going to blog make the content really good and really regular.

  2. No single blogging solution will contain all the features you might want. Compare blog software and match your specific needs at

  3. I use because it integrates with other Google products I use. Plus, this increases the chances of being found by other blogger users. You can also get a dedicated URL, example: (without the
  1. If you need more than a blog and want a fully fledged website then I strongly suggest using a Content Management System (CMS). They move the maintenance burden away from the designer/programmer and allow administrators, secretaries and other volunteers to adjust content without having to wait weeks, months or even years on the techies! There are tones of free ones out there.

  2. No single CMS will have all the right features. You can use a tool like to compare various CMS's side by side.

  3. A good all rounder CMS is Joomla -- and it's free! To get this up and running you'll need:

    1. Some basic web hosting. See ($35/year)

    2. A domain name. See ($10/year)

    3. A web designer/programmer to install and setup Joomla. Feel free to contact me if you are looking for suggestions as I have a number of contacts who can perform this function.

    4. Setup or create a custom template, or use an existing free one. The custom option will usually cost you some $$$ if you don't know a website designer who's willing to serve you.

    5. Training on how to use the system.

  4. An even easier solution would be using Google's free page creator. You could do this with no technical skills, but you probably want someone with a good eye and reasonably savvy.

  5. If you Google "church websites" you can find tones of resources and organizations that specialize in this. Although I'm sure it's costly. For a church plant the above solutions are fairly inexpensive or free.
Promote your web presence
The most mystical of all web promotion is the organic search engine ranking. Basically, if you can get onto the first page of Google then you've made it. Well, I'm going to tell you how to get into the first 10 Google results. Read on ...

Search Engines

The number one key to a high search engine ranking is getting quality backlinks. Yes, that's right, the more inbound links that other web sites make to your web site or blog ultimately determines your position.

For example, if you Google "Church Planting" the first result (as of today) is, but the 9th result is Why are they ranked differently when both have the same words in the URLs? Easy. Go to Google and type in the following "" (without the quotes). In the top right Google says "1 - 10 of about 139". This means that Google has found and indexed about 139 inbound (backlinks) to this website. Now do the same for the other domain "" (again, without the quotes). It says "Results 1 - 1 of 1". This means Google has only found and indexed one incoming link to that website. Other links may exist, but Google has either not found them or does not like them.

This is the most simplistic way to understand search engine page ranking.

It is vital that the links are quality. A quality web site is usually highly ranked, with a proven history, often older and does not attempt to trick the search engines.

The search engines can detect what are called "black hat" techniques where keywords are stuffed or hidden on the site. Or, some sites subscribe to link farms and even generate fake incoming links. The search engines always find out, believe me, I've seen it happen. A quality inbound link is worth so much more than 100's of links from insignificant blogs or unrelated web sites. Take every legitimate link that you can get, but fight harder for the quality links.

To rank well for the phrase "Church Planting" for example, the phrase needs to appear on the website multiple times, although don't overdo it. It should appear in the title tag, the meta tags, the first sentence on the site (and a few other times in the text), as an image name, as an alternative image name and as a link. It is even better if you can use it in a header tag and also place strong (bold) tags around one of it's instances. This is really the best thing you can do on your site to improve your ranking.

Another example, when you Google "Church Planting" the fifth result is If you then Google "" you can see that it has 1,120 inbound links. This is way more than the 139 links for the number one result What explains the difference in ranking? One possibility is the quality of the inbound links, the other is that Acts29 do not include the key word "church planting" in their title tag and other places. It's more of an art than a science.

It is important that you use keywords that you know people are searching for. For example, if you Google "Matt Sweetman" (without the quotes) my professional design web site comes up: However, this is not particularly helpful because people are highly unlikely to find my services this way -- something I'm not too bothered about as I rely on word of mouth.

The point is that if you are not well know
n don't use your name as a main key phrase for your church. Do some research on competitors or what similar sites are using. These tools also help with research:
The main keywords for a church are likely to be something like "churches in [location]", but it's worth doing some research using the above tools.

Other things like having well built or "clean" code, the speed of your page loading, etc ... can make a small impact in ranking.

The next question is, how do you generate quality backlinks?

Generating quality links

  1. Write good content often. "If you build it they will eventually link to you" is the motto. Content is king. The reasoning of the search engines is "if it's good people will link to it, if it's bad, people will not link to it". For the most part that is true.

  2. Ask websites owners to link to you. Any business, organization or individual you have a connection with might give you a link as a favor.

  3. Find some highly ranked websites that are not direct competitors of yours but are in the same industry and call them. Ask for a link. Offer a link in return or pay for one.

  4. Interview someone who has a website or a blog, preferably someone important or at least popular. Post the interview on your blog and send them the link. If they like it, they'll link to it and send their visitors your way. For the record, I conduct interviews on my blog not for this reason, although it is a good side-affect. Interviews with church planters are a part of my internship studies.

  5. Post your articles or blog entries onto social news websites like It's fairly easy to do and if you get lucky and make it to the homepage you'll likely generate 3,000+ backlinks in one day! But, you'll need to carefully craft your content to match the appetite of articles that get featured. This is a great opportunity to get creative with your writing! For example, this is an article I wrote and published on Digg, it got 22 diggs, please digg it again if you like it.

  6. Create an annual award and subsequent ceremony for something in your community. Make it a really big deal, hype it up, drag it out, make tones of nominations, invite some big wigs, partner with other organizations -- make it legit and do it EVERY year! Spend some cash on a good trophy or plaque. Get it in the paper. But the key is, post it on your web site/blog and watch the links come in! This is just an excellent way to get into the community anyway.

    1. To make this more constant you could create a "Community Member of the Month" award. This could really create some momentum and provide constant community connection and potentially generate lots of links to push you higher in the search engines.

  7. Become a lender on a micro-financing site. Not only is this a brilliant way to directly sponsor someone across the world and reduce poverty, but it's also a totally legit way to get a backlink to your site. Once your loan is repaid you can keep it as credit and continue to lend it out. Loans start at $25. See my profile here:
This strategy is long term -- there are NO shortcuts. You will be unlikely to see results from this for at at least a year, or maybe 6 months at the earliest depending on how competitive your keywords are. Don't set your hopes on this as it can be very disappointing. To begin with go for some of the more immediate tips below while slowly building towards an organic ranking.

Even if you achieve a high ranking on a competitive keyword your ranking can change over night or even disappear and never come back if it's built on the wrong foundation or superseded by a competitor. Work hard at quality and you should be fine.

Paid search engine links

You've noticed those other links on the right hand side of the results page or right at the top? They are different than the regular results. If you didn't know already people pay each time you click on those. How much it costs depends on how much competition there is. It's a pay per click (PPC) model. I've seen some cost 5 cents per click and others cost over $10 per click. The nice thing about this system is that you can set a monthly budget for your ad campaign and once you hit your top dollar then the ad disappears until the first of next month.

So, you can say I only want to spend $20 a month and it will cap it there. For example, Google "Churches in Charlotte" (without the quotes). Currently there is a paid ad on the side for "City Church Charlotte". Please don't click on this ad otherwise you'll hamper their effectiveness to reach people by using up their budget, unless of course you live in Charlotte and desire to go to their church. If I was planting a church in Charlotte I'd pounce on this opportunity as there isn't much competition for Google ads which would keep the cost down. I'd also place ads on Yahoo, ASK and other top Search Engines.

To set these types of ad campaigns up you need a web page, a credit card, a postal address (that matches the card) and an idea of what the ad should say. To setup these campaigns go to Googles, Yahoo's or ad centers.

Alternative Sources of Traffic

Search engines are the Big-Mama of your online presence. But there are many other legitimate and effective ways to draw visitors to your site and potentially generate some backlinks.

Ads & Classifieds

Use to post info about church events, especially a new church launch. It is surprising how many people use this service especially to sell items locally. My brother-in-law received several calls within minutes of posting his car for sale onCraigslist . There is a community section with all kinds of posts and info from local people. This will provide you with a link to your site and you can include a phone number which in my opinion is even better. If you can get someone on the phone then you are very likely to be able to connect with them and see a more substantial relationship develop. Get creative with your listings to standout from the clutter.

Think about Ebay. Maybe there is a way to use it in conjunction with something local and link it to your website. Please comment below if you have an example. The more various types of links you can create the better.

Social Networks
The gospel is viral by nature. The new, and instantaneous, social mechanisms of today are the myriads of social networking sites out there. And, if you can utilize them to spread your cause it can be is very rewarding.

Currently, it seems that Facebook is the "in thing". See this fantastic free e-book titled Facebook for Pastors for a deeper look into this. More than one-third (34%) of visitors to are 18-24 years old, read full article here. What a great demographic to reach!

In short you can use Facebook to display ads to targeted individuals, keep connected with contacts you make in the community, communicate church info through a "group" and just simply understand the culture better. The church group on Facebook has a lot of benefits, but the main advantage is that it keeps new contacts in the loop and can spreads within social nodes (groups of connected Facebook users) so that when someone joins the "Church Group" all their Facebook friends see it and some will check it out. It's a totally legitimate and highly relevant source of traffic -- kinda like a passive referral.

You can use social news sites like to try and generate interest. Facebook could be a good place to promote an article you want people to digg.

The recent social micro-blogging craze,, is another great way to generate incoming links to your website. Church planter Matt Payne from Portland Oregan in a recent interview said he uses Twitter to follow local people. Even recently he had a local unchurched man contact him through Twitter regarding a pastoral issue. Often times if you follow people on Twitter they can be intrigued and want to follow you in return.

Checkout my Twitter page: you'll notice the URL on the right hand side. It's another legitimate link to my blog and another pathway that people can get to my site, especially if I make interesting Twitter updates, people are more likely to check me out. I currently have 79 followers on Twitter. Each one is a potential return visitor and linker to blog posts I make.

You can search on Twitter for people in your area with similar interests. What a great way to connect with local people and maybe generate some Twitter followers. People are fascinated by micro-blogging so why not use it for link building and connecting?

A great resource for staying on the cutting edge of social networking is Mashable. I receive their daily update via email.

Online Video
So how can you use to your advantage? If you are going to ad videos to your website then just host them on YouTube. Use their code to embed it into your website. DON'T HOST IT YOURSELF. This is important because you are creating another way for people to find your content online -- for free.

We created a short video (in one take) to let website visitors know about our church planting internship and to ask people to consider sponsoring us. See it here. Currently it has had 624 views. That is actually a lot considering our blog is new. How did this happen? Search for church planting on youtube and notice that our video is ranked 8th! This has created another avenue for people to find our blog. The key is to give it a good description and title and put accurate info on your profile page. It's also another link to your site. See mine:

If you don't create any video's right now don't worry it's easy. Short personal videos are very powerful on websites. You don't need anything slick. Our short intro video was done in one take, with no editing software and uploaded to YouTube.

See another example of one I did here: Make your life easy and get a Flip Camera: I think it has an auto upload to YouTube feature as well.

YouTube restricts videos to 10 minutes, but Google video does not! If you video your Sunday messages then this can work well for you. Either slice your video into smaller sections and store it on YouTube to generate more traffic or stick the whole thing on Google Video. It's free by the way. See my hour long preach on the Incarnation of Jesus on Google video. Adding a URL to the video would work as another source of traffic.

There are other social networking video sites that could prove to be excellent for traffic and link generation. However, at this point I must present a warning. A lot of smaller video sharing sites can tend to have sexual content on them. So, I'd suggest just sticking with YouTube and Google video as they do a reasonable job of nixing adult content.

Men, if this is a weakness for you install XXXchurch software on your computer and get an accountability partner and DON'T FOLLOW ANY OF MY ADVICE ABOVE about Online Videos, it's not worth it. Or just delegate online video marketing to a woman!

To be continued ...
Ok, that's enough for one blog post. I am going to finish this up in a part two section and give info about the following things:
eNewsletters, RSS, podcasting, widgets and more resources available to church planters.