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This is Rare. #PackTheVet

October 6, 2013 — 2 Comments

This only happens once.
There is only one time in the history of a church that they have a first service.
There will be other once-in-a-lifetime events, but this one, for Two Cities Church is the biggest so far.
In the words of Paul Haugen, “This feels milestony.”

So, I invite you to help us #PackTheVet and catch a glimpse of Two Cities Church at our first ever preview service.
Sunday, October 13, 2013 @ 5:00PM
At the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building
Located in Old Town Clovis
808 4th St
Clovis, Ca 93612

There’s 347 seats. Help us pack it.
RSVP Here.

Foursquare is a social media service that is geared specifically at location-based check-ins. Companies, stores and even churches can use Foursquare to engage a different audience. The reason I enjoy using it is because I can compete with other people on how many different kinds of check-ins you can get. I’m the “mayor” at a local park… or at least I was before I was “ousted” last Sunday by someone who’s check-in more. You can also unlock “specials” for specifics places. For example, my favorite deal is at the Santa Rosa Plaza Mall. Check-in at the mall and you get a free chocolate bar if you show the guests service attendant that you’ve unlocked the deal. And there’s no limit… you could go back every day and get a free candy bar. Free is fun!

On an average Sunday, New Vintage Church has a handful of people who check-in via Foursquare. It’s a small crowd of Foursquare users, but I’m about to start something that should engage more people through Foursquare. I’m running a “special” this weekend to see what happens. When you check in at New Vintage Church, you’ll be able to unlock a special for a free drink from our coffee bar. It’s a simple thing, but I bet I’ll get more engagement out of it.

What are you doing to engage people who walk in your doors? They come in and sit down, pull out their phone and don’t look up for 5 minutes. How are you reminding them of where they are by using the very screen they’re looking down at?

For more tips on social media and the church, check out my free eBook called “Social Media Tips for the Church.”

There’s a myth amongst Christians that says, “I can be a Christian all by myself. I don’t need anyone. I don’t need a church. I don’t need a community. I can do it, just me and God.”

While I appreciate the romanticism that you and God can be your own little community and be just fine, I do believe God designed us to live in community. Sure, there’s an exception out there somewhere. A man in a foreign jail who can’t speak the same language as everyone else. He’s literally alone, except for him and God. But most of us aren’t in that situation. Most of us don’t live in that situation. We have opportunity.

I’m willing to bet that anyone reading this blog has a church right down the street from you. Maybe it’s not a church that’d you’d love or stay at, but it’s there. Maybe you’ve never walked in the doors or met anyone from there. But there it stands.

It’s Sunday morning. Get out of bed and find yourself a good local church. If you don’t know where to start, let me know where you are and I’ll try to find one for you. You need to be in Christian Community with other Christians. You need community. God designed it that way. So don’t sit this out. It’s part of the divine design.

Stop being a lone ranger. You can’t do it alone.

Every week @NewVintageSoco (New Vintage Church) we engage a crowd of new people and those people regularly “like” us on Facebook. Every week I “friend” those people and thank them for “liking” New Vintage Church. If I’ve met them, I add something personal from our interaction and let them know I’m available to answer any questions.

Some people reply. Some don’t.

But here’s why I do it.

Volunteers, Thank You

December 17, 2011 — Leave a comment

Volunteers, thanks for being a part of our mission to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ at New Vintage Church.

This Guy.

November 5, 2011 — Leave a comment


Do you recognize this man’s posture? I do. It’s the guy that always tweets during church. It’s the guy that looks down just as much as he looks up. It’s the guy who checks in on Facebook, Yelp and Foursquare during service.

And I love this guy.

It’s the guy who knows the bottom line because he tweeted it. It’s the guy who is leveraging whatever social media niche he holds for the sake of the kingdom. It’s the guy more engaged with the message than half the other people because he’s learning it through more than one method. Oral, written and visual!

I love this guy.

Do you have this guy in your church?

(note from the Drive Conference)

Session Led by David McDaniel

  • In order to grow, a local church needs:
    -Empty Seats at optimal times
    -Inviters within a 20-minute drive-time radius (maybe shorter in non-metro areas)
    -Invitees within a 20-minute drive-time radius (maybe shorter in non-metro areas)
    -Local autonomy to weigh the opportunities for growth and the consequences of growth with the responsibility of resourcing that growth
  • A local church following the North Point model must grow to stay true to its mission, strategy and core values
    -Growth strategies should always progress from simple to complex
    -Single-site growth is the least complex way to grow
    -Multi-site growth should occur only when single-site growth is no longer an option
    -The best way to accomplish multi-site growth, balancing empty seats, nearby inviters, and nearby invitees is through cannibalization
  • A local church may choose to participate in Kingdom growth by planting autonomous churches outside of its market area
    -We (north point) plant new churches in locations that clearly do not cannibalize the attendance of any of our existing campuses
    -We (north point) plant churches in nearly locations as long as they will not conflict with our 5-year campus growth path
  • Conclusion
    -Our highest level of influence with outsiders occurs closets to our original campuses. We use our own staff leadership and monetary resources to add more campuses to our local church to reach people.
    -Beyond these nearby opportunities, we launch independent churches using our same church model to develop influence with outsiders. We leverage outside leadership and outside fundraising for these efforts.



Church in the Peripheral

February 19, 2011 — 2 Comments

The Church is a living organism, the body of Christ, that can not be snuffed out. It is breathing, full of people who have issues. People with pain, scars and dysfunction-galore. But it is still the beautiful and holy body of Christ. One of our biggest issues is being the Church in the peripheral and letting everything else be our focus. The Way, the Christian path, the Church wasn’t mean to be a part-time-when-it’s-convenient-gig. It was meant to be a life-gig. It was meant for every follower of Christ to live in and to be the Church all the time.

I’m not just talking about meeting together on Sundays and in homes for community groups. I’m talking a whole life-style. But we tend to live the Church life in the peripheral. Not even prioritizing the most basic of Christian practices, the Sunday morning gathering of the body of Christ. How can a part of the body of Christ function without communicating with the rest of the body? How can an arm be any good without the hand? How can a foot make any difference without a hip?

Let’s get basic. Let’s begin to prioritize the body and the mission of building the Kingdom of God by Investing in our non-Christian friends and family and Inviting them to join the gathering of the body of Christ.

18 Months.

October 14, 2010 — Leave a comment

For the last 18 months my dad has been out of work. He owned his own construction company for years called Don Foster Construction. He specialized in building church buildings up and down the west coast. I don’t know the exact amount, but I think he’s built somewhere about 65 church buildings of all denominations (I’m guessing). But when the economy tanked, churches stopped building and remodeling. He closed his business and joined a larger construction firm in the Vancouver, Wa area. After a few months they downsized and he got the axe. He’s applied for hundreds, maybe thousands of jobs in the last 18 months.

In November his unemployment was going to stop. In November, my parents would be able to make their last house payment. And in December…the collectors were gearing up to come knocking. But in God’s grace and in His perfect timing I got a call saying that my dad was hired. He was hired in the industry he knows, helping a construction company grow their business AND it is for the salary that my parents need to be able to pay their bills.

Through the last 18 months I’ve seen him:

  • Ask for prayer
  • Wait on God
  • Actively seeking employment (of ANY kind)
  • Volunteer his time (like crazy) at his church
  • Consistently say, “I know God will take care of it”
  • And more.

So things are looking up for my parents. And my dad will finally get to work.

If you’re struggling. If you’re jobless. If you are running out of time…trust in Jesus. He will pull you through. Be productive. Volunteer. Give away even when it’s your last crumb. He will pull you through.

I got and email from Leadership Network today and it had an interesting article on churches and social media. It’s pretty dead on in my opinion.

A lot is going on in “social media” today – how should churches define that space?

Churches should view social media as being equally important as their websites and as any other core communication tools they may already be using. Successful churches meet people where they are, and right now the “where” digitally/web-wise is, without question, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other related social media forums. If you want to be part of the conversation on any level, you have to be around the same table as those you’re trying to converse with.

Why does social media matter?

First, social media is a game changer. Right now the community-wide water cooler is social media, predominantly Facebook.

This is where people talk about their lives, their needs, what’s important to them, their struggles and their victories. The church needs to be “hearing” these things and then responding when appropriate. It’s a window into the lives of your people and the people you are trying to reach. No longer are you dependent on someone calling you to deliver news; there’s a constant stream of it right there in front of you.

A second reason is relevance: a relevant church knows and understands the things that impact its people and its community. If you’re in a farming community you should know all about rainfall, government subsidies and all the other things that affect your community. If you’re in a suburb it’s typically all about the schools and the ball fields. Social media is bigger than all that because wherever you live it encompasses every single part of daily life. Being part of that shows you care, that you get it, and that you’re not out of touch.

What are some statistics about the various types of media that churches shouldconsider?

Facebook has more than 400 million active users globally, with over 100 million in the U.S. alone. Women use Facebook more than men and they are primary communicators for their families, especially for church stuff.

The largest segment is people between 18-54 years old. Half of active users log onto Facebook on any given day. On top of that, more than 100 million active users currently access Facebook through their mobile devices.

Statistics get a little fuzzier for Twitter. The word active is important here because more than 60% of Twitter users abandon their accounts within first month. There were just over 20 million active users by the end of 2009, mostly in the United States. That is expected to rise to about 26 million in 2010.

About 10% of the users generate 90% of the content. In other words, there is more listening than talking. It is more of a conduit to you as opposed to from you. It is more of a professional tool than a personal tool in contrast to Facebook.

Twitter can be a great tool if your crowd uses it, but if not don’t expect to convince them on it just because you are tweeting.

How important is it for churches to match their audience with the right media?

Extremely. When you do anything as a church you have to ask “why” and “who are we doing this for?”

If you’re a small, declining church full of senior citizens, social media is probably a waste of time for you. although that may change in years to come. If you’re an “average” church reaching a good mix of all ages, Facebook is for you as it will touch the most people. Twitter is more of a professional tool used by a professional crowd, and even then it’s still used by a small percentage of those folks.

For example, the church where I am a member is about 1,500 in attendance each week, it is very affluent and it’s in an upper middle class area. There are tons of professionals but realistically less than 20% are probably active on Twitter — and that’s being generous. For most churches, Facebook is the best way to go.

What are the first steps in establishing this type of approach?

First, know your audience, what they are using and how they are using it. So survey your crowd. Second, know who is going to monitor and maintain everything and make it part of their job description. If this isn’t planned out it will fall flat, just like most church websites do. And third, if you need help, hire a coach/consultant to come in for a few hours or a day and walk you through everything.

What are the negatives with social media?

In general it can become a huge time sucker. There is a fine line between using it and letting it use you. You need to be strategic and intentional in how you use it. Also if you’re the type of church that is very image conscious, you need to be careful about who is responsible for speaking on your behalf in these forums. It has to be someone you trust to make wise decisions, but it shouldn’t need to be the pastor, who probably already has enough to do.

Should all pastors Twitter? In a recent gathering of our next generation pastors group they said they all do.

“All” pastors should not. But those who are eager to learn and value input from others can greatly benefit from the flow of information that can come to them via Twitter. For next generation pastors it’s a no-brainer. It’s a great way to hear about new books, conferences, trends, blogs, what’s working and what’s not, etc. — it’s a great listening device. And for those who have something of value to add to the conversation, it is the perfect forum to engage in the exchange of ideas.

That jives with what they said. They find it a small part of their communication with their congregation but a big part of communicating with other pastors.

What does your company do to help churches in this area?

Big Picture Media provides all level of coaching/consulting related to social media, from on-site, to web and phone support, one time or ongoing. We can help a church develop a social media strategy as part of their overall communications plan. We can help them create that entire plan or help to incorporate the social media component into whatever strategy is pre-existing.

We also do anything and everything related to media. Branding, market positioning, overall communication strategy development, copywriting, print design, web design, video production, etc.  Our team has 30 + years of church staff experience and all are heavily involved in their local ministries and churches. We speak the language, we walk the talk, and we love what we do.

You can connect with Mark via Twitter at, at his blog at, or you through the Big Picture Media web site which is