Category Archives: Unlimited Partnerships

Marriage Policy Triage

I’m blessed to be part of a great student & church network called Unlimited Partnerships at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Each month UPLogowe meet for collaboration, learning, fellowship, encouragement, etc. UP also seeks to provide links to quality mentors for students serving in churches as well as help with resourcing their jobs in church plants or churches that can’t afford staff. For more info, check out UnlimitedPartnerships.org.

Yesterday we met and discussed what’s sure to become a huge issue in the next 10 years: All things Marriage & Sexuality. Here’s a brief recap of our meeting:

Dr. Ken Schroeder, Pastor of FBC Mandeville, shared with us about Prepare & Enrich. P & E is a great pre-marital assessment tool for couples that helps them get to know strengths & weaknesses & gives counselors & pastors a base line for how to prepare the couple for Christian Marriage. Check out www.prepare-enrich.net for more info & training opportunities.

Whatever you use, have a plan to prepare couples for the big day & success till death do us part. I’ve never had the chance to get trained in Prepare & Enrich, so I use Dennis Rainey’s book Preparing for Marriage as a baseline for pre-marital preparation.

We discussed some of the Must Have’s for Church Marriage Policies unrelated to building use:- Counseling Sessions / A Plan for Preparation for Christian Marriage- To see the plan for the wedding, so that songs utilized concur with the message of Christ in the wedding.

  • Counseling Sessions / A Plan for Preparation for Christian Marriage- To see the plan for the wedding, so that songs utilized concur with the message of Christ in the wedding.
  • A wedding coordinator may be required as well.
  • Some Pastors require Covenant Marriage as state laws allow.
  • Marriage policies should define marriage. Here’s the link to a Baptist Press article concerning the need for Updated Marriage Policies with the reality of cultural shifts on this issue. It’s only a matter of time before some Church get sued and/or makes news for refusing a same-sex ceremony. It’s already happened to a nice Christian baker.

Issues: Should I do the wedding? Check out the Joe McKeever’s recent article that deals with these issues & more HERE. Dr. Joe says doing weddings is a faith endeavor because you never know which ones will make it and which won’t. Many weddings I’ve performed exceeded my expectations, while some surprised me with great disfunction. Making the decision to perform a wedding or not can be difficult. As I struggled through these issues as a young pastor I settled on what I wanted to do & here’s my language to prospective couples: “I don’t just do weddings, but I will help you prepare for Christian Marriage. Is that what you want?” If yes, & 90% of the time it is, then I have an opportunity to describe what that looks like & what preparing for that will look like. But here’s some issues our network discussed yesterday in this regard:

– Cohabitation. It’s becoming more and more common. Consensus: each situation should be taken separately. When I was struggling through this question as a young pastor, I wrote a series of blog post working out my position. Find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Some of the links are no longer good, b/c it’s 6 years old, but feel free to use or improve upon what you can.
– Same-Sex Marriage – Church policy should clearly define marriage by your convictions.
– Undocumented Immigrants – Question to consider: Is having their marriage recognized by the state as important as having them right before God?
– Non-Believers – Each situation should be taken separately.

Ideas for Discipleship in a Culture of Cohabitation, Divorce, etc.
– Celebrate Marriage by celebrating anniversaries, weddings, etc.
– Utilize Marriage studies
– Utilize Marriage retreats
– Incarnate at Bridal Showers, presenting a path to Christian Marriage.
– Consider a Free Wedding Weekend. Here’s a link to one a friend of mine is a part of. CLICK HERE for a few links in Outreach Mag concerning this innovation.

Books & Resources Mentioned by our students & pastors:

  • Love & Respect
  • Sacred Marriage
  • Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts
  • Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard
  • Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler
  • Song of Solomon by Tommy Nelson
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  • Preparing for Marriage by Dennis Rainey, et al.
  • For Wedding Ceremony preparation, Jim Henry’s Pastors Wedding Manual is great.

Our next meeting will be March 25th. Let me know if you have anything to add or subtract. Or if you’d like to be part of our network.

Social Media and the Local Church

“If there’s a space where conversation is happening, then we should fill it with God’s glory” ~ John Piper on Social Media.

Great session with our Unlimited Partnerships Network at NOBTS yesterday. Brandon Cox, who manages content for Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox & the very helpful site Pastors.com, joined us for a session on Social Media & Technology. It was a great honor to have Brandon with us. Check out his blog & connect with him on Twitter & Facebook. Here’s a few of my big takeaway’s from his talk.

What’s the Value in Social Media in 2012? 

  • Value & forge CONNECTIONS. We’ve gotten skilled at presentation, but not connection.
  • Insight & engage CONVERSATIONS. They’re going to happen with or without us. How do we get involved?
  • Observe & influence CULTURE. How do we be FOR the culture?
  • This generation talks differently and thinks differently & they won’t accept canned marketing approaches.
The Theology behind being engaged with Social Media:
  • God wants his message distributed through relationships.
  • People are conversational.
  • Sin has left people lonely.
  • God wants every space to be filled with his glory.
  • God wouldn’t want us to leave the most influential platforms in culture without His message. “if there’s a space where conversation is happening, we should fill it with God’s glory” ~ John Piper
Important Definitions:
  • Social Media: Pieces of information around which there is a conversation.
  • Social Networking: People connecting by technology.
  • Branding: Framing THE STORY that you hope people will tell about you. A logo is not a brand.
  • User Experience: How things get used by normal people.
  • Open Source: A piece of software developed by a large volunteer community.

Principles to keep in mind when using Social Media as a Church:

  • Be purposeful. Know the why. Why am I doing it?
  • Be social. Relate well. Be about other people.
  • Be transparent & real.
  • Be generous. Use the Share & Like buttons a lot.
  • Be personal. Be like people are.
  • Create Bridges. Our goal is redemption.
Top 10 Social Networks for Churches:
  1. FACEBOOK – Still the largest & fastest growing among all age groups.
  2. TWITTER – More important for the leader than the church.
  3. YOUTUBE – One of the largest search engines on its own. Most influential among teens.
  4. PINTEREST – Most influential among women. Image driven.
  5. FOURSQUARE – Important b/c it’s used by other Apps & b/c of it’s Viral potential.
  6. INSTAGRAM – Image driven. Use pics to tell the story. Healing Place’s Instagram page on the website.
  7. LINKED IN – More about professional development. Most effective when using groups.
  8. VIMEO – Best for Video Production Quality.
  9. GOOGLE+ – Technically better than others but not as used.
  10. MEETUP.COM – Good for missional engagement in the community.
A few tips for Using Facebook for Ministry: 
  • Understand the Social Graph: Facebook is creating a map of the world based not on links but on personal relationships. They only show you what they deem important to you and others, seeking to capitalizing on what people are saying is important. The “Like” & “Share” buttons being utilized tell Facebook what’s important.
  • Put on a “Like” button on everything. This says to Facebook & the world, “this is important.” Go to facebook.com/developers to get the code for a like button for every page you create on the web.
  • Utilize Facebook Tools: Facebook Events to leverage relationships. Private Facebook Groups – to leverage volunteers. Pages for Group Information & connections.
  • Know WHEN to post. People are looking at articles during the work day & looking at pictures in the evenings. Events should be promoted three-four days before for maximum effectiveness. Facebook Ads work for only about 3 days at a time then they need to be deleted or changed.
  • Make sure you’ve got your location under your settings for Check-Ins.
Some Good Resourcers to Follow regarding Social Media & Technology:
%d bloggers like this: