Church Growth

What Led to SIGNING a Book Deal

BookSigning As I’ve said in a previous post, I never intended to even write a book, much less sign a book deal.  So how did I write The Social Media Guide for Ministry and how did I get a publishing contract from Group Publishing?

Well, in a previous post I shared about how I started by simply creating a working Word document about Social Media in Ministry as a resource for churches.  That document quickly turned into much more and something that I personally got very excited about and invested a great amount of time and energy into.

When I completed what in my mind was a simple PDF document or e-book, I hesitantly shared it with a handful of friends and family members curious to how they might respond.  One of those individuals was our Executive Pastor, Chris Emmitt, who thought enough of the book to share it with his wife, Bre’anna.  After reading it, she sent me an email asking if she could share it with a friend who worked for a Publishing company.

I wasn’t going to argue with Bre’anna regarding her request and honestly it just meant so much to me that she thought enough of the book to share it with anyone.  Bre’anna then emailed Sue Brage of Group Publishing introducing the two of us and attaching the PDF document that had originally been forwarded to her.  I thought this might be the end of the conversation, but a week or so later Sue responded by saying that she and a couple of colleagues read the book and would like to propose it to their Executive Team as a possible book to publish.

Sue then shared with me the process of pitching the book to the Executive Team, which would then be followed by a month or so of market research along with a few other action steps before we could move forward.  I was still pessimistic that this would lead anywhere, but even at that point I was so encouraged that a publisher that I respected so much was even having these conversations around this book.  Sue gave me the date of their meeting and all I could do was wait and pray.

Shortly after their meeting I received an email from Sue saying that the team agreed that they should move forward with the book and that a month of market research was not needed as it was a clear felt need for their customer base.  The email included an official offer and the contract was signed shortly after that.

Getting that email was kind of like getting an acceptance letter for college or your first job offer.  It was so meaningful to call my wife and family to share the good news.  One other moment that was also be very meaningful was sharing the news with Chris Emmitt who immediately called Bre’anna and shared the news with her.  I was able to hear the response on the other end of the phone: “Praise God!”  I couldn’t agree more!

I really don’t get excited about the deal because of the possibility of making more money or my name being on a book.  I’m very much a behind the scenes guy and don’t plan on that changing a whole lot.  I get excited because I believe that there is great opportunity for ministries to maximize Social Media in a powerful way to reach more people with the Gospel of Christ and I want to help them do that.

My prayer for this book is the same as it was when I first started writing that Word document months ago:  to create a valuable resource for the Church to maximize Social Media in Ministry.  I’m praising God that Group Publishing agreed to publish this resource and I feel so blessed to work with such a great company!  I’m incredibly thankful for what God has orchestrated, how He continues to work through this project today, and cannot wait to see what God has ahead for this resource in the life of the Church!  I’m honored and humbled to be a part.

 

Other Posts in this series:

Signing my First Book Deal

Developing the IDEA for a Book

The Process of WRITING a Book

 

Thank You St. Stephen Church

This past week I had the great honor of consulting with the staff of St. Stephen Church in Louisville, Kentucky.  Before my trip I studied the church and was amazed by their rich history and tremendous growth over the years.  This is actually one of the first churches that I'm aware of to have multiple campuses in different states (Kentucky and Indiana).

It wasn't though until I was able to sit around a table with their administrative staff that I was able to really capture how special this church is and how bright their future could be.

Here are some of the keys that I saw to their success:

1)    Strong Leadership and Vision- Dr. Kevin Cosby has been the Sr. Pastor at St. Stephen since he was 21 years old and his leadership along with the team he has assembled is strong, focused, and driven.  Vision for the future is consistently communicated and enthusiastically embraced by a passionate congregation.

2)    Passion for the People- St. Stephen has incredible programming, but their primary focus around everything they do is people.  Their programs, services, and facilities are all focused around the needs of their congregation and the community they serve.

3)    Freedom and Flexibility- you won't find much red tape in this church as leaders are given freedom to risk and try new things that might further the ministry of the church.  Church members are encouraged and empowered to lead and teach or use their gifts in whatever way they can.

4)    Openness to New Things- generally I have to sell Social Media before I can train a group on how to use these online tools.  St. Stephen did not need to be sold, but wanted to learn now and implement yesterday.  This culture of learning and innovation has been a part of their DNA for years and will continue to be a part of their bright future for years to come.

5)    Phenomenal Preaching- let's be honest, the pulpit drives the church.  St. Stephen's success is not due only to Dr. Cosby, but his powerful preaching has dramatically impacted thousands in Kentucky and Indiana over the years. I cannot wait for St. Stephen Church to go online, because lives all over the world will be touched when we all have an opportunity to hear the powerful messages that are preached each week from this pulpit!

I cannot  express enough how thankful I am to have had this opportunity to invest in this great church. I am especially grateful to Christine Cosby for coordinating this trip and organizing all of the meetings with the various staff and ministry teams.  It will be so exciting to see what is ahead as this Church without walls begins to reach from Kentucky to Indiana and to the ends of the earth.  There is no doubt in my mind that the best days for St. Stephen Church are yet to come!

For more information about St. Stephen Church you can visit them at:

website- http://ssclive.com

Facebook at http://facebook.com/ssclive

Twitter: @ssclive

Defining Success

Over the past year many people have asked me what I would attribute the success of CBC Online to.  What they mean by this question is why has it grown so fast? In ministry it's often hard to define success.  We are often apologetic when it comes to reporting attendance or measuring success based on numbers.  Our Senior Pastor, Robert, Emmitt was recently interviewed in Outreach Magazine and answered the question: "What is success?" in this way:

I don't think I have every heard a better answer to this question.  So when it comes to CBC Online, I believe that we have been extremely successful as we continue to reach, teach, and help thousands of people all over the world each week in Jesus' name!

Going back to the original question of why CBC Online has been successful, I believe there are many factors that are involved.  Current technology is amazing, our media team is incredible, we have great music and preaching to broadcast, but there is one reason in particular that was also highlighted in this article that has been most critical to the success.  Here is what Robert said when asked what excites him right now:

Our senior leadership passionately believes in and supports CBC Online.  Without that support I cannot imagine that the success that CBC Online has experienced would be possible.  I cannot express enough how grateful I am to serve under the leadership of CBC and appreciative of the support that they have given me and the ministry that I am blessed to lead.

 

The Power of Facebook

A good friend printed this for me in poster size and dropped it off in my office the other day.  I immediately hung it on my wall putting it above the map in my office highlighting what regions we are impacting the most through CBC Online.  This map highlights the heaviest areas of traffic for Facebook and the interactions made on Facebook with other regions.  I had an idea of what this might look like, but to see it in this format is amazing and overwhelming.

It's wild to think that an idea (Facebook) formulated in a college dorm room has impacted literally the ends of the earth in less than 7 years.  As we consider methods for sharing the gospel, can you imagine a better resource?  Facebook is about relationships and so is the gospel.  Facebook is touching the ends of the earth and so are we called to take the gospel to all regions.

So why isn't everyone using this incredible resource?  I heard a statistic this week that only 50% of churches utilize Facebook in any way.  I also heard a statistic that 95% of Americans age 20-30 are active users of Facebook and the largest growing demographic are adults between 60-75 years old.  So why isn't everyone using Facebook again?

I will have many posts ahead on how I have utilized Facebook in ministry, but don't wait for someone to tell you how.  Facebook is really so new that there isn't necessarily a right or wrong, but I can't encourage you enough to get to know Facebook and start interacting.  Trust me, it's worth it!

Becoming a Social Media Pastor Part 5: The Growth

CBC Online Attendance Charts
CBC Online Attendance Charts

We are now 7 months into the launch of CBC Online and here is what we have experienced to date.  I expected God to do some BIG things through these ministry efforts, but I had no idea how big.  We are now offering services 24 hours a day with 3 different pastors with the recent addition of a Spanish service.  Each week we now have people login from all 50 states in the US and  from over 100 countries around the world.  We had a great launch in June and it has been incredible to be a part of this journey to this point. It's hard to imagine that the trend line that these charts suggest could be true, but God has already moved in much BIGGER ways than we could have ever imagined.  I am so thankful to the leadership at CBC, the incredible CBC Online volunteers, the developers of Media Social (the platform we use) , and Mark Zuckerberg for creating an incredible tool to share the gospel and connect believers.   All of these people working together have made an incredible team with each part being critical in this tremendous growth that we have experienced.   It has been an incredible 7 months, but I believe strongly that we are just getting started and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

Here are the links to the other posts in this series:

Part 1: The Valley

Part 2: The Search

Part 3: The Find

Part 4: The Experiment

Part 5: The Growth

Part 6: 1 Year Anniversary