How To Livestream Using Facebook Live in 10 Minutes or Less

I have a confession: I’m a certified geek pastor and make no apologies.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t happy when Facebook made live streaming available to celebrities and those with verified pages (pages with those little round, blue checkmarks right next to their names). Immediately, I Googled every possible phrase to find an alternative and found nothing except Periscope.

Recently, Facebook added the ability to live stream on Facebook Profiles, in Groups, and on Pages. So what does all this mean for churches, pastors, and church leaders who rely on Facebook to communicate with their Facebook communities?  A lot!

How To Stream Live

I use Facebook live to make the sermon stick past Sunday. You can read more about why I chose this format to engage our congregation beyond Sunday HERE.  Find a quiet place and take copious notes while I explain how to live stream using Facebook Live.

Why Blogging Makes Me Better (and you too)

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Blog

Imagine a life without hobbies. I can’t.

Hobbies are often thought of as activities for people who lead quiet, relaxed lives. However, people with full, busy, even stressful lives may need hobbies more than the average person, and benefit greatly from having hobbies in their lives. Hobbies bring many benefits that usually make them more than worth the time they require, according to Stress Management Expert Elizabeth Scott.

I have a few hobbies but none of them have changed my life or brought me as much satisfaction as blogging. In almost too many ways to count, it has changed me and the way I live my life.

In fact, I love blogging so much that I regularly recommend it to others. I started blogging because writing in a journal wasn’t very appealing. But somewhere along the line, my journaling became less about me writing the story and more about the story changing me.

why blog question handwritten on the school blackboard

I started blogging “unofficially” on MySpace as a hobby (remember them). Now it’s a vital part of my professional portfolio. I write on personal development, leadership, finance, relationships, inspiration, and motivation.

Keeping Your Finger on the Pulse of the Moment

Some of my most effective messages didn’t require twelve or twenty hours of study; I wrote them in ten minutes or less.

Every pastor, preacher, public speaker carries their “stick message” (recycled messaged that brings the house down)” everywhere they go.  However, there are times when a recycled messaged doesn’t fit the context or mood.

Woman giving a speech at a convention

College, grad school, and seminary gave me the tools for delving into the Word and coming up with a sermon. And I am reasonably confident that as the Lord guides and empowers me, I can deliver it intact.

That’s why I’m going to keep my finger on the pulse of the moment and take a lesson from Brandon Kelly’s article, “Why Preparing A Sermon in 10 Minutes Will Make You A Better Preacher.” I’m not ditching my weekly sermon prep, just adding another tool to my arsenal.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Real Reason Why Change Rarely Works

3 Lessons On Change and Transition

I’ll admit, as a leader it’s quite easy to get caught up with a vision.

It’s natural because as leader’s we’re encouraged to look out for opportunities and then take the lead in making things happen. But sometimes we find ourselves alone out front and wonder what happened to the people we’re leading? Why aren’t they with us?

Do You Like To Fish?

Take a scenario of a group of people going fishing on a lake. Typical leaders get the vision, jump in the boat and are off to fish straight away. But the rest of the group may take a different approach. As the leaders look back, they find that half the people are still on the river bank.

Some are still prepping their fishing gear. Some are just starting to launch their boats. Others are on the water but are heading in the opposite direction. Some are going in circles, and still others haven’t yet even decided if they feel like fishing after all. That’s when you realize that only leading from the front doesn’t always help facilitate the transition.

A metal toggle switch with plate reading Change and Same, flipped into the Same position, illustrating the decision to work toward changing or improving your situation in life

We have a choice to change or remain the same.

John Maxwell in his book Winning with People admits that patience is not one his strengths. He says:

When I was younger I constantly cast vision for the people in my organization and then left them behind – not a good thing for a leader.

In the past sixteen years, Mars Hill experienced many changes.  But as exciting as that vision of building was, we know now that during the process we left some people behind. There were parts of the process whereas leaders we simply dropped the ball. Here are three humbling lessons learned:

2 Effective Ways to Win Friends & Influence People

“When God provides a tool, He expects us to use it for His glory and the redemption of His people,” according to Pastor Brandon Cox.

If Jesus, His Disciples, or The Apostle Paul were here, they’d log on to Facebook and Twitter.  Why?  It’s today’s tool to reach people far from Christ.  Currently, I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and The Urban Pastor Blog.  Today, I’d like to share why I use Facebook and Twitter.

social media

photo credit: Social Media via Social Media Marketing

How To Get Past Your Past

Someone once said “your past can be used as a crutch or a springboard to a better tomorrow.”  Those who use their past as a crutch are hindered by it and fail to move forward.  Our past is important because it influences our future, it reminds us of God’s grace, and provides helpful lessons for today.


Why Is It Important To Remember The Past

It is vitaly important to study and remember the past to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. History is littered with leaders & politicians who have not studied the past and have fallen into the same trap as their predecesors.

Our Past Influences Our Future

*Then Jacob called together all his sons and said, “Gather around me, and I will tell you what is going to happen to you in the days to come.”* (Genesis 49:1)

Jacob blessed each of his sons and then made a prediction about each one’s future. The way the men had lived played an important part in Jacob’s blessing and prophecy. Our past also affects our present and future. By sunrise tomorrow, our actions of today will have become part of the past. Yet they will already have begun to shape the future. What actions can you choose or avoid that will positively shape your future?

Our Past Can Be a Reminder Of God’s Grace

*Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer—”the stone of help”—for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” *(1 Samuel 7:12)

The Israelites had great difficulty with the Philistines, but God rescued them. In response, the people set up a stone as a memorial of God’s great help and deliverance. During tough times, we may need to remember the crucial turning points in our past to help us through the present. Memorials can help us remember God’s past victories and gain confidence and strength for the present.

The Pain From Our Past Provide Helpful Lessons For Today

*All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close* (1 Corinthians 10:11)

Today’s pressures make it easy to ignore or forget the lessons of the past. But Paul cautions us to remember the lessons the Israelites learned about God, so that we can avoid repeating their errors. The key to remembering is to study the Bible regularly so that these lessons remind us of how God wants us to live. We need not repeat their mistakes!

Common Sense Just Ain’t Common

My father, the late Rev. Dr. Clarence E. Stowers, Sr. was a wise man.  He had a lot of what’s missing today – COMMON SENSE.  He was an expert at summing up life with quick pithy statements.

Stay Out Of Debt

The best financial planning seminar I ever attended was my dad’s.  It didn’t involve plane tickets, hotels, conference fees, or books.  It took less than five minutes & here’s what he said:

“Son, it’s not the money you make, it’s the money you hold on to.”

  1. Make yourself a budget.
  2. Live BELOW your means.
  3. Pack your lunch.
  4. Pinch pennies.
  5. Save as much as you can.
  6. Get the education you need for as cheap as you can get it.

The art of holding on to money is all about saying no to stuff you don’t need. Say no to eating out, $4 fancy coffee, and that shiny new computer when the old one still works fine.

That’s my dad…his advice still works! LOL!

 What would you add to my dad’s list?

Whatever You Post – Stays Forever

There really is such a thing as too much information.

There are things that you don’t want to know, even about your spouse or significant other.  Yet people seem to like to share these things online. Before you do, think about whether you’d want your parents, grandparents or even kids to see the post.  It seems today that everyone is using social media.

Blogs, Facebook and Twitter are popular and powerful tools. And like most tools, they could be helpful if used correctly or dangerous if used inappropriately.

The bottom line principle is that you are responsible for what you write. The Internet is a public forum, and writing something is the same as speaking it from a stage. Even if you delete a blog post, RSS feeds will still contain your post. Once something is published, it’s impossible to take it back, so think before you update, and be responsible for your words.

Watch Your Word

Recently, I decided to rework our social media policy and send it to our ministry leaders to share with their teams.  Additionally, I used Facebook to encourage our members to connect with their ministry leaders and read the policy.  Surprisingly, many pastors and ministry leaders sent inbox messages and emails requesting our policy.  Yep, I sent it to them…free of charge!

I want to be a blessing to the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, I decided to post it on my blog for all to glean.  Here’s what it says:

4 Keys To Productivity In 2013

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to read David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done.  Above all, his book taught how yesterday’s methods just don’t work. We now live in an information society and are constantly bombarded with new information.

In order to be more effective in 2013, we must work smarter… not harder. Allen’s premise is simple:

Our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax.  Only when our minds are clear and all thoughts are organized can we achieve effective productivity and unleash our creative potential.

Although I read the book a few years ago, I ran across this video and it gave me a refresher on how to be more productive in 2013.

Thank you TEDx for providing this talk about “Stress-Free Productivity.”

Sacrifices Leaders Make – Part 2

Successful leaders don’t rest on their laurels, because leadership is not a title on a business card.  Leadership is a living process – and that means growth, according to Ken Blanchard & Mark Miller in Great Leaders Grow.  Ask any leader “what it takes to become a great leader” and I guarantee you sacrifice is right at the top of every successful leader’s list.

My previous post suggests, as a leader you sacrifice your time.  In case you missed it, you can read it HERE.  I once heard someone say, “in order to go up, you must be willing to give up something.”  A true leader will sacrifice their personal agenda for the sake of an organization’s goals. In addition to sacrificing time, as a leader you sacrifice your energy.

draining energy

The task of being an effective leader requires diligent effort and sacrifice. The principles of servant hearted leadership encourage an aspiring leader to invest themselves in others. This means that you need to pour energy into your team and organization. As a result there will be many emotional, mental and physical demands on you.

When preparing for leadership, know that you will have to sacrifice your energy. To counter this, find ways in which you can keep your energy levels up so that you can remain effective as a leader. Physical fitness has great benefits and is one way in which you can keep your energy resources renewed. The important thing is that you be prepared. Don’t underestimate the sacrifice of energy that leadership requires.

What do you do to keep your energy levels up?