Israel: faith-based travel tips & recommended sites

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There’s a reason 2014 was the best year ever for North American travel to Israel: It isn’t a trip — it’s a spiritual experience. This surprising country promises a range of unique experiences which people of faith can only experience in Israel. And, thanks to several extremely traveler-friendly traits, it’s well within reach.

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Israel: the planning process –10 tips for faith-based travelers

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Whether it’s your first trip to Israel or your tenth, one thing is certain: Planning well — in advance — is essential for a truly transformative experience in the Land of the Bible.

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3 leadership practices every young minister can do right now

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I recently had coffee with a young(er) minister. He asked a great question: What can I do right now? The young minister (he’s around 20) wanted to know how he could lead better. Starting today. He caught me a bit off guard. After all, leadership is learned and refined over time. Pastors spend years growing. He knew that, but he also wanted to know what could be done immediately.

I’m not that far removed from being a “young” pastor (at 35, many might still categorize me in this way), but I have learned — some things the hard way — from pastoring for 10 years. There are a few practices young ministers can do right now that will help them grow immediately. Here are three leadership practices I shared with him.

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A tale of two church cafés

Cup of Blessing was a passion project for Brother Bud Owen, senior minister of First Church of Christ in Garrett, IN.

Today, churches are offering a lot more than a cup of joe in a Styrofoam cup. With beverages and atmospheres that rival secular franchises, their champions have learned a lot in the process.

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Social media risk — a spot check for the church?

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Recently, I convened a panel of experts for a conversation about where the Church stands relative to capitalizing on the remarkable evangelization opportunity of social media. The key questions:
• Are churches actually embracing
social media?
• If so, how are they doing managing the risks?
• How can churches establish boundaries as they row in these unchartered waters?

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When a church MOVES, will its people FOLLOW?

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Churches relocate more than you think. In fact, your own church might be moving. Or, maybe you’re wondering how to relocate successfully sometime in the future. In either scenario, you’ll face some primary challenges:
• Communicating the church move to your members and regular attendees
(the congregation)
• Communicating the church move to your neighbors (the community)

That’s why you need a communications strategy before you make the move.

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Using ChMS tools to engage visitors: 5 steps

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Engaging first-time visitors is crucial to church growth. Most church growth studies find that:

• Out of 100 visitors, typically 10 to 25 will return for a second visit
• About 50 percent of those second-timers will return for a third service
• Of those, 75 percent will make a fourth visit
• After going four times, churches can generally begin to call those people regular attenders.

But, how can churches ensure they’re connecting with visitors so they’ll want to return for that next visit?

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Engagement leads to building disciples

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Making connections is an important part of life. From faster, more effective communication to building a more engaged community through deeper relationships, the promise of connecting through the use of technology in the 21st century seems awesome. While technology itself is not the answer, it can be utilized by churches to better connect, engage, equip and mobilize their congregations for doing the work outlined through the Gospel.

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Invisible technology, tangible fellowship

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Too often, we talk about tracking visitors and not letting them “fall through the cracks” of the organization. That’s the foundation of what a church management system (ChMS) should do — but it can be lot richer.

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Hail Mary or holy moly: there’s got to be a better way to fund ministry

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Many church leaders have realized that data and technology provide new ways of thinking about how they can overcome their increasing financial challenges.

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