Find out what this diet's all about, and whether or not it'll work for you.
Chris Pratt is one of Hollywood’s reigning kings of physical transformations (second to Christian Bale's numerous body modifications). He’s no stranger to trying out different diets, but his latest one is taking him to church—literally. Pratt decided to start 2019 off Old Testament-style, revealing on his Instagram story that he was three days into “The Daniel Diet" on January 3.
“OK, hi, Chris Pratt here. Day three of the Daniel FastOpens a New Window., check it out, it’s 21 days of prayer and fasting,” he said in a video, according to PeopleOpens a New Window.. He went on to say how this extreme fasting may impact his upcoming press tour. “It’s gonna coincide also coincidentally with the Lego Movie 2 junkets, so by the time you see me, I’ll probably be hallucinating. Stay tuned,” he said.
During a Feb. 8 interview on The Late Show with Stephan Colbert, Pratt also announced that he had just finished his fast and felt “actually amazing.”
The diet is based on the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, and involves 21 days devoid of animal products and preservatives, and inclusive of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
In the Bible, Daniel limited his diet to vegetables and water to be able to cleanse his body and better focus on a spiritual connection to God, leaving behind distracting indulgences like meat and wine. The story goes that Daniel avoided the temptations surrounding him for 10 days. This is all unrelated, by the way, to Daniel surviving a night in the lions’ den (which Colbert admitted is the only part he remembers from the Book of Daniel). Despite the fast’s ancient roots, it didn’t gain modern attention until The Daniel Fast blog was launched in 2007; it's since grown in popularity among Evangelical Christians and churches throughout California.
The diet has similarities to veganism in that you can't consume any meat, eggs, or dairy products. To add another level of difficulty, followers of the Daniel Fast can’t have any sugars or sweeteners, processed foods, soda, or alcohol. So, what can you eat? According to Pratt, you can only eat “foods grown from seed.” For those of us a little less fluent in Old Testament phrasing, that means fruit, vegetables, and grains—specifically unleavened bread. Sounds intense—even Chris Pratt agreed, referencing his love of alcohol. “You know how much I drink,” Pratt joked on Colbert.
Pratt stated his reasons for doing the diet are two-fold. The actor admits that he had been struggling to find motivation to exercise and eat properly recently, especially this past December over the holidays. "These last couple of months, I have just not been that motivated to work out. And I’ve been eating," he said on an Instagram story in December according to USA Today. "And I know it’s winter and it’s holiday season. This morning I woke up and I’ve been determined that I’m going to get on it. And I don’t want to, but I’m going to do it, I’m going to start it today."
The second reason Pratt chose this bare bones, Bible diet is, because he was inspired by his pastor. Pratt has been involved with religion for most of his life but has become more vocal about his faith in recent years. Pratt told Colbert, “I was inspired by my pastor. It’s kind of like our Lent, you know, give something up.”
Many followers of the Daniel Fast include 21 days of prayer and spiritual practice alongside their fast. Pratt went on to describe how his faith helps him be the best version of himself for his friends, family, and fans—citing a quote from his pastor: “If the spotlight that’s shining on you is brighter than the light that comes from within you, it will kill you.”
Liz Weinandy, a dietician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recently broke down the Daniel Fast. She said the diet is lacking in “all kinds of nutrients” like essential fats and proteins and could be potentially dangerous for individuals with pre-existing conditions. While Weinandy supports intermittent fasting, she believes the long duration of the Daniel Fast makes it unhealthy and unsustainable.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), too much restriction in a person’s diet is harmful. “Diets that severely restrict calories or the types of food you eat usually don't lead to lasting weight loss and may not provide all the nutrients you need,” read the report from the HHS.
Richard Bloomer, the dean of the University of Memphis’ School of Health Studies, conducted multiple small studies on the Daniel Fast and spoke to TIME about the diet's logistics. He said that after three weeks on the Daniel Fast, subjects can begin to lower risk factors for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and reduce oxidative stress. The Daniel Fast does not explicitly restrict the number of calories followers consume, but Bloomer says that participants end up losing weight because they are filling up on nutrient- and fiber-dense whole foods instead of meat, dairy and processed products.
Dr. Wayne Jonas, a family physician and executive director of Samueli Integrative Health Programs at the University of California said that most healthy people should be able to complete the Daniel Fast without a problem. People with chronic health conditions, especially those requiring dietary monitoring, should consult a doctor first.
When we look to our Savior’s example of how we should love, we see that “Jesus increased in wisdom” (Luke 2:52). A proverb that is a constant challenge to me reflects the importance of such growth stating, “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness” (Proverbs 15:14). Put another way, an intelligent person purposefully seeks knowledge, but fools nibble randomly, vacantly chewing on words and ideas that have no value, no flavor, and no nutrition.
What are you and I feeding our minds? Are we heeding this biblical warning about the danger of “garbage in, garbage out?” May we purposefully seek knowledge and guard against spending precious time on things that have no value. I know that I have wished and prayer for God’s knowledge and change in an area of my life only to realize two or three years have passed without my actively taking His advice and seeking it.
I once learned from a friend a practical and fun way to set goals and remind myself to seek God’s wisdom and to guard my mind with His truth. This practice has given me a path to follow and ensure that I am following after God with my whole heart.
1. Each year, I create five files. You’re probably puzzled as this doesn’t sound so spiritual. But, hang with me!
2. Aim at expertise. Next, select five areas you’d like to become an expert in and label a file for each of them. A word of caution: choose areas from the spiritual realm. Remember the proverb? You don’t want to feed on pursuits that have no value. Instead choose topics of eternal value. To help you determine those five areas, answer the questions, “What do you want to be known for?” and “What topics do you want your name associated with?”
I have a friend, Lois, for instance, whose name many people associate with prayer. Whenever we needed someone at church to teach on prayer, lead a day of prayer for our women, or open a meeting with worship prayer, everyone automatically thinks of her. For more than 20 years, she has been studying what the Bible teaches about prayer, looking closely at the men and women of the Bible who prayed, reading about prayer, and praying. Prayer is definitely one of her areas of expertise, one of her five files.
Another friend is known for her knowledge of the Bible. Whenever the women at church needed someone to lead a survey of the Bible or give an overview of the prophets, we would call on Betty. Still another friend speaks to church groups about time management. These three women have become experts.
Through the years, I’ve compiled a list of the files that the students in my “Woman After God’s Own Heart” class kept. Here’s some of the topics to help stimulate your thinking. They range from the practical—hospitality, health, child-raising, homemaking, Bible-study methods—to the theological—attributes of God, faith, fruit of the Spirit. They include areas for ministry—biblical counseling, teaching, serving, women’s ministry—as well as areas of character—the devotional life, heroes of the faith, love, virtues of godliness. They center around lifestyles—singleness, parenting, organization, widowhood, the pastor’s home—and zero in on the personal—holiness, self-control, submission, contentment. Wouldn’t you love to sit in on the classes these women may teach in ten years—or read the books they may eventually write? After all, such personal spiritual growth is all about preparation for ministry. It’s about filling yourself up first so that you have something to give in ministry!
3. Fill the files. Start putting information into your files. They’ll get fat as you diligently search and collect everything on your subject… articles, books, specialized magazines, and news clippings… attend seminars… teach on the subject(s)… spend time with those who are the best in these areas, picking their brains… seek and sharpen your expertise.
Most importantly, read your Bible to see firsthand what God says about your areas of interest. After all, His thoughts are the primary knowledge you want. I even code my Bible. Pink highlights passages of interest to women, and you’re probably not surprised to learn that one of my five files is “Women.” Besides marking those passages in pink, I’ve put a “W” in the margin beside them. Anything in my Bible that relates to women, wives, mothers, homemakers, or women of the Bible has a “W” beside it. I did the same thing with “T” for teaching, “TM” for time management, etc. Once you pick your areas and set up your code, I guarantee you’ll be so excited and motivated that you’ll wake up before the alarm clock rings eager to open God’s Word, pen in hand, to look for His wisdom about the areas where you want wisdom!
4. Watch yourself grow. Never let months or years pass with half-hearted hope that something will change in your life or you will grow closer to God without any preparation and input on your part. You will be overjoyed and amazed when you look back over your subjects and realize that God has worked in you, growing your confidence that His truth will never leave nor forsake you.
5. Spread your wings. Personal spiritual growth is all about preparation for ministry. It’s about filling yourself up first so that you have something to give. As you continue your quest for knowledge about five spiritual topics, remember that you are working on this personal growth in order to minister to others.
As my praying friend Lois filled her mind with the things of God and her lifelong study of prayer, she then allowed that fullness to fill others in ministry. Serving others means being full of things eternal, things worth sharing. Our fullness becomes the overflow that is our ministry. It’s what we have to give and pass on to others. As a dear mentor constantly drilled into me, “Nothing going in equals nothing going out.” May Jesus be living and shining out of you and me!
My confession to you is this: I've gone lax on spending time with God. Things are busy. Family needs are high. People need stuff. Kids have just a little time left before they go back to school. We are looking for a new home. We are having issues with our current new home. We are in a new place with new stuff to figure out. There's too much to do. (Insert my thousand other excuses here).
Life needs tackling, so I've done just that: tackled life alone....
...blazing ahead according to my thoughts, telling others what they need to do, fretting details, wondering why God hasn't given me better answers, waiting poorly, pushing around like a bull in a China shop...
...until this morning, when I finally settled and heard God's voice. It essentially said, "Kelly, the quiet place is your victory place. Here, you learn what you desperately need to know. Here, protection and covering push out sin and shame. Clarity trumps confusion, hope beats impatience and love rules over isolation. I put things in your heart in this place."
Yes, God!!! I want that!
I couldn't help but think God was right.
My victory is always found in the quiet. It is found in searching out God, in reading his Word, in praying, in seeking, in noticing, in abiding, in trusting, in faith, in praise, in thanksgiving, in expectant hoping, in longing, in asking.
God is right. This is my victory. And it is not one God casually calls me to. It is one that is critically important for me to respond to.
God gives us all a standing invitation to come into fellowship and communion with him, everyday, every moment. Do we respond? Or, like me, do we turn to other pressing issues, people, problems and life happenings?
Today, hear this word like an alarm: Responding to God is serious business.
Failed fellowship means we could:
- miss a word that could change our whole outlook on our horrible and frustrating ever-present situation.
- be unable to find God's compassionate heart for that person we are so angry at.
- forego insight into that outstanding question we just can't figure out.
- divert God's love and walk in anxiety, worry and anger day after day.
- see no life change when God has huge transformation waiting for us.
- walk in the flesh, rather than the renewal Jesus prepared for us.
- miss the leadings of the Holy Spirit that will help us love, care and minister to our family in powerful ways.
- stay in a rut
Our "I'm busy, I'll meet with God later" and "He can wait" moments don't steal from God. They steal from us the very best God wants to give. We miss his gems. The transformation He's prepared for us to dig up.
Obedience is quiet patience, securing us in God's providence. Why would we ever want to miss that?
7 Tips to Powerful Fellowship Time with God:
Dr. Philip B. Clemons Jr.
by Ken Puls
I love God’s Word and delight in its truth. Yet too often I find that after reading my Bible or hearing a sermon, the truth, so necessary to the wellbeing of my soul, can too easily slip away. The truth that had for a moment captured my attention and my affections can quietly fade amid the clutter and noise of the day.
One of the best ways to remedy this is to practice the spiritual discipline of meditating on God’s Word. It is a discipline that takes time and intention, but one that brings great benefit to the soul. We need to carve out time to lay hold of the truth of God’s Word.
It is a bewildering paradox of our day that the Bible can be so accessible and yet so marginalized. On the one hand our technology has brought God’s Word close at hand. It’s on our phones and tablets and computers and iPods. We have almost immediate access to several versions of the Bible as well as a wealth of sermons and commentaries. But this same technology also threatens to distract us and drown out God’s Word. We have become a culture obsessed with noise and comfortable with clutter. So many sources are bringing input into our lives: TV, radio, online news feeds, Facebook, Twitter.... More than ever we need to make time to meditate, to dwell in God’s Word.
Meditation is pondering the Word in our hearts, preaching it to our own souls, and personally applying it to our own lives and circumstances. It is how we sanctify our thinking and bring it into submission to Christ—taking every thought captive. Paul tells us in Romans 12:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).[All Scripture references are ESV unless otherwise indicated.]
In Psalms 77 Asaph uses three verbs that capture the essence of meditation. When he finds himself perplexed and troubled and cries out to God, he determines to steady his soul by looking to God and laying hold of truth. He says in verses 11 and 12:
I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
Yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
And meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:11-12).Asaph uses 3 verbs in the Hebrew to describe what it means to lay hold of truth: He says: I will remember, I will ponder, and I will meditate.
He begins with remembering (zakar)—calling to mind “the deeds of the Lord” and His “wonders of old.” He intentionally takes note of truth and draws it back into his thinking. Asaph reflects on what God has accomplished for His people in the past—events and epics like the Exodus and Passover, the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, the conquest of the Promised Land. He makes an effort not to forget all the Lord has done.
David also speaks of remembering God:
When I remember you upon my bed,
And meditate on you in the watches of the night (Psalms 63:6).In Psalms 143, when David is overwhelmed with trouble, he uses the same three verbs as Asaph, beginning with “remember.”
I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands (Psalms 143:5).We are a forgetful people and God would have us to remember. Meditation begins with remembering, bringing back into our minds the truths and praises and promises of God.
But, second, Asaph also uses a word that is translated in Psalms 77:12 “I ponder.”
I will ponder all your work,
And meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:12).This is the verb hagah in the Hebrew. It is found in numerous places in the Old Testament and is translated as “ponder” or “meditate”:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8).
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And on his law he meditates day and night (Psalms 1:2).
When I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night (Psalms 63:6).In Psalms 2 it is used of the nations “plotting” against God.
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain? (Psalms 2:1)The word literally means “to let resound.” It is used in Psalms 92:3 of the sound or tones of a musical instrument as it resonates.
On an instrument of ten strings,
On the lute, And on the harp,
With harmonious [or resounding] sound (Psalms 92:3).It is used also in Psalms 9:16.
The LORD is known by the judgment He executes;
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
Meditation. Selah (Psalms 9:16).It is not entirely clear if the use of the word here is a musical instruction for the musicians to play an interlude—letting the instruments resound—or if it is an instruction to the congregation—let this truth resound within yourselves.
We find the term also at the end of Psalms 19:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalms 19:14).In other words: Let the inward tones of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord...
This is how we want the truth of Scripture to fill us and impact us—as we hear it and sing it and pray it—as Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16, let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly! Let it dwell in us in a way that resounds and reverberates in and through our lives.
We see another use of the word in Isaiah 31:4 that helps us understand its intent. Isaiah uses the word in reference to a lion:
For thus the LORD said to me,
“As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey” (Isaiah 31:4)The word for growl or roar is this word for meditation. Have you ever heard a lion when he roars? He does not just use his voice. His entire being reverberates. This is meditation. Letting God’s Word resound from within the very center of our being.
Meditation involves remembering, and resounding, but finally Asaph speaks of meditating.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:12).This word siyach means to muse and wonder and dwell on—to think deeply about something. Used literally it means to murmur, mumble or talk to yourself.
In a negative sense it can mean “to complain.” It is the idea that something has so taken hold of your thinking that you can’t stop thinking about it. So on the negative side—it troubles you and disturbs you and draws out complaint; but on the positive side—it captivates you and enraptures your thinking so that you “dwell on” it. This is the way we want God’s truth to lay hold of us—so that we can’t but dwell on it, so that it captures our thinking and finds it way into our choices and decisions.
The Puritans thought of meditation this way as they described it as “preaching to yourself.” We take the Word of God that we hear and read, and we mull it over in our minds and then bring it to bear upon our lives in personal exhortations.
It is a word that is found often in the Old Testament, especially in the psalms.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the LORD (Psalms 104:34).
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways (Psalms 119:15).
Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day (Psalms 119:97).When we meditate we think about God’s Word. We dwell on it and then as opportunities arise, we preach it to ourselves. We inject it into our thoughts as we make decisions, as we admonish and instruct our souls to choose right things and walk down right paths.
This is the essence of meditation. It is evoking the truth, embracing it and embedding it in our lives. It is intentionally focusing on recalling God’s truth that it might resound in our hearts and become that grid through which we sift and measure our thoughts and actions.
Meditation is a crucial Christian discipline and a vital means of grace that we must treasure and practice. But it is a discipline that takes time and effort. Accessibility can never beat intentionality. Don't assume that having God's Word close at hand means you have it close at heart. Carve out time in your day to remember, time to ponder, time to preach to yourself. The world around us can too easily choke out what is needful and good for our souls. Don’t allow God’s truth to slip away from you. Be intentional and diligent and your meditation.
Advice on how to approach the many details of ministry.
Recently I had a chance to teach a class of Bible college students about church administration. As I was preparing, I spoke to a close friend of mine who had been an executive pastor at a huge church—and who now is the lead pastor at a large church—about the subject. He dryly said, "The number-one job of a church administrator is to keep the senior pastor out of jail."
That was, of course, a joke (I hope). The following 10 points are what I shared about administration with this class of up-and-coming church leaders. In 500 words or less:
1. Systems are not life, but systems are necessary to support life. Just like a skeleton does not live on its own but a living body must have a skeleton to exist, administrative systems don't live on their own, but they are necessary to support the life and vision of the church.
2. Know your personal administrative weaknesses and admit them...then get help. Too many pastors get in trouble for trying to be superman or superwoman, and forget that God has not given any one of us everything we need for effective ministry so that we will learn to rely on one another. This is why healthy, effective, gift-diverse teams are non-negotiable.
3. If you are the lead pastor, make sure you understand the finances of the church well, and then separate yourself as much as possible from being the one who handles the money. It's scary to me when the pastor is the only one handling finances or their spouse is keeping the books. Create redundant systems for accountability.
4. Err on the side of transparency (with your council, your congregation, etc.). A lot of leaders go down because they don't do this. In our church, our books are open to any member; that has only ever produced good will in our congregation, and it requires us to be ready with solid reasons for why we do what we do.
5. Learn to think through every detail and contingency before an event happens. Have plan A, B, and C ready. For example, before an event, know things like how many trash cans you need, where you are placing the trash cans, and where and how often you will dump the trash.
6. Keep notes and files for each recurring event and/or service. Review (debrief) after the event is done, and preview the notes before planning the event again the next year.
7. "Spend church money as if Leti Parker were with you, " said Mrs. Parker, who got saved late in life, was an old retired widow who lived on a small fixed income, but tithed faithfully.
8. Trustworthiness in finances and administration will release greater spiritual ministry and leadership through you (Luke 19:11-27).
9. Excellence in administration that supports the vision will make people in your organization happy and will bring glory to God (1 Kings 10:1-10).
10. Learn to clearly communicate where you are going, and as much as possible, release people to figure out how to get there. Others will come up with systems better than anything you could have ever figured out. Control freaks won't be able to lead this generation anywhere!
Randy Remington, the lead pastor at Beaverton Foursquare Church, told me to tell the students, "You won't go to hell for bad church management, but you will go through it." Let's be leaders who don't put people—or ourselves—through unnecessary pain because we have not thought well through administrative systems and structures.
For most who get involved in nonprofit organizations, their reasons are entirely selfless. In many cases, however, they quickly find out just how much time philanthropic endeavors require. This can be disheartening — especially for smaller nonprofits that have to stretch a small staff as far as possible. Fortunately, there are a variety of time-management tips for nonprofit organizations to increase their effectiveness.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate
Small nonprofits are often run by those who take a hands-on approach to everything. This can quickly drain your reserves, so it’s imperative that you delegate certain responsibilities. If you have a trustworthy staff and volunteers, the work will get done exactly as it’s supposed to.
2. Take Advantage of Technological Shortcuts
Many aspects of running a nonprofit organization are manual in nature, but whenever technology can make your life easier, you should allow it. Instead of taking all donations over the phone or in person, for instance, utilize fundraising software that performs a variety of essential functions.
3. Plan the Following Week in Advance
It’s not enough for nonprofit professionals to have a “to-do” list of things they need to get done. A focused schedule that lists all essential activities and when they need to be performed can remove the burden of having things pile up all at once. This prevents any level of procrastination, and in the end, you may end up with a few free hours at the end of your week. Maybe.
4. Avoid Multitasking Too Much
When you’re working in a nonprofit organization, you’re going to have a variety of things on your plate at any given time. While this may make it seem as if multitasking is necessary, you should attempt to avoid juggling too many tasks at once.
Research has shown that multitasking can result in ineffectiveness at every activity you’re involved in. Utilize the aforementioned tips of delegating and planning to avoid dealing with too many things at once. This reduces mistakes that can prove time-consuming in the long run.
5. Put “No” Back Into Your Vocabulary
When you get involved in philanthropic endeavors, you will likely feel as if saying “yes” and helping everyone is essential. While you want to always focus on accomplishing your organization’s main goals, it’s essential that you learn to say “no” in as diplomatic of a way as possible.
This doesn’t mean a homeless-focused organization should turn away a person in need, but you’ll often find that businesses, media and other organizations will want a piece of your time. Granting the time can certainly help your nonprofit in the long run, but sometimes you have to decline requests if you’re going to effectively manage your time.
6. Treat Your Passion as a Job
When you decided to get involved in a nonprofit, it’s likely because you were emotionally attached to its mission. In order to get more time back in your life, though, you should look at your nonprofit solely as a job. “If I take in this much money, I can do this much.” Look at everything from a business perspective, and it will prevent you from stretching yourself or the organization further than they should be.
7. Get More Sleep
Spending more time asleep may seem counter-intuitive to stretching your time, but it’s a practice that’s been proven to work time and time again. A full night’s sleep reduces the likelihood that you’ll make unnecessary mistakes. Additionally, it’ll allow you to tolerate and manage challenges in a more effective and efficient way.
Making a small nonprofit successful is going to be a difficult task regardless of the time-management strategies you utilize. This is a given, but by taking real and proactive steps to efficient time management, you’ll find that your life goes much easier. Nonprofits will never be an easy job, but it doesn’t mean you have to constantly be pressed for time
Social selling is one of the best reasons to use social media. Business owners, marketing managers, sales leaders, or account representatives intuitively know that selling through social media is an underutilized sales channel.
Tip #1: Use social media to target prospective buyers on Facebook
Facebook makes social selling a relatively straightforward task. Corporate sales training experts often recommend it as a natural way to build the business’ community.
Placing a Facebook ad is easy. A Facebook representative learns about the seller’s products and services.
Facebook helps the business to identify the business’ ideal persona using proprietary search marketing techniques. Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are a cost-effective way to generate leads or make sales on this social media site. PPC ensures that the business pays for only those people who “clicked” on the ad. The International Coach Federation (ICF) effectively uses this social media strategy.
Tip #2: Create Social Profiles to Reach the Business’ Ideal Persona(e)
More businesses understand the importance of a digital presence as part of the buying cycle. They spend considerable effort to know the ideal customer. Social media is one of the easiest ways to identify him or her.
A business profile page is important for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Connect with relevant others to initiate the business’ network. If sales is the goal of the social media outreach, assign a sales professional as the community manager. BPM software can deliver real-time results of the campaign to every member of the sales and marketing team. Qatar Airways is a great example of a unified digital social media strategy.
Today’s buyer typically researches the product before outreaching to the business. Clicking on the business’ social media ad, or interacting with the business’ social media page, is the first step towards influencing and persuading the prospect to buy. The social media connection can activate new client relationships and sales with greater ease.
Tip #3: Connect Often on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s format works well for almost any business in search of connections. These connections are the keys to effective networking and sales, and the company’s connections work around the clock, seven days a week.
Start by connecting to as many people as possible on LinkedIn. Use the prospective customer list to start making connections, then ask friends of the company to refer others.
Getting a foot in the door is also to accomplish on LinkedIn. Ask a customer to refer or introduce you to a dream prospect, then connect online. Don’t start with a “sales-y” outreach but do start the conversation. Liberty Mutual has developed an effective monitored presence on LinkedIn.
People who don’t take phone calls respond to LinkedIn messages. Sign up for InMail to maintain a gentle touch with prospects. Share articles of common interest or point contacts to an online portfolio. This keeps the business’ product or service gently in the forefront of prospects’ minds.
Tip #4: Join the Twitter Conversation
Twitter is one of the best places to connect with a dream contact list. Follow thought leaders in the industry, and make it top priority to keep up with their latest tweets. Plan to respond to these essential tidbits in real-time.
Use Twitter to expand yourself. Publish tweets about great ideas or relevant information in your business industry. Consider and share emerging trends. Retweet the best ideas that come your way, then link or mention trending posts or articles, wonderful quotations, and relevant statistics. Russell Reynolds Associates’ tweets with insight.
Everyone loves a personal message on his or her mobile phone or tablet. Connect with clients and prospects on Twitter to share fun and energy.
Social Media Uses
Sales professionals should always monitor social media flow and chatter as part of their process. Social media streams occasionally offer tremendous insight into current or would-be contacts. Tracking these conversations is the first step. The salesperson can decide to jump in and engage with the prospect after doing so.
Social media can be the light touch sales and marketing reps are looking for. Staying in touch with an on-hold prospect shouldn’t involve the drafting of long letters or emails. Sending a social media greeting every so often is just the right touch.
Of course, social selling hasn’t replaced the time honored sales process. Social sales complements other activities and fosters more relationships with less time and energy. Ultimately, social media can help the sales team close more sales and enjoy life.
By John Panico
So, you put a marketing plan together, even got a budget that didn't have "shoestring" associated with it, ran your campaign and guess what? It all came together. People have started to flow into your church. And if you have read my past articles, you are saying that you are done and have done the warm hand off to others as these folks are on their way to becoming regular visitors and perhaps even members. You job is done.....almost!
Let's face it, marketing's job is never done, but there is one thing that you should give some thought to before the marketing team's job is considered done. And that is a good welcome packet.
Why have welcome packets?
A welcome packet can be a marketing tool to provide new visitors information about your church, its' doctrine or belief's and some of the ministries or activities that go on there. It gives the guest something to review when they have left the church and have some time to reflect.
There are several objectives of insuring your guests are given a welcome packet when they visit:
* Makes them feel welcome! You want to express your gratitude for allowing you to share and to also indicate that they are welcome to return
* Understand your structure. One of the reasons visitors come is to learn something about your church. How it is organized. What sets you apart from the other churches in the area. Welcome packets can accomplish that.
* Become familiar with your worship style (is it more singing then they would like?) and church beliefs.
* Review activities calendar. Visitors want to know the upcoming schedule of events and ministry meeting times.
What should go into the packet?
While there is no absolute must have list, here are some ideas that will help to make a great impression and give guests a reason for returning:
1. Video or DVD of your organization
- It could be a video tour of the entire grounds or maybe just a 30 second clip that tells about each ministry in the church. Perhaps it is the vision for where you want to get to.
2. Refrigerator magnets
Are you looking for an inexpensive marketing tool that has long term staying power? This may be better than you think! According to a study at Purdue University, the average American visits their refrigerator 22 times a day. What else could you get that is going to get that much exposure? And strange as it sounds, even if people don't like them, they tend to put them on their refrigerators.
3. Letter of Greeting from the Minister
Perhaps a personalized message with an invitation to return the following week. Studies have found that a personal interaction with the Minister can have a dramatically positive effect on whether someone returns or makes a church home. (So, don't forget about the Minister making a personal phone call to follow up the next week either!)
4. Information on the membership process of your church.
Some visitors are ready to become members from day one. They may have just moved and want to keep their denominational affiliation intact. Others just feel good and know when they have found their new church home. It takes the awkwardness out of them having to ask.
5. Invitation for on-line survey.
A quick survey of a visitor's church experience is good. But they may feel uneasy filling out one in church especially if they are the only guest that day. Online surveys provide an easy way for you to determine how things really are since they are truly anonymous.
6. Audio recording -
Could be a recent Sunday Message or perhaps something more of an invitation. Keep in mind that at the least we are a CD world. Cassettes are dead. Podcasts or downloads are a great way to get them to your website.
7. Informational brochure
- General info about the church and its' ministries (if you can't do a video or want to cover your bases). It could also include a brief history of the church, or the denomination if that is deemed important.
8. Calendar of events -
Announcement flyers of public events such as fall festivals, Christmas programs, etc.
A coupon to turn in at the church book store or on the website for a free token of appreciation or a discount. I love the coupon that entitles the user for a free cup of coffee with the minister!
10 Tote bags or bookmarks -
Both of these have become very inexpensive and help to keep your church in the guests mind. Be sure to include your website address on these!
While these are not all-inclusive, they do make a favorable impression on any church guest. A good welcome packet can make the difference if a visitor comes back for a second look. It can provide the answers to some of the questions that arise after they have left the church. Of course, nothing beats a personal note or phone call from the minister
How do they get distributed?
Don't leave it up to chance whether a visitor gets a welcome packet or not. While my experience has gone from having to look for them myself or being told to pick one up on the way out, anything short of personally handing one to me loses some of the welcome packet's purpose... to make me feel welcome. Make sure your church doesn't make that mistake!
Do you have other ideas for a church welcome packet? We want to know about them!
Want to learn more about church marketing? Or did you read something here that you want to discuss more? Perhaps you have a project that you need help on or at least want to bounce ideas off. We are there for you!
Henri Nouwen once said that the main obstacle to loving God is service for God. This is ministry idolatry—not agreeing with Jesus that he has the rightful first place in our affections. Ministry idolatry is becoming increasingly widespread in evangelical Christianity in America, reaching epidemic proportions. It is showcased at network and denominational gatherings, where the focus and conversation is often not about Jesus but about us and what we are accomplishing and achieving. Leaders discuss the latest poster children for ministry success and their methods so we can all emulate them, buy their books, and attend their “how we did it” seminars and conferences.
“Idolatry creep” sneaks up on you because you can easily and quickly justify it by saying that everything you do is for the Lord, believing your motives are pure. We recognize this in businessmen who work obscene hours while insisting they do it all to benefit the family, when in reality it’s all about them.
Leaders must guard against ministry becoming a mistress. A mistress is someone who takes the place that only your wife should occupy. Ministry must never take the place of Jesus himself in your heart and in your values. As 1 John 5:21 says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” The New Living Translation says, “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” Our hearts are idol factories, and ministry, for many leaders, is the king of idols.
We can start to rely on ministry instead of Jesus to meet deep needs in our own lives. I am convinced that many people move into leadership roles because of people needing them or because being in control satisfies something missing in their own sense of value or worth. I remember John Maxwell once saying, “If you need people you can lead people.” One leader told me that the motivation for “his call” to ministry was the opportunity to resolve the problem of his own insecurities and feel better about himself. The Devil is out to snare Christian leaders, rendering them “ineffective or unfruitful” (2 Peter 1:8), and if he can’t achieve his purposes through obvious sin, he will achieve them by taking something that is admirable and good and turning it on its ear to cause us to stumble.
The apostle Peter, in his insightful chapter to leaders, says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Our enemy can devour us through ministry by letting the ministry itself replace Jesus in our affections. Unfortunately, we are often quicker to recognize this happening in others than in our own lives.
I began my ministry with the Navigators in 1968 and enjoyed thirty-eight years of ministry with them before retiring in 2005 to come on staff at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. During my first few years with the Navigators, I began my drift into ministry idolatry. I had one of my first wake-up calls (I needed several of these before I could truly see what was going on in my life) in a visit with Tommy Adkins, who was a Nav staffer, friend, and mentor to me.
I had just finished a good visit with Tommy, and we were walking to my car parked in his driveway. Tommy had piercing blue eyes, and I was about to personally experience their piercing quality. When we got to my car, he said he wanted to share something with me. “This can’t be good,” I thought to myself.
Tommy grabbed a sheet from the notebook he was carrying and laid it on the hood of my VW. He then drew out an illustration that is familiar to all Navigators—the wheel. In the center of the wheel was Jesus. Tommy focused those blue eyes on me and asked the heart-stopping question, “Dave, what is in the center of your wheel [your life]?” I quickly told him that it was Jesus, to which he replied, “I don’t think so.”
Tommy asked if he could write what he perceived was the center of “my wheel,” to which I answered yes. He then slowly wrote the word “men.” In the Navigators, finding and giving yourself to faithful men was the centerpiece of our ministry philosophy. Founder Dawson Trotman, in a classic message he preached, asked, “Men, where is your man? . . . Women, where is your woman? Where is the man or the woman who is living today for Jesus Christ because of your life?”
Having men in the place of where Jesus should be was ministry idolatry—plain and simple and painful to admit. The good had become the idol in my life—not noticed by me but by Tommy. He was absolutely right! As we sing in a classic hymn: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” Even today this sin is crouching in the dark waiting to devour me. I am not actually leaving the God I love, but rather I am tempted to push him to a marginalized place and put ministry in the center of my life, instead of keeping Christ enthroned there.
It is not my intention to give some kind of formula in dealing with each of the mistakes addressed in this book. There are no “four easy steps to deal with ministry idolatry.” But I do want to share some things I am learning about dealing with each of the mistakes leaders make. Let me state again that I have made all these mistakes myself, and I have seen people in ministries, organizations, groups, and churches that I have been associated with make them.
So, how have I dealt with ministry idolatry?
For me the first step is realizing that this is a problem for me. I deeply desire to want to confess and repent when this sin comes to my attention, as opposed to making excuses and rationalizing. It should grieve my soul that I am allowing something to take the place of Jesus in my heart and affections. Like King David, I want to pray, “Against you, you only, have I sinned” (Psalms 51:4). My primary sin here is against God!
Most every day I make the issue of ministry idolatry a matter of prayer, asking for the power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit to occupy center stage in my life. For me, I find that ministry idolatry is an attitude, a mind-set, as opposed to an action. It begins with the way I look at things, the way I think.
Colossians 3:4 is helpful to me: “When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.” Jesus is my life—not ministry, success, converts, disciples, developing leaders, being respected by my peers, etc. I need to keep being reminded of this truth. Paul says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” For me to live is Christ, not someone else or something else. I have several passages of Scripture memorized (in addition to those just mentioned) on ministry idolatry, including 1 John 5:21 and Revelation 2:4.
The Lord uses these Scriptures to get my attention and point out my sin. This is one reason I want to be consistent in my time in Scripture: to allow him to speak to my sinful heart. We used to say in the Navigators that God’s Word will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from God’s Word. Regularly reviewing key verses, meditating on them, and praying over them helps a good deal.
When the Lord makes it clear that I am starting to drift, I want to immediately own it, repent, confess, and ask for his help in agreeing with him that he is central. I want to be especially sensitive to others in my family or on the teams I am a part of when they bring this sin to my attention. One of my life values is to immediately respond to God’s revealed truth, whether that truth comes directly to me through Scripture or through the rebuke of a family or team member.
Ron EdmondsonRSS Contributors
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
Take a moment and savor that verse. Read it. Read it again. Read it one more time!
Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
God takes delight in you! He rejoices over you with singing!
When my boys were little I loved the smile on their faces when I told them how special they are to me. It still seems to bring such peace to them to hear me brag on them. They seem to want to know my pleasure in them.
I find the same joy in my heart when I read this scripture!
The idea that God delights in me! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t feel very delightful! Sometimes I wonder how I can even stand myself! Yet, God, the Creator, Sustainer, Lord Almighty, the Great I AM, takes personal delight in me! Me!
Picture this! God rejoices over you and me… enough that He does it with singing! What a wonderful testimony of the depth of our Father’s love!
As you lie down to sleep tonight, listen carefully for your Father’s tender voice, as He takes great delight in you and rejoices over you in song! Somehow I picture Him having a special tune… a unique lyric… words that are designed just for you.
The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save!