How to Impact the Community with Ministry Resources

Modern Church Leader feat. John Craft
How to Impact the Community with Ministry Resources feat. John Craft on Modern Church Leader

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How to Impact the Community with Ministry Resources

Reaching people is a primary goal of any church.

How can we reach people both inside and outside the church walls by using resources that are specifically designed for them?

Having the right resources is essential for making an impact in the church. Whether you're looking to start a new ministry or support an existing one, these resources can help. Sometimes, we may need to take a step back and think about what we thrive on and where we can add value. Given that ministries do not come in one size fits all, we must tailor our efforts to the current context and available resources.

Paul teaches us in the book of Ephesians that we must be ready to do the task of ministry. This includes having resources available for the people in the church. We need to equip the saints for the job of ministry, which means more than just delivering a good sermon but also allowing them to use their unique abilities and gifts to serve the body of Christ.

We need to figure out how we can best contribute to the church's mission. Members of the congregation have a variety of ways to serve the church community, both online and in person. 

While there are many different ways to describe ministry, at its core, it is about using our unique abilities and gifts to serve others. We want to find the best way to use our time and resources to make the most significant impact on the church. 

In this episode, John Craft will shed some light on maximizing ministry resources to have the most significant impact. He believes that we need to think about what resources we have that can help the church become more relevant and impactful.

“I am not convinced the church is for a bunch of believers to hang out in the same room together. We need to do whatever we can to reach people with the gospel.”
-John Craft

John serves as the Regional Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Church Network, where he assists the church in carrying out its mission. He has worked as a pastor, trainer, and coach for various church leadership organizations and congregations.

If you’re interested in using church resources more effectively, don’t miss all the valuable insights waiting for you on this podcast!

By the end of this episode, you will learn:

  • How college ministry shaped Pastor John's theology
  • How you can help people respond to COVID biblically
  • What you should do with your church's resources
  • The use of  technology to advance your ministry and the church as a whole
  • And so much more…

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[19:22] One issue that we've run into is with people who don't have internet, who can't connect that way. So how do we engage with them, make phone calls, drop off DVDs, do what we can to continue to connect.

[20:04] The biggest thing is helping people see the validity of online engagement because there's like this two-tier system. In people's minds, if we are not all in the building together, then we're not being a church. And it's like, well, there are different ways people connect. 

[21:15] There simply are people who connect differently, and we need to be able to reach them. If we think that they think the way we think, then we're not going to be able to help them engage.

[29:28] We just need to do whatever it takes to connect with people. Our mission statement is we're helping people take their next step and follow Jesus, and whatever it takes to do that, we want to do. Sometimes it means monetary expenditures, sometimes it means energy expenditures. 

[29:50] We have a finite amount of ministry resources. I call that money, time, and energy. Those are ministry resources we're not afraid to spend, but we just want to make sure that we've got a good Kingdom impact for that. And right now, in this season, if we have to spend ministry resources to increase our kingdom impact through online engagement, then we're going to do it.

[32:05] I am not convinced the church is for a bunch of believers to hang out in the same room together. We need to do whatever we can to reach people with the gospel.

podcast transcript

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John Craft (00:00):
The biggest thing is in helping people see the validity of online engagement because there's this two-tier system in people's minds like, if we are not all in the building together, then we're not being a church. It's like, well, there's different ways that people connect.

Narrator (00:29):
Welcome to the Modern Church Leader, where you'll hear executive pastors share practical tactics and strategies that churches are using right now to thrive in our digital world in advance of the kingdom of God. Here's your host, Frank Barry.

Frank Barry (00:43):
Hey, Pastor John. How's it going? Frank with Tithe.ly. Great to have you on the show today.

John Craft (00:47):
Thanks. I've been looking forward to it. I think this is going to be a great conversation.

Frank Barry (00:53):
Yeah, absolutely. Now, like on most shows, we interview a ton of pastors. You're the lead pastor at your church, you've been there for a while. I think it's just great to have other church leaders and pastors hear stories. I'd love for you to just start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and how you got into ministry and, eventually, how you got to being the lead pastor at the church you're at.

John Craft (01:18):
Thank you. It's like anyone, it's been quite the journey. I look back even to where I started, I came out of a just super dysfunctional family and lots of brokenness. The only thing that held it together for me was the local church, First Baptist Church in Tucson, Arizona, which unfortunately it-

Frank Barry (01:40):
You're from Arizona originally?

John Craft (01:42):
Yeah. I grew up in Phoenix, graduated high school in Tucson. Church meant everything to me. God used a series of circumstances to bring me into ministry. I've worked for 10 years doing student ministry, eight years doing college ministry and then transitioned into my lead spot. I've been thankful for the opportunity to be a part of leading congregations and helping guide churches and fulfilling the mission that God gives to them because, in my view, everything hinges on mission and vision. That's the biggest part of my role. There's lots of upfront public stuff, but really it's the behind the scenes, "Hey, let's keep moving in this direction," that's what's really crucial and important.

Frank Barry (02:35):
In terms of college ministry, what college or colleges were you leading ministry at?

John Craft (02:41):
It was a really odd spot to do college ministry. I was back in Phoenix. It was the church, if you know the Valley at all Phoenix area, it was in the Northwest part of the Valley. There are no residential schools around it so it was a lot of community colleges. There was a Bible college that was nearby. We had some students who had come from that. That was your residential school. Every semester, we'd have one or two guys who are attending a motorcycle mechanics institute. They were a part of our college ministry. You think Phoenix and you think Arizona State. We were an hour away from Arizona State.

Frank Barry (03:19):
Okay.

John Craft (03:21):
We were an unusual college ministry in that, the students we had who graduated high school, they all went away for college and then they would come back. So most college ministries, their summer attendance really declined. Our summer attendance was our peaks because-

Frank Barry (03:40):
Wow.

John Craft (03:40):
... kids from a big church, it was 2,500 people so all those students would return home. Our college ministry would be 100 people at that time and then drop back down to 70 or 80 during the school year.

Frank Barry (03:57):
Man, I was converted in college at San Diego State so, man, I have fond memories of our college ministry days and just the experience of becoming a Christian and doing it on a university campus. Some of my best friends to this day are from that time. All the guys in my wedding and best friends, a couple of the guys that I was there with or I still go to church with today.

John Craft (04:28):
Wow.

Frank Barry (04:28):
Great memories of that time for me personally. Anyways, that's always fun to chat about.

John Craft (04:36):
I love college ministry. It really was formational for me in my journey as a pastor. As I preach, I try not to think through a passage like a senior pastor does, I'm thinking in terms of college ministry because, the transition from student ministry to college ministry was actually rough for me because I was thinking in terms of a high school pastor and you're like...

John Craft (05:02):
The Bible says, don't do this and the students are like, "Oh, okay," and you close with a word of prayer. You do that with college students and they're like, "Well, why not?" I hadn't actually thought about that so I was like, "Well, I don't know." So, as a college pastor, it really held me think through why does Paul say that we should have purity in marriage, why does he make such a big deal about that in Ephesians 5 as opposed to just the Bible says don't do it so don't? There's underlying reasons and college students really wanted to know that. As a guy who's preaching to college ministry or college students, I think it really helped me in my development as a preacher and a communicator now.

Frank Barry (05:50):
Yeah. It's funny, I went the opposite route. Not that my full-time profession is pastoral today, but my first job out of college was a youth pastor. So I went from being in the college ministry and that environment. We did a lot of small groups and Bible studies on campus and all this kind of stuff. So I had a lot of interaction with college students. And then, I went into youth ministry dealing with junior high or middle school and high school kids and it was like, "Wait, this is totally different." I had to totally learn how to handle. It's just so different. Junior high, middle school, high school kids versus college, I get it, it's very different. But not the topic of the show.

John Craft (06:35):
No.

Frank Barry (06:35):
No fun. Talk about, now you are the lead pastor at a church called Redding Christian Fellowship up in North California?

John Craft (06:45):
Yeah, that's right.

Frank Barry (06:46):
Way north, as we were talking about earlier?

John Craft (06:48):
Way north. We're the biggest population center north of Sacramento.

Frank Barry (06:55):
You've got 800 or so people at the church in the pre-COVID days and then COVID happened, whatever, 18 months ago, I don't even know, I've lost track of the number of months, but what's it been like for you guys?

John Craft (07:10):
[inaudible 00:07:10].

Frank Barry (07:12):
We're all in the fog. We're still in the fog.

John Craft (07:13):
That's right.

Frank Barry (07:15):
It's shocking we're still talking about it, but it's real and every church is still trying to figure out. I talk to a lot of churches, a lot of pastors and people are in different places, but some people are really coming through it and some people are in the middle of it still or just depends on where they live and what their church is like. Give us 18 months in a couple of minutes. What's it been like for you guys?

John Craft (07:42):
Like for everybody, it was just a crazy time. Especially at the very beginning, you were starting to hear stuff about this weird disease that they were seeing in China and then first case happened here in the States and it was three hours away from us in San Francisco so it's-

Frank Barry (08:00):
In Seattle area too, it was somewhere. I don't remember exactly where, but I remember Seattle, Washington, that kind of thing, it was-

John Craft (08:10):
When you think of it, that's the I-5 corridor in between San Francisco or Bay Area and Seattle. You're driving right through Redding on that so there was some real concern for us. As we looked at COVID and at the response and then seeing different guidelines come out from State of California, the California government, we had to be really flexible and adapt what we were doing.

John Craft (08:39):
As we looked at those things, we really tried to keep a few things in mind because we wanted the mission of the church and the vision for what God has to us to drive some of these decisions that we were making as well as a couple of the real key values that we have. As we understand church, church is a group of people getting together, they're worshiping, they're taking communion and they're learning from the word, and they're doing that together. So, community, we're going to toss into that basket.

John Craft (09:10):
As we were making the transition at the beginning of COVID, we wanted to do whatever we could to continue on in that. What that looked like was, we had online services like most of the State for those who were trying to pay attention to guidelines. We met together, we had worship, I taught, we encouraged people to take communion at home and we wanted to do it live. So there were lots of churches across the country, some of my friends who they were recording everything on Thursday, which was a sweet gig because then you have the weekend off.

John Craft (09:48):
They're just rolling their video out. You could make a tweak and make it look a lot better because you could edit it and, oh, I didn't get that so you do something different. But we wanted to say, we are doing this together so we did it live. We showed up at church on Sunday morning and it was like a regular Sunday morning except nobody was there. In fact, one of our associate pastors teased me. He came in because he was doing a communion meditation and, first of all, he's like, "That was so weird because you're just looking at the camera and-"

Frank Barry (10:23):
Talking to the camera in an empty room is hard. It's really hard. [crosstalk 00:10:28] at all.

John Craft (10:29):
He's like, "John, I didn't think you would drive everybody away this fast," because it is just a weird experience. We tried to live out what we thought was important. And then, as things changed both in the community in terms of COVID and with the cases and what we were seeing and then State of California Guidelines, we tried to be as flexible as we could.

John Craft (10:55):
Sometimes, that meant we are making decisions on Wednesday for what was coming up that Sunday. Thankfully, our staff was really flexible. We had a lot of the infrastructure already put into place in terms of livestream. We already livestreamed our services each week. And-

Frank Barry (11:16):
Pre-COVID, you had already invested as a church in the AV gear and figuring out how to stream and setting it up the sanctuary and all that kind of stuff?

John Craft (11:25):
Yeah. In fact, even in the year previous to COVID, we were already working to improve that. The church has livestreamed for a long time, but it wasn't the best presentation. It was like, "Oh, we need to do this. There are people who can't come so we'll set a camera up and they can watch." Then they added another camera. Well, then, as we were working through that year leading up to COVID, we started thinking more about, what does audio sound like? Because, if you watch most livestreams, the praise band sounds really bad where, if you're in-person, they actually sound pretty good. But the-

Frank Barry (12:05):
Absolutely.

John Craft (12:06):
But the formatting, how you run sound and have an ability to mix it in-house and then mix it for online, because those are different mixes, we had done a lot of that work. And then, we were able to just almost seamlessly slide in to livestream only and then we continued that work to make it better and better.

Frank Barry (12:36):
When you guys went online, how'd the church respond? Did everyone jump in and watch? Were you on YouTube or Facebook? What was your preferred destination?

John Craft (12:46):
We actually did both. We had two services and initially we streamed our first service on YouTube via the actual livestream, the trademarked livestream service to YouTube. Second service, we did to Facebook just because we thought there are going to be people who access those different platforms and we want to reach as many people as possible.

Frank Barry (13:13):
Did you see a buildup over a couple of weeks and get pretty good turnout from what you could tell? Online is hard to really measure, but was it good enough?

John Craft (13:23):
First of all, it's hard to measure. And then, Carey Nieuwhof says you have to guard against the vanity metrics. You're like, "Well, that's one view." There was probably a family of three so we're going to count that when you're trying to gauge attendance. That's one thing we did, we just quit counting because it was tough to figure out exactly where we were. But at the beginning-

Frank Barry (13:48):
What's happening, trying to worry about that stuff.

John Craft (13:50):
Yeah, absolutely. It's been so long now, I can't remember the actual numbers, but-

Frank Barry (14:00):
No worries. I'm just gauging the church going through this time. So more asking just the general, you went online, that's a big shock. I remember our church goes online and it's like, we're all on YouTube. It was terrible at the beginning, but we got better over time. It was a tough time for everybody.

John Craft (14:19):
We had really good engagement. We had hundreds and hundreds of views. If I recall correctly, we were getting 600, 700 views on a weekend. So, by the time Monday rolled around, we were pushing views to where we were like, "We're probably engaging most of the congregation this way."

John Craft (14:43):
Now, like every congregation, there's some people who are, "Well, I don't have a computer, I don't have the internet." That's less and less, but we're like, "Well, sorry, we're trying to." For some people, what we did was, we burned DVDs and we would drive them to people throughout the week just trying to accommodate as many people as we could.

Frank Barry (15:13):
Wow. That's the first time I've heard that, recording the service, putting it on DVD and driving it out to folks. That's cool that you guys just did whatever you could to help people through that time of-

John Craft (15:26):
And another really cool thing about it is, the guys who were delivering it were two high schoolers. They weren't doing school so it was like, "Hey, here's a way you can serve Jesus." They hopped in their car and they ate McDonald's and listened to loud music and delivered DVDs to people who didn't have the internet.

Frank Barry (15:48):
That is awesome. I love that story. I feel like that story is one of those hidden gems of how churches were just serving their community, working hard to figure it out in a crazy time and doing things like that. I've heard stories of calling every member in the church personally every week or driving by, dropping off food or partnering with local pizza places and going to Walmart and sitting in the parking lot and handing out food to people during this.

Frank Barry (16:29):
Just all kinds of stories of things that churches wouldn't normally do, but to serve their community, serve their people and serve the people around them. I love that. I love that, that came out because I think that's pretty cool.

John Craft (16:42):
Well, thanks.

Frank Barry (16:43):
It's surprising that people still had DVD players, I guess, in the age of streaming.

John Craft (16:48):
I know. I have people in our church who give me DVDs all the time and I'm like, "Thank you," and then I give it back to them and I'm like, "I don't have a DVD player."

Frank Barry (16:57):
I can't play this.

John Craft (16:59):
I know.

Frank Barry (16:59):
Oh my gosh.

John Craft (17:00):
Or I do in my car.

Frank Barry (17:03):
Okay. Let's fast forward. 18 months goes by and now you guys are back in the building. You, probably like every other church, went through a lot of variations of what that looked like over the course of a year and a half, but now you're back in the building. How are you blending church online and church in the building? What are some of the challenges that you guys have faced in figuring that out?

John Craft (17:33):
There are a couple of big challenges. Thankfully for us, technology has not been one of those. We have a staff member who's pretty adept at things. He's our worship pastor, he handles our IT and technical stuff as well. He's helped us stay at least ahead of the curve in terms of how we're able to connect with people.

John Craft (17:58):
Honestly, one of the biggest hindrances that we've had is just some people are cranky about it, who are like, "We ought to be standing up against the government, this is wrong and we're bowing to corrupt government and all of these things." I just can't get around what Romans 13 and Titus 3 and 1 Peter 3 say, in as much as we can, we need to be respectful of authority. We have our baseline, here's what it means to be a church and we're going to continue on in doing what we can.

John Craft (18:39):
There's some people who've left the church because I didn't take a stand and I'm not standing out in front of the courthouse or the city hall and doing things. That's an issue where I have to say, "Here's my conviction. Here's what I believe to be true about scripture, true about the church and here's what it means to be a church and as long as we can do this, we're going to be a church." So that's been a little bit of an obstacle, trying to help people navigate that and understand what it means to have a biblical response as opposed to a political or societal response to it.

John Craft (19:21):
In terms of other responses, one issue that we've run into is with people who don't have internet, who can't connect that way. How do we engage with them? Again, I'm making phone calls, dropping off DVDs, doing what we can to continue to connect. A couple of times during the shutdown, we called everybody in the church. When you have a church of 800, that's not a small thing because that's 800-

Frank Barry (19:52):
That's a lot of phone calls.

John Craft (19:53):
That's weekly attendance. We've got 2,000 people on our list of people who have some sort of affiliation. So, helping them to navigate that. The biggest thing is in helping people see the validity of online engagement because there's this two-tier system in people's minds like, if we are not all in the building together, then we're not being a church. It's like, well, there's different ways that people connect.

John Craft (20:33):
Admittedly, some of that comes from an older demographic and they don't understand what it means to be a digital native. Someone who has grown up and they can't remember when there wasn't an iPhone-

Frank Barry (20:43):
100%. My kids, I've got triplet nine-year-old boys and they're going to grow up knowing what an iPhone is and an iPad is and it's just how they do life.

John Craft (20:54):
Yeah. And asking the question, why do we say, "Hang up the phone?" You and I, we have the satisfaction, if there's a phone call, we didn't like, we slam it down. You can't do that with an iPhone. So, helping some of our people understand. Especially in leadership, there simply are people who connect differently and we need to be able to reach them. If we think that they think the way that we think, then we're not going to be able to help them to engage.

John Craft (21:30):
What's been interesting in all of this is, we have a couple of now Zoom Bible studies or community groups that are meeting. A lot of those are not populated by young folks, they're populated by some of our seniors who really want to connect, but they maybe still are hesitant to get out or they look and they say, "We're developing great connection. I live 30 minutes that way and you live 30 minutes that way, instead of driving two hours between us to make this thing happen, let's have a Zoom meeting." We're seeing some of that happen in a really good way.

Frank Barry (22:08):
All really interesting. I feel like I hear that even in my own church, just the struggle of getting people back together, getting them in the building. By in the building, whatever that mean. Some people are still meeting outdoors, some people are having multiple services and all the things, but getting people back into that community. But blending that with this online thing is still a thing.

Frank Barry (22:40):
You can do the midweek service on Zoom or you can do the Zoom Bible study or you can do the Zoom leaders meeting and not have everyone together. Not that you do that all the time, but you can augment it. I think people enjoyed some of that. And then there's the challenge of the people that were really core members committed or however you want to phrase it, but, they were there on the weekends and they're active in their small groups and those kind of things and they're not showing up in-person now.

Frank Barry (23:17):
As a pastor, how do I reach out to those people because they're enjoying watching church online and maybe getting comfortable? I've heard that too like, how do you deal with the folks that maybe have gotten a little comfortable with consuming church instead of being involved in it?

John Craft (23:39):
It's a tricky thing. It's even a little trickier here in California because, here in California, the restrictions really loosened up in June 15th. Well, that's the beginning of summer. So we're looking at numbers and engagement and we're like, "I'm not certain we're going to really understand where we are until we hit fall," because summer is a downtime anyway. And then, when you look at the number of people who are traveling and doing vacations because they couldn't at all last summer so they have all this pant up, I need to be out and doing things, it's been tricky to know like who's not here because they're mad, who's not here because they're watching online, who's not here because they're traveling, who's not here because of whatever reason. And-

Frank Barry (24:35):
Not here because they are legitimately still concerned or maybe high risk or whatever and that's still a big part of things.

John Craft (24:43):
Yeah. And then, I had a conversation with a guy at the live. He attends another church here in town, really invested in ministry, is a former Youth for Christ missionary. He loves to church and he said, "Yeah, I probably will never go back to church." He says, "I just like what I'm doing in engaging online." So, how do you minister to him?

Frank Barry (25:10):
How do you got to digest that? How are you guys doing the blended experience? Really practically, just church on Sunday, you're doing it in-person in the building, but you're also keeping your online experience. But that can be hard because now your staff is putting on two things and they're different. Or are you just livestreaming from the building and not putting extra effort into the online component?

John Craft (25:44):
We've made a couple of little tweaks, partly because, like I said, I think we were a little ahead of the curve in terms of livestreaming, especially for a church our size. We're not a church of 3,000 people who are having national engagement. For our situation, I think we were doing well already. What we have done is, we've tried to make a tweak in communication from the platform, trying to ensure that we are engaging the cameras from time to time.

John Craft (26:17):
We even made a little tweak. We've added two cameras since the pandemic so, in our auditorium, we actually have four different cameras. We added tally lights so, on the platform, I can see which camera is live. So as I'm preaching, I try to remember. It's work, but I try to remember, "I'm going to engage that camera when the light's on," just from time to time. Just so that the people who are at home or who are watching online feel like they're part of the experience because, again, we're doing this together.

John Craft (26:47):
We've tried every remember as we are welcoming people. If you're here, we're grateful you're here. If you're joining us online, I will even add sometimes, if you're watching this live or you're watching us sometime in the future, we're just glad to be able to connect with you. There are different ways that you can engage with us.

John Craft (27:07):
We use a platform, Church Online Now, to be able to show our livestream services. There's a really full functioning aspect of that. We try to have someone on there who's a livestream host to be able to welcome people that maybe connect with people and say, "Hey, if, if we can pray for you about anything, just let us know." Then we'll get some of those requests passed on to our staff so we can pray for them. Again, just looking to see however we can engage with people, even when they're not here physically.

Frank Barry (27:43):
Your AV team in the building has it all set up so they can be producing, if you will, the online service and the in-person service simultaneously?

John Craft (27:56):
Yeah. We've expanded our livestream team throughout the pandemic. On a Sunday morning, I think we have two manned cameras, we have two people who are doing switching and then someone who's monitoring the audio mix.

Frank Barry (28:16):
Okay. Got it. And somebody moderating chat and the prayer request and those kind of things. It sounds like you've got somebody doing that as well.

John Craft (28:27):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (28:28):
You've been living it, but to me when I hear that, you've put some attention and resource behind the pre-COVID way and the today way. You've allocated some resources into doing some of this stuff a little bit more, right?

John Craft (28:46):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (28:47):
Like you said, it's two cameras and a person online and somebody thinking about the AV mixing and all that. Was that shift difficult or was it just like, as you went through the year and a half, it just happened?

John Craft (29:02):
No. We tried to be pretty intentional about the way that we do things. As we look at it, again, we're looking, here's what it means to be a church, what do we need to have in order to do it? So, don't tell them I said this but, when our AV guy comes and has a request for expenditure, I don't even ask questions, I'm just like, "Yes." Because, we need to do whatever it takes to connect with people.

John Craft (29:35):
Our mission statement is we're helping people take their next step in following Jesus and, whatever it takes to do that, we want to do. Sometimes, it means monetary expenditures, sometimes it means energy expenditures. There's always a metric in that. I tell our staff, we have a finite amount of ministry resources and I call that money, time, and energy. Those are ministry resources.

John Craft (30:04):
We're not afraid to spend that, but we just want to make sure that we've got good kingdom impact for that. Right now, in this season, if we have to spend ministry resources to increase our kingdom impact through online engagement, then we're going to do it.

Frank Barry (30:24):
I hear, especially the big mega churches that have a lot more resources and have put more time into this and even pre-COVID were doing a lot of things online, that's one situation, but most churches are relatively small numbers-wise and don't have big staff and it's hard to do both things, to do online and to do in-person. As things have opened back up, I find churches reverting back to just we're back in the building and we're going to do it the old way. Maybe we'll stream by having a camera up and that's it.

Frank Barry (30:59):
I get it. I get that it's hard work and it takes more staffing or resources or corralling volunteers to come out. It takes more effort to do both, but I just get a little discouraged, I guess. Even like myself, I'm like, "Oh man, there's such an opportunity here and we've learned so much over the year and a half." Every church learned how to do church online better. We were all forced to.

Frank Barry (31:26):
Everybody had to learn. So everybody went from pretty bad to halfway decent or maybe even good, had to go through that. So, keep pushing, keep driving. I love that, it sounds like that's what you're doing. You're at least going to keep pushing, keep driving. You're going to invest in the AV or the online, you're going to help move some staff to do some other things, because I think that'll pay off. I think that's the future of church, this hybrid in-person and online thing that we have to figure out.

John Craft (31:59):
Yeah, 100%. I think it just comes down to, what's church for? I am not convinced that church is for a bunch of believers to hang out in the same room together. We need to do whatever we can to reach people with the gospel. If you just want to hang out in the same room together, then you can do that-

Frank Barry (32:26):
Have dinner.

John Craft (32:27):
Yeah. But in our case, we want to do whatever we can to engage people with the gospel, and that's what it's about. It's not about feeling good, about being in the same room or our numbers are better post-COVID than they were pre-COVID or whatever. We want to reach people with the gospel.

Frank Barry (32:47):
Amen. I love that. I've got a couple of quick, rapid fire questions I want to ask you but, in wrapping all this up, do you have any thoughts about the next 12 months or just future thinking on what your vision is for your church and your little part of the kingdom and how you're making an impact and how that blends this hybrid, online, offline world?

John Craft (33:13):
Yeah. As we think about moving forward, one of the difficult things is, it was so hard through the shutdown to actually know where we were in terms of reaching people and engaging people. Then it was hard to be able to gauge where we're going because it's hard to know that when you don't know where you are. One of the blessings of this season is being able to figure out, "Okay, here's where we are, here's where our culture is, our community up here in the North State in Redding." So, beginning to put some thoughts about how we connect with our community.

John Craft (33:59):
As we start off, our first value is we focus on Jesus. The Bible points to him so He's going to be the center of everything we do. Second one is, we love Redding and we believe that God called us to be a part of the community He's entrusted to us. So, as we think about that, this opportunity now allows us to engage with people as we're seeing some things happen physically, but also then to engage with our community digitally.

John Craft (34:29):
For example, we just hosted the Global Leadership Summit and our in-person attendance was actually pretty terrible. There's just no other way around it. But they showed, 7% of the people who attended the summit this year did it at a host site.

Frank Barry (34:48):
Wow.

John Craft (34:48):
Almost everybody was online. Well, we had people in our community that we were able to connect with and then get them connected to the summit online.

Frank Barry (34:58):
Get them on.

John Craft (35:00):
So, trying to leverage resources like that. I think as things continue to open up, it will allow us to do... We do a lot of work in our public schools. We're starting to see some volunteers be able to go back into there. We've done some virtual stuff in that. That doesn't have the same kingdom impact as being together with them. It's a little bit of both, seeing all those increase.

Frank Barry (35:31):
Seeing it all happen. Well, very cool. A couple of quick questions as we wrap it up. Who's somebody you've been most influenced by over the years? A mentor, an author, anyone that you can think of.

John Craft (35:47):
Two thoughts on authors. One, Andy Stanley and his thoughts. Deep and Wide is right at the top of my reading list. Another one, Henri Nouwen. Henri Nouwen and his thoughts on spirituality. The book, In the Name of Jesus, one of the most instrumental books for me in terms of being a spiritual leader. Really fabulous stuff.

John Craft (36:13):
In terms of connection, as I look at the lead pastors that I've worked with throughout the years, they all spoke to me in different ways, some in terms of how I lead my family, some in terms of how I shepherd people and some in terms of how I lead staff in having a passion for the gospel.

Frank Barry (36:33):
I love that. Well, you've answered the second question, but I'm going to ask it anyways. What's a book everybody should read, something that has had a major impact on you?

John Craft (36:43):
Oh man. Deep and wide and-

Frank Barry (36:49):
Of course, the Bible. We'll say the Bible first.

John Craft (36:52):
All right. Thank you. I forgot I'm a pastor, I'm supposed to say that. But Deep and Wide, fabulous. In the Name of Jesus, really, really powerful. Just in terms of leadership, there was this really, really great book called Extreme Ownership. It was written by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Lessons from Being in the Seals, like the seal teams in Iraq, I think really great thoughts about leading an organization. Another really fabulous book that I think everyone should read, hardly anyone knows about, it is called Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. It was about leading organizational change. Really, really great thoughts.

Frank Barry (37:38):
Love that. Okay, last one. Give me a podcast you're listening to right now that people should check out?

John Craft (37:45):
A podcast that I listen to right now, Modern Church Leader Tithe.ly.

Frank Barry (37:54):
Love it.

John Craft (38:00):
In my context, I don't listen to a ton of podcasts because I don't have a long drive. If I lived in San Diego and I'm in the car for a half an hour, it'd be different. My commute's like five minutes. In terms of spiritual input, we listen to a podcast called Pray As You Go. It's just really great just thinking about scripture and some reflection questions.

Frank Barry (38:23):
That's amazing.

John Craft (38:25):
Secondly, Craig Groeschel's Leadership Podcast, really, really great. And Carey Nieuwhof would be another one.

Frank Barry (38:32):
Love those. Those are good. Well, pastor, this has been great. Where can folks go check out your church and what you guys are doing online?

John Craft (38:42):
Our website, rcfellowship.org. You can go and see things there. You can find us on Facebook and YouTube. We're excited about the future.

Frank Barry (38:55):
All the places, rcfellowship.org. Well, Pastor John, thanks so much.

John Craft (38:59):
Rcfellowship.org.

Frank Barry (39:01):
Thanks for watching. Everybody listening or watching this online, I appreciate you guys. We will be back soon with another episode. Thanks guys.

Narrator (39:11):
If you enjoyed this episode of the Modern Church Leader, consider sharing it with the pastor or minister you think would benefit the most from listening to this conversation. You can send them to modernchurchleader.com or share this episode directly from your podcast app. Be sure to subscribe for free on YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Spotify so you never miss an episode. We'll see you again next week with another conversation here on the Modern Church Leader.

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How to Impact the Community with Ministry Resources

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How to Impact the Community with Ministry Resources

If you are interested in learning more about maximizing church resources, don’t miss all the valuable insights waiting for you in this episode!

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How to Impact the Community with Ministry Resources

Reaching people is a primary goal of any church.

How can we reach people both inside and outside the church walls by using resources that are specifically designed for them?

Having the right resources is essential for making an impact in the church. Whether you're looking to start a new ministry or support an existing one, these resources can help. Sometimes, we may need to take a step back and think about what we thrive on and where we can add value. Given that ministries do not come in one size fits all, we must tailor our efforts to the current context and available resources.

Paul teaches us in the book of Ephesians that we must be ready to do the task of ministry. This includes having resources available for the people in the church. We need to equip the saints for the job of ministry, which means more than just delivering a good sermon but also allowing them to use their unique abilities and gifts to serve the body of Christ.

We need to figure out how we can best contribute to the church's mission. Members of the congregation have a variety of ways to serve the church community, both online and in person. 

While there are many different ways to describe ministry, at its core, it is about using our unique abilities and gifts to serve others. We want to find the best way to use our time and resources to make the most significant impact on the church. 

In this episode, John Craft will shed some light on maximizing ministry resources to have the most significant impact. He believes that we need to think about what resources we have that can help the church become more relevant and impactful.

“I am not convinced the church is for a bunch of believers to hang out in the same room together. We need to do whatever we can to reach people with the gospel.”
-John Craft

John serves as the Regional Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Church Network, where he assists the church in carrying out its mission. He has worked as a pastor, trainer, and coach for various church leadership organizations and congregations.

If you’re interested in using church resources more effectively, don’t miss all the valuable insights waiting for you on this podcast!

By the end of this episode, you will learn:

  • How college ministry shaped Pastor John's theology
  • How you can help people respond to COVID biblically
  • What you should do with your church's resources
  • The use of  technology to advance your ministry and the church as a whole
  • And so much more…

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[19:22] One issue that we've run into is with people who don't have internet, who can't connect that way. So how do we engage with them, make phone calls, drop off DVDs, do what we can to continue to connect.

[20:04] The biggest thing is helping people see the validity of online engagement because there's like this two-tier system. In people's minds, if we are not all in the building together, then we're not being a church. And it's like, well, there are different ways people connect. 

[21:15] There simply are people who connect differently, and we need to be able to reach them. If we think that they think the way we think, then we're not going to be able to help them engage.

[29:28] We just need to do whatever it takes to connect with people. Our mission statement is we're helping people take their next step and follow Jesus, and whatever it takes to do that, we want to do. Sometimes it means monetary expenditures, sometimes it means energy expenditures. 

[29:50] We have a finite amount of ministry resources. I call that money, time, and energy. Those are ministry resources we're not afraid to spend, but we just want to make sure that we've got a good Kingdom impact for that. And right now, in this season, if we have to spend ministry resources to increase our kingdom impact through online engagement, then we're going to do it.

[32:05] I am not convinced the church is for a bunch of believers to hang out in the same room together. We need to do whatever we can to reach people with the gospel.

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