As a pastor, it’s easy to feel like you carry the entire burden of ministry on your own. You want to lead people into a deeper faith, but there aren’t enough hours in the day for you to disciple everyone.
We’d gather Wednesday nights for a scaled-down version of Sunday morning: a little singing, some prayer, and meatier teaching.
The kids would be dismissed for age-appropriate classes, while the adults stayed in the sanctuary for lecture- or discussion-based lessons. It was an effective way to get our whole church body growing in biblical literacy. [Read more…]
With how much of our interactions happen online now, more and more churches are using technology to encourage spiritual growth and fellowship throughout the week.
This is not to replace face-to-face teaching and fellowship, but to reinforce it, providing opportunities to learn and build relationships in addition to the few times a week people can get together. [Read more…]
We’ve heard your feedback, and we’re excited to announce what we’ve created in response.
This past quarter we have been busy launching three products to equip the Church to grow in the light of the Bible and also enhance your ministry:
- Faithlife Giving, an electronic donation platform
- Faithlife Sites, an integrated website platform
- Faithlife Connect, a single subscription that draws together hundreds of videos, ebooks, courses, Bible study tools, and other resources to grow your faith.
We’ve built these tools with your feedback in mind and are confident you will love what you see. But we also want to hear how we can serve you better. Please follow the group at Faithlife.com and share with us today, then keep reading to learn about other ways we are working to come alongside you in ministry.
Thanks for being with us,
– Bob Pritchett
Helping you help the Church
We know churches desire to be good financial stewards. And because online giving is the future of tithing, we’ve introduced Faithlife Giving, an electronic platform for givers to gift funds to churches and nonprofit ministries.
Churches will benefit from simple, streamlined budgeting with electronic records, saving time and effort. Donors can give through their desktop or mobile device with a single or recurring donation and easily add funds to different events—or split funds between events.
And because it’s integrated with Faithlife Groups, givers can get more involved in mission while supporting their church. How can we help your church give more cheerfully? Let us know in the Faithlife Giving community.
Another new product, Faithlife Sites, helps churches easily build and maintain websites. This integrated website platform automatically updates a church’s website based on information such as the church calendar, smart photo galleries, and most recent sermon. It’s built for community and so easy you barely have to touch it.
Join the Faithlife Sites group, and learn from others who are using Faithlife Sites.
Deepening relationships in the Church
More churches and individuals are leveraging Faithlife Groups to communicate activities and build relationships across their church community. A Faithlife Group supplements individual and community experiences with faith-based books, films, and images to help you go deeper in Bible study.
Unique to Faithlife Groups are prayer requests, events, and newsletters. And the Faithlife Groups app allows you to connect with your community on the go! Groups can be public or private, and items can be shared within those groups to foster a community that’s always connected.
On the horizon . . .
We know how hard you work but also how much time administrative activities take. That’s why we are working on creating a new suite of products that will strengthen relationships across your staff and whole congregation to help you fulfill your mission—and give you back time to do what you do best: ministry. Stay tuned for when this product goes public.
Read, learn, grow
Meet the newest Logos base package: Logos 7 Fundamentals
Logos 7 Fundamentals is a brand-new Logos package that helps anybody deepen their Bible study, no matter their skill level. It offers the breadth of what a good Bible study library should have, including dictionaries and encyclopedias, commentaries, word study resources, theology resources, devotionals, and more. Purposefully lean, Logos 7 Fundamentals is perfect for anybody who wants to deepen their Bible study on a budget.
Where can you find solid biblical content that will deepen your Christian walk without overwhelming you? Meet Faithlife Connect, a single subscription to hundreds of Christian resources—videos, Bible study tools, courses, Logos, ebooks, and Bible Study Magazine—as well as exclusive discounts. Check out everything included in Faithlife Connect, and be sure to let us know what you think by posting in the Connect group.
Bible Study Magazine digital edition
It’s here! Bible Study Magazine is now available digitally in a new Logos format. You’ll enjoy the same sound advice, tools, and methods for Bible study from pastors, professors, historians, and archaeologists as in the print version. What articles have you recently enjoyed in Bible Study Magazine? Follow the group and share them in a post.
In your community
The Faithlife Ministry Relations team will be at a number of conferences in the summer months including the Young Leaders Conference in Atlanta, GA on August 2–4. Stop by our booth. We’d love to see you!
Comparably provides accurate and comprehensive compensation and culture data to understand employees’ true value and needs to make work better. Recently, Comparably awarded Faithlife three Comparably 2018 Culture Awards:
- Best CEOs for Women
- Best Professional Development
- Best Leadership Team
We’re always looking for talented, awesome, fun employees. Interested? Join our team!
Your feedback matters
Our goal is to build products that help you grow in the light of the Bible and give you back time to do what you do best: ministry. We’re hearing you like what you see—but we want to know how we can serve you better.
Follow Faithlife.com today and let us know what kinds of products and tools will help you grow in the light of the Bible.
So you want to facilitate a thriving online community for your church. You understand the value of having a private place to ask big questions as a church or for small groups to share curriculum. You know your church wants to talk about the Bible more and share what they’re learning with the rest of the congregation.
Related post: Take Your Church Beyond Handshakes and Hellos
Sometimes getting your congregation to do anything new might feel like crying out in the wilderness. But it doesn’t have to. With the right perspective, and the right strategy, you can be the catalyst that helps propel your church into a vibrant online community they’ll keep coming back to—because it’s your church, online.
Here are four ways to grow your church’s Faithlife Group:
If you read Christian books, it’s not uncommon to find yourself looking at a list of questions at the end of each chapter. These questions encourage you to interact with the material on a personal level, and help you process what you’re learning. Sometimes they’re designed for groups. Sometimes they’re just for you.
What I want to know is, “Do people use them?”
Recently I’ve been reading When Helping Hurts, which utilizes questions like these at both the beginning and the end of each chapter. At the start of each chapter, these questions are intended to gauge your current understanding of the subject at hand (in this case, poverty alleviation). They also help you see how your current perceptions stack up against what you’re learning in the text. At the end of the chapter, follow-up questions ask you to reflect on your original thoughts and see how new insights may have changed your response. These questions help highlight specific areas that you’re growing.
While I understand the value of these questions, I never use them.
I’ve always seen these questions as “conversation starters” for reading groups. They’re touch points for creating a larger dialogue about the subject. That may not be accurate, but when I’m reading a book by myself, that perception makes it easier to skim over these questions without feeling like I’m missing something.
To find out if this was just me, I headed to Faithlife.com and posed the question to almost 400 Faithlife employees.
Fred Sprinkle from design said he never reads discussion questions. He says, “Maybe it’s because I already feel like I’m reading enough. Or, perhaps I shy away from anything that reminds me of a school test or assignment. I might feel different if I was trying to lead a book group though.”
Similarly, Matt Miller says, “The ones I’ve encountered are tailored more as devices for recall of the content rather than instruments to encourage critical thinking.”
Not everyone was opposed to discussion questions though. There were just as many people in support of them.
“I think discussion questions are always helpful because they can help you apply the material or draw your own conclusions based on the text,” says Abby Salinger from Lexham Press.
For those who reflect on what they read through writing in a journal, discussion questions are useful writing prompts.
“I’m reading Shauna Niequist’s new devotional, Savor, and I’m finding the short discussion questions to be great prompts for journal writing, reflection, and prayer,” says Erin Land from Vyrso. “Discussion questions are great in devotionals, but I don’t think I’ve used them much elsewhere in Christian books.”
When what you’re reading is designed to be a brief mediation or a segue into personal reflection and prayer, questions help you make a smooth transition from the author’s thoughts to your own. If each chapter is only a piece of the overall message though, or you read several chapters in a row, questions before and after each chapter can feel like an overwhelming interruption to your study.
The common thread I noticed through this conversation about discussion questions was that people like questions that make them think. That’s why we read—to expand our perspective and think about the material in new ways. Questions that ask you to recall information or that “test” your understanding of the subject matter aren’t as valuable when you aren’t preparing for an exam or an essay.
Justin Marr from Lexham Press put it this way: “I find them helpful as long as they’re open ended. Questions that demand specific answers aren’t as conducive for introspection and application.”
So what do you think?
Tell us why you use discussion questions (or why you don’t) in the comments!
Recently, we released the Faithlife Keyboard: a unique new way to share your faith in text messages. What you might not have known is that one component of the Faithlife Keyboard has actually already made its way to Faithlife Groups.
You can now add Faithmojis to your Faithlife Groups conversations.
To add a Faithmoji to your post, reply, or message, type colon and a letter, and every Faithmoji that starts with that letter will appear in a drop down menu. If you know the name of your favorite Faithmoji, type “:name:” to find it.
For example, say you want to spice up your conversation—type :taco: to add this fun little emoji:
Here are the shortcuts for every Faithmoji from A–Z:
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Want to add these emojis to your text messages? When you download the Faithlife Keyboard you’ll get all these emojis, plus praise badges and a fully-searchable database of Bible verse art—so you can find the right verse for every conversation. Get it for your iOS device today!
Daniel Ostendorff is an assistant professor of history and political science at LeTourneau University. He’s also a member of Longview Christian Church and a user of Faithlife Groups.
Recently, Daniel shared how he uses Faithlife Groups in Faithlife Beta. The Faithlife Beta group let’s you see what’s coming up next for Faithlife Groups and interact directly with the people who built it.
Here’s how Daniel set up Faithlife Groups for Longview Christian Church:
In the main group, Daniel invites others to share church-wide prayer requests, sermon outlines for Sunday, the calendar for weekly events and special occasions, and small group discussion questions for those who miss group meetings.
Daniel also created two subgroups, nested within his church’s main group. One of these is for small group leaders. It’s a secret group (so only members can see it) for small group leaders to share discussion guides and resources, and ask questions or share tips.
The other subgroup is for the small group Daniel co-leads with his wife. The small group is through their church, so naturally, the Faithlife Group is connected to their church’s group as well. In the group, Daniel and his wife share discussion questions, Community Notes from their readings, photos, prayer lists, and newsletters.
After sharing how he’s been using Faithlife Groups, Daniel also gave us his “wishlist” of ways we could improve the experience for him. One of his requests was actually addressed in our most recent update—you can now edit prayer lists online! Before, this advanced feature was only possible in Logos Bible Software. Daniel also hoped to see improved document organization (coming soon!), and better app integration with the calendar, documents, discussions, and other features (now available in the latest version of the Faithlife Groups app—iOS and Android).
The Faithlife Beta group is open to anyone, and all feedback is welcome—we’re building a tool for you and your church, so our developers would love to hear what’s working for your church, and what could be better.
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Faithlife Groups has a brand-new look. Check it out!
When you create a new Faithlife account and join a group, by default you’ll receive an email when someone posts to the group, sends you a message, starts a new discussion, and more. You can see a complete list of notifications when you edit your profile and go to the notifications tab.
Next to each type of notification you’ll see “Edit per group settings.” This lets you choose which groups you’ll receive emails about, and which groups you’ll only see in the app and online.
Click the drop down arrows on the left to see all types of notifications, or use the check boxes on the right to change settings for everything at once.
Say, for example, you’re in a group led by your pastor, and he posts devotional thoughts once a week. You might want to receive email notifications when your pastor shares something new. Your small group, however, posts multiple times per day, so email notifications might not be as urgent.
There’s also another option:
If you still want to know everything that’s going on, you can adjust the frequency that you receive email notifications. These settings apply after you indicate what you would like to receive email notifications for. If you change all your notification settings to “notification,” then this option won’t matter. If, however, you have a particularly active small group or ministry team and you want to receive email updates about what’s going on without filling your inbox, you can set this to daily or weekly digest to stay in the loop.