After blogging for 6 years, these are three things that have helped me keep me pressing on.
1. Pray, plan & put purpose before your eyes. No matter if you've been blogging for many years or just started yesterday, having a plan you're confident is from God is going to give you courage and confidence to keep going when it gets hard.
God loves to plan. Isn't that cool! He has this great redemptive plan for mankind planned way before any of us even came on the scene. And He loves to lead us in our thinking, He loves to align our hearts with His. So spend time praying for your blogging ministry. A good place to start is a place of surrender, admitting you exist to make much of Him, and a willingness to hold it all loosely and cling tightly to Him.
After you do a throne check, ask Him to lead your thinking and start planning. What is your purpose? What do you need to do in order to get there? How will you know if you're on the right track? These are all great questions to ponder. (It would be wise to invest in a blog planner or get wisdom from bloggers who can help guide you through this planning stage. And I'll tell you about a great opportunity for this in a bit.)
After coming up with a plan, ask God to lead you to specific Scripture you can hold onto when it gets tough. Because He promises that in this world you will have trouble, but take courage He has overcome the world.
2. Don't go it alone. All missionaries need a team of people behind them holding the rope as they scale down into the trenches. When you dive into a blogging ministry, the need to have people praying for you is much needed. Ask God to lead you to some people you can share your hopes and discouragements with that can be praying for you.
As well as prayer, you'll also need to walk alongside others who are in the trenches with you, people you can relate to. There is just something about being side by side someone else who has been called to the same thing to keep you pressing on. Once you find those people, try to connect with them somehow on a regular basis to share high's and low's and be encouraging and praying for each other.
3. Get wisdom. Don't fall for the tricky little lies of if you build it they will come. The Lord loves us to work for it glorifies Him. He gave work to do in the garden, before the fall. When we put effort into something He has called us to by the strength He provides us, it pleases Him and there is great reward and satisfaction for us. The Lord gives us the privilege of working hard and the working hard in and of itself is training for managing the reward of fruit.
So, in order to avoid passivity, we need to get wisdom. Wisdom is applying what you know. So in order to know how to grow in wisdom, first you need to be a learner, to gain as much knowledge and information as you can from those who have gone before you. Proverbs tells us that those who walk with the wise, become wise. In the ministry of blogging, this means intentionally making time to spend with bloggers who are strong in the areas you need to grow in. And realistically the best way to spend time with and learn from expert bloggers is by reading their books. They have mastered a particular aspect of blogging and are willing to share that knowledge and wisdom with you, that is a gift.
The problem is, it can get pretty pricey to buy all the new books or courses that cover the topics your looking for. Which is why I am so excited about the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit! Even though I have been doing this for a long time, there is still so much to learn and grow in. And this toolkit is everything I personally need to continue to grow, but it's also a good fit for bloggers in all stages, whether they are just starting out or are an old pro.
The team at Ultimate Bundles has put together the best resources from expert bloggers like ProBlogger on ALL the topics that matter to bloggers.
Here’s what you get:
33 eCourses & audio files
5 printable packs
There are a ton of categories. Here's a peek at a few of them.
Other topics include
Content Creation, Monetizing, Photography and Images, Social Media, Time Management etc.
In total, the toolkit includes over $3,500 of blogging tips, strategies, tutorials and amazingly practical information and ideas. Plus you get free bonus offers worth $1,447, with 17 tools and services to help you run your blog.
But the truly amazing part? They’re selling it for a crazy 98% off of regular price! Squeal.
I know, it sounds too good to be true, but I promise it’s not. Ultimate Bundles has been around a long time and creating these packages is really their thing (they’ve sold over 180,000 of them on all sorts of topics), so you can trust this is the real deal.
Even better, they’re all about making sure you LOVE this toolkit. There’s a full 30-day happiness guarantee, so there’s really no risk in trying it out.
The most important detail, though, is that this toolkit is available for seven days only. After Tuesday night, November 1st, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.
I’d hate for you to miss out, so click HERE to learn more or buy the bundle.
And! Not only do you get to glean the wisdom of experts but it's supporting the ministry of Missional Women as we are affiliates. It reminds me of the body of Christ working together. God's so good at that!
This kit is backed by a full money-back happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you. Learn more or get your bundle HERE
I just bought the bundle and can't wait to dig in! I now have all I will need to continue to grow in wisdom. I hope it's a blessing to you as it is to me. Oh! And I should mention, this deal is only for 7 days. So pop on over and check it out.
I love cereal. It's a secret from my kids so don't tell, but sometimes my husband gets me some yummy sugar cereal and I have a wonderful little bowl after they go to bed. If there is sugar cereal in the house, it will get in my belly. Do you have anything like that? Jokingly we can say it's the yummy chocolately danishes fault or the donuts that someone left at our house that I gained 5 pounds. But we know that really isn't true right. It's our own lack of discipline to say no to the cereal or he Danish or donuts. But you know what's crazy, I see on facebook all the time this same thing of blaming an neutral object for something we need to take the responsibility for. Friend so and so writes their opinion about politics or Jesus and that is quickly, "shoving it my face". Or friend so and so writes a status about how they made cupcakes and that becomes, "they are bragging".
When we assume someone is bragging because they said they made cupcakes lets call that what it is, judgment. (A little side note, God actually does call believers to judge other believers actions, but not their heart since nobody knows the heart intentions except God.) When we assume why someone is doing something, we are judging them. It is our problem, not theirs. Ouch right. Facebook exposes our hearts perhaps more clearly than anything else in our time. It is like a mirror, showing us what is in our heart.
Facebook not only allows us to see what's in our heart, it also shows us what we idolize. Unfollowing people who don't agree with us, getting mad at how people say things because it's not how we would say it... it's like we try to build this little personal utopia only allowing ourselves to hear from people who think and act just like us. But how can we really grow if there is no friction? Iron sharpens iron.
So really it comes down to how it's really just not about us. We don't need to cut off the thing exposing our sin but rather turn to the Lord with the sin. We need the Lord to change our heart and help us see Facebook as a place to serve people, not try to make it something that is all about us meeting our needs and never ruffling our feathers. I'm not saying there is not a time for quitting Facebook, but I am saying that instead of trying to cut off the chicken pox, go to the Lord to heal the disease. By quitting Facebook (for reasons like the above), the heart issue of judgment or idolizing lack of conflict will still be there.
So rather than quit Facebook, why not confess and surrender whatever you need to to the Lord and use it as a place to serve, rather than be served. Here's some ideas.
4 Ideas of How to Use Facebook to Serve Others.
1. Pray for them. Send some friends personal messages of you praying for them (maybe even specific verses). And not praying in a mean, get em God type of way, haha. But something that would really encourage them.
2. Honor them. Brag about something they did on their wall so all their friends can see.
3. Speak truth in love. Challenge yourself to speak truth in a gracious way to others in comments but also in your status updates. The US is in a heap of trouble because Christians didn't speak up for so long. Let's not hide truth under a basket. Let's not keep the most precious things in the world from the people who need it most. It might offend people... but seriously, who cares!!! If we are trying to please men, we can not please God. (Gal. 1:10)
4. Deal with your own heart. If you're offended at what someone posted, if you're judging someone's motives, if you're jealous of what your friend posted, take it to the Lord and don't blame anyone else. When we blameshift, we will not grow in our relationship with the Lord. Yet, when we admit and confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive and will begin to change our hearts.
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has six kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 14 years serving with Master Plan Ministries where she is the Women's Development Coordinator. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, A Devotional Journey through Judges, and Discover God's Calling for Your Life. Most recently her resource for Bible studies, The Connect Cards was released by Cru Press. You can find her on facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram, periscope, blab and her author site.
If you'd like to read more from this contributor, type her name in the search box on the top right.
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Watch the Missional Women Conference online April 15th and 16th.
Can’t make it to the Missional Women Conference? Or, are you coming but can’t bring everyone you'd like to? No problem. We’re offering the next best thing. You can still take part by hosting or watching a FREE Live Webcast. The event will be broadcast over the internet in high-quality. It’s a great opportunity for you, your small group, your church, and your ministry team or group of friends to experience the main stage sessions.
Register Now in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1 – Let others on Twitter know about the Webcast. Click to Tweet Here.
Step 2 – Let others on Facebook know about the Webcast.
Step 3 – Visit the conference website to register for the Webcast.
What is a live stream/webcast? A webcast is a live video broadcast of an event transmitted across the internet. If you can watch a YouTube video, you can host a webcast.
Can I attend the Missional Women Conference?
Yes. Register on the Conference website.
Can I watch the webcast at home?
Yes. You can watch the webcast in your home. You will need an internet connection and a computer to watch. If you can watch a YouTube video, you can host a Missional Women Conference Webcast! Just register above and we will send you the link.
Who will be speaking at the Conference?
You can check out all the Missional Women Conference speakers on the Schedule tab on the conference website.
What will the schedule be during the Conference?
See the Schedule above
Do I need to download or purchase anything before the Conference?
What Do I Need to Host a Webcast?
In order to Webcast you need to make sure you have the following:
- An Internet Connection.
- A desktop computer or laptop computer.
- An Internet Browser.
- Updated Video Software. Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight are the two formats of software on your computer that allow you to watch videos (media delivery).
How Do I Webcast from my Church?
Assuming you have all of the requirements listed previously, the final components include a projector and projection screen. Most likely you have a computer in your main auditorium that is used for PowerPoint or for worship lyrics. If you are able to connect this computer to the Internet then your church will have the ability to view the webcast. Just register and we will send you the link.
What web page will I go to in order to watch the webcast?
Can I “Save” my live streaming video for later use?
Live events are streamed, therefore, cannot be saved as a file. However, we will have the main keynote sessions as well as the seminars available to listen to on the conference website.
I’m in a different time zone. How do I participate in real-time?
The Missional Women Conference is happening in Denver, Colorado which is mountain time. If you are in the east coat the time will be 2 hours later. And one hour earlier for those in the west coast.
Can I share this event on Facebook or Twitter?
We encourage you to share quotes and experiences of the Webcast with your social networks. Based on your event, you may even include the #missionalwomencon hash-tag.
How Do I Webcast from my Home?
Assuming you have all of the previously recommended requirements, the final components include your TV or computer monitor. Most likely you have a computer in your home office. If you are able to connect this computer to your television, we have some helpful hints.
How do I connect my HDTV to the stream?
Streaming to your television is a good practice for both individuals and small groups due to their smaller environments.
Here is how you accomplish this.
1) Internet: Connect your laptop/computer to the Internet via a CAT-5 cable;
2) Video Connection: Plug a 15-pin VGA cable (commonly used to connect a computer tower/laptop to an external monitor) into your computer/laptop and then into your HDTV at the PC connection;
3) Audio Connection: Using a mini-audio cable, connect the audio out/headphones jack from your computer into the Audio In of your HDTV. Based on your computers settings, you may have to click on the Function 5 (F5) to see the image from your computer on your TV.
4) Adjust Your Settings: Use your manufacturer’s settings to navigate to the correct source for both your TV and your computer. You may need to resolve the resolution sent from your computer to the TV by going into the Display Settings (Mac & PC) and adjust the resolution to match the best quality of your desktop image.
5) Navigate to Live Stream: Once you have completed these steps, simply open a browser, navigate to the Live Stream page and click on the Full Screen button on the live streaming player. The TV will now be your new monitor for the event and display the broadcast in full-screen mode.
Depending on the type of computer/laptop you are using, there are many variables to this recommended setup, including use of HDMI connections, S-Video as well as wireless connections. Any of these connections should work to transfer the display from your computer to an HDTV.
I love taking pictures but withfive little ones around the house and another on the way I just can’t seem to find the time to take quality pictures and get them off my camera onto the computer. The pictures I do take are mostly of my kids or random things I see, not super applicable for using as a meme for a blog post. I also am a big fan of getting the most done in the shortest amount of time. That’s why I am so grateful for sites that allow you to use their photos, especially ones that let you use them for free.
There are ton of sites that allow you to use their photos as long as you credit the photographer (which is a great thing to do if you’re not short on time) and a ton more that will let you use their photos for a fee. So to help you sort through all the sites, here are 7 sites which allow you to use their photos for free without attribution.
7 Free Photo Sources
1. Free Images
Free Images is a large gallery of more than 350,000 stock photos, searchable and categorized. There is a longer-than-most signup process in order to download a photo but there is a large selection to choose from.
2. Free Range Stock
With a free registration, Free Range Stock offers access to free high-quality, high-resolution photos.
Pixabay, perhaps my most often go-to, offers copyright-free, cost-free images published under Creative Commons. You can copy, modify, distribute and use the images, even for commercial purposes and there’s no registration required.
Stockvault is a stock photo sharing website where photographers, designers and students share their photographs and graphics for free and use them for personal and non-commercial purposes. There is no registration is required.
Rgbstock is a free stock image site created by photographers and graphic artists. Registration is required with only one-click and has a lot of images to choose from.
Gratisography is a collection of free high-resolution images for personal or commercial use. New photos are added weeklys and all you have to do is click to download.
Unsplash gives 10 free high-resolution photos every 10 days.
Once you find the image you’re looking for you can then go to BeFunky.com, Picmonkey.com or Canva.com to create a beautiful eye-catching meme.
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has five kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 13 years serving with Master Plan Ministries where she is the Women's Development Coordinator. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, A Devotional Journey through Judges, and Discover God's Calling for Your Life. You can find her on facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram, periscope, blab and her author site
Have you heard of Periscope or Blab? They are new social media live streaming apps that allow you to broadcast to anywhere in the world. And though they both do essentially the same thing, live stream and allow people to comment and interact with you in real time, they have a main difference that makes them both valuable. Periscope live streams just you, yet you can click a little map/globe and pick anywhere in the world to see people scoping. Which goes the same for you. Say you're filming a scope, anyone across the globe can view it and ask you questions in real time. Blab doesn't have the globe feature though it is also visible to anyone in the world, but it allows you to have four people in one live stream.
You guys! This is incredible technology for the Gospel! For years I've been a little stuck on how to get outside your own little Facebook bubble to share the Gospel with people in other countries and/or provide them with some solid Bible teaching they so desperately need. But these apps/social media sites are automatically set up to be global. I just watched some guy in Dubai the other day, asked questions of people in Scotland and regularly watch and learn from someone in England. Is your mind blown? I hope so. If not, I'm just not doing a good enough job of casting vision of how the Lord could use this. So let me share some ideas on my to-do list with these app's. Hopefully it will inspire ideas for you of how you could use it to glorify God.
*I am going to be doing a #ministrytips scope regularly sharing helpful things the Lord has taught me after 15 years of full time ministry. (How to deal with hard people, tips for leading Bible studies, tips on spending time with the Lord etc.)
*Share a bunch of how to's, best practices and resources on how to grow in your walk with God and living out the Great Commission. (How to hear God's voice and know His will, How to share the Gospel, how to disciple someone, how to balance your time etc.)
*Share cool stories of how God has worked and is working.
*Show behind the scenes (like with the Missional Women Conference)
Just these ideas alone fill two pages in my journal.
Blab lends itself to be a great place to interview people. So here's what I have in the works:
* Talking with missionaries and talking about how the Lord got them to where they are.
* Talking with women who have done full time ministry for many many years and hearing tips they have for longevity in ministry.
* Talking about hot topics with various ministry leaders.
* Discussing with women leaders on discipleship.
* Talking about missional motherhood and how to help our kids live on mission.
* Discussing evangelism
This is such an exciting time!! I hope you go to your app store and download one or both of the apps and spend time with the Lord asking Him if and how He would like to use you on these platforms.
I will be doing my first scopes and blabs this next week if you want to get an idea of what it's all about. Just follow me, here's how: Periscope. Follow me (@laurakrokos) on twitter and then when you download the app, you will automatically have me clicked to follow. Then you'll get notified when I go live. Blab. Go to the online site blab.im/laurakrokos and follow that way.
For both of these I will be letting people know on social media that I am about to go live.
And here's a couple neat things that keep my mind wondering about the possibilities. Apple just announced the apple tv which will have periscope (and I bet blab wont be far behind). People already are turning off primetime to watch scopes and blab, imagine when it's on the their tv screen! And I keep thinking of the verses talking about when Jesus comes back it will be seen worldwide. How crazy to think about how possibly this could be the technology used to allow everyone to see the return of the King. Holy cow huh.
So, what ideas do you have for using these platforms for the glory of God?
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has five kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 13 years serving with Master Plan Ministries where she is the Women's Development Coordinator. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
If you'd like to read more from this contributor, type her name in the search box on the top right.
Sharing this over at these awesome blogs.
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I think we live in the most exciting time period ever. We have incredible opportunities right in front of us and if that in itself wernt enough, we also have more available time than any other generation before us. What used to take days to complete now takes hours because of modern conveniences like microwaves, washer and dryers, cars, email etc. So we have this great dove tail of available time and opportunities. For instance, we have lots of facebook friends yet more time to communicate with them than we would have had in 1923.
Jesus told us to go and make disciples. Go means to take the initiative. Many years ago the only way to take the initiative to reach people for Christ to the ends of the earth was to hop on a boat and sail over to another country to tell people about Jesus. Years later came planes, and now there is the internet and with it the far reaching effects of social media where we can reach people for Christ in other countries while living across the globe from each other.
Here's three stories that will give you glimpse of what God can do through social media:
I met Tanya through facebook and she ended up getting involved with our ministry. She built friendships with other students and would go to bible studies but wasn't ready to trust Jesus with her life. We would chat on facebook every now and then and I would write little bits of encouragement on her wall and invite her and her son over for lunch when I could. I got to share the gospel with her and I know of 2 other people who did as well. She just wasn't ready. We kept praying.
Finally, while chatting on facebook I asked her if she was ready to submit her life to Christ. She typed "yes". So right there, typed out on facebook chat, Tanya received Jesus' forgiveness and surrendered her life to Him. God used facebook to transfer Tanya from the kindgom of death to the kingdom of life. How beautiful!
Austin took a few guys to a closed middle eastern country last summer to help fulfill the Great Commission. While they were there, they set up a quick website that had a picture of him and the guys with a little bit about them and their contact info. Then they made a facebook ad telling people to click to talk about who Jesus is. They targeted the city they were in and 18-25 year olds since they were spending their time on campus. In just a couple hours of running the ad (they ran out of money because of all the clicks), they had 771 students click on the link and a handful email them asking questions about who Jesus was. Pretty cool huh.
Not too long ago on twitter there was a girl who was commenting on how she didn't know her purpose and was awful at everything, convinced she was a giant failure. I got to encourage her in 140 characters ;) and send her a link to The Story, a great website that talks about how much we need Jesus.
And did you know you can also use facebook to share the Gospel with an unreached people group! How crazy is that!? You can actually tell someone who has never heard the name Jesus, ever and you can tell them in their language without having to spend a couple thousand dollars to fly there and a few years to learn the language. Is your mind blown?
Well, there is dare I say a movement of people doing this after a post I wrote but made popular by Joshua Project a couple years ago. I get a message like this one every so often.
My husband leads a men's fellowship group. Last year I gave him your article on Facebook and reaching the lost. He got the men on board and for the last year they've been doing ads on Facebook for Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Close to 1,000 people have clicked through the ads proclaiming the Gospel. And their project is ongoing. Thank you for the article and your ministry. The ripple effect is going on probably in ways you'll never know until we are in Heaven. Be blessed.
We truly have been given an incredible gift of opportunity to reach people with the Gospel and help people grow in their faith.
My sweet friend Angi Pratt and I wrote a book about this that gives you a ton more ideas of how you can live as though social media was less about you and more about making much of Jesus. Check it out.
Laura, the creator and host of Missional Women is married and has four kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 11 years serving with Master Plan Ministries. Laura is the Women's Development Coordinator and has discipled over 150 girls, led over 30 Bible studies and speaks to college and women's groups. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
If you'd like to read more from this contributor, type her name in the search box on the top right.
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I could barely contain my excitement as I sat with my brother Aaron listening to what is possibly one of the most unique and amazing evangelistic tools. It was an outreach opportunity I had never heard of before. And having grown up in ministry all my life, that is a pretty amazing feat right there! Innovative.
Brilliant. It had the ability to instantly reach thousands with only a few keystrokes. Chill bumps chased each other up and down my arms as he continued to share how God miraculously opened doors for them, and I knew I couldn't keep the story to myself. After setting up live streaming for their Sunday church services, he wanted to use the video space that remained blank during the week to help spread the word about their church. While investigating their options, he discovered that Google Adwords offers non-profit organizations thousands of dollars in free advertising. This is where the ministry began to take on a dimension he could have never expected. Once approved, my brother sat down to pick several keywords they could use to drive traffic to their website.
Realizing that Google searches for churches generally rank pretty low, he began to think outside the box. What is something people often search for on the Internet? And then it hit him. Pornography. How could they use pornography-themed keywords to direct people to their site? And once there, how could they use their site to reach them with the gospel? Using a video spot and free downloadable material, they set up an embedded platform that played a video on one side and offered live social chat on the other. Now when people searched the internet for pornography, the church's website would show up in the results and direct them to a platform where they could find out how to become free from their addiction! The first day they had over 500 hits! Since that time, they have had a steady stream of men from midnight - 7am genuinely searching for freedom from pornography. And this got my wheels turning!
How can we use Google Adwords to direct people to a platform