Monthly Archives: January 2012

Communicating with Intention

Communication

Communication (Photo credit: krossbow)

We can develop all kinds of great plans based on the vision and direction for our church or ministries, but if we do a poor job communicating those plans we limit our success. It’s been said that by the time we get tired of communicating the message, that is when our people finally start to hear it. That’s why having a plan for communicating is important. A couple of years ago, I stumbled into creating a Communications ministry when I realized I was having the same conversations with multiple people about how to communicate our ministry happenings in multiple ways to our church.

As I formed this team, I developed the following direction and plan for the ministry:

This ministry exists to communicate effectively to the our church family as well as the community in which we minister. The underlying goal of this ministry is to manage perception of our church through the different forms of communication we use.’

Message Mapping

This is the process of identifying upcoming events and happenings in the church and ministries that will need communicated and the most effective way to communicate it. Monthly promotional plans includes Sermon Series, Events, Ministry Opportunities and Other necessary areas to communicate.

DIVISION OF MINISTRY

Website

Design a new site every 3 to 4 months, maintain current information, keep it relevant and fresh, continue to develop additional facits to enhance this communication and keep it important for members to frequent and guests to navigate easily

On Site Communications

We use table ads, worship handouts, Invite Cards, Posters, video/power point loop prior to services and banners as needed, and email newsletters.

Off Site Communications

This would cover Radio, Newspaper, Billboards, Magazines and any other off site advertising or marketing

Social media

This has become an important tool for almost instant communication to our church. We encourage people to become fans of our church. At the same time we manage the amount of communication through this source so that it doesn’t become white noise.

Graphics/Imagery

Banners, Logos, Images for services, series graphics, other imagery needs

Service Host

This is someone or a group of people (usually staff or key people) who is articulate and can engage people from the ‘stage’. They should be able to welcome people to services and make each person feel comfortable as well as clearly communicate upcoming events.

Initially many of these areas may be doubled up on the same people. But the goal should be to eventually develop people to take on one area of communication as a leader and then develop ministry teams of people to work in each area with them. This works great to meet with the team leaders (which makes up the Communications Team) to cast vision and simplify the messages and then allow them to work with their teams to make it happen. I found that meeting with them about every 6 weeks is effective.

I look forward to sharing more about this in future posts.


Raising expectations of Membership

English: Raising IT Logo

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It’s amazing to me how often we have people make the huge decision of becoming a member of our churches, but often we fail to really explain what that means.  We make assumptions that their view of church membership will be the same as ours.  When in reality, we all come from different backgrounds and different church experiences.  This is why it is important that before someone becomes a member of the church, they gain a full understanding of what church membership means at that church from a biblical perspective (rather than a traditional or experiential perspective).

I have found that people who go through our membership session (it takes just over an hour), will thank me for explaining membership to them and they often say it is the first church that has ever done so for them.  By raising membership expectations, we’ve actually noticed that more people rise to the expectations of membership rather than run away.  People are looking for churches that have expectations.  My lead pastor and I developed our membership agreement and placed scriptural references with each point.

It is important that people understand that we aren’t asking them to do anything contrary to the scriptures.  In fact, we are asking them to become more what the scriptures teach us to be in our daily lives.  When we review this with them, we ask people to sign one copy of it and also give them a second copy for them to take home and examine the scriptures for themselves.

I am attaching a copy of the membership agreement we use here: Membership Agreement SAMPLE


Gaining a new perspective on Stewardship

English: Mountain View

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Gaining the proper perspective of stewardship is essential to developing an effective Stewardship Ministry.  We must first realize that stewardship is discipleship.  Stewardship is not about developing donors, but developing disciples.  Our goal should not be to get more money out of people, but to develop more people into disciples.  Donors give because of outside factors, disciples give from their heart.  We can actually begin to measure the spiritual growth of a church, by how loosely or tightly those within the church hold on to their money.

It starts at the top.  If we want our people to be generous, we have to have a culture of generosity.  If we are not generous to our people, they will not be generous in return.  Generosity starts with the Pastors & Staff.  If we are timid about giving others will be too.  If we have a lack of trust in God that is demonstrated by a greater trust in our money, we set the tone in our church.

God is not a God of scarcity. He is a God of abundance. We can examine three types of approaches to money that will help us better see this.  These are the Scarcity Mentality, The Abundance Mentality and the Wasteful Mentality.  The Scarcity Mentality says that every time one church gains, another church loses. This says there is “not enough to go around”.  This is when the disciples said “We only have 5 loaves and 2 fishes”. It is a mindset that God is not going to provide.  In practice, we say that we can’t afford to mail quarterly statements or print envelopes or print full color.  Then there is the abundance mentality which says that if we spend what we have in order to reach people, God will give us more. This says with Jesus, “Let’s give them something to eat”.  It is realizing that God is unlimited in His access to resources.  Last, there is the wasteful mentality, which is throwing out what is left over.  We don’t want to throw money away.  Be reasonable with what God has blessed you with.  Have a plan and work the plan.  Don’t spend just to spend, but spend for a purpose.  Remember that in the story of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes that the disciples collected 12 baskets of leftovers.  They did not waste it.

In understanding these different mindsets of spending within the church, we also need to understand the mindset of why people don’t give.  There are a variety of reasons, but some of the main ones are no vision, no money, no desire, family pressure, lack of trust in organization, no realized need.  People don’t really give to need, they give to vision which prompts desire in our hearts.  The best way to change the mindset of the church is to cast and recast the vision of what God can do if they give.  In casting the vision, remember that raising money is as much about how you say it as what you say.

(insights learned from personal experience and gleaning from Steve Stoope’s ministry)


Food fills an empty soul

Bread rolls

At times when people are hurting or have experienced a loss, providing a meal can help take some of the weight off of those involved in the situation.  Many times this allows an individual not to have to worry about what their family or friends are going to eat as they may be in and out of their house during this time.  When we meet the basic physical needs of people, it often allows us to minister to them spiritually.  When you examine scripture, you find that Jesus often addressed a physical need before he addressed a spiritual need.  We can follow His example.  As we do this simple act of care, we can often help with more than this simple physical need.

A website that I have found to be helpful in coordinating meals for people is www.takethemameal.com. This simplifies the communication and organization of providing for people during times of sorrow and times of celebration.  Very useful, I hope you find it helpful.

For more ideas on Care Ministry click here.


Organizing your Volunteers

Stairs drawing

Image via Wikipedia

Having a structure to guide you as you develop new ministries and to restructure existing ministries helps keep all ministries functioning in a similar way.  I have learned to accomplish this by having 4 major phases for our volunteer ministries.  These phases start with the first phase being an introductory phase to the ministry leading up to the final volunteer phase being a ministry leader(s) phase.  It’s broke down below for a better understanding.

Volunteer Phases

2nd Lead

This phase of the ladder is for ministry leaders and ministry coaches.  In this phase, a person can become a leader of a portion of ministry where they make decisions concerning the direction of the ministry as they communicate with the Pastor/Director of the ministry.  The requirements to be a part of the second lead phase is to be active in group attendance, consistent in worship attendance, experienced salvation, baptized, member of the church, consistently tithe, evangelistic and sign a ministry agreement for this phase and area of ministry.

1st Lead

This is the start of the leadership phase of the ladder.  In this phase, a person can become a leader of an area or a team within a ministry.  The requirements to be a part of the first lead phase is to be active in group attendance, consistent in worship attendance, experienced salvation, baptized, member of the church, regular in giving, been in ministry at the church for at least 6 months and sign a ministry covenant for this phase and area of ministry.

2nd Serve

This is the initial commitment point for ministries.  In this phase a regular attendee has found a place of service that they enjoy and are ready to commit to that ministry for a period of time determined by the ministry (this is normally a 6 month period of time).  These positions consist of any non-leadership team roles that the ministry has.  The requirements to be a part of the second serve phase is to be a regular attendee, active in group attendance and sign a ministry agreement for this phase and area of ministry.

1st Serve

This is the starting point for ministries.  These areas of service are designed for connecting people to ministries.  The only requirement to be a part of the first serve phase is to be a regular attendee.  I often tell people that the 1st serve is their change to test drive a ministry, kick the tires and see if they would enjoy serving in this ministry.  Often people in this phase will shadow someone in a 2nd serve role and observe how they fulfill their ministry.  After a person has completed a 1st serve role, they are contacted by a ministry leader or coordinator (2nd Lead) and asked if they would like to continue on into this ministry or try another ministry.  If they choose to continue on into the ministry, they move into a 2nd Serve role.

I am including a link to the ministry agreements by phase here: Ministry Agreements by Phase generic


Care is essential to any growing ministry.

English: A specialist cardiology stethoscope.

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It’s important that as a church we show up for people when they are hurting, mourning, sick and celebrating.  There is no better time to have an impact on someones life or family than being there for them during these times of change.  Often it’s not even a matter of what you do to provide care, it’s just the fact that you show up and are there during this time in their life.  People need to know that they’re not ‘doing life’ alone.  Showing up during a time of need conveys the message that “We’re here with you and we’ll go through this together.”

Below is a breakdown of some simple Care Ministry Guidelines that I have developed and found useful in helping people minister.  I’ve also found that instead of creating an entirely separate care ministry for this that it works well within an existing ministry that the whole of the church is involved in.  We do this through our small groups system and have found it to be very effective.

Group Care Ministry Overview:

The purpose of this ministry is to provide genuine heart-felt care to the people of Oasis during both times of celebration and trials of life.

  • We learn about a need in someone’s life either by conversation with someone in the church or through our communications cards on Sunday Morning.  Additionally, ministry team leaders may discover additional care needs by working with their teams.
  • Care needs will be met through groups.  The care plan provided will run through the duration of groups and through sign up of the next round of groups (up until they launch again).
  • Often times group leaders will either know or become aware of a care need from the group.  They may also find out about a care need from their Coach.  Once this need is known, the following can be a basic guideline for the needed response.
  • Church Staff may respond to care needs.  This will be determined at each instance, but would not take the place of the Group caring for the need.

Group Care Ministry Action Plan:

 

OCCURANCE OUR RESPONSE
1 Illness that is temporarily debilitating Notify Group of current need
  • Provide Food according to plan and needs
Send Card/Letter from Group or Group Leader
Phone call
2 Hospital Stay Notify Group of current need
  • Set up Visit by member(s) of group
  • Take Care Package
  • Identify Needs during visit
Church Staff Response
  • To Be Determined at each instance
3 Upon Return from Hospital Notify Group of current need
  • Provide Food according to plan and needs
  • Identify Needs during visit
Send Card/Letter from Group Leader
Phone Call
4 Death within household Notify Group of current need
  • Line up food to be provided
  • Send Card/Letter from Group or Group Leader
  • Phone Call
Church Staff Response
  • Pastor Visit & Counseling provided as needed
  • Attend Funeral
5 Death of Parent Send Card/Letter from Group or Group Leader
Phone Call
If possible have at least one member of group attend funeral.  Also one member of the church staff will likely attend the funeral.
6 Layoff/Job Loss Notify Group of current need
  • Provide at least one meal to household
Phone call from Group Leader
Send Card/Letter from Group or Group Leader
7 Financial Problems Alert Pastors to this need
8 Marital Problems Alert Pastors to this need

Food Provision Plan:

  • Food is provided to help alleviate a portion the pressure of daily needs during this time.  This is an opportunity to meet a basic need.
  • Typical length of food provision is one week or less.  (If it is seen to be necessary to provide for a longer period, discuss with your Group Coach before proceeding.)
  • For one time provision, you can have different members of the team provide different portions (i.e. sides, deserts, main dish, etc.)
  • For longer provision, break your team into nights and assign accordingly.  You may find it helpful to provide on an every other night basis. (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday)  This would allow your team to provide only 3 larger meals and leftovers could be used on other nights.
  • You may also consider paper product needs (i.e. paper plates, cups, etc.)

Hospital Care Package (Contains):

  • Can be a snack, inspirational book, crossword or puzzle book, etc…

If you are in the process of developing a care ministry, I’ve discovered that simpler is often best.  Don’t over complicate this process of care or you could plan the “care” right out of your system.  My prayer is that this post is useful as you develop your ministry.


Stewardship of our Facilities

English: Viking lawn mower.

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How do we maintain the property that God has blessed us with and at the same time use the people of our church to do this?  I have always believed that ministry and service is meant to be a shared experience rather than having it rest on the shoulders of one or two people.  Because of this I developed the following ministry plan for a property ministry that has not only allowed us to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with, but also has allowed many to find fulfillment in serving in this area.  Below is a breakdown of how it works:

Overview of Ministry:

  • This ministry exists to maintain the property (grounds & building) that God has blessed us with here at our church.
  • The driving principle behind this ministry is to be a good steward of what God has entrusted to us.
  • This is an opportunity to involve a variety of different people to mow, weed eat, change light bulbs, and much more.
  • We can understand that maintaining our facilities is, in itself, an act of worship.  Additionally, we can understand that keeping our property maintained removes barriers to the gospel and creates a more inviting environment for guests and members.  As a result of this ministry, new people will come to our church and lives will be changed.

How does this ministry function? We will have 4 teams that rotate on Saturday each week.  This will have each team serving once a month.  On months where there are five Saturdays, all teams will serve on the fifth Saturday.  Each team will be led by a team leader who will help coordinate the team on site. Team Leader Responsibilities

  • Serve One Weekend a month with their team and on fifth Saturdays.
  • Contact their team during the week prior to their Saturday to serve to encourage the team to be there.
  • Coordinate the team on site (using checklist) by assigning duties and continuing to make sure projects are accomplished
  • Contact members of team who do not show to discover the reason for their absence and encourage them to be involved with the team.
  • Trouble shoot equipment problems and communicate with ministry leaders about property needs
  • Have each member of the team sign a ministry agreement

What about special projects?There will be times when special projects will be taking place on our property.  All enhancements to the property (building or grounds) will need to be discussed with the staff member leading the property ministry prior to the enhancement taking place.  There are two main reasons for this:

  1. We need to be sure that the special project connects with the overall plan and vision for the church.
  2. We need to be sure that it is something we would want to do at this time and that there is funding available.

If you are trying to develop a property ministry, I hope this post has been helpful to you.

I am including the weekly checklist here as a sample for you to build on: Property Team Checklist


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