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Daily Thought Leadership Outreach Visitors

What are you doing for your community?

I was reminded late last week about a major connection we have with those around us, our Community.

This connection takes on many forms and can simultaneously be a blessing and a curse.  Strong communities are the life-blood of social interactions and allow us to enjoy the social, political, and economic aspects of being bonded together.  Unfortunately, at times, there are disagreements, divisions, mis-understandings within this connection.  (Sound like your church?)  I had this happen to me this week with an individual.  His decision for community involvement is to write on the community online forum he created that amounts to nothing more than political propaganda.

This being said, I was able to spend the weekend deciding how I would respond.  My decision is to not respond at all.

However, I did start thinking about how these types of connections affect our churches.  Our churches are a group of people from the community bonded together for a common purpose.  We come together as a body of believers for worship and to exalt our Savior.  We enjoy the fellowship of like minded individuals and the camaraderie that comes from our interactions.  At times, we’ll even express our desire to have others join our group.  For some, this is a true, unrelenting passion; while for others it amounts to nothing more than lip service as a response to what we perceive is a requirement.

How can our churches get beyond our walls and reach our communities?

I have often asked the question of pastors when we are talking about community involvement as follows.  “If your church were forced to close it’s doors tomorrow, would the community know your were gone, and more importantly, would they feel an impact?”

It’s a tough question to ask and we’ll introduce some ideas to help.  I’ll give you a sneak peak though, they involve being a part of the community without your hand out.

In the next few days and weeks, I’ll detail some ideas on how to make your church a light in your community.

Categories
Communication Leadership

Effective Church Communications

I recently happened upon a blog post in Outreach Magazine entitled “The Next Thing in Church Conferences“.  After reading through the post, it was less about new church conferences and more about effective communication principles.  The article talks about how most conferences have a basic programmatic structure that doesn’t lend much room for interaction other than lunch or moving in between sessions.

The article did however mention some snippets of answers they received to a question they posted asking “What are some church communications best practices.”  Some that I found most relevant and useful were:

“Effective communications has less to do with sending the right message, and everything to do with releasing the right response. To release the right response with anyone, you’ve got to take time to figure out what makes your message worth their time; figure out how it relates to their world.” –Kem Meyer, Granger Community Church (@KemMeyer)

“For every piece of communication, before you do anything else, determine the goal. Do whatever you need to do to gain clarity about the desired outcome and keep it in front of you during the entire creation process” –Lori Bailey, LifeChurch.tv (@LoriBailey)

“If your goal in church communication –whether you’re designing a bulletin or launching a social media campaign–is something other than serving people, stop and start over.” –Scott McClellan, Echo Conference (@ScottMcClellan)

“Resist broadcast mode! Megaphoning (a.k.a. “sermonizing”) prevents listening. Ask as often as you answer.” –Cynthia Ware, Pepperdine University (@CynthiaWare)

Church communications is about the audience.  You can put out and preach anything you want, but if no on is there to listen, you are wasting your breath.  Take a few minutes to think about your audience.  How can you more effectively communicate your message to reach your audience?

Categories
Church Management Growing Your Giving Base Leadership

Aware of But Not Focused on Church Numbers

A growing trend among evangelical pastors is to focus on their attendance numbers.  Many have even joked about pastoral counting, which basically means that pastors inflate numbers to make their ministry look larger.  We all know that our society has become enthralled with the notion that bigger is better.  Unfortunately, in ministry we have also at times fallen victim to this mindset.

What can the numbers do for us though?  While counting people to boost your ministry ego is not the point, keeping an accurate count of crucial benchmarks can allow pastors and church leaders to effectively gauge their ministries’ effectiveness.

The opposite extreme is also just as dangerous.  Not keeping track of crucial metrics or ignoring poor counts can cause just as many problems as over-exaggerating the numbers.  A pastor that says he is not concerned about numbers is either so in touch with the congregation that he understands the pulse, or he is ignoring the facts.  Having an accurate reading on key metrics will help a pastor get an idea of the effectiveness of his ministry and outreach.

Some key metrics to keep in mind:

1. Worship Attendance – this may be the most obvious of the things to count, but watching trends in attendance can help church leaders really get an accurate picture of the congregation.  These numbers can be tallied and evaluated against local events, holidays, vacation seasons, etc. to get a real picture of whether the ministry is growing bigger or smaller.

2. Sunday School/ Small Group Attendance – having effective small groups is the best way to grow disciples.  Churches with growing Small Group Ministries will quickly find themselves a healthier church growing and duplicating themselves.

3. Giving per Person – This number can be found by taking the total weekly giving amount and dividing by the giving units.  This number is not an exact figure but rather an approximation but provides an idea for financial forecasting as well as whether the church has healthy givers.

Each of these metrics are just a small part of accurately measuring ministry effectiveness.  For more information on how to accurately measure your church’s health, shoot us an email and we’ll help you out.

What numbers are you using to get an accurate picture of your church?