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Christmastime is here and hundreds of guests will attend your church.  I wrote two posts to help you plan and execute a great Christmas guest experience. Read below:

4 Christmas Planning Mistakes

3 Ways to Enhance the Christmas Guest Experience

In this post I reveal the missing ingredient to a great Christmas guest experience. The missing ingredient is easy-to-do, but often missing from the guest experience equation. What is the missing ingredient? FOLLOWING UP with guests.

I’ve shared tons of conversations on how-to ‘draw’ people back after their Christmas service visit. Relevant sermon series, big event, free resource, etc. Rarely do these ideas work.

The best way to ‘draw’ people back to your church after a Christmas visit is through following up with the guests.

Here are ways to follow up with Christmas guests:

Personal Phone Call 

This is one of the single most effective ways to insure your guests return for another visit.  A simple phone call says the Pastor of this church genuinely cares.  And that matters, a lot, to your guests because this Pastor might someday be their Pastor.

If the Senior Pastor is not available, then a gender specific or stage of life Pastor from your staff should place this call.  If they have lots of kids, perhaps the Children’s Pastor could call.  If it’s a single mom, then the Women’s Pastor would be a good choice.  But a personal call is your first and best follow up method.

Sincere Thank You Card

Nothing says “Come Again” like a sincere thank you.  A handwritten thank you card is a genuine and unexpected way to say thank you to your first time guests.  The thank you card is now a special way of communicating as all other communications are technology driven. This personal investment says you care they visited, and more importantly that they visit again.

Face to Face Meeting 

Imagine that your guest is a family, brand new to the area, and someone from your men’s ministry calls and says, “Hey, I’d love to grab coffee with you this week.”  During the meeting, spend time learning about the guest and providing information about your church and ways to get involved.  Think that family will visit a second time?  You can count on it.

Door Deliveries

While this method might seem outdated, you’d be surprised at how far a great door delivery will go. There’s a church near us that delivers quality chips and salsa to their first time guests.  Nothing says, “Welcome to our Church” like a well thought out gift.  They keep their door visit short.  It’s not a witnessing opportunity.  It’s a welcoming one.  And it works.

Welcome Video

Use the email address identified on guest information card and send a welcome video the day of visit.  By sending the email with video the day of visit the guest will be surprised and valued.  Personalize the text of email and provide an easy way for them to contact your church.  The email and video should include why the church exist, the impact your church is making in the lives of people and how the guest can get involved.

Social Media Messages

Be sure to ask for Twitter and Facebook User Names on your guest information card and then “follow” or “friend” them.   This is an easy way to keep your guests informed in a casual and friendly way.  Be intentional and express your gratitude for visiting your church via Facebook and Twitter.

Following up with Christmas guests is crucial. Once they leave your services they are moving on to Christmas parties, presents and food! Beyond the Christmas holiday they return to busy school and work schedules.

A personal follow up gesture will go a long ways in increasing the ‘odds’ of people returning to your church.

ChristmasOffer

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When I was a Communications Director rookie, I tried to do everything on my own! Project management, graphic design, web management and on. I needed help but lacked money to hire talented people. Sound familiar?

Can you imagine being surrounded by talented people to help you? I had a small budget and limited-time, but I was determined to build a team! And I did! You too can enjoy the benefits of a volunteer team.

Here is what I learned in my pursuit of recruiting volunteers -

Recruiting

The first thing I learned was not to ask for volunteers if I didn’t have any idea what they were going to be doing.

When it comes to recruiting:

  1. Know what you need before you ask for volunteers.
  2. Have job descriptions written out.
  3. Connect with volunteers within 24 hours after they sign up.
  4. Schedule a face-to-face interview.

Training

If you added a new member to your team, would you just sit them at their desk and say, “Okay, get to work.” Of course not.

When it comes to training:

  1. Cast vision. Connect the work they will be doing for your team to the bigger vision of the church.
  2. Be specific. If there is any other training you have for your paid staff, try to include your volunteer staff when appropriate.
  3. Start small and offer feedback. Don’t throw a brand new volunteer on a giant project.

Mobilizing

One of the worst things for someone who has volunteered to serve in your ministry is to sign up, go through training, and then never be used.

When it comes to mobilizing:

  1. Organize your volunteers into teams.
  2. Organize them into ministries.
  3. Have team meetings. Keep people connected to others and the vision of church.

And lastly, don’t forget to recognize and appreciate the volunteers you have.

As Bill Hybels says, “Volunteers are cheap, but they shouldn’t be free.”

So, you have two options.

1) You can go on trying to manage all aspects of communication on your own and quickly find yourself stressed and burnt out!

2) You can surround yourself with volunteers to relieve duties and find yourself passionate about your job!

But, recruiting, training and mobilizing volunteers is HARD work. Job descriptions, job applications, background checking, encouraging, interviewing, etc.

I created a resource FOR YOU called the Volunteer Mobilization bundle. The bundle is full of customizable done-for-you resources to recruit the team of your dreams! Here is what you will receive -

  1. Volunteer job descriptions for Administrative Assistant, Creative Support Team, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Social Media Manager, Videographer, Writer & Volunteer Coordinator
  2. Volunteer job applications for Administrative Assistant, Creative Support Team, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Social Media Manager, Videographer, Writer & Volunteer Coordinator
  3. Volunteer commitment form for each volunteer job role
  4. Volunteer training video guiding and inspiring you to build the volunteer team of your dreams
  5. Volunteer coaching manual educating you on the best ways to recruit, train and mobilize volunteers

You could spend a ton of time creating job descriptions and applications or spend the time actually recruiting people! With this resource, simply print and apply!

The bundle is available for instant download, but we are limiting the offer to 50 churches.

You can download all of the training content for $49.95 (one-time cost) HERE.

Tim Peters
Sayge Communications

PS – This is a special offer from Tim Peters and Sayge Communications and will be available for 50 churches. With all the ministry demands; you deserve a bit of help! Download it, today!

At a church where I served as the Communications Pastor, we provided members a card with various ways they could serve.  The card included every area of the church – youth, children, greeting, information center, everything.  Additionally, the serving opportunity card included Communications.  What area of ministry had the most interest?  To my surprise, it was Communications, by more than 50%!

With all the interest in serving in my ministry, I was forced to assemble, train and mobilize a team of gifted (and some not so gifted) creatives. Talk about unknown territory.  Here is what I learned on how to recruit, train and mobilize volunteers in my ministry.

Recruit 

The first thing I learned was not to ask for volunteers if I didn’t have any idea what they were going to be doing.  I knew I could use photographers and writers pretty easily to document the life stories that happened every day in our ministries.  I knew I wanted to have some great graphic designers, web people, social media people and videographers serving as volunteers as well, I just wasn’t prepared for how to use them.

When it comes to recruiting:

  • Know what you need before you ask for volunteers. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be open to ideas people will bring to the table, but you should at least have a general idea of what you’re looking for in a volunteer.
  • Have job descriptions written out.  This makes you really think through what your needs are.
  • Connect with new volunteers within 24 hours after they sign up. This is critical.
  • Schedule a face-to-face interview.  Yes, I said interview.  You need to make sure you have the right volunteer in the right place.  This is important for both of you.
  • Be thorough in your interviewing process.  Your ministry needs professional quality people working with you. That doesn’t mean that volunteers do not have what it takes. I was blown away by the ability level of the people who volunteered. But be diligent, because the last thing you want to have to do is to fire a volunteer.

Train

If you added a new member to your team, would you just sit them at their desk and say, “Okay, get to work.”  Of course not.  And neither should you do that with volunteers.

When it comes to training:

  • Cast Vision.  This is probably the most important step in training your volunteers.  Connect the work they will be doing for your team to the bigger vision of the church.
  • Be specific.  If you have standards, have them read them.  If there is any other training you have for your paid staff, try to include your volunteer staff when appropriate.
  • Start small and offer feedback.  Don’t throw a brand new volunteer on a giant project.  Start with a small project, then schedule some time to give them face-to-face feedback (if at all possible).

Mobilize 

One of the worst things for someone who has volunteered to serve in your ministry is to sign up, go through training, and then never be used.  You have to have a system for utilizing volunteers.

When it comes to mobilizing:

  • Organize your volunteers into teams.  (Teams of photographers, writers, designers, web developers)
  • Organize them into ministries (Women’s Ministry photographers, writers, etc.; Children’s Ministry photographers, writers, etc.)
  • Communicate with other ministries about comp’ing your volunteers’ attendance at their events.  You can’t very well send a photographer/writer to an event and then ask them to pay to attend the event.  (At least, you shouldn’t).
  • Have Team Meetings.  Keeping people connected to the team and connected to the vision is critical.

And lastly, don’t forget to recognize and appreciate the volunteers you have.  This is an important and often overlooked step.  As Bill Hybels says, “Volunteers are cheap, but they shouldn’t be free.”

Be proactive in building an amazing team of volunteers for your communications ministry, and you can have the team you’ve always wanted.

Do you use volunteers to help with Church Communications? If so, how? 

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Scripture would teach us that what we think about, what gets our attention, what drives us, what compels us to move, those are the things we become.

As a man thinks, so shall he become.  Proverbs 23:7

As a Church Communications Pastor, I often struggled with seeing my work beyond its most practical outlet, that of communicating the events of the church.

In my heart, I suspected that I was created for more, that my work was meant for more, though demands and priorities often left me living by the tyranny of the urgent, drowning in deadlines and thinking of escape.

But all of that changed once I gained an eternal perspective; once I realized that the work I was called to do, namely that of being a Church Communications Pastor, had the potential to impact someone’s eternity.

Having an eternal perspective though and keeping an eternal perspective is difficult.

There is a delicate balance that must be achieved between our passions (the things that give us energy) and our priorities (the things that must get done) and our pursuits (the things we want to accomplish).

Take a look at this diagram -

Perspective

Where passion meets priorities is demand.  It gives me energy.  It’s a great feeling to really pour myself into a project , but if I stay in that place too long, never dreaming about what God wants me to accomplish, then I’ll likely burnout.

Where passion meets pursuits is energy.  It’s incredibly fulfilling, often a fast-paced euphoria.  But if I live in this place too long, I won’t get much accomplished at all because the priorities in my life are left unattended.

Where pursuits meets priority is tension.  Tension is a good thing.  Think of a car being towed.  Not enough tension and the rope will break.  Too much tension and the rope will break.  Tension, over time, is draining, and will leave me feeling like my work has no value.

But to keep an eternal perspective,  I must be balanced.  I must be operating out of my passions, attending to priorities, and accomplishing the things that God has placed me on this earth to accomplish.

Think about where you are today as a church leader. Do you feel like the work you are doing matters?  Do you feel like you are fulfilling your God-given purpose?  If not, then your life may be out of balance, and you’ve likely lost your eternal perspective.  But the great news is that by evaluating and making adjustments to your current reality,  you can get back to a life centered on and focused on eternity.

At Sayge we believe finding your perspective is essential.  Helping you find your perspective is so important to us we give away an Eternal Perspective coaching video, EBook and retreat guide with your subscription.

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I am inspired by great leaders.  Leaders willing to die for a cause.  The great leaders are sacrificial servants.  One of the most inspiring leaders I have studied is Martin Luther King, Jr.  Here are ten of my most favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes from speeches and sermons.

10 Inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes -

#1 – A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.

#2 – Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

#3 – An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

#4 – A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

#5 – Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

#6 – Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

#7 – To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.

#8 – The time is always right to do what is right.

#9 – Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

#10 - Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.

Which quote resonates with you the most? 

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It’s the New Year, and with that comes the expectation that each of us will, in some way, resolve to make changes about ourselves.  This is a good thing as it causes us to take a look at ourselves, our families, our businesses and take inventory of sorts.

The aim is not to get lost in the madness and anxiety of setting and achieving goals.  The aim is to be intentional; consistently intentional in your daily behaviors.

It is completely appropriate to look forward to the end of 2013 and ask “What do I want to accomplish at the end of 2013?”  But this year focus more on who you are becoming, more than what you are accomplishing.

Below are 10 ways to help guide you in making 2013 your best year ever -

#1 – Unhurriedly Spend Daily Time with God

  • Find Your Rhythm (Writing, Singing, Praying, Being Still, Walking, Morning, Night, Etc.) The key is find the best and most natural way you connect with God
  • Find a the Perfect Place – Avoid places prompting you to work or that will distract you
  • Make it a Priority – Nothing trumps this time on your calendar

I personally enjoy reading the Bible while walking and praying.  With my attention issues, it is perfect, as I am comfortable doing multiple things at the same time.

#2 – Selflessly Serve Others

  • First and foremost, serve your spouse, kids and family.
  • Have a servant mindset. Christ came to serve, not be served.  That’s a pretty good example to follow.
  • Every conversation, lunch meeting, phone call, Tweet, etc. be intentional and look for ways to serve others.
  • Identify local and global mission opportunities that align with your passions.

#3 – Passionately Live in Community

  • Find a Bible small group in your church.
  • Meet with peers and mentors for accountability and support.

My wife and I meet every other week with a small group people. I meet regularly with peers for accountability and meet with an elder mentor to help with important decisions and overall life direction.

#4 – Consistently Exercise Your Body 

  • You will be more active and energized than ever by working out.  It’s scientifically proven.
  • Find a workout schedule or fitness trainer perfect for you.
  • Get an accountability partner.
  • Seriously, stop making excuses. Do it.

Three years ago, I was depressed and 30 pounds overweight.  Enough was enough.  I did a 90-day workout program and my life changed forever. Now I work out 5-6 times a week.  Over the past several years, I experimented with several workout approaches. From a fitness trainer, to a customized plan to workout groups.  The key is getting off your “rear” and doing it.

#5 – Persistently Eat Smart

  • If you are going to workout, do not ruin your efforts by eating junk.
  • Eat healthy and energizing foods.  Clean meats, fruits, vegetables.  AVOID the white killers – salt, sugar and flour.  And processed food.

Again, as with exercising there can be no excuses.  It is your body!

#6 – Faithfully Rest 

  • It’s Biblical – Honor the Sabbath
  • Schedule short trips and vacations

This is a tough area for me.  I had to find what was “restful” and you will too.  For me, it is playing golf by myself, early in the morning.  I do this as often as I can.

#7 – Actively Learn and Grow

  • Leaders are Learners.  Learners are Leaders. Whether, you consider yourself a leader of not, learning is an essential in life.  Find the ways you enjoy learning. Conferences, podcasts, magazines, blogs, books, etc.

I personally enjoy reading books on my iPad via Kindle.  I value reading so much, that my wife drives everywhere we go.  This is a great time to read.  No, I do not ignore my wife and kids while reading in the car.  In fact, I am probably more engaged as reading and talking is part of how I interact.

#8 – Regularly Invest in Memories

  • We have limited time in 2013.  Limited time in life.  Your life is but a mist, a vapor. (John 4:14)

My parents did a great job in investing in memories.  I remember vacations, sporting events, etc. far more than I remember what kind of house I lived in, what kind of cars we had or what kind of clothes my parents wore. They invested in memories.

#9 – Generously Give 

  • God has blessed you with time, talent and treasures. Look for ways to give it away.

#10 – Take a Risk

  • Do something, regularly, that is outside your comfort zone.

I read a desk plaque recently that said, “Do something every single day that scares you just a little.”  The point of that is don’t be content to do the same thing over and over and over, every single day.  Take a risk.  This doesn’t necessarily mean go skydiving, it just means stretch yourself.

Want 2013 to be the best year of your life so far? The best way to make 2013 your best year ever is to find your rhythm; be intentional each day; and make the most of every opportunity.

What are you doing to make 2013 the best year of your life? 

  1. “We need to stop saying World, discover me, and start saying God, develop me.” – Perry Noble
  2. “You are the most difficult person you will ever lead.” —Bill Hybels
  3. “It is better to make a difference than make a point.” – Andy Stanley
  4. “God does not give ambition, he gives you a burden.” – Tim Ross
  5. “Delivering compassion is the work of people who believe that every life is worthy.” - Condoleezza Rice
  6. “Quit whining. You’re sharp. You have the Holy Spirit. Fix it. Do what leaders do – lead!” – Craig Groeschel 
  7. “God did not make you a leader to respond to stuff. He made you a leader to move stuff ahead.” – Bill Hybels
  8. “At your church, the week is more important than the weekend. Empower people and send them out for the week.” – JD Greear
  9. “God will not be handcuffed by your failures or unleashed by your success.” – JonAcuff
  10. “You don’t change the world with the ideas in your mind, but with the conviction in your heart.” – Bryan Stevenson

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Dr. JD Greear pastors the Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest-growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past eight years from 400 to over 4,500 in attendance each Sunday. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to planting 1,000 churches out of its congregation in the next 40 years.

  1. If your church died will the people in your community weep?
  2. Do what you do well for the glory of God and do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God.
  3. Church growth is not nearly as important as growing the people inside of the church.
  4. It is not a matter of if God’s calling you. It is a matter of what God’s calling you to.
  5. The church should not be about surrounding “A” leader.  The church should be a leadership factory.
  6. Churches are growing by fighting over larger pieces of a shrinking pie (Christians). We need to grow the pie.
  7. At your church, the week is more important than the weekend. Empower people and send them out for the week.
  8. Give away your money and God multiplies it. Give away and send out leaders and God will multiply leaders.
  9. The motivation for mission comes from the Gospel.
  10. Jesus can do more with five loaves of bread and two fish in five minutes than Bill Gates can do in a lifetime.

Tim Ross is an associate pastor at Gateway Church, a multi-campus, evangelistic, Spirit-empowered church in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  Tim speaks both nationally and internationally strengthening believers with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Topic: Surrender

  • Ambition comes from the heart of man, it does not come from God.
  • God does not give ambition, he gives you a burden.
  • Are you making a list of things to do for God that He never wanted you to do?
  • Be moved by a burden, not by your ambition.
  • Good things are one “O” too many from being a God thing.
  • It is not only dying to self, but dying to what you want to do.
  • Not my will be done, but your will be done.

Matt Carter serves as the Pastor of Preaching & Vision at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, which has grown from a core team of 15 to over 7000 attending each Sunday since the church began in 2002.

How the Gospel Impacts Community

  • Religion says, “I obey God so that I might be accepted.” The Gospel says, “I’m accepted, therefore I obey.”
  • The Gospel is good news of a battle that’s already been won.
  • Religious centered communities respond to sin by running from God and the church.
  • Gospel centered communities respond to sin with sorrow, not guilt and shame.
  • To a religious centered person, Christianity is a burden.

How to know if your people are walking in Religion or the Freedom of the Gospel:

  • Are people confessing and repenting and being restored from their sin?  The religious community runs from sin and church when they sin because they fear the wrath of the church.
  • For the people in your church does following Christ feel like a burden?
  • What is the motivation for my people’s obedience?  A gospel-centered repents and obeys because of the unimaginable kindness the Lord displayed on the cross.
  • What is the spiritual temperature of the worship of your church?

My friend Brad Leeper developed a great eBook to help church leaders accelerate generosity towards the end of the year and ongoing. Below is a description of eBook and link to download. Your end-of-the-year giving campaign is a huge church communications opportunity and this eBook is a great guide.

So Much More

We already see some retail operations gearing up for Christmas. Whether you look upon the decorations with disdain or get giddy like a child, our culture gears up as the yearly calendar ticks down.

For most church leaders, we also get a feeling as the calendar turns. For many, that feeling is one of dismay. Unless we make a big push for end-of-year giving, our budget is busted. Let’s gear up, gang, one more time. We gotta make the push or the plea.

But those duty-filled steps of necessity can be different. What if, just what if, we can winsomely engage our congregation in a way that brings joy, accelerates giving and adds to our overall generosity culture? Download eBook for a guide on how to accelerate generosity.

Download eBook

 

This guide serves as a pathway to create, plan and execute an excellent end-of-year giving project. More than developing giving, this guide will help you elevate and accelerate your generosity culture!