Only Four Things

Only 4 Things
Garfield Memorial UMC
Bill Easum
Bill Tenny-Brittan
Staff, spend and organize for these four directives.
Effective Staffing for Vital Churches

#1 Invite Process – achieving presence

Laser-focus is very important to avoid plateau (aka comatose) or decline.
Overt events required. It must affect the leaders’ calendars.
How do we strategically plan our invitation process at OUMC?
If the congregation at large could grow the church, it would be happening. But its not, so who does it?
Ask these questions

  • Who is hurting?
  • Who is unreached?
  • Who can reach out?
  • This implies two target groups – those we can reach and those doing the reaching.
  • This implies that we understand the demographic that we serve.

Networking – Being in the presence of a candidate invitee.
#1 priority for a small church pastor – 80% of the pastor’s time spent here
Get rid of office hours! Be “available” to members only via appointment.
Are we wasting time printing bulletins? Depend on the screen.
Worship preparation is proportional to attendence. Larger congregations need better sermons – smaller congregations don’t. The idea is that larger churches can staff the networking to make sure it gets appropriate attention.
Develop a networking plan

  • Where to hang out?
  • Set goals – suggest 5-a-day, but this is hard.
  • Engage (exchange contact information)!
  • Make it a game – don’t go home until you reach your goal.

4P’s of Networking
Proximity – open seating

  • Barnes and Nobles
  • McDonalds
  • School volunteer; boosters
  • Country club

Predictable – be regular so people get to know you
Persistent – keep at it
‘Proachable – don’t hide behind your newspapaer; smile
Suggest that pastors leverage other members’ relationships. Get invited to their community, social, family events. Suggest that members invite the pastor (or other designated OUMC networker) to stuff.
Marketing – Build a Reputation
Makes it easy to invite.
We all tend to have no invitation at all.
Newspapers are lowest rate of return, except in rural areas.
Radio is second lowest rate of return.
Mail – limited direct mail is resurging.
Easy to get new mover contact information.
Try what we can afford and measure the results. Use numbers/ROI.
Free advertising

  • Write a column
  • Radio show
  • Report news (something newsworthy!) about the church. Send a news release to everyone.

Website is for everyone EXCEPT members. (Action items for Greg here.)

  • 91% of visitors go to website first
  • #1 priority: Make sure its first in Google
  • Welcome page is NOT a picture of the church.
  • #2 priority: Welcome page is people. Answer the question, “Will I fit in?” Pictures must reflect relality.
  • #3 priority: Address above the scroll. Don’t require searching.
  • #4 priority: Service times above the scroll.
  •  Pastor week blog (not a devotional) with keywords “church” “navarre” “worship”

o   Use the monthly pastor’s newsletter message if nothing else.
o   Check out Seth Grodin’s blog for clues.
Social media (Facebook, Twitter) IS for members.
Word of Mouth – very effective
Use each sermon series as an “event”

  • Print cards and hand them out. This works much better than “come to church with me”. Spin it into something that people want to attend.
  • Try sermon series titles on target people – not members.
  • Announce sermon series ahead of time. Give everyone time to share it with others.

Phone canvassing – call everyone in an area to invite them.
“Love My Church” campaign.
Servant evangelism.

  • Hand out water at sporting events.
  • Door hangers.
  • Give away flowers.
  • Knock on doors, offer immediate prayer.
  • Meet needs that you can or connect them with people who can help.
  • During any community meal – station people at the tables to network.
  • Be sensitive to the group you mean to serve. Always include a handoff (invitation) for the next event.

Measure results

  • Every event. How many new people?
  • How many invitations?
  • How many names/addresses/email/phone numbers did you gather?
  • VBS – how many new members does this bring in?

If we expect the congregation to bring in people, leadership must model this by doing it also!

#2 Connect

After “butts in seats”, now we need to keep them there.
This is the existing congregation’s primary job.
Help “them” become “us”.
1)      Visit and connect with the church at large. They will likely return.
2)      Connect as acquaintance. Remember their name. Feel accepted.
3)      Find a friend in the congregation. This takes time and effort. We suck at this because we don’t have time for a new friend.
4)      Connect with the mission and work of the church (not just the pastor or a friend).
5)      Remember that the church was built on Jesus, many churches were built on Paul. Personalities matter!

  1. The church will rise or fall on the personality of its leadership.

Begins at the website, sign, parking lot.
Greeters work outside the door. The visitors/guests are important, members are less important to the greeters (and need to recognize this).
Serve great coffee.
The sermon topic and worship style are hospitality issues.
Bad hospitality #1 reason for NOT returning.
Non-Christians have pre-conceived notions about Christians. These notions are usually incorrect so we must demonstrate the correction.
Test it! Pay a secret shopper to share his/her experience. This means we must treat everyone as if they are Jesus himself.
Every worship service is tailored. Most of them are targetted to the few existing, noisy members of the congregation instead of to the demographic that we want to reach.
Who are we called to reach? Remember that our mission is to make disciples. Our target is people who are like us – people we can relate to, be friends with, and nurture toward leadership.
Who did Jesus target? I think we’d be surprised if we truly knew.
Connect before service.

  • Greeters/ushers/host members/welcome table
  • Savvy greeter will begin to build a relationship and get contact info before the visitor even reaches the door. This is hard to do if the greeters visit too long in the fellowship hall before church.
  • Do we train greeters? There seems to be lots of opportunty for first impressions.

Connect after the service.
Need mingling space between sanctuary and the door. Make opportunity to visit before hitting the door.

Connect during worship.

  • Get contact information.
  • Prayer registration cards – follow through on the implied promise.
  • Contact cards include checkboxes for first time/re commitment to Jesus, I will be back, I will invite someone else.
  • Contact cards include checkboxes that include commitments sourced from the sermon.
  • Make a big deal of the contact and commitment. Publicize the fact that Jesus demands commitment.

During welcome time.
1)      Don’t race to see how many hands you can shake. Find ONE person you don’t already know. “I want to know you better.”
2)      “How long have you been coming here?”
3)      “What keeps you busy during the week?”
4)      If they are new, introduce them to the pastor. This makes them feel more important and accepted.
Followup – make an impression.

  • Visit within 24 hours of first visit.
  • Branded gift of value. Sorry, Vicky, but cookies don’t count. We need a lasting impression. No mugs – the world has enough mugs.
  • First visit is 2 minutes for card and visit.
  • Shortly later, another member of the congregation brings a goodie gift.
  • Handwritten invitation with next week’s sermon series and near-term events.
  • Maybe a Fedex box with stuff specifically for that visitor.
  • Brainstorm stuff that fits the community. Remember that they are unchurched or minimally churched.

Small Groups as Connectional Opportunities

  • Assimilation
  • Multiplication
  • Discipleship
  • Be careful with new folks or new groups with respect to:

o   Early accountability
o   Unwanted touch

  • Try short-term topical studies, quilting, TARGETED to help make some connections.
  • Start something new every month.
  • Long term small groups are effectively closed. That’s why its not always the best idea to invite someone to join an existing group, as friendly as they might be.

Provide low-commitment entry points that meet for just a few weeks.
“Welcome to Otterbein” (one meeting). Offer childcare and a really good meal.
Fellowship – mixers for the entire congregation.

#3 Apprentice

Connect to people by listening to their story before telling my story. Meet people where they are.
“Christian Education” <- lose this phrase because it implies facts and figures. While education is important, we too often want to stop here and as such fall short of our Great Commission goal to make disciples. How about “Christian Development” instead?
For example, we all know educated Christians that are still as mean as a snake. Because s/he knows the gospel, but doesn’t live it. We need more application than education.
What is a Christian leader?

  • Helps others reach their God-given potential.
  • Facilitates ministry through others (delegate).
  • It’s more important to help people be who God wants them to be than taking care of people.
  • Church leadership is in the business of transforming people.

Pastors who take care of people are in a church that max’s out at 150. We (the larger church) need to reduce our requirement that pastors take sole care of his/her congregation. This means
1)      Reducing the requirement that our pastor takes care of all the members’ needs.
2)      Laity steps up to the plate and fill those needs. E.g. “lay pastor” model.
“Personal potential” is not a fixed quantity. We need to see the potential in people, the same as God sees. “Sit and soak” folks are unfulfilled potential.
Committee work does not necessarily provide an outlet for someone’s potential.
Everybody has potential, but not all are ready yet. I can “wipe off the dust” and find someone who is ready to serve. Stop back later. E.g. “Why go after new people? Let’s reach out to the inactive folks first.” This is usually a bad idea because they already know everything they need to know about the church but make a concious decision not to contribute.
Every leader needs an apprentice. Shift from “doing” to “equipping”. What is my “to be” list (as opposed to a “to do” list). This is a list of people who I’m mentoring. I need to intentionally encourage growth.
“Passive learning” is the skill that knows how to pass tests. This promotes “sit and soak” attitude. Active learning (aka discipleship), that which is required to learn a trade, is taught during application – OJT.
One process has new people doing something on their first visit.
For example, how do I apply what I’ve learned today?
“Reverse mentoring” – pulling a skill from someone who already has it. If I am mentored, those who I mentor will be more open to it.
Here’s the progression
1)      I do, you watch
2)      You do, I watch
3)      You do, somebody else watches
What percentage of our congregation is in weekly, hands-on ministry?
We spend too much time with church people alone. Be careful about this because it robs the kingdom from its mission.
1)      Nobody holds more than one position.
2)      All leaders have an apprentice.
3)      All programs must have clear expectations. i.e. all projects are not acceptable
4)      All programs must be highly accountable to their expectations. This implies that we measure results and reduce programs that don’t produce expected results.
Delegation vs Empowerment
Task list, constraints, and status reports vs. stating goals and turning a trustworthy person loose. This is the growth path. Many leaders have a problem with empowerment.
Trust is earned when they consistently do what they say they will do. Only a trusted person can be empowered.
Traditional path:
Visitor > Member > Apprentice > Leader > Leader Leader > Pastor
What about this (with a deprecated Member role):
Guest > Apprentice > Leader > Leader Leader > Pastor
Always be watching for potential to move up the ladder.
Watch for people (including myself) that have held the same position for a long time. This hints of stagnant growth.
Most pastors rob the “priesthood of believers” by trying to do it all themselves.
Small Groups
Disciple-making, leadership development
Suggest lots of small groups that springboard their discussions off the sermon. This allows the “main” person be a facilitator alone and saves lots of preliminary work.
Geographically-based (live close together)
Mission-based, where they reserve one week/month to do mission instead of the regular meeting.
Fewer is better. Remember the previous “education” warning.
Finding God’s potential and someplace to plug in.

#4 Sending

Mission Evangelism
#1 heresy “We’re just a small church”
#2 heresy “We’re a service organization”
Any ministry we do anonymously is unfaithful to the gospel.
Any ministry we do hiding behind another church is unfaithful to OUMC.
Matthew 5:16 – the “who” is important; visibility is important so that God gets the credit.
“Backyard Missionary”
Be careful of sending dollars instead of missionaries. Proof: Christians are sending missionaries HERE. Sending money to the other side of the world is effective only if our own tribe is spiritually healthy.
Trifecta Outreach – this formula begets more ministry
1)      Blesses people being served (immediate)
2)      Blesses people serving (immediate)
3)      Creates visibility (note that it takes time for this to have an effect)
Identify the gaps in our community. What isn’t getting done that needs to be done that I can help with. “What do we need that we aren’t getting from the churches in the community?”
Never do outreach without followup.
Don’t be afraid to bend some rules.
There’s a 200-person barrier, typically maintained by a very small number of controlling people.
Look for a quick victory.
Visability, visibility, visibility. E.g. Cops directing traffic result in visibility. “Something is happening at that place.”
Pastor initiates:
1)      Cast a long range vision
2)      Hands on everything – emphasis on invitation
3)      Preach transformation and growth
1)      Start to delegate
2)      Hold leaders accountable
3)      Learn how to hire and fire
1)      Kingdom first
2)      Church second
3)      Me last
1)      Mentor
2)      Limit meetings
3)      Trust leaders or put someone in charge that can be trusted
4)      Guest integration
5)      Network with the unchurched
200-500 AWA (Average Worship Attendance)
Need specialists on staff. E.g. kids, youth, mission, music, etc.
Pastor spends time with staff, not with members. The STAFF provides pastoral care.
“Lead once removed” – we have to admit that we must lead people that we never come in contact with.
More 500-1000 and 1000+ AWA information here (I didn’t pay much attention. Yet.)
Don’t put the following people on the finance committtee:
Bankers, accountants, physicians, anyone getting paid every week. These folks are typically too frugal or too short-sighted to implement a valuable plan.