You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2012.

I recently read a book that consisted of articles compiled from the Heath Brothers, the book was titled, “The Myth of the Garage” (you can find it on amazon).  One of the articles in the book is titled “I Love You.  Now What?”  In this article they discuss how many more people are complaining about things rather than trying to compliment things.  There are tons of places that let you call and complain, but do you remember even one time where there was a number to call to compliment someone on something they have done?

There is a lack of recognition for things done wrong, but what about things done right?  You should always be able to find the good even among the bad.  There should always be something positive that you can tell someone.

Now what about the church?  In my opinion, this complaining plague runs rampant even in our churches.  Whatever happened to letting  gratitude blossom?  When was the last time you found the positive in things even among the bad?  We as Americans, even as Christians, are very likely to only see the bad.  We like to complain about the bad, but we forget about the good.  Won’t the church grow even more and even faster if it is filled with happiness?

The article ends with this quote, “A thank-you creates a radiating halo of happiness—the receiver feels recognized and the giver feels joyful.”  So here is the challenge, look for the good.  Compliment people.  Try to start by complimenting and thanking at least one person a day for this whole week, and I would encourage you to not forget about your pastor or other church leaders.

“Today’s organizations face pressure to stay current, efficient and relevant.  This is especially true for nonprofit organizations, like churches,” said a Barna Group article.  In this article, Barna communicated the results of a survey of pastors of what they want to change in the future.

The first thing they stated that they wanted was clarity of vision and mission.  This is important to all organizations.  If an organization does not know their vision and mission, then they do not know what they are working toward and if a pastor does not know these things, then they cannot effectively communicate it to the congregation.  Barna noted that 22% of pastors selected this as a problem they hope to tackle in the future.

The second thing pastors (25%) said that they want to work on in the future is revamping their budget and investing in the churches future.  These investments would most likely be along the lines of facilities and equipment.

Thirdly, pastors hope to focus more on funding and staffing.  There are two things that churches almost always need, and that is money and volunteers.  It is no wonder that this is so high on the list.

The next thing that pastors stated they wanted to think about was the size of the church and the age of its leaders.  Many things that a pastor does depend on the size of the church.  Also, if there is no “fresh blood” coming into the church in terms of leadership, then it will become harder and harder to influence the incoming generation.

David Kinnaman, author of the Barna article, stated that “Like other organizational leaders, pastors are trying to right-size their efforts to the new economic, technological and social realities.”  According to this article, churches have many of the same concerns that other businesses have and they are too trying to make sure they stay relevant in the coming days.

“People see it as too worldly or gimmicky for the church to be marketing itself. But most of the same people who say it is sacrilegious also expect their church to have a website, a listing in the phone book or an ad in the phone book. To me, this is marketing.”

-John Mayer, executive director of City Vision, an organization that tracks religious demographics.

Churches too often think that the worship experience starts with the morning prayer.  There are some churches, however, who view that the moment you step out of your car as the point when the worship experience begins.  If your church begins to view worship in this way, will that not change the way people experience your church once they have one foot out of the car.  If you want people to experience Christ the moment they are in the parking lot, then everything starts to matter so much more.  If you want to have a car-to-car worship experience, then there are suddenly several things you need to think about.

 

The Parking Lot—Is parking easy?  Do we have guest spaces?  Do we need shuttles to make things easier?  Is it safe?  Do we need staff in the parking lot?

Greeters—Are our greeters trained and ready to welcome all people and direct them where they need to go?  Are they attentive?  Are they kind and welcoming?

Information—Is our info center easy to find and are the people welcoming and knowledgeable?  Do we have all the information that people may ask for?

Signs and Maps—Is everything well-labeled?  Easy to find?  Is our building overly complicated?  Do we need a map?  Are classrooms labeled and times and subjects posted?

Hallways—Are hallways clean?  Do the posters we put up look good and represent the themes and style of the church?

People—Are there people throughout the church to answer questions and direct people where they need to go?  Are we warm and welcoming but not overwhelming?

*see how much there is?  And we have not even gotten into the sanctuary yet.

Sanctuary—Is our sanctuary warm and inviting?  Do we have people around to help visitors find seats?  Are there people in each section to welcome people they do not recognize?

Welcome—Do we have a welcoming time for people to reach out and greet one another?  Do we extend a special welcome to visitors?  Do we have a chance to interact with visitors by having them fill out an information car?

Service—Do we have a service that is easy to follow and understand?  Do we communicate our message effectively and consistently?

Closing—Do we give an invitation?  Give a call to action to a next step?  When walking out of the sanctuary, are guests still interacted with?  Is there a guest package to be given to visitors?

Leaving—Is it easy to get out of the building?  The parking lot?  Is there a spoken invitation to come back?

 

There are many multiple other questions under these categories, and these are not even all the categories that need consideration.  So much more effort goes into a viewpoint like this, and when so much goes into it, people are bound to get even more out of it.

 

This is a very interesting blog post, brought to my attention by Luke Freeman (thanks Luke!) and I had a few thoughts that stemmed from my reading it.  Here’s the link if you would like to read it first, which I would encourage http://redpepperland.tumblr.com/post/20427035561/who-is-phillip-randoll

At one point the author says that Easter is “The Black Friday of church shopping” and then goes on to state that there are several similarities between evangelism and marketing.  By definition, evangelism is “the preaching and proclamation of the gospel” and marketing is “the total activities involved in the transfer of goods from producer or seller to the consumer or buyer”.  In some cases you cannot have effective evangelism without marketing.  Whether a church knows it or not, they are using marketing tactics every day.

Now, I am not encouraging exploitation or manipulation of a congregation, but I do not think it is wrong to use tactics that have been proven to work as long as it does not change your message or your values.  I think Easter can be a dangerous time for churches because of this blog.  People can see Easter advertising as “stunts” and “emotional marketing”, and so a church needs to be careful how they are promoting themselves.

All in all, we need to remember the true heart of Easter and never forget why we are celebrating it in the first place.  I do think that Easter is a good time to invite new people in, but churches need to remember the heart of it in the first place.  It can be difficult to not advertise too much as to lose the spirit of the sacrifice.

I wish I could think of something to write about every day.  I would love to wake up early, start my day with devotionals and writing.  I do not know if I am just out of ideas or if there is not much more to talk about in this subject.  Do you have any ideas?  What could I talk about?