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The Barna Group has published an interesting interview about a new look/trend of evangelism.  I found it to be very interesting and something that I had not thought of before.

In the article, the Barna Group published some figures from it’s research: “According to Barna research, only 4% of unchurched adults were invited to church by a friend and actually went, 23% were invited but declined, and 73% were never invited at all.”  At first I found this pretty shocking, but then I thought, “when was the last time that I invited someone to church.”  Hmmm…if other Christians are like me then maybe this statistic isn’t as shocking as I thought (sadly).

I would encourage you to check out this article about the new way that we can try and reach our non-Christian friends, neighbors and people we meet.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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Here is a really interesting article from Relevant Magazine on tithing.  The numbers in this article really shocked me.

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/what-would-happen-if-church-tithed

Are you walking around in the dark without a flashlight?

Your church is if you do not have a vision.

From MindTools.com:  “The vision statement communicates both the purpose and values of the organization. For employees, it gives direction about how they are expected to behave and inspires them to give their best. Shared with customers, it shapes customers’ understanding of why they should work with the organization.”

Does your church have a way to inspire and direct your congregation?  If you do not have a vision statement that is over-communicated to your congregation, then how do they know what your church is all about?  How do they know what their purpose is within the church?  You’re asking them to follow you around in the dark and neither one of you have a flashlight or know where you’re going.

I encourage you to think of a mission and vision of your church and make sure it is well communicated.  This way the leadership of the church has a flashlight and so do all of your members, so no one is bumping around in the dark.

In order for your church to grow, you need to be ready to grow.  One way to do this is to make sure that you are visitor friendly.  I recently heard that the people in a congregation will usually only invite their friends if they think their friends will be able to follow what is going on in the service.

So ask yourself, if a visitor walked into your church, would they be able to follow along?  Would they understand what is happening?  Try to look at your church and the services through the lens of a visitor.  You must over communicate everything.

I would suggest doing it now, so you are ready for those visitors.  Some people in the congregation might not understand the over communication.  They might say, “Why do you have to tell us what we are doing every week?  We already know what is going on.”  They may know what is going on, but maybe a visitor will not.

Also, you need to have some way to connect with visitors, but also give them a way out if they are not comfortable being singled out.  A good way to do this is tell them where the pastor or staff member will be to greet visitors.  That gives them the choice to either go and introduce themselves or sneak out if they are uncomfortable.  The goal should be to make their transition into your church comfortable and painless.

I think you’ll find that you’ll get more visitors when you are prepared for them.  When you are prepared for growth to happen, that is when it is more likely to happen.

Conflict.

It’s true.  It happens to everyone.  And it shouldn’t be the dirty word of the church.  We should not pretend that everything is great and that we do not have conflict because that is simply not true.  We need to talk about it because every church experiences it.

Every relationship goes through conflict.  Sometimes conflict can even make relationships stronger.  Think about all the relationships that there are in the church.

Yep, that is a lot of opportunity for conflict.  One very important thing that we need to realize is that conflict is a reality for every congregation, no matter how loving or caring they are.  It’s just going to happen, there will be conflict, we cannot prevent it.  We might as well accept it and learn how to deal with it.  Since every relationship is going to have conflict, the way conflict is dealt with can be a way for the church to prove that it is different.  And to show the love of Christ.

Here are some ways that churches should handle conflict (between members, between leadership, between other church, etc.).

1-Take a deep breath and pray
A good way to pray away conflict is by taking a deep breath and praying the fruits of the spirit.  “God, help me to be loving, to find joy in the situation, and to seek peace. Give me patience.  Help me to be kind, good, and faithful.  And most important give me self-control.  Help me to be long to listen and slow to speak.”  That is just one idea.  But prayer is a must.  Any way to get you focused on God and to set your heart right.

2-Try to figure out your own part in the conflict
Ask yourself, what you did wrong, how you reacted badly, what was your role in this conflict.  You need to get the log out of your eye before you can try to address the speck in your neighbors eye.  So, analyze yourself first and be ready to admit where you went wrong.

3-Address and resolve the conflict face-to-face (with that person!)
This step is super important.  Don’t complain on Facebook or other social media about the problem (it just makes it worse).  Don’t tell everyone else about the problem, unless you are prayerfully seeking council.  Don’t look for people to back you up.  Talk to the person involved face to face so that nothing gets lost in translation.  Also, address the problem one on one.  Do not take anyone with you.  The person could feel gained up on and will most likely not be willing to talk to you.

4-Be willing to forgive
Always take a heart of forgiveness with you into any of these discussions.  Focus on loving the person and restoring the relationship, not attacking them for what they did wrong.  Love first.

5-If face to face, one on one does not work, find a mediator
If you have tried to talk to the person one on one, face to face, and they do not care, or you cannot resolve the conflict between the two of you, ask them if you can bring in someone you both trust to help you resolve things.  Don’t just bring in your closest ally and not tell the other person, because again they will feel ganged up on.  Find someone you both trust and you both think will help you resolve the conflict.

Do you run into conflict in your church often?

Do you have any other helpful tips?

Do you think the size of the church should matter as to whether or not a church should have small groups?

Can a church be too big or too small for small groups?

It is my opinion that small groups can be incredibly powerful for any size church.
For big churches, small groups can be a great way for people to feel connected to a church and a community when that might otherwise be hard.  It can be an opportunity to get on the deeper level, which is why I think it is also important for small churches.  In smaller churches, they usually have bigger sunday school classes of all ages because they don’t have as many people to teach, or maybe if they split up the groups would be too small for sunday school.  In smaller churches, small groups can be a good way to break up into age groups or even interest groups.

In any church small groups can be good because it gives people another chance to interact with the gospel.  I currently attend a small church with attendance usually around 50-80 people.  And we do not have small groups, but I wish we did.  I teach the children’s sunday school class, so I miss the opportunity to be fed in a smaller setting than the sunday morning service.  It would be nice to have a time to dig deeper with a smaller group, which I do not get during sunday school because I am teaching.  Therefore, sunday school can give your teachers a chance to get involved with other adults.

This also leads to the question of what the size of the small groups should be, but that is a question for another time.

Do you think the church size matters when it comes to the importance of small groups?

I have been talking a lot about social media in the church and its importance, but we also need to remember that social media is never a substitute for authentic Christian community.

With all the social media sites that you can connect with people these days (some pictured to the left), you have to be very intentional about not letting that be your only form of communication.  I recently read a blog post on this subject and I wanted to share some of the things that I took away from it.  If you would like to read the blog post, you can find it here.

The authors, Eric Geiger, Matt Chandler, and Josh Patterson start of the post by saying that our faith cannot be private.  They stated that while our faith and relationship with Christ is very personal, that does not make it private.  They go on to say that we have been “individually saved by Christ, but you are not the only individual saved.”  We were made to be in community with other Christians, to support each other, to share our highs and lows.  Geiger, Chandler, and Patterson say that “connectivity does not equate to community,” which is something we must always keep as our focused.  Just because we are connected with someone on social media does not necessarily mean that we are in community with them or have a relationship.

One of my best friends, Lauren, also writes a blog.  I can read her blog posts as soon as she publishes them, but it is not the same as hearing it from her.  It is very hard to have a strong relationship completely across the computer.  If the only communication that my husband and I had was across Twitter or Facebook, we would not have the same relationship that we have face to face.

We need to remember to be intentional in creating community with other believers.  We need to seek them out and set aside time to engage with them, face to face.  Christianity is not a journey that anyone can easily take alone.  Our communications as churches to our congregations cannot all be over social media.

The blog post closes with this thought:  “So although we are more connected then we have ever been, we also feel more alone and unknown then at any other time in human history.”  And I completely agree with this.  Communities are so much stronger when they are face to face, intentional and mutually investing in each other.

Don’t forget about creating relationships and community because Christianity is all about relationships, not just connectivity.

Churches are like people. 
They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and like people, it’s what is going on in the inside that matters.

The photos came from the following websites:
http://www.christculturenews.com/10-largest-churches-in-america/
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/pioneer-church-at-christmas-time-utah-images.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Christ_Church,_Detroit_MI.jpg

I have been trying to read more blogs for inspiration. I have had a bit of a writer’s block when it comes to blogging about church marketing. I am still very passionate about the topic, but without being in school or in a church that does a lot of church marketing, I find it hard to find topics to write about. So, I have gone searching for content. One blog that I have been reading is Leadership Freak. While it is not directly about churches, I definitely think much of what he writes about can be applied. I really enjoyed his blog post today titled “How to Get Where You Want to Grow.” I encourage you to check it out.

I want to highlight a couple of things that the blogger mentioned. First he says that “everyone wants to grow but now everyone wants to step from the known into the unknown.” Doing something you have never done before takes a huge leap of faith. But, how are you ever going to grow if you never do anything new? If we keep doing the same old things day after day, we will keep getting the same results. Someone once said that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. How can our churches expect to grow if we are not taking a chance and giving us a chance to grow?

The blogger gives four steps for if you want to grow:
1-Hang with people out of your league
2-Say yes and I’ll try
3-Trust
4-Evaluate after, not during, stretch experiences

I think these are four very important things to remember. Especially for those in churches. The first idea is that of mentorship, in my opinion. You need to hang out with people who you want to emulate and who do things better than you do. This gives you an opportunity to learn and grow. One way a church leader could apply this is by meeting with pastors in churches bigger than their own. The next two points go hand in hand. You must trust, say yes, and try things. You cannot be afraid to try new things. If you are too afraid to step out, then how can God provide dramatic results and growth? And finally, see it through. Complete your goal and then look back and evaluate it. If you are always evaluating as you go, then you can lose the point of why you stepped out in the first place.

The blogger sums the who idea of how to grow very nicely: “We never grow until we do something we have not done before.”

So here’s my challenge, do something you have never done before and see where it takes you. You may be surprised.

A lot of churches are rooted in tradition.  They do the things that they have always done.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but my question to them would be simple:  why?  And if their answer is “…I don’t know…” then it might be time to either: figure it out, or do something that you know the reason why you are doing it.

Doing something just because you have always done it is a bad reason to do anything in my opinion.  It is interesting what kinds of things in churches have never changed simply because that’s always how they have done it.  I just want churches like this to ask why and to examine themselves.  Maybe the tradition shouldn’t be the tradition any more.  Maybe you need to do something new.  The church is most likely not the same as when they started doing things that way, so why should it continue that way?

I would encourage you, if you are in a church full of traditions or not, to always ask why.  Always have a reason for what you are doing.  Because one day there might be a visitor in your church or a non-believer who asks why, and you want to be able to give them a better answer than, “because that’s what we do.”