Some of us have a difficult time accepting the reality that God loves us unconditionally. Often, because of traumatic experiences in our childhoods or our more recent pasts, we have a hard time imagining that anyone—God included— could possibly value us. We ask ourselves, Why should God want to be with me? Just look at how messed up I am. Or we may think, I haven’t been able to rely on anyone in my life. At one time or another, they’ve all let me down. Why would God be any different?
A well-planned interview for a new leader at your church is a critical part of the hiring process. Rather than “winging it” or asking the “same old, same old” questions, take time to plan the interview. It’s important to get a clear picture of the candidate in these three areas:
I hear a lot of pastors debate the need for a quality experience at the expense of connecting and growing the vast majority of their congregations and their communities into their group system. I also hear the reverse of this, which is, in order to embrace a large quantity of groups, then quality must somehow be sacrificed.
We approach ministry as if we have all the time in the world. Somehow we think our people will live forever, and so will the people our people need to reach for Christ. But let’s be honest, we don’t have the luxury of time.
The apostle Paul didn’t have the luxury of time either. Reviewing his journeys in the book of Acts, Paul never spent more than 6-18 months in any one location, yet in his quest to spread the gospel throughout the known world and to reach Spain, he put leaders in place everywhere he planted a church and then gave them the crash course on ministry. We would call this “quick and dirty” before we would call it “quality.” Paul gave them their marching orders and then basically instructed them, “Do the best you can. The Holy Spirit will guide you. If you run into trouble, then send me a letter.” Then, Paul was off to the next place.
In living with the tension between the quality and quantity of ministry, I want you to consider these words from Peter Drucker on the Profession of Management:
Tags: Small Groups
In today’s world every church has data management needs. Managing church data doesn’t sound profound or spiritual, but it’s necessary. That’s why Church Management Software (ChMS or CMS for short) systems are wildly popular resources for church leaders. Since the 1980s entrepreneurs have been making software specifically designed for managing churches. As time has marched on and technology has progressed the abilities of ChMS systems has dramatically improved. As a result there are better services and products available for church management than ever before. If you are in the market for a ChMS, you will most likely want a system that includes the following much-in-demand features:
Leadership Network has once again released a study that church leaders should consume to understand the dynamics of leading today. This study is all on large Canadian churches and what we learn from them. It points out things these churches have done well, which caused them to grow and reach a younger audience. Even if your church isn’t considered large, you can still take some tips from the Leadership Network’s study to help in growing your own ministry.
Have you ever noticed that of the 10 Commandments, God gives the largest description to one? Four verses devoted to explaining to this one commandment and I think it's possibly the most violated commandment in our culture. What is it?
A tool nearly every church is finding indispensible is Church Management Software (ChMS or CMS for short). As an exponentially growing number of churches begin using ChMS systems, the need evolving and improving products is quickly increasing. It’s interesting that some of the best innovations in ChMS products come not from the developers but from the users. In other words, churches are helping shape the evolution of ChMS products. Those who use the products every day know what they really need, so their feedback is vital to ChMS growth.
Tags: New Release
Online giving is no longer a fringe concept for churches. Churches all over the world are making it possible for donors to give via the internet. But what are the hidden costs? What are the benefits of the different methods for online giving? How do you understand all the online giving lingo and jargon? This article will answer these questions.
Tags: Online Giving
They used to attend.
They used to volunteer.
They used to give.
But for one reason or another, they have fallen away. They are no longer active. They are no longer participating.
They are still in the database but they are inactive in the church.
It’s likely they didn’t leave in a huff or make a scene. They just faded away. Even now as you’re reading this, a few people come to mind. “I wonder what happened to them,” you think.
We spend a lot of time and energy trying to close the back door (and we should), but what if we could bring some of these people back into the family?
In this article, I want to share with you four steps to re-engaging people who used to be a part of the church but are no longer active participants. I want to give you ideas to invite these people back into the church through the back door.
Step One: Make a list
In every church, there are people who used to attend, but haven’t been in six months are more. There are people who used to give, but who have not made any donation this year. There are people who used to serve, but they aren’t doing it anymore.
So the first step is to run your reports and make your list.
You can track attendees through children’s and student ministry. You can run a donation report through your church management software. And you can ask your team leaders who is missing.
You can look at records, but you can also brainstorm with your team. Your mission in this step is just to come up with your list.
This would be a great project to do every six months.
Step Two: Ask Questions
Once you have your list of people who could re-engage with your church, it’s time to do some real work.
Don’t send mass emails or form letters. Those don’t work. They are cold and only hint at a desire to reconnect. Instead, it’s time to do the work of a pastor.
Call them on the phone and ask questions.
It’s more efficient to text and email, but your mission here is to create conversations, not simply invite someone back to church. Your goal is to find out what happened and where people are spiritually.
When you call, say something like this…
Hey, this is Jimmy from Cross Church. I want you to know I’m not going to ask you do anything, but I’d love to learn from you today. Do you have about 10 minutes to chat.
If they give you permission, it’s time to ask a few questions and listen.
- I know you used to attend pretty regularly, but you’re not anymore…did something happen? Did we do anything to push you away?
- I know you used to serve with Guest Services, but James tells me it’s been a while. I’m not trying to guilt you into serving again, but I’d love to know about your experience there.
- You used to financially support the church, but it looks like something changed, and I just wanted to see if something happened in your life where we could help.
Your questions might catch people off guard, so remind them you’d really love to know and give them permission to share. If you ask open-ended questions and give people permission to share honestly, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn.
This is tough.
You’re going to hear things you don’t like. But in this moment, you don’t need to defend , you need to listen.
Several months ago, I helped one of my business clients with a product launch. When it didn’t go as expected, I suggested they call people who indicated interested but did not make a purchase. I offered to call 10 or 20 people myself.
As I made these cold calls (scary!), I said, “Hey, this is Michael and I’m not calling to sell you anything today, but if you have 5 minutes, I’d really love to learn from you.” Everyone was willing to talk and share their experience and their responses really helped us take the next step.
Something like this could help your church in a big way. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll create conversations. You could even involve others in the process and make it a bi-annual project.
Step Three: Help Them Find a New Place
As you have conversations, you’ll find that some people have moved on. In this case, you can skip to step four.
But you’ll also find a lot of people in need of a pastor. For these people, it’s time to step in and shepherd them to the right place.
If they had a bad experience with one ministry, maybe they should connect with someone else. If they didn’t connect with one small group, perhaps they would connect with another. If they stopped attending because something happened in their personal life, maybe you need to remind them the church is place of grace and they are welcome.
If there’s an issue, you might meet them for coffee and continue the conversation.
If it’s appropriate, you can personally connect them to another staff member, another group leader, or another volunteer team leader.
Personally guiding people back into the life of the church is not efficient. But neither is discipleship.
You cannot mass produce disciples, and when it comes to reconnecting people, you’ll have to be willing to go one at a time.
Step Four: Say Goodbye with Grace
In the end, your church might not be the place where they need to serve Jesus and share the gospel with the world. Another church might be a better fit.
While it’s tough to see people leave, say goodbye with grace. If you reach this point, you’ll know you’ve done everything you know to connect them and minister to them. It might be a necessary ending.
In your initial conversation or in the developing conversation, if it’s apparent the person has already connected elsewhere or is a better fit at another church, show love.
Like a friend who leaves your home, say goodbye with a smile and don’t slam the door.
Be mature. Be Godly. Be nice.
You, your church, and the person will all be better because of this process.