Part 2 – ORGANIZE
This is the second part in a series which comes from the 2016 Turnaround 2020 Plan Book. A full version of this plan book is available by download at www.Turnaround2020.net or by hard copy from Congregational Ministries, 573-785-7746.
A. Improve Your Worship Service
☐ What do we do well?
☐ What is confusing or threatening to guests?
☐ What is goofy and needs to be changed?
☐ What needs to be updated?
☐ Is there a growth barrier we are facing?
☐ Do we consider the first time visitor to be a guest?
☐ Is our worship dynamic small group or large group?
Since worship is THE entry point to almost every church these days, what we do in worship will set the stage for our success or failure to reach people. It is always nice to lead with your strength. So honestly ask yourself “What do we do well in our worship?” By asking that question you must also determine what you do not do so well or what you do poorly.
B. The Ministry of Record Keeping
First steps in evangelism, outreach, and turnaround begin with the behind the scenes ministry of good records. Record keeping strategies may be complex or simple. It really doesn’t matter as long as they are effective!
A quick look at the Bible illustrates the historical importance of numbers. There is even an Old Testament book called Numbers! The New Testament records the numbers of people who had lunch with Jesus—4,000 on one occasion; 5,000 on another—and even how they sat in groups of 50 (Luke 10:14).
BEHIND THE SCENES NUMBERS.
Some of the most important numbers only rarely make a ‘public’ appearance. That is, they are generally not communicated openly. However, they remain very important. The leader of a growing congregation will undoubtedly be aware of them.
1. The Size of the Crowd.
“If everyone had been here.” This statement often consoles us on low attendance days or celebrates a full house that would have been beyond capacity if everyone had been present on a high attendance day.
The crowd is composed of those folks who attend at least once in a while. One convenient measure of the crowd is to identify those folks who attend at least once every 6-8 weeks.
Why is it so important to know the size of and the identity of the crowd? The size of the crowd indicates the potential the church has to grow and impact people. The identity of those who make up the crowd indicates who it is that we are most likely to win to faith in Christ and faithfulness to His church.
2. Total Weekly Participation.
In the Family Based Church everyone attends everything. These churches function like an extended family. They are generally smaller in size. It is not uncommon for activities to be cancelled if even a few cannot attend.
A Program Based Church will have a more developed and diverse program where no one attends everything but everyone attends something. Total weekly participation, then, is a measure of who attended at least one ministry activity in a given week. It is determined by a cross reference of attendance reports so that everyone who attends at least once in the week is counted but is only counted one time per week for the overall participation level.
3. Percentage of the Congregation Present for Five Years or Less.
“I’m on my third congregation!” reported the pastor of a middle sized church. Having been pastor there for nearly 20 years he had discovered first hand that church folks are mobile. They move away. They drop out. Others drop in. Every year there are funerals!
Other measures of tenure could be used. A very important one is the percentage of folks who have become part of the congregation since the current pastor arrived.
Each of these measure the likelihood of leading change and maintaining relevance. Change is most likely when enough newer folks with newer ideas come into leadership roles. The pastor is most likely to lead change when a large percentage of the congregation has come into the church since he began his ministry.
Numbers will not track themselves. Use of some church management software or the development of a spreadsheet will make the task easier. In the church of 200 or fewer a good notebook and clipboard will cover most of the bases. Volunteer office helpers can do much of the record keeping. Whatever system is used, however, must ring true to the old adage “We count people because people count!”
C. Prepare for Guests
☐ Develop a Standardized Welcome
☐ Use Communication cards or other non-threatening means to gain guest information
☐ Greeter Training
☐ Hospitality Teams
☐ Be User friendly: park in the back—move to the front—scoot to the middle
☐ Plan for Follow-up
Note: Remember, regardless of music performance or message deliverance, a person must be welcomed into the church in a friendly and helpful way or the first impression of the church will be a negative one, and it will be unlikely that the guest will ever return a second time.
1. Develop a Standardized Welcome
“Good morning. Welcome to __________ church today. It’s so good to see you here! We have an engaging worship experience planned and I trust you received a worship folder (or program or guide or bulletin) as you entered today. If you didn’t receive one please raise your hand and one of our greeters will bring you one.
Inside the worship folder you will find an order of service with some information about what we will be doing, a sermon guide so you will be able to take notes and a communication card. We ask that our regular attenders please print your names and e-mail addresses along with any updated information and prayer concerns. If you are our guests today please complete as much information as you feel comfortable sharing. I want to assure you that we will not embarrass you or use this information irresponsibly but we will attempt to provide you with more information about our church.
I know there are a number of fine churches in our community that you could be attending today and that there are any number of other activities that could have taken your time, so I want to say “Thanks” for sharing the day with us.
Would you please stand with me as we being our worship with a prayer? Then please remain standing as we will sing together.”
2. The Communication Card
The best communication cards will include
- An obvious way to respond to become a Christian.
- A customized means of response to the day’s worship service.
- An opportunity to volunteer or sign up for special events.
- An avenue to report prayer concerns and praise reports.
A collection process at the conclusion of the service, even if the offering has been collected earlier, will also enhance the response process.
3. Greeter Training
Greeters should be organized and trained. Greeters should be friendly, knowledgeable people who are placed at strategic locations to meet and greet those who attend the worship service. Churches that do not have parking teams may find benefit to placing greeters on the parking lot. See the book Fusion by Nelson Searcy for more information on greeters. Another handy, targeted resource may be found in Church Greeters 101: Putting the Pieces Together for an Effective Greeting Team and Ministry by Christopher Walker.
4. Hospitality and First Impressions Team
Will refreshments be served? If so who will provide, prepare, serve and clean? Perhaps hospitality features should be introduced on special days or once each month. First impressions helps us understand how to make maximum impact on the guests the Lord sends to us. A handy resource will be found in First Impressions (Revised): Creating Wow Experiences in Your Church by Mark L. Waltz.
5. Be User Friendly
View everything through the lens of the first-time, unchurched guest. Announcements and church language need to be minimized or eliminated if they confuse the first-time guest.
D. Plan for Follow Up
Follow-up is essential if we are to conserve the results of our outreach efforts. Since each guest is a gift from the Lord each one should be treated as a special person.