Today we wrap up our Activate series @ The Journey as Adam Bishop, our Pastor of Groups, teaches on “The Habit of Friendship.” This has been a great series as we’ve discussed the five classic spiritual habits:
The Habit of Bible Study
The Habit of Prayer
The Habit of Generosity
The Habit of Solitude
and The Habit of Friendship (Fellowship)
We will most likely make this series available at CLI…I’ll let you know in a few weeks.
We have cancelled our Sunday evening services tonight and replaced it with a servant evangelism outreach to students at New York University…should be a fun day!
Personally, I’m off today and will be catching the services at some of the newer churches in the city.
Have a great Sunday!
“There are painters who transform the sun to a
yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their
art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.”
— Pablo Picasso: was a Spanish Artist and Painter.
First Time Guests want to get information about your church when they are ready to receive it – not when you want to give it to them.
So the question to ask yourself is:
Are you making information about your church readily available to your guests?
Examples of this include:
- Putting out easy to find brochures about key areas of your church, such as children’s ministry, small groups, etc. You can place these on a guest table so that they are easy to find.
- Making free CDs and DVDs available that go in depth on the questions newcomers may have about the faith. One of our most popular DVDs is a message I did entitled “What Does It Mean to Be a Christian?”
- Having friendly members who are willing and trained to answer common first time guest questions.
Over the next few weeks, think through how you can make information available to your guests when they are ready. And remember, First Time Guests want three things that we’ve discussed this week:
1. To fit in with everyone else attending.
2. To be anonymous.
3. To get more information as they are ready.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend!
P.S. Watch for an email from CLI today about a Labor Day Sale….$9 downloads on most of our single resources. Sale starts at 10:00am today and ends at 11:59pm on Monday. Click the “Store” link above.
On Tuesday I said that an unchurched first time guest wants at least three things…
1. To fit in with everyone else attending
2. To be anonymous
3. To get more information as they are ready
Let’s talk about #1 today. A first time guest wants to fit in with everyone else attending. This means that you want to:
- Avoid singling them out in any way. Allow them to identify themselves. See my earlier post for more on this.
- Provide directions for what to do and when to do it. This means that you want to provide clear directions both in signage and from the stage, so that a first time guest doesn’t ever feel lost or confused.
One big area where you should provide direction for newcomers is in the worship service itself. This means you give instructions on when to ‘stand up’ and when to ‘bow your head and pray’ (beware of prayers that just start and leave newcomers standing with heads up while everyone else bows their hands).
In general, just a few small instructions throughout the service can help newcomers fit in. This not only leads to a great first time experience but highly increases the likelihood they will return. And that’s the first goal of assimilation: to turn a first time guest into second time guest.
Action step: think through your entire worship service and ask, “Am I giving my first time guests enough instructions so they can ‘fit in’ with everyone else.” Next, think through signage from the parking lot to children areas to the main auditorium. Can people figure out where to go without having to ask someone?
Tomorrow we’ll discuss why first time guests want to remain anonymous.
P.S. For a complete treatment of my full assimilation system (that goes way beyond the Fusion Book or the basic seminar) check out The Assimilation Intensive by clicking here.
I’m excited to announce that The Fusion Seminar is coming to the greater Los Angeles area.
OK, so actually its Orange County – which is even better…near Los Angeles but closer for my friends in San Diego.
If you are anywhere within driving distance (or Southwest Flight), then consider this your invitation to join me on Thursday, September 18 at The Crossing Church in Costa Mesa, CA for The Fusion Seminar from 9:00am – Noon. Early bird registration is only $39 per person.
Group rates are available, just email cristina (at) churchleaderinsights.com for all the details.
P.S. I would appreciate any help you can offer in getting the word out about this seminar! Like everything we do here at CLI, we rely on word of mouth marketing.
SYSTEM #7: THE LEADERSHIP SYSTEM
Welcome back to the weekly, Wednesday “Where There’s Slack There’s Lack” series! If you’ve been following along with us for the last six Wednesdays, let me commend you for putting in the effort to take your systems up a notch. As we learned a couple of weeks ago, effort = excellence when it comes to building stronger systems!
Today, we’re going to be diving into the Leadership System. This is the system that asks, “How do you develop leaders at all levels of your church?”
As your church grows, you will need to develop leaders at every level – staff, lay leaders and high power volunteers. A well-planned Leadership System will make sure you are developing the right people in the right ways. This system will help you with staff management, organizational efficiency, and personal development.
To get an idea of how things are going with your Leadership System, ask yourself these questions:
- When was the last time I invested in developing new leaders?
- How am I helping my current leaders grow personally and spiritually?
- Am I modeling the kind of leadership I want to see from my leaders?
- Are any of my levels of leadership in need of more people?
Here are a few tips to help you start structuring this system for health: Define the expectations of every leadership position in your church. Assign requirements for each role, and make sure that you don’t let anyone blindly climb the leadership ladder. And put deadlines on service roles, so that everyone who agrees to serve in a high level volunteer position knows that it isn’t forever.
I encourage you to carve out some time this week to sit down with your Leadership System. Think through your leader development process. Take a hard look at who is moving up through the ranks and make sure that you have enough leaders at all levels of service. Pick up and scan a book on leadership that you might want your staff to read together.
By the way – Don’t forget to make the connections between systems. The Ministry System that we discussed two weeks ago is a direct inroad to the Leadership System. Everything works together for optimal success.
The more attention you give your Leadership System, the better the leaders you’ll attract. So make this your mantra for the week:
In my Leadership System, attention = attraction.
P.S. – If you haven’t already, make sure you download the free Church Systems Report, which details all eight systems and how they work together.
Is anyone at your church asking attenders if they are first time guests?
If so, could I kindly encourage you to have them stop asap?
In my Assimilation Seminar, I encourage you to have a Guest Table where you offer first time guests a free gift. For example, we currently offer first-timers a free copy of the book One Month To Live by Kerry Shook, with a welcome letter from me.
The books are stacked on a table near the exit. There is no one there asking those who pick up the book if they are first time guests. We allow guests to self-identify themselves and take the books without being pointed out or questioned.
Newcomers don’t want to be identified as newcomers. Unfortunately, I’ve seen…
- Churches that have a ‘monitor’ at their book table asking: “Are you a First Time Guest?”
- Churches that have their greeters asking: “Are you a First Time Guest?”
- Ushers come through the auditorium asking: “Are you a First Time Guest?”
I’m in favor of allowing guests to identify themselves and pick up a free gift or even attend a post-service gathering (like the 10-Minute Party that many churches do). But asking someone if they are a guest is off-putting and can actually push first-timers away from your church. Here’s why:
An unchurched first time guest wants at least three things…
- To fit in with everyone else attending
- To be anonymous
- To get more information as they are ready
I’ll be posting more on all three of these starting Thursday, so check back!
For now, make a decision to allow your first time guests to attend without having to answer the awkward, off-putting question: “Hey, Are You A First Time Guest?!”
P.S. If you are new to my blog and you want more on How to Turn First Time Guests into Fully Engaged Members of Your Church, check out these resources on Assimilation by clicking here. And, welcome to the conversation!
Personally I’m taking a few days off this week but I’ve got some great blog posts scheduled so keep checking back here daily.
I would call my time off this week ‘vacation’ but its really not. Kelley and I are renovating our apartment. OK, ‘renovating’ is a strong word as we aren’t knocking out any walls but we are doing a major overhaul and moving our 2 year old out of the foyer into his own bedroom.
Here’s what else is happening with Church Leader Insights and me this week that may be of interest to you.
Monday – Vacation. Maybe I’ll see you at Pottery Barn Kids!
Tuesday – The absolute last day for you to apply for my Tele-Coaching Network for Senior Pastors.
Wednesday – I’m off most of the day but I’ll also be putting the final touches on the first lesson of tomorrows Tele-Coaching Network. I’m also hoping to announce a September date for a Fusion Seminar in the Los Angeles area.
Thursday – The first session of my new Tele-Coaching Network for Senior Pastors. The response to this has been overwhelming! Other than the blog, I’ve promoted this network in two emails and we have had hundreds of applications. I’m very excited about the group that will be on today’s call. This may end up being the most significant coaching network I’ve ever done.
Friday – I’ll be back at the office today working on messages for September. I also need a title for a Christmas series, any suggestions?
Saturday – I’ll be doing some final prep work for our outreach tomorrow at New York University.
Make it a great week!
P.S. If you have a church growth question you’d like to see me address in a future blog post, just use the Ask Nelson button on the right of this page.
Today I’m hosting a brief reception for members after each of our services. It will be a 30 minute reception where I cast vision for the fall and provide key updates to our members. The basic purpose for this is similar to the Newcomers Reception (which I wrote about here) but the focus is on members.
Since last year I’ve been working harder to communicate vision to our members and the top 10% of leaders in our church. Today’s reception is part of that effort.
I normally invite members to join me for a couple of times a year for a special Sunday afternoon lunch. This time, I decided to do a series of shorter, more intimate gatherings for members after each service. So far, the total RSVP’s for the receptions have outpaced the single lunch (more options = more people).
Since I’ll be tied up with the receptions today, Chris Brady who leads The Journey -San Francisco will be teaching today at all four services. Chris has a great story and is doing a fantastic job in downtown San Francisco – check out his website here.
Off to the first service….have a great Sunday!
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