How a Better How Helps Every Leader

“People respond not primarily to what you do, but to how you’re being … toward them.”

The goal of every leader is to develop people. But if you’ve spent any time in a leadership role, you know it’s not easy. That’s why there are thousands of books, seminars, and blog posts written on the topic.

If we want to cultivate the kind of authentic life change in the people we lead, there’s one thing that matters more than anything else – authentic leadership. Authentic church leadership produces authentic results – members and volunteers that consistently convey a genuine love for their work and a commitment to your vision to help you reach your better ‘how’ through ministry.

So how can we as church leaders express our genuine motives and cultivate life change? Here are a few key ideas:

  1. Process – your HOW – must be considered first. Process should be mapped out with a core team, which includes the people with the authority to make it happen and hold people accountable. Document the process and ask this question: If all we had were people, pencils, and paper to execute the process, would it work? If the answer is ‘yes, then you have a solid process.
  2. Then determine your WHY. Church leadership must articulate why their vision and new strategy matter to them, the church, and the staff. If no one knows why they matters, the strategy will fail.
  3. Check yourself. The first sign that you might be in danger of falling into the trap of inauthentic leadership is believing you’re not susceptible to it. The greatest obstacle to engaging a broad base of people in your church in authentic community could be that you’ve lost touch as a leader with the people you’re leading.
  4. Start with your staff. Your staff knows the truth about your church more than any other subgroup in your church. A church whose stated values don’t line up with the values expressed in the church offices Monday through Friday will leave staff leadership feeling cynical and limited in their ability to ignite ministry activity. Authentic community starts with the staff.
  5. Embrace authenticity in every area of ministry, not just your preaching. Many pastors think authenticity only comes from the pulpit. However, the weekend message is only a springboard to authenticity. Creating authentic experiences doesn’t happen in an hour on Sunday morning; it comes from adopting a mindset of authenticity in everything we do.
  6. Find systems – your WHAT – that support and sustain. From supporting the efficiency of a process to making sure gaps are closed, systems exist to help us do process better. This is where technology begins to enter the conversation.
  7. The right technology accelerates and scales your processes for growth. Everyone needs to get this – not just the ‘tech-savvy people. This is one of the primary goals to consider when evaluating technology. ‘Techies’ don’t always have the full view into the vision and processes technology must support, yet they are often the ones making the decisions about which technology is best for your church. Prepare for misalignment when you let this happen.

And once you develop and implement a leadership strategy and process, you’ll need to apply those same guiding principles to filling your leadership pipeline.

Because – if you’re like many church leaders – you may often feel like your church has more ministry to do than people or time to do it. And if you’re a good leader who values healthy ministry, you will constantly face this challenge; it comes with the territory.

While so many church leaders say they value the idea of developing more leaders, few have processes in place to implement and measure the idea.

Tony Morgan suggests, “However many hours you are paid for or volunteer, you should take 20 percent of those hours to invest in other leaders.”

But how do you implement the 20-percent rule for developing leaders in your ministry?

Here are three simple ways church leaders can implement Tony’s 20-percent rule:

  1. Make it a priority. When you’re faced with those overwhelming times of ministry, consider that the feeling is an indicator that it’s time to do one of two things: simplify or delegate. Tony points out that you don’t just wake up one day with a healthy leadership team. You have to prioritize it and then build new systems to make it happen.
  2. Equip, then ask. Growing your ministry and growing leaders work hand-in-hand. Potential leaders need to go through an intentional discipleship process before they are ever approached about taking on leadership responsibilities.
  3. Develop a pipeline for multiplying leaders. Leaders don’t materialize out of thin air. Determine what this process looks like for your specific church and what characteristics you are seeking in potential leaders. Churches experience exponential growth when they disciple in their community and build a leadership pipeline.

When you align your HOW (processes), WHY (vision) and WHAT (systems) with your leadership pipeline, you can directly – and positively – impact how those systems will produce the results you desire.

Dedicating a portion of your time toward authentic leadership and multiplying leaders is about more than getting rid of an overwhelming feeling. Ultimately, it’s about impacting more lives as you and your leaders begin to lead and care for those that are touched by your ministry.

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What Church Leaders Must Know About Going Multi-Site

For churches with plans to go multi-site, navigating what should be unique about each campus and what needs to be consistent can be tricky. Because no matter the number of campuses your church has or plans to have, multiplication is the goal – multiplying believers, ministries, groups and churches.

So if you are considering going multi-site, it’s important to stay focused on multiplying the mission of God – and not just your brand of church or the reach of one person.

So how can churches successfully expand their reach?

Strategy.

This is what is at the heart of planning for multi-site success: If you don’t have a plan, multi-site won’t work. Churches who experience rapid growth – and who maintain that growth – place a premium on intentional and strategic leadership. And strategic leaders understand that what they do has eternal significance. Church leaders have been entrusted with the spiritual care of many and to steward that carefully, they must consider strategy an important facet of their pastoral responsibility.

Leadership Development.

Multi-site ministry is about multiplying the reach of one church; it’s about one church meeting in different locations. If multiplication is the goal, then church leaders should keep developing new leaders at the center of what they do. That’s not just staff leadership but volunteer leadership, too.

Central Services.

This is one of the strongest arguments for multi-site campus development: The ability to share leadership and resources is the best stewardship decision churches can make.

And with your three key ingredients for a successful venture into multi-site now identified and defined, you’ll need to consider your church’s financial health and the ‘stories’ your numbers tell you in an effort to make your multi-site campus become self-sufficient in the shortest time possible.

Because starting a new campus is tough. Sustaining an existing campus is even tougher. But nothing compares to trying to keep a campus afloat when it becomes a big drain on the operational budget. It can really erode the excitement around your multi-site ministry.

Excitement can very quickly evolve into fear and worry as you infuse more money into your expansion campuses than you may have anticipated or budgeted, causing it to become an enormous cash burden.

So you should (and can!) understand the financial needs of what it will take to have a successful multi-site ministry before you make the leap. Here are a few tips to help your multi-site campus become self-sufficient as quickly as possible:

Buy nothing!

Buildings are short-term solutions with long-term consequences. Figure out the balance between what you need and what you need right now. The building you can afford to buy now will be too small in a few years, and you won’t be able to get the majority of that money back.

Find existing spaces that don’t need a lot of work.

These spaces typically have a good number of resources available such as seating, a stage, lighting, and audio/visual equipment in the auditorium. Not only can this offer incredible savings, but it puts you directly in touch with the families in the community.

Don’t just rent space from them – invest in them. Engage the parents in painting projects at the school, putting coats on needy kids, and making sure that hungry children are fed at lunch.

Once the campus has reached its full growth potential in attendance and giving, you can start to look at the next steps.

Meet in another church or rent a ‘timeshare’ space.

This is a great option that few churches consider. There are so many churches out there that hold only one service. Let them do their service at nine, and pay them for letting you do your service at 11.

Lease improvements/retrofits and purchasing are two very expensive options. Renting a ‘timeshare’ space can save your campus a ton of money, and help your campus get to self-sufficiency faster.

Include your campus pastor in all of the financial conversations.

Your campus pastor is the one who’s going to be building relationships with your new church members. Therefore, they will be primarily responsible for cultivating generosity at your new location. Sit down with your campus pastor, and talk about the financial plan along with a cost structure. Set goals. Follow up on them.

Grow towards your people.

A campus is an extension of your existing church, which is what makes it different than a plant or a satellite church. Use the Church Community Builder Donor Analysis Report to see where the largest – or fewest – number of your giving units drive from to attend church. If there are a decent number of people who are driving more than 15–20 minutes to attend your church from a certain area, you should have a very good idea of where your next campus should be.

You shouldn’t launch a new campus until you know how you plan to become financially stable and how long it will take you get there. That doesn’t mean there won’t be unexpected surprises along the way. It just means everything won’t be a surprise and you will be able to move forward with an even greater sense of confidence, knowing you’ll be able to sustain what you started.

The quicker your campus moves from startup to self-sufficient, the sooner you can begin planning your next launch.

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Clarity Process

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How Technology Can Ease Your Small Group Ministry’s Growing Pains

As a church grows bigger, it must also grow smaller. This is a common rule of thumb shared among church leaders. People actively involved in small groups ministry are more likely to be financially generous, willing to volunteer, and generally more consistent in participation than those who aren’t actively participating in a small group.

The value of small groups is uncontested in most ministry circles. In fact, some leaders suggest the health of a church hinges upon the health of its small groups ministry. Whatever role small groups play, it is certainly one which affects many other dimensions of local church ministry.

So how can church leaders promote the growth, health and vitality of their small groups to ensure that they, too, can grow bigger by growing smaller? Here are five ways to equip your small groups to do just that.

Evaluate your current small group strategy beyond the numbers.

Before you start planning for how you’re going to launch a whole new set of groups this fall, make sure you take the time to evaluate the health of your current strategy. Here are three key areas that will help you determine exactly how healthy your small group ministry is beyond looking at the overall numbers.

Make sure the back door of your small group ministry is shut before you start.
You shouldn’t launch new small groups without a plan in place to make sure the people who join are going to stick. Whatever strategies your church uses to encourage people to join a small group, here are three ways technology can secure the back door of your groups before you launch this fall.

Make small groups more than ‘a place to connect.’

It’s not easy to keep tabs on how each small group in the church is doing. However, this is precisely where technology can help. Rather than simply being a place for people to connect, your small groups can actually be a catalyst for growth and genuine disciple-making. Here are four proven ways technology can support you in this goal.

Prove that you value faces more than numbers.

Most small group leaders have a goal for the number of new small group members they want to reach. However, if you’re not careful, it can seem as if you value the numbers more than the actual lives that will be changed through your small group ministry. Technology can help you track who actually shows up every week so that everyone is clear that the real goal is life change, not a number.

Find new small group leaders by mining your church management software.

Your church management software can become a vital tool for identifying new small group leaders in your church. Not only can it help you identify potential leaders based on their passions and spiritual gifts, it can also help you identify potential leaders based on personal growth, not just participation.

And we know – we talk a lot about how church management systems like Church Community Builder can help churches close the back door. Because while closing the back door of your church is essential for getting to know people and making sure they’re connected, there are other doors your church needs to close – the back door of the ‘houses’ that host a small group ministry each week.

And technology can have a huge impact on closing that back door. Because whatever strategies your church uses to engage small group members on a weekly basis, here are three ways technology can secure the back door of your church, even when the storms of life roll by:

Technology ensures that your small group strategy is working.

Rather than simply being a place for people to connect, your small groups can actually be a catalyst for growth and genuine disciple-making. Here are four proven ways technology can support you in this goal and close the back door that people tend to walk out when they’re not experiencing life change within their small group.

Technology keeps you from missing people who walk out the back door.

Each church member is a valuable asset in that small group. But the primary reason people leave a small group is because they don’t feel valued. Is your church helping them realize their value? If you want to prevent people from walking out the back door because they don’t feel valued, here is the first thing you should do.

Technology helps you prevent small groups from bursting at the seams.

Most churches have a target number of people for each small group. Without utilizing technology, how can your church record how many members a group has and project when it’s time to start a new group? Sometimes closing the back door of your small group ministry means opening new homes and new doors. It’s part of the paradox that every healthy church understands. Technology helps you know when to open those doors.

As one could reasonably expect, there will, of course, be a period of transition that takes place after implementing a church management software, though the length of the transition period will be driven by two primary factors: how established and documented church systems and processes were surrounding small groups ministry and ongoing training for new and existing small groups leaders.

When church leaders can leverage technology to grow and strengthen their small groups ministry, the concurrently foster the ability of their church to grow, too. Your church management software’s small groups management functionality should not only serve you as you serve your church by supporting your small groups ministry, but it should also serve as a viable and effective means of building lasting community among your members and regular attendees for the greater good of the Kingdom for years to come.


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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Turning the Summer Slump into a Summer Hump

There’s just something about summer that makes our hearts and minds swell with its endless possibilities. Both school and the sun are out – and calendars seem to beg for adventure and change of pace. Families want to take advantage of the bounty that the warm weather brings and maximize their time together unencumbered by the (over-)scheduling of the rest of the year.

But between vacations, family reunions and other summertime activities, many churches can lose their momentum and sense of community.

ENTER: The dreaded “summer slump.”

It happens every year, and every church leader knows exactly what summer slump means: a drop in attendance, decreased participation, and reduced giving. Your church gains great momentum coming out of Easter as lives are changed, and your attendance is at an all-time high.

But then Memorial Day creeps up. Your attendance plummets, giving is down, and congregants just aren’t as connected to your mission, ministry or even to one another as they were just weeks ago.

The summer slump has begun.

According to Lifeway, average Sunday morning attendance drops by 23 percent in June and 34 percent in July – and in many churches, this ‘slump’ can last through Labor Day weekend.

This can be disheartening to a church leader when faced with the annual prospect of having to make progress toward the vision with fewer people and less money.

To combat the dreaded slump, churches just have to be willing to get a little creative. So here are three articles you may have missed that may inspire you to approach the summer slump with a renewed spirit.

Say Goodbye to The Summer Giving Slump: “You can pray about it and hope for the best, or you can pray about it and develop a plan to overcome it. If you’re interested in the second approach, here are some practical ideas for cultivating more consistent generosity during the ‘dog days.’”

4 Ideas to Keep Small Groups Thriving This Summer: “Before your church gives up on maintaining a thriving small group ministry during the summer, here are four ideas you could pass along to your leaders to keep the momentum going.”

Three Things Your Church Can Do Today to Prepare for Summer Giving: “Don’t allow summer to be a stressful season for your church. Instead, consider how these three ideas can help your church create incredible momentum for your fall kickoff and the new church year.”

So if you’re tired of dealing with summer slumps – and really, who isn’t? – consider implementing any one of these ideas this summer to see how they can serve you and your church well during the dog days of summer.


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— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Your Volunteers: Training Your Greatest Ministry Asset

Once you have recruited a volunteer – moving them from a come-and-see to a come-and-serve mindset – you’ll need to train them.

In the follow-up to ‘Your Volunteers: Recruit,’ Chris Mavity’s ‘Your Volunteers: Train’ addresses three critical components to training: the differences between training and equipping, training for the long term, and the four characteristics of healthy training – but what, exactly, does each mean and entail?

Training v. Equipping: As Mavity puts it, “Training is providing input, in various forms, to influence a person’s future actions, attitudes, and behaviors. You’ll need to train your volunteers so that they achieve the specific ministry outcomes you desire. Equipping is about providing the resources a person needs to perform the duties associated with the roles and responsibilities for which they have been selected. For example, a custodian needs a vacuum cleaner, a data entry volunteer needs a computer, and a Sunday school teacher needs a classroom and supplies.”

Training for the Long Term: There are two types of training: orientation and ongoing training. Orientation training helps your volunteers understand the role, responsibilities,and expected outcomes of the assignment. It also gives your volunteers enough guidance, information and instruction necessary to complete the assignment while helping them gain confidence. Ongoing training is focused on life-skills development by helping your volunteers become a better version of themselves and communicating that you care about them as people – not just in a ministry capacity – and that you will pour into them to make them better in all aspects of their lives.

Four Characteristics of Healthy Training: As you develop your training, keep it …

… simple. Understand the purpose or scope of your meetings and tailor your information and activities to that single purpose.

… spreadable. Volunteer training that works in one department of your church will likely be useful – with a few modifications – in others.

… scalable. As you grow, your processes will need to be able to adjust to account for the number of volunteers you have.

… scrappable. If something isn’t working, scrap it. Keep the focus on outcomes, engagement, participation and productivity.

Training your volunteers takes commitment, time, effort and energy – but it’s so worth it. When you make a commitment to training your volunteers, you’ll find that your training will keep everyone focused on growth, your volunteers will become influential members of your congregation, and you’ll better be able to anticipate what’s next.


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— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Four Keys for Improving Your Assimilation Process

If you ask 100 church leaders to define assimilation, you’ll probably get 100 different answers. Some might say it’s all about creating relationships. Others might say it’s when a new member joins the church.

For us, the best way to define assimilation is with a metaphor. In the same way that an engine is composed of multiple parts all working together to move a vehicle in one direction, effective assimilation is a system that involves many different areas working together to move people from first-time visitors to fully engaged members. It’s a process that begins with a person’s first visit to the church (for any reason) and ends when that person becomes connected to the people, ministries, and programs that drive the mission.

We’ve identified four keys to help you improve and streamline your assimilation process.

  1. Evaluate your current process, it’s important

It is often the case in ministry that there is so much to do and too little time. Sometimes all you can do is barely keep your head afloat. It can seem daunting to imagine having the time to stop, strategize, and learn a new system. However, taking the time to think through your church assimilation process might be the single most effective choice you can make in your ministry. Having a systematic approach to your assimilation process is imperative to ensuring that no one is overlooked and that your church is not leaking people. It’s tough to know whether your assimilation process is providing enough opportunity for life change without taking a step back and evaluating your process.

  1. Identify the primary areas that need attention

After having evaluated your church’s current assimilation process, what are some of the areas that need immediate attention? What role do each of these play in ensuring your church’s growth keeps… well, growing?

Each church’s assimilation process will be unique.

However, after working with many of our church partners at Church Community Builder we have identified four primary areas or processes that often need attention: Hospitality, Information Gathering, Follow-Up, and Connection.

  1. Develop a strategy for improving your church’s assimilation process

Take time to intentionally invest in a plan that;s going to improve your church’s overall health and growth. A process is something that can be measured and monitored; the same should be true of your assimilation strategy. Here are some ways we’ve seen churches benefit from greater intentionality around assimilation:

  • They end up mapping out how a new visitor is integrated into their community. This helps them remember the new visitor experiences.
  • They develop a process that can be replicated and reproduced. These are critical to the success of your ministry, and should regularly be assessed and tweaked.
  • They’re able to measure what’s working and what isn’t. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
  • They place a higher percentage of attenders into small groups. Active small group participants are more likely to be faithful givers, volunteers, and lay leaders.
  • They have greater success connecting people with volunteer opportunities that match their passions and abilities. Just filling slots leads to burnout; matching people to positions leads to breakthrough.
  • Their churches are producing active leaders instead of frozen chosen. They make it more comfortable for people to get involved that just sit and consume.
  • They discover ministry opportunities they didn’t know existed. God has given your members unique gifts and a purpose that he wants to fulfill through your church. That purpose might be something you hadn’t considered before. 
  1. Leverage technology to measure the results of your process.

Your church management system has the ability to make assimilation more efficient and effective. In addition to helping you distribute workloads, it can provide a place for recording and measuring the effectiveness of your process. The larger your church becomes, the more moving pieces there are, and the more you can your staff will need to depend on robust technology designed to accelerate the rate your people grow, connect, and engage with the long-term vision and development of your church.

A healthy church maximizes the assimilation process

There’s a quote that reads: “If you want something you’ve never had before, you have to do something you’ve never done before.” And there’s probably a list of things that you’d like to do to help your church reach more people and move those people along the pathway of discipleship. However, you can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Discipleship suffers without a good assimilation process that facilitates moving people into a deeper relationship with Christ, people struggle to connect, first-time visitors are discouraged as there is nothing in place for them to move forward and connect with the church and it’s vision, and your backdoor remains just as open as your frontdoor.

The end result: overall church health decays because there is no plan in place to help people keep growing.

Maybe your assimilation process needs a quick pulse check, maybe it needs some surgery, or even a complete overhaul, one thing we know for certain is that it is essential to building a thriving ministry.

The more powerful the assimilation process, the more powerful your church will be.

Here are some practical next steps you can take today:

  • Outline your church’s assimilation process. Document it.
  • Assess the effectiveness of your current process. How are you doing in the 4 primary areas we identified?
  • Put the necessary changes in motion

Learn more about improving your assimilation process – connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


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— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How Effective is Your Assimilation Process?

While many churches implement a number of systems to help them manage the metrics that help them carry out their mission, assimilation often gets lost in the shuffle.

But assimilation, the process through which we forge interpersonal connections, plays a critical role in creating disciples. Assimilation – by fostering intimate relationships and interactions – lays the foundation for meaningful emersion in the church, and subsequently, intentional discipleship.

Assimilation begins with a person’s first visit to your church and ends when that person becomes connected to and engaged with your church. But it is possible, however, for someone to join a church without ever truly making a connection.

But you can’t steward someone without a relationship. Assimilation connects people to your church through relationships – so a church that does assimilation well will also create strong disciples.

So churches employ a variety of systems designed to help them carry out their mission because while assimilation is all about human interaction, systems help us identify and connect with real people and develop a growing relationship with God.

Assimilation includes four basic processes:

Hospitality: Do you leave the door open for guests of your home to walk in, or do you greet them at the door and warmly welcome them into your home?

Church hospitality is much the same. Feeling welcome is due largely in part to feeling comfortable and familiar – and first-time visitors don’t know how to find the restrooms, check their kids into the nursery, or get to the worship center.

And there are two ways to deal with hospitality – passively and actively. Passive hospitality provides directional signs and information for newcomers that make navigating the church easier.

But active hospitality calls for action. It welcomes newcomers with people available to greet and help anyone entering your doors.

Information Gathering: When churches gather information, they often pleasantly find that they had more visitors than they realized.

And while hospitality is hard to quantify, gathered information is easy to measure. Churches that gather information will fuel their ministry opportunities and make each person feel more valued and known.

So with accurate metrics, a church can not only know their attendance numbers, but also the number of new visitors and recognize changes in the attendance patterns of their returning congregants.

Think of it like this: If hospitality is the heart of your system, subjective and qualitative by nature, then information gathering is its head, objective and quantifiable – and actionable with follow-up.

Follow-Up: Following up and following through is an intentional process that gives life to information cards. It’s recognizing what people need, when they need it, and provides you the tools and insight to connect with them intimately. It will also help identify opportunities for pastoral ministry.

Follow-up helps the pastor engage individuals when they need pastoral ministry through information gathering that provides the dates, milestones and prayer requests that connect people when it matters most.

Connection: Many churches confuse attendance with connection. People who feel intrinsically connected to their church – that they are valued and that they matter – are people ready to delve deeper into their relationship with Christ. Connection marks the end of assimilation and the beginning of discipleship.

People often connect to church when they develop meaningful relationships, and helping them connect at a deeper level in your church creates opportunities for responsibility and ownership.

Because when people feel that their church is intimately invested in them, they are more likely to sacrificially and intimately invest in their church – becoming members, givers, servers and volunteers, and ultimately, intentional disciples.

Every church – of every size – must have a process that supports a fully functioning system to ensure no one gets lost, left out or overlooked. Because while no data should ever be more significant than the people it represents, that data facilitates assimilation. And the more powerful your assimilation process, the more powerful your church will be.

When guests – new and returning – arrive, take care to treat them as you would a guest in your home – thoughtfully, warmly and with a comforting joy that acknowledges the value of their presence.

Because ultimately, we as church leaders are responsible for the people who come through our doors. And as a godly leader, when you help ready a heart to be receptive to God and He is allowed to infiltrate everything they do, you are cultivating intentional disciples and stewarding the people God has brought through your doors to serve Him.


Want to learn more about an effective assimilation process? Connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Technology, Leadership and Their Influence on Ministry

We are about three months into a new year – new goals, new ideas, new plans. But for some, there are old problems hanging around like questions about technology. Decisions about church technology are usually put off until something breaks or fails regularly. At that point, the decision about what to do next is often delegated to someone who understands tech lingo rather than someone who knows how technology actually needs to help people accomplish the mission of the church.

Technology can have more of an impact than you initially think…

…it can be seen as a commodity like the paper in your copier or it can be seen as a powerful tool that empowers people and supports ministry processes.

Let’s unpack that statement and look at some of the ways technology can give you a way to measure and see that you are moving people through a path to deeper engagement with your church and in their walk with Christ.

What if using technology doesn’t feel natural to me?

This is a great starting place. Steve Caton in Getting Disciple Making Right hit the nail on the head when he said that many called into ministry, “…are probably not naturally drawn to numbers,…data analysis and complex algorithms.” Technology isn’t something you necessarily anticipated being an integral part of an effective ministry.

You spend a great deal of time preparing for such things as pastoral counseling, preaching, education strategy, and effective leadership. There are very few seminary classes on technology, especially how to use technology to make better ministry decisions.

But just because using technology might not come naturally to you doesn’t mean it can’t easily become one of the most beneficial tools for improving your ministry.

So how do we leverage it even when it doesn’t feel natural? Here are a few ideas:

  • Communicate your vision. Technology used in the absence of a clear vision for success is almost a complete waste of time.
  • Design good process. Before you implement any software, review the ministry process you hope it will support. Does it still work? Does everyone know their role? Do you hold people accountable?
  • Develop ministry opportunities for those gifted with technology. If your church struggles to use social media, create a volunteer team of people with experience to help.
  • Celebrate people who are good with technology just as much as you celebrate any other volunteer in your church.
  • Create a specific ministry in your church to connect generations. Creating a ministry opportunity for younger members of your church to show older members how to use technology to stay connected with family or benefit from tools they’re interested in is a great way to develop the intergenerational community that every church needs. It can also be equally beneficial for the younger generation to learn skills (construction, repair, sewing, baking, etc.) from the older generation.

Your church management software is more than a database.

So since much of this might not come naturally to you, it is understandably easy to get into the habit of thinking of your church management software as just a database in which to keep track of attendance and giving. Moving beyond this thinking is a great step to seeing your church management software as something that allows you to see God’s hand in and through your ministry.

How can that begin to happen?

Two steps can be a great leap forward in moving beyond simply seeing numbers and seeing ways to continue ministry, improve ministry, and grow to be more effective in growing disciples.

We all have systems and processes that we use to do church (i.e., engage people, equip people, and multiply disciples). Communicating with small groups, keeping attendance in children’s ministry, and placing volunteers are examples of common systems.

The first step in allowing your church management software to deepen engagement is to first evaluate your processes for these ministries. Once you’ve taken a close look at your processes and decided which of those are effective, then look for technology that is going to support those systems, processes and the people who really drive your church. The technology should fit your effective processes – not the other way around.

Second, look for technology that is going to be usable by a wide variety of people. The more people who can use the technology, the greater and richer the data becomes, thereby giving you a richer resource from which to determine your continued efficacy, new directions you should take, and what systems might need changing.

How can I connect more effectively with different types of church members?

You’re growing to be comfortable with the idea of using technology in ministry. You’ve taken a close look at your church’s systems for effective ministry and chosen a church management system that supports those processes. So how can you use all this new information and technology to increase your church’s ministry with the various people who walk through your doors?

Certainly, ministry would be easy if everyone in your church understood your church’s vision and shared the same passion for reaching others. Unfortunately, that will probably never be the case. Will Mancini has identified four different types of members who make up every church. Each member has a different level of understanding of the vision of the church and their role in accomplishing it.

  • These are people that understand the vision of your church and play an important role in achieving it.
  • These are people who understand where your church wants to go, but haven’t taken an active role in make it happen.
  • These are people who might be actively involved but don’t have a clear understanding of where your church is headed. Therefore, they end up hijacking whatever ministry they’re involved with.
  • These are people who understand neither the vision of your church nor why they are important.

Technology can play a huge role in helping you keep your ‘crew’ energized and moving other types of church members toward becoming actively engaged church members.

  • Technology helps you really ‘know’ your crew. It’s important to develop a clear portrait of your key volunteers. Whether it’s a volunteer who’s been serving at your church for the past 15 years or a first-time giver, your ability to make your ‘crew members’ feel appreciated depends on how much you know.
  • Technology helps you activate passengers. Instead of relying on the same volunteers or donors time and time again, technology allows church leaders to embrace the decentralized shift our culture has made. Technology allows you to reach church members where they are, communicate with them effectively, and connect them with a ministry that aligns with their skills and passions.
  • Technology helps you convert pirates. Most of the time, people who hijack ministries do so because they aren’t properly equipped. Before anyone starts serving in your ministry, they need to be equipped with supporting relationships, biblical teaching, encouragement, support, accountability, a sense of belonging, and a sense of purpose.
  • Technology helps you invite stowaways to become passengers. There is a reason some churches are full of spectators. Churches which value connections understand that life change happens when you help your church members become the ministry, which only happens when you effectively help people engage with the culture and mission of your church.

We started out by saying technology can give you a way to measure and see that you are moving people through a path to deeper engagement with your church and in their walk with Christ. Here are 5 simple concepts that look at technology as a tool to increase engagement, equip more of your church body, and increase your disciple-making capabilities.

  1. Technology can be used to help you remember what you know about people in your church, allowing you to connect more effectively with people.
  1. Technology enables your churches to create numerous waves of momentum instead of getting stuck in an uncomfortable spot without a plan. Without thinking strategically about your technology, you miss the opportunity to record and analyze important data that illustrates the growth pattern of your congregation.
  1. Thinking strategically about your technology gives you the opportunity to record and analyze the important data that illustrates the growth pattern of your congregation.
  1. Thinking strategically about your technology can have a significant impact on how well you are connecting with first-time guests and what you learn from those who don’t return. People want to know they matter and feel a sense of belonging. Technology helps you avoid becoming a catch and release ministry.
  1. Technology can improve the effectiveness of your small group ministries and depth of community. How can you expect authentic community and care to happen in the absence of accurate information?

Technology in the church can be so much more than it often is. Taking the time to be strategic with it won’t be easy or fast but it’s so worth it!

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Casting Vision: The Only Communication Principle You Need to Know

Communicating in a way that captures attention and inspires action is an art. And there’s one communication principle that effective communicators understand when it comes to conveying their thoughts effectively.

Because communication can be messy. It can be complicated. And in many ways, it can’t be controlled as no one can completely anticipate how another person will hear, interpret, and respond to what you say.

Perception is reality, after all.

And communication becomes even more complex within organizations like churches. Pastors or senior leadership may be inclined to jump straight to the ‘what’ after defining the ‘why’ when casting their vision without really taking the time to strategically think through the ‘how.’

The ‘how’ is just as important – if not more – than the ‘what.’ And the effectiveness of your communication as a leader is directly related to your effectiveness in communicating your vision’s ‘how.’

Learning to communicate your vision’s ‘how’ can be difficult because people listen and learn differently, and this is where a lot of leaders struggle. They’ll communicate the same way with their staff as they do their congregation or even their family – but the way you communicate with some audiences doesn’t work with others.

There are two ways to ensure that your ‘how’ connects with each of your audiences:

  1. Diversify your ‘how.’ Because people listen and learn differently, create multiple channels to communicate your message. Diversify your methods to determine which ones work best for each audience. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to casting the ‘how’ of your vision.
  2. Keep it simple. You may understand your point because you’ve thought it through for a while. But it may not be that obvious to others. Break down the details to help people understand your message as clearly as you do.

By diversifying the way you communicate and keeping your message simple, you’ll be able to focus on your ‘how’ – and then the vision you communicate will start to make a difference in those who hear it.


Learn more about casting vision; connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


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Church Community Builder

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Crafting Your Cast: From Mission to Vision

POP QUIZ: In a sentence or two, can you say what God is calling you to do – or at least the direction He has for you?

If you answered ‘YES!,’ then congratulations! You have your vision. And you can skip ahead to the neat little listicle below about how to effectively cast your vision.

If you answered, ‘No. I don’t think so. But maybe? I’m not sure,’ then congratulations! You now have the opportunity to take your nebulous idea from infancy to a full-grown vision.

Your vision should take the purpose and mission of your church and reduce it down to a simple statement that guides your church. Much like an ‘elevator pitch’ in business – wherein you spark interest in what your organization does with a brief, persuasive speech in 20 seconds or less – your words act as an all-encompassing phrase that galvanizes and motivates your people in the right direction for your church.

And the right direction for your church – and the right vision – cannot be written from your will, but only from God’s because remember this as you cast your vision: Leadership is a privilege; steward it well. Yours is a privilege that can take people to where you believe God wants to go.

So as you cast, make sure your vision is …

Simple: Be clear about your vision. Over time, you’ll learn how to communicate the vision clearly and when the vision is clear to you, you are able to clearly communicate it to others.

Solid: Make sure your vision is real and tangible; it is a vision that people can touch, see and become invested in personally.

Succinct: We live in a ‘push-button-get-banana’ world. The same is true when we cast a vision. So keep it brief – because it’s not about how much you share, but that you share enough for it to be clear.

Stimulating: Your vision should inspire action. It should also cultivate a sense of ownership. If your vision can capture hearts, people will feel compelled to help you realize your vision.

If your vision is simple enough to understand, solid enough to believe, succinct enough to remember, and stimulating enough to inspire a shared ownership, your vision is ready to rally your people to a better future.


Learn more about Auxano’s Vision Pathway process.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.