4 Areas That Drive Effective Church Assimilation

Every area of ministry in your church is enhanced when you focus on developing an effective assimilation process. Discipleship thrives because there’s a process in place to move people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Community flourishes because people feel connected. Overall church health improves because there’s a plan in place to help people continually grow.

While each church’s assimilation process is unique, there are certainly elements included in every process. Here are the four primary parts or processes that need inspection if you want to build an effective assimilation process in your church:

1. Hospitality

There are two elements to successful hospitality—passive hospitality and active hospitality. Passive hospitality includes directional signs and maps that make navigating the campus easier. Active hospitality involves real people who watch for ways to assist anyone entering the facility.

Are your volunteers trained and equipped to provide the kind of active hospitality needed to make first-time guests feel welcome?

2. Information Gathering

It is overwhelming when churches provide too many ways for the first-time visitor to connect. Don’t provide a catalog of options. Make it very simple and clear. Provide one or two primary options for taking the next step. As people move deeper, you can record more valuable information to increase the level of commitment.

Do you have a simple process for intentionally gathering information that helps you connect with every single person who walks through your doors on Sunday?

3. Follow Up

This doesn’t require a lot of creativity — simply follow up with your visitors and say hello. While this may seem too easy, it is important to evaluate your process regularly! Effective follow-up should help your members and visitors experience one-on-one ministry.

Is your follow-up process leading to more relational connections with the people in your church or are you letting people slip through the cracks?

4. Connection

This step is the end of assimilation and the beginning of discipleship. There should be a smooth handoff to someone who can guide people to go deeper in their relationship with God and their connection to the church. If you aren’t assimilating people, you will be increasing the number of spectators rather than growing strength in the Body of Christ through active disciples.

How are you moving people from visiting your church to becoming active members?

The difference between a church that has successful assimilation and one that doesn’t is how well these parts are working individually and collectively. If any of these four areas in your church’s assimilation process need a “tune up,” check out “The Assimilation Engine.” Effective assimilation can multiply your ministry efforts and maximize your Kingdom impact.

Is your church’s assimilation engine running well? What area needs the most improvement?

Read more from Steve here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Meet Dave Bair – Process Coach at Church Community Builder

If you regularly read my Vision Room content, you know that I tend to lean towards process and leadership themes. For people that know me only as a part of the leadership at Church Community Builder, that may seem inconsistent. After all, shouldn’t I be writing more practical, software focused articles?

If software alone were the answer to the challenges church leaders face when it comes to stewarding God’s people effectively, I might. The truth, however, is that software is only part of the answer. Maximum effectiveness and impact requires good tools (software is one option), solid processes, and passionate people working together in harmony. This isn’t just a theory of mine. I’ve learned it the hard way through many years of working and leading in both business and ministry.

I’ve also learned a lot from my good friend and co-worker, Dave Bair. As the guy who leads process development and Coaching for Church Community Builder, Dave understands and teaches this  truth better than anyone I’ve ever met. In short, he’s brilliant! Dave and his team have made an amazing difference in hundreds of churches who have chosen to be coached, whether it be through their software implementation or through the development of a new Connections strategy. 

Dave has a ton of insight to share about how to implement vision and strategy. So much so, in fact, that I have asked him to start sharing his thoughts and ideas here on the Vision Room. In the months ahead, you can look forward to regular articles from Dave that will really challenge your thoughts and ideas on how business-oriented themes like processes, systems and change management fit into the conversation about how we do ministry and reach people for Christ. I realize that many people don’t think those two things belong in the same conversation but they probably aren’t hanging out here on the Vision Room!

So, let’s get started by getting to know Dave a little bit.

Q & A with Dave Bair

Q: Dave, your experience before coming to Church Community Builder was really fascinating. Tell us a little about it.

More years ago than I care to admit, I got my degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in psychology. While that might be an unusual combination, I have always been interested in how stuff works, whether they be machines or people.

Straight out of college, I went to work for Hewlett Packard, helping to create software for procurement and inventory management. While I was there, I got a chance to design, build, and test software. Over time, I realized our software didn’t really scratch the itch for the customer. That was the point where I began informally consulting to the customer and helped improve their processes to the point where software could be helpful. 

I enjoyed the process work with the customer so much that I eventually moved to a consulting firm specializing in leading large change projects in heavy industry. I got the chance to consult to companies like Kraft, BP, DuPont, BASF, The Electricity Supply Board of Ireland, Total, Husky Oil, and a variety of power companies. I learned that managing the change journey was just as important, if not more important, than getting the right answer. That was a very fun job getting to travel all over the US and beyond to coach business leaders, implementing culture and process improvements.

Q: Why would a Church Management Software company be interested in someone like you?

After roughly 8 years working with church leaders, Church Community Builder realized some were getting better with the purchase our software, and some were not. After some digging, they observed that the difference appeared to be the quality of the processes the software was being asked to support. With that realization, we decided to create this coaching service helping church leaders implement better processes to better utilize our software. I think they had come to the same realization I had back at HP – the combination of people, processes, and technology is really the recipe for success.

Q: Can you tell us more about this “Coaching” service?

We like the term “coaching” because it implies someone who walks alongside an individual or organization as they seek to become better at something. That is exactly what we seek to do. In our current context, most of our coaching is done with church leaders who want to implement our software effectively and realize that technology is only part of the equation. Each church is different and has a unique culture and processes.  We’ve developed a methodology which allows our proven expertise to be customized for each church as we guide them towards their goals. We focus on five main areas: software utilization, project planning, process design, leadership coaching, and change management

Q: Working in heavy industry and the local church seem pretty unrelated. Can you help us make the leap from one to the other?

Over the years, I have come to believe most organizations have the answers they need to be successful; implementation, not knowledge, creates the gap between great vision and great success. Time and time again, I have observed that success results from good processes, executed through well managed change. Those principles apply regardless of industry, whether it be maintaining a power plant or managing volunteers at a church.

Q: You talk a lot about processes but you also mentioned culture. How do those relate to each other?

Culture is the glue that makes processes more effective and sustainable. Culture must be congruent with the processes as they can sabotage each other if they don’t line up. If the leader advocates for a certain set of processes, but also supports a different behavior in the culture, both will suffer.

Q: Tell us a little about you…personally.  When you are not coaching church leaders what do you do?

I have been married to an amazing woman for nearly 19 years now. I have two kids. My daughter is a freshman in college studying chemistry. My son is a freshman in high school with a lot of his time focused on music, playing saxophone and drums. When I am not coaching church leaders, I enjoy reading a lot, hiking around Colorado, and flying hot air balloons. Ballooning has been a family hobby for us for many years and we love the camaraderie and the challenge.

Q: How can someone connect with you for a deeper conversation?

The best place to start is the Church Community Builder website. In addition, they can connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Like me, I hope you look forward to learning more from Dave in the weeks and months to come.

Has the vision for your church ever been sabotaged by ineffective processes? How did you “fix” them?

> Read more from Steve.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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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.

4 Ways to Hit Your Rhythm This Fall

With the beginning of fall, ministry at most churches kicks into high gear. This is a common rhythm of church life. In fact, all of life is full of rhythm — but too often the competing needs of ministry, personal and family life can create a discordant tune. Finding the right rhythm can prevent burnout and lead to effective ministry.

A life out of rhythm leads to burnout. This is a full-blown epidemic in the church today. According to a study conducted by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir,2 being a pastor is difficult work — as shown by the following statistics:

  • 90% of pastors stated they are frequently fatigued and worn out on a weekly or even daily basis.
  • 77% of the pastors surveyed felt they did not have a good marriage.
  • 75% of the pastors surveyed felt they were unqualified and/or poorly trained by their seminaries to lead and manage the church or to counsel others. This left them disheartened in their ability to pastor.

(Find out more about the challenges of ministry here.)

Healthy rhythms lead to happy and effective people. Most people spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else. If you are not engaged and fulfilled in your role, then your whole life suffers. As a leader, you conduct the orchestra. Not only do you need to find your rhythm, you need to help those around you stay in sync with one another and the mission of the church. Creating a connection to the mission and clearing roadblocks for others can be your conductor’s baton that keep everyone’s timing in sync.

Getting in rhythm is important, but how do we find that rhythm? In full disclosure, I am the farthest thing from a musician; in fact, my kids won’t even let me sing in the car. Despite that, I believe there are four great lessons we can learn from music.

1. Find your tempo.  Tempo is a measurement of beats per minute. If you fail to pay attention to the tempo, your song falls apart. Knowing when to speed up and when to slow down is the key. Often the most difficult — but most important — word church leaders can utter is ‘no’. There are constant demands on your time, but ‘doing ministry’ isn’t more important than your personal journey with Christ, your marriage, your family, or your sanity. Happy, well-balanced church leaders are far more effective than stressed-out, disillusioned church leaders. Don’t think for a second that your work won’t suffer if your life outside of work takes a back seat. In ministry, your job is not to do it all, which is why Ephesians 4 tells us to equip others.

>> Question to consider: How can your equipping strategy help you set a healthy tempo?

2. The Power of Silence. The pace of life often leaves little space for contemplation and reflection, which are central to a healthy Christian walk. Without well-timed silence, music would just be buzzing. There are two types of ‘space’ that I try to build into my life. The first is the margin in my daily life to adjust, alter, or pause my plans as things develop. When the sales clerk unexpectedly shares with me her story of divorce, do I have time to engage, or can I only offer her the obligatory ‘I’m really sorry to hear that’? Or, if my son wants to play catch, can I say yes more often than I say no? Secondly, I try to intentionally build in time for reflection. I call this think/read/write/review time, and I put this on my schedule as a planned activity. In this time I hear from God, reflect on my priorities, and focus for the week.

>> Question to consider: How are you building silence into your life, and are you making the most of it?

3. Pitch perfect. We increasingly live in a world of shrill voices and fevered pitch.  Beautiful music has high notes, low notes, and everything in between. As a leader, people are often pulling on you to engage in the crisis of the day, but we know that not every battle is worth fighting and you cannot be the hero in every story. In contrast, as a leader, your voice is often the one that is needed to provide context and vision into matters. In what areas could you release control to others who are ready to get off the bench and into the game? God is not depending on you alone to get things done. Knowing when to speak and when to be silent can not only keep your blood pressure in a healthy place, but also prevent you from being distracted from the main focus of your ministry.

>> Question to consider: Is this issue you’re facing a distraction, or can you provide direction to the discussion that points back to Christ? 

4. Everything in its time. Music is all about timing. You can have the right notes and perfect pitch, but if the timing is off, the song is terrible. Ever heard a comedian with bad timing? Painful.  Ministry is no different. Implementing a good idea at the wrong time can have disastrous consequences. Making good decisions requires more than gut instincts; it requires good information. In order to strike while the iron is hot, you need good data to act upon. This will save you time and heartache.

>> Question to consider: How are you making your ministry decisions — on intuition or on data?

Few people have had better rhythm than John Coltrane. He said, “My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being.” Finding your rhythm requires setting the appropriate tempo, leaving space between the notes, hitting the right pitch, and good timing. Finding your rhythm helps you live a song worth playing.

In what ways are you modeling a healthy rhythm in your life?

Read more from Steve here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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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.

7 Steps to Church Failure

It only takes a 30-second internet search to find blog after blog listing the top 10 things your church must do to be successful, transform lives, and generally be a wonderful, fantastic place.  The myriad of blogs on the subject are both helpful and informative.  As I read them, I find myself aspiring to be a better leader.

What seems to be missing are the steps to ensure your church’s failure.  You may be asking, “Why would anyone write that blog?” The success of your church is not only about aiming at the right targets, but also about avoiding the pitfalls that can damage your ministry.  Unless we are careful, we may be sending messages about the value of people that are not what we intend.  These unintended messages can do measurable harm to your ministry and keep people from engaging.

Here are seven unintended messages that can close your doors:

  1. If they signed up for the email list, they want to hear from you.  Contact them as often as you want. I’m sure Mr. Davis is interested in the women’s prayer breakfast.
  2. Don’t sweat it if the bathrooms are dirty or the coffee runs out. This isn’t a coffee shop, and no one really means it when they say ‘it was clean enough to eat off the floor’.
  3. So what if your small groups seem like a clique? There is nothing that makes people want to be on the inside of community like feeling excluded!
  4. We need tithes to run this place.  Ask first, get to know them later. And don’t forget to use guilt frequently.
  5. Relationships are messy and hard. Instead of investing in someone’s life, let’s just plug them in to a program — the more programs the better.
  6. If people want to get connected, they will keep trying. The connections cards we printed are expensive and that’s why we call back almost half of the people who fill it out.
  7. We are in need of some volunteers. Who cares if it’s not their gifting or interest?  We have real needs right now!

While no church leader begins with the attitudes above, without the right systems and processes in place, they can begin to creep into your ministry. It only takes one or two of these attitudes to do long-term damage to your ministry.

Here are a few resources that can help prevent these attitudes from creeping into your ministry:

  1. An effective communications strategy can help you connect, engage, and inform your people. Done poorly, it can simply become noise.  Here are a few communications strategies to help cut through the noise.
  2. The first impression a visitor gets is not a worship song or a sermon. It starts in the parking lot and stretches into the atrium as they find their way into services. Creating space that is welcoming and easy to navigate is important.  Here are a few tips on optimizing your space.
  3. Moving people from casual attenders to engaged members doesn’t happen by accident.  It requires a process and an invitation.  Here is how to move people from the observer to participant.
  4. While the financial needs of the church are very real, the act of tithing is a function of discipleship and obedience to Scripture.  Here are a few ways to cultivate generosity.
  5. Transformation happens in the context of community.  The tendency to limiting engagement to being involved in a program can actually interfere with creating healthy community.  Even though relationships are messy, they’re worth the effort.
  6. Your connection card may be the most important piece of paper in your church. Don’t miss out on the value to connect with visitors.
  7. One of the best ways to retain volunteers is to plug them into roles that are a good fit for their gifts. Leading volunteers doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are seven ways to boost your volunteer engagement.

How are you preventing these attitudes from affecting your Church?

Read more from Steve here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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COMMENTS

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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.

Staying in Ministry May Be Harder Than You Think

Working in ministry can be the most fulfilling and challenging thing that someone can do with his or her life. Every year thousands of people answer the call to be a full-time minister, yet all too often, they find themselves struggling with burnout and considering a career change. There are a few steps that can help ministry leaders avoid this crisis.

The Association of Theological Schools reports that there are 267 institutions in their association and that in 2013 there were 73,005 theological and seminary students.1 Despite their eagerness to enter the ministry, research shows 80% of seminary graduates exit again within 5 years.2 The challenges of ministry result in 1500 pastors leaving the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.2 It is because of these difficulties that 80% of pastors feel discouraged and unqualified in their role.2

According to a study conducted by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir,2 being a pastor is difficult work — as shown by the following statistics:

  • 90% of pastors stated they are frequently fatigued and worn out on a weekly or even daily basis.
  • 77% of the pastors surveyed felt they did not have a good marriage.
  • 75% of the pastors surveyed felt they were unqualified and/or poorly trained by their seminaries to lead and manage the church or to counsel others. This left them disheartened in their ability to pastor.

This doesn’t have to be your story!  

Despite these facts, serving as a pastor or ministry leader can be a wonderful experience of seeing God work and lives transformed. Even if your experience does not reflect the statistics above, taking preventative steps to ensure you remain healthy is wise.

Here are a few steps that you can take to prepare for these challenges and avoid burnout:

  • Prepare in advance for the functional and administrative demands of ministry. According to Becky R. McMillian,3 typical ministers spend 36 hours of their week related to organizational tasks. With such a large part of a pastor’s job being administration, it is important to find methods to improve effectiveness, delegate, and identify effective systems. (For more on this, read The Seminary Gap.)
  • Establish a rhythm of accountability. Accountability requires relationship, transparency, and honesty. You are not going to do this with just anyone. The challenges and responsibility that comes with being a pastor necessitate accountability. Having someone who loves you look you in the eye, ask you hard questions, and provide direction will help you avoid potential pitfalls.
  • Connect with other in similar roles. In addition to needing accountability, leaders need a peer group. The challenges and opportunities that you face in ministry are unique to your role. Having a group of peers that serve in a similar capacity and understand the nuances and subtleties of your ministry will provide much-needed connection and support.
  • Find a healthy balance of ministry and personal life. Those of us who are called into full-time ministry often have difficulty finding a healthy balance between our work and personal lives. This is a fast track to burnout. When our life is out of balance, self-care is neglected and family strife creeps in.

If you are interested in joining with a community of leaders that tackles these issues, click here to find your Tribe.*

*A Tribe is a group of peers serving in similar ministry capacities at similar-sized churches, journeying together

What ways are you address the unique challenges that come with ministry?  What steps are you taking to prevent burnout? 

Read more from Steve here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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COMMENTS

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Sammy Moore — 08/22/14 5:20 am

Psalm 94:19. I never noticed that! Thanks!

Kirsten, Reiner — 08/21/14 8:18 am

Reading this article I am wondering how 'fatigue' Pastors interpret 2. Corr 1: 4-5 The words written by Paul aren't written for either Pastors or Christians but surely for all of us who are struggling daily in our Christian walk And Eccl 10-11, as support for Ps 94:19, surely gives us all encouragement that suffering is a privilege for being followers of Christ

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.

Why Technology is a Senior Leadership Decision

Technology is a part of life. It can work for you, or you can work for it. This is why selecting and implementing technology requires leadership. Technology has the ability to inform and improve how you connect with people, lead your volunteers, and make disciples.

There are three common mistakes that churches make when looking for new technology.  These mistakes can lead to a decision that will only cause more problems.

>> The first mistake — cheaper is better. We wouldn’t put the cheapest roof on our homes, would we? No way. Why? Because it protects our families and our possessions from the elements of nature. The same principle applies to church management software. The right technology will give your church the ability to operate more efficiently and effectively for the long term.

>> The second mistake — if it worked for them, it will work for us. Just because a software solution works well for the church across town doesn’t mean it will do the same for you.  Never confuse your preferences or needs with the preferences of others or the needs of another church.

>> The third mistake — let them choose. Often decisions about technology are delegated to others, but this approach doesn’t take into account the impact that these decisions can have on the long-term success of all your different ministries. Yes, Lead Pastors and Executive Pastors, I am talking to you! While you may not directly deal with the day-to-day management of your church software, you set the pace for those who do.

The key to success is found in these 5 principles

  1. Cast a vision for the staff. You are the leader for a reason. The staff looks to you for direction and vision. Change can be intimidating and uncomfortable, and implementing new technology requires change. Casting a clear vision of how this technology will improve ministry is the first step.  If you can’t answer that question, perhaps it’s not the right technology. You don’t have to know all of the ins and outs, but you should have an understanding of how it works in improving your ministry.
  2. Build a team. If you want to get the most out of your new technology, you should create a network of people to share the responsibility of managing it. Make sure the key players have a stake in the success of the new tools.
  3. Define success and lead towards it.  What are the things your software must do? Set those objectives as expectations for successful implementation. Once everyone is on the same page, be sure you create accountability so that everyone is working toward reaching your goals.
  4. Chart the course. Implementing change takes time. By having a defined path with measurable and achievable milestones, you can measure your progress.  This will establish the processes that will make it successful. Get some small wins early and keep moving in the right direction.
  5. Clear the obstacles. This is one of the most overlooked roles of a leader.  You should be clearing the way for other to succeedMost of the friction that occurs in ministry can be traced back to processes, not people. Begin by eliminating ministry silos that are preventing your team from getting the most from your technology.

We live in a time when every church should be using technology to equip people and empower ministry. As a church leader, you have a responsibility to set the precedent for how your church is going to steward the resources you have and the people God has brought into your church. Taking the time to focus on these areas will not only improve the overall effectiveness of your church technology, it will ultimately make a tremendous difference in the way your church impacts your community.

How are you setting the pace for how your church leverages technology? How is it working for you?

Read more from Steve here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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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.

Vibrant Community: The Secret DNA of Every Church

Brands like Apple, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines understand that the thing that makes an organization great is the vibrant and passionate community it creates. It doesn’t just happen. It is intentionally cultivated. Apple didn’t get lucky because one day people decided to wait for days to buy the new iPhone. Southwest’s founder, Herb Kellerher, realized that creating a vibrant culture is something his organization had to focus on every day.

The good news for church leaders is you have the opportunity to create the same type of vibrant culture these organizations have created, if not a stronger one. But as every church leader knows, it’s not that easy.

Vibrant community: The secret DNA of every church

A few weeks ago, Church Community Builder had the opportunity to host Aaron Fortner, an expert in city planning and community building, as part of our webinar series. During the webinar, Aaron explained the fundamental principles of vibrant communities and how churches can go about creating them

If you want to build the type of vibrant community in your church that creates a multiplying effect outside the walls, here are seven things you need to know:

  • Community is a verb. Most churches think of community as a noun. They think that just because they plug people into a small group, there’s community. However, community is a dynamic movement. It doesn’t just happen because your church builds a place for it. It takes intentionality to lead people into community through action.
  • Vibrant church communities connect people to people, not just to the church itself. When the church is ineffective, it is a crowd of people meeting together on a regular basis. When effective, it is a tribe of believers that is connected to a vision that is bigger than themselves.
  • Vibrant communities have a singular focus with widespread reach. The vision and goal of vibrant communities should always simple and easy to understand. At the same time, the focus needs to resonate with a lot of people in order for the community to grow.
  • If you want your church to become a vibrant community, you must be fiercely consistent and pleasantly surprising. Consistency builds trust in your community. Your members can believe that you’re going to do the things you say you’re going to do. At the same time, consistency can become boring. That’s why it’s equally important always look for ways to challenge the status quo and surprise your community.
  • If you don’t get your community strategy right, the things you’re doing won’t last. your community-building efforts should always invite people into something that’s bigger than themselves. That’s the end goal. If you don’t focus on that, the things you’re doing won’t last.

Everything your church does, from discipleship to outreach, depends on the vitality of the community among your members. If you want a deeper look into how your church can create the type of vibrant community that your neighborhood or city notices, we’ve recorded the entire webinar here.

What is your church doing to create a vibrant community that transcends even the most popular brands?

Read more from Steve Caton here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
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Clarity Process

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The Constants of Church Community

“Community” is one of our highest values at Church Community Builder. So much so, we made it part of our name. In fact, as we closed the books on 2012, we did not celebrate the number of new churches who partnered with us, nor did we celebrate another year of phenomenal growth. What we always celebrate is the stories we heard throughout the year about churches who leveraged our technology and coaching to create a greater sense of belonging and community for their people.

As we’ve heard these stories over the years, there’s one principle we’ve noticed time and time again:

Where community is fostered, authentic life change is experienced.

So, if you’re focused on fostering a greater sense of community for your church in 2013, what can you expect? Here are three things I know for sure.

  • It will be messy.
    Where people are involved, so remains the potential for messiness. The messiness of community might make us uncomfortable but that vulnerability and openness leads to authenticity. And authenticity is the building block of relationships, and relationships are the building blocks of communities.
  • More programming won’t necessarily bring more community.
    In the 21st century, our inclination is to over program. And sometimes over programming can fill our church body’s schedules so much that authentic community is not given the proper margin time to form naturally. Take the beginning of the year to look at all your special events, programs, and initiatives and see what can be improved and what can be eliminated. Sometimes the best move you make is saying “no” to something new.
  • You will need community as much as it needs you.
    The church is filled with people. And people are complicated. You’ve probably been tempted at some point to step away from the church after being hurt, upset, or disappointed by people. Believe me, I get it. But while community is often complex and can get downright dirty, don’t forget to tell your congregation the point of all of this: We are there to worship God and worship Him in relationship with fellow believers. We’re not meant to do it alone.

What misconceptions have you had about community? 

Read more from Steve here.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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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.

Becoming a Church of Disciples Who Make Disciples

One of the things I love doing on my blog is highlighting next-level resources that could help churches experience exponential growth or success in reaching their communities. Today, I wanted to take time to highlight the latest eBook from Alex Absalom, Disciples Who Make Disciples: Turning Your Church Into a Multiplying Movement, which he co-authored with Greg Nettle. A few month’s ago, I shared about their first eBook One Of, in which Greg and Alex unpack the process of moving churches from an attractional model to one which is more missional in the approach to outreach and ministry. Thankfully, Alex and Greg decided to write another eBook and this one is even more incredible than the last.

In their latest book, Alex and Greg explain the importance of building a culture that combines disciple making with mission and how your church can begin the shift from merely reaching people to making disciples who in turn are equipped to go and make more disciples.

Why become a church of disciples who make disciples?

In the eBook, Greg and Alex share about the discipleship issues they faced at RiverTree. Although the church didn’t have a problem attracting people, they struggled to move people towards a deeper, more serious relationship with Christ.

While some people caught the vision and trusted God with everything,

it gradually became apparent that many others had accepted Jesus as Savior but not necessarily as Lord of their life.

Alex and Greg realized that if RiverTree wanted to truly experience the kind of transformation God desires for the Church and continue to reach it’s community with real life-change, they needed to adopt a new model of discipleship.

5 Steps to becoming disciple-multiplying church:

In the book, Alex and Greg highlight the 5 steps RiverTree took to become a church of disciples who makes disciples:

Step 1 – From Decisions to Disciples

After redefining discipleship, RiverTree focused on moving their church members from a spirit of “information” to one of “imitation.”

Step 2 – From Educating to Modeling

As important as information is, relationships and experiences are far more effective in bringing about life transformation.

Step 3 – From Programs to Discipleship

Instead of focusing on programs, RiverTree invested in developing personalized, proven discipleship strategies and practices.

Step 4 – From Activity-Based to Relationship-Based

Getting people to join a community group wasn’t the end goal. By building a culture where leaders release control and choose accountability, RiverTree was able to multiply community groups. The by-product… members experienced deeper relationships and became more invested in the mission.

Step 5 – From Accumulating to Deploying Disciples

Ultimately, outreach and evangelism will become a natural by-product of disciple making.

What should you expect after you read the eBook?

In the book, Alex and Greg highlight 4 things you expect to happen if you commit to becoming a church of disciples who make disciples:

  • Expect a 3-5 year process. Overnight doesn’t work.
  • If we equip people to be disciples, they will make disciples. This is where you get exponential growth.
  • People will begin talking about discipleship as a journey and a process.
  • More people wanting to be quick about reaching their places of mission.

If your prayer is to become a church that multiplies disciples, I would highly encourage you to download Alex and Greg’s eBook, Disciples who Make Disciples. Through the book, you will get a clear understanding of your church’s idea of discipleship and identify how you can develop a clearer plan for making disciples. You don’t have any excuse because you can download it for free on kindle or PDF here.

Alex is part of the leadership team at RiverTree Christian Church in Ohio. He has co-authored several books, “One Of” and “Launching Missional Communities”. You can connect with Alex on Twitter or subscribe to his blog.

What benefits have you seen from becoming a church of disciples that makes disciples?

Read more from Steve here.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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COMMENTS

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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.

4 Keys to Changing Your Church Culture in 2013

Whether it’s a business, a nonprofit organization, or a church, I am sure you have walked into a building and noticed either a level of excitement from those inside or a sense of doom! The energy which emanates from culture cannot be faked. It’s similar to the intent which stems from a persons heart. God has wired us in a way that it is very difficult to project an intent which is different than what is in our heart. Culture works the same. If people are operating in a toxic culture, they cannot easily project an attitude of joy and excitement. Anyone who regularly flies on United Airlines (and many others for that matter) can attest to this!

If you think your church culture could use some improving, here are four things to consider in 2013.

  • Start with your staff.
    Perhaps your church has had trouble getting the right people in the right roles. Maybe some do not share the overall vision. Maybe morale has been low or your middle school minister and high school minister don’t get along. The church’s culture will only evolve when the staff culture changes. Get your staff right so the rest of church life can follow suit.
  • Study up on leadership.
    Morale rises and falls on leadership. How can you change your shepherding approach to help improve commitment, trust, and motivation? Start by reading resources on the topic. Both Leadership Is an Art and Leadership and Self-Deception are great first steps.
  • Focus on people.
    Empower your staff, lay leadership, and volunteers to take ownership of the ministries they are involved in and approach leadership with fresh ideas. Encourage your team to be intentional with the relationships that are forged through ministry. Just as they show the church and local community that each individual is valued, your leadership team needs to express to volunteers how much they are treasured.
  • Commit to authenticity.
    Inspire authenticity within your staff by practicing authentic leadership. Do you give your staff the opportunity to provide feedback each week? If you model transparency and vulnerability, they will too.

Have you seen radical change in your church’s culture over the past year? What was the catalyst?

Read more from Steve here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Process >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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.