Let me explain a little about what we have been doing. First we have had a deal called Leadership Community that meets once a month on Friday nights. This is open to any and all volunteers AND is a first step for new volunteers. We meet from 7pm - 8:30pm and we always have lots of food and fun too. We did meet in my house until we out grew it and now we meet in community clubhouses.
Here is the beauty of doing this for a year instead of rushing to appoint people as staff and give them a title. Even if you started your church with a staff I know it wasn't a full staff so this applies to you too. In a church plant you don't know people. You just don't. The ones that will jump in and serve on the front end are usually from other churches and with that comes "baggage." More than likely your church plant is not like most other churches in your area or else you would have just got a job there. So combine your new way of doing church with a group of people that are used to things being done a traditional way and it doesn't take long for sparks to fly. Sure it will be smooth sailing for a while and you will want to give people a title, and a place of leadership, but remember this... Once you give someone a title, once you call them staff or a leader, it is very hard to ever take that away without there being damage to your church.
So for the first year no one at Church of the Suncoast had a leadership position. Now that doesn't mean some people didn't emerge as leaders, but that is the beauty of doing a Leadership Community deal instead of a staff meeting. You get to see who "gets it," who gets the vision and the strategy of what you are doing. After you get to know them and trust them then start paying them or giving them leadership positions. If you would like more info on what Leadership Community is all about just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't get to brag on these people enough but here is a quick list of all the people that have played a role in turning the dream of the Suncoast into a reality: My wife Cheryl (no way I could have done this without you, thanks for enduring this first year), my parents, Andre and Ryan, the Blatz, the Dreschers, Jeanne (you guys were a great launch team, I don't know how we did it but we did), all of the new volunteers since we started, our staff, Hal Mayer (thanks for pushing me, but always believing in me), the crew from Suncoast Church of Tampa Bay for lending us some people during the previews, Paul Wirth, Erik Brookins, Stan Coleman, Karen Brooks (and the whole South Palm staff), Church at the Springs, all the fill in worship leaders, all the people that gave and prayed from across the state, and thank you to the Discovery Point staff and the Oakstead Elementary staff for allowing us to use your place to start this church.
Today we hit our average for this year so far attendance wise. We had 95. Our new promotion idea that is detailed under this seemed to give us some residual bounce. Not as much as a big mailer, but some. Still waiting on the exact number of first time guests. It was a great Sunday all the way around though. Counting down for Easter. We are doing a series called "Live in HD" It's all about how to live in High Definition because of the cross. We are praying for 200 people. We have hit 150+ now twice and gained about 20 people each time. Praying for more of the same!
One way that we just tried for the first time was to print a full page postcard with a lot of "pop" to it (www.netprint24.com). We then put the postage on the back of them and gave every person on Sunday morning three of them to take home and address to people they knew. Here is what I can see a week into this:
- It gets our people thinking about the church during the week
- It gets our people thinking about their non-believing friends during the week
- It is a great tool to get our people to pray for their friends
- It goes out to people that might have already been invited
- In our little test it was as effective as a 15,000 piece mailer
- It cost less than $1,000 to pull off
We will see how the residual affect is this weekend but if you are a church planter that is trying to budget some new promotion give it a try. If you want to see our postcard you can e-mail me at email@example.com
Our gatherings are on the second Monday of each month at the Italian Club in Ybor City, Florida. 10am and always FREE!
- http://www.biblegateway.com/ (easiest to cut and paste into message text)
- http://www.crosswalk.com/ (better selection of translations)
- “The Bible Exposition Commentary” Volume 1 & 2 by Warren W. Wiersbe
- http://www.bibleinfo.com/ (330 topics and Biblical perspective on each)
Other Guys Stuff to Feed On
- http://www.pastors.com/ (Rick Warren is tough to beat if you can add some creativity)
- http://www.creativepastors.com/ (Ed Young Jr. & Fellowship Church content)
- http://www.willowcreek.com/ (Willow’s site, tough navigation, check out some Axis talks)
- http://www.lifechurch.tv/ (Craig Groeschel, Open Content is FREE!)
- http://www.wiredchurches.com/ (Grainger Community’s new site)
- http://www.northpoint.org/ (Andy Stanley, can buy CD’s but no transcripts or creative content)
- http://www.sermoncentral.com/ (Sermons by everyday you & me, great if you have time to sort)
Guys to Watch
- http://www.fellowshipchurch.com/ (usually you can watch Ed’s talks)
- http://www.northpoint.org/ (I always watch Andy each week, you will need Flash)
- http://www.lifechurch.tv/ (I am watching more of Craig, have to get past his voice)
- http://www.fotw.org/ (Kerry Shook at Fellowship of the Woodlands in Houston)
- http://www.newspring.cc/ (Perry Nobel, you have to watch a guy that adds 5,000 in a year)
Guys on the Edge
- http://www.marshill.org/ (Rob Bell, the guy is too smart for me, great communicator)
- http://www.marshillchurch.org/ (Mark Driscoll, “the cussing pastor”)
- http://www.sermonspice.com/ (great videos from multiple sites and easy searching)
- http://www.bluefishtv.com/ (only $1.99 per video!!!)
- http://www.youtube.com/ (can find some great stuff, low quality, convert using http://www.vixy.net/)
- http://www.fye.com/ (you can find music videos on DVD for a lot of “secular” music)
- http://www.willowcreek.com/ (great place for dramas)
Hope this helps you take your study, content, and delivery to the next level. Learn from the best out there. Your people deserve it!!!
But, here is my thinking on this. You will spend over 1/3 of your life at work. Why in the world would a church not talk about that? Many of us spend more time with the people we work with then we do with our own families. The truth of the Bible is God has some important things He wants to do in and through you at the office, at school, or working at home. So this Sunday we dive into the first of those. For more info you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
"The Blogging Church"
In it you will find the why's, the what's, and the how's, to using this powerful tool to connect people to your church or ministry.
My thought is... Don't be afraid to use this new tool to reach people and connect people. I am by no means great at this, but I have found it effective. It also allows you to pass on the knowledge and insight you have gained to the next generations. Give it a look today!
Questions, questions, questions. The biggest things I have learned in my life have come through questions. For example Hal Mayer, who planted Church @ the Bay, was a guy who I picked his brain clean when we were about a year out from launching. I still to this day call him just to ask questions. Relationships like that are worth thousands of dollars in mistakes I might have made if I had not asked questions. We need to be asking questions of people way out in front of us... I just got back from the C3 Conference at Fellowship and that was a place to ask far out questions. We also need to ask questions of people not so far out... I have a network of church planters called the Tampa Bay Church Planters Network that is a place to ask people like Hal questions. He is at 500 people. We are at 100. He is 2 years old, we are almost 1 year. Finally, we need to ask questions of people behind us that are up and coming... A lot of times they are up on new trends that we have missed. They challenge our systems and paradigms.
So my advice to him and you is ask some questions. The moment we stop asking questions is the moment we miss the chance to move God's church further down the field.