Archive for February, 2017

4 weekend experienceWhat grade would you give your weekend experience? What grade would a first time visitor give you? Would those grades match? Most likely, you gave yourself a higher grade than what others may give you. But how many of us actually know the grade we would receive? That information is priceless and could change your whole church. More information gives you more opportunities to change it. When you change it, more visitors will come and stay. Here are some tips on how to know what kind of experience guests are having.

1) Visit other local Churches

What are 3-4 churches in your area that have a great reputation for being friendly and welcoming? Visit those churches and write down everything that you see and feel. Have some other leaders with you so that you can debrief and share what you are learning. This will help you compare and contrast with your own weekend experience.

2) Have a Secret Shopper

Most of us act our best when we know someone is coming to visit us. It’s important to get a pulse of an average Sunday. Ask a friend or church leader of yours who doesn’t attend your church to come and visit one Sunday. Have them write down later what they felt and what they saw. Ask them to be brutally honest. You’ll get more information out of it if you share with them things that you want them to grade you in. For instance, the list can include the the parking experience, volunteer interaction, worship service, connections, and much more. This feedback will give you invaluable and accurate information.

3) Survey New Guests

Ask your current visitors to give you feedback on their experience. You can either ask them after the service or have them write it down in a comment card. You could also follow up with them during the week too. It’s important to listen to what they say and what they don’t say.

4) Get a Coach/ Consultant 

There are churches and coaches out there that can provide you with feedback on how you are doing. Ask a pastor or a consulting agency to give you feedback about your church experience. You may have to pay a fee but the information will outweigh the costs.

small group growHas your small group felt like it’s in a plateau? People come but it doesn’t feel like they are there. There are many reasons why this happens. Here are 7 easy ways to help your small group growing and get out of that plateau.

1)  Share Personally or Deeply

Most groups don’t go deep enough or share about “real” struggles. The best way to help is by having people share personal struggles, issues or problems. The more vulnerable and authentic the group is, the more people will want to engage and be part of the group. Sharing your needs actually makes a group closer and more connected.

2) Change the format of your small group

Maybe your small group needs to change things up. It’s easy for a group to get comfortable with how they do small group. Familiarity can breed complacency. Have another person be the leader for the week. Empower them to lead in any way that that they see fit. This will give more ownership to the group. It also allows for creativity.

3) Serve

Another great tool to help your small group is to SERVE. When you focus on doing something for others, it brings a group together. It’s a great way to feel good about yourself as well as your group. Your group can come together to really make an impact and difference in someone’s life. You can share that experience and create life changing memories.

4) Challenge each other to grow deeper: accountability 

People want to be accountable. Small group needs to not just talk about issues but also hold people accountable to their own goals and desires. Does your group encourage and challenge each other to grow? Encourage your small group members to hold each other accountable this week to do one thing. Follow up with them during the week.

5) Have fun together

When was the last time your group did something fun? Laughing it the best way to grow a group. You can go bowling together, play miniature golf or whatever interests your group. There are so many ways to create bonding experiences. Your group will see each other in a whole different way.

6) Add more spirituality (prayer, reading)

Maybe your group actually needs to focus more on spirituality. Having a shared spiritual goal can make your group more focused and connected. You can try something big like reading through the Bible in one year together. You can try something easier like reading one verse or chapter a day together. You can use your small group time to debrief and share what you are learning. This keeps you accountable and focused.

7) Love others together

Love is a powerful tool that brings people together. Your group could do a special project to love someone in your community. You can also challenge your group to do a random act of kindness during the week. Maybe you can decide to love people in your group or the people closest to you. When you share that love to your group, it’ll make everyone celebrate and feel more connected.

What is the one thing that your group can do this week? 

4 questions askChurches love visitors and guests…usually. Leaders salivate when new bodies sit in the worship center. But do your visitors love your church? Do you know what these guests are thinking when they step on your church? Here are four common thoughts that every your visitors is thinking. It’s important for you to be aware of this so that you can create a great experience for every visitor.

 

1) How’s the parking?

The church starts in the parking lot not the worship center. Parking is probably the single biggest place that churches neglect. People want to know if there is enough parking and if it’s easily accessible. Can your first time guests find the parking lot easily? Would they be able to know where to go after that? It’s important to have a  traffic team to help create a great parking experience. One way is to create signs for guests. Another way is to designate parking spots for visitors, families with young children and people with special needs. This makes first time guests feel really cared for.

2) Are there people like me?

Visitors are thinking if the church reflects the community. First time guests feel connected to churches when they see someone on stage that looks like them. Does your stage presence reflect the target demographic in your community?  It’s important to show case your diversity on the stage as well as those who are serving. If your church does not have that diversity then it’s vital to note how a guest may feel about that.

3) Can I find authentic community?

First time guests not want to know if people look like them but also if they can be friends with them. They are hungry for community and a place to belong. They want to know what are the opportunities and steps to get plugged in. Does your church have a small group table? Does your church provide information on ways to get plugged into the different ministries?

4) Will they really care about me?

This is the single most important question that the first time guest is asking. Many people have this stereotype and fear that the church will judge them or criticize them for their lifestyle or what they did last night. They want to know if the leaders, volunteers and members will love them, accept them and care for them. Is your church friendly and welcoming to all different types of people? Does your church really care and want to be fully present and intentionally care for all people?

Which question can your church tackle this week for your first time guests? 

explore“All Leaders are Learners. The moment you stop learning, you stop leading.” Pastor Rick Warren

Leaders need to constantly be learning. And the one of the most important things that all leaders must learn is themselves.  Self-awareness is a key component in being a good leader.  It helps you to understand your temperament, personality, leadership styles, blind spots and preferences. Leaders need to learn who they are to lead more effectively. Here are seven tests that every leader needs to take to take their leadership to the next level.

This is probably the most used test to in discovering a person’s personality. The test has 16 different personalities based on how a person sees the world and makes decisions. It helps to show your inclinations and preferences.
 Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton wrote a book called “Now Discover Your Strength.” They believe that most people focus on being a balanced leader by improving on their weakness.  They believe that individuals should focus more on developing their strengths instead.  The impact of building your strengths leads to more passion and higher job satisfaction. The online assessment identifies 34 strengths and the test  costs $15 to find your top five strengths or $89 for all 34 strengths.
Marcus Buckingham wrote another book called “Standout: Find your Edge, Win at Work.” He argues that we each have a strength that we can contribute to our work. After taking the assessment, you’ll find your top two strength roles among the nine. You’ll receive a 20 page report on your top two as well as tips and ways to grow in those areas. The test costs $15.

 

4) Enneagram (Free)

 Enneagram is another type of personality test. It has 9 different types of personalities that you may be but also describes how your type may change depending if you are feeling stressed or secure. The Enneagram looks at your basic fears and motivators of why you do what you do. The test costs $12 but there are free versions online too.

 

5) 5 Love Language (Free)

Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called “5 Love Languages.” The premise is there are five basic ways that we give and receive love- physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and receiving gifts. The idea is that each of us has different way to show and receive love. So you may think you are loving your significant other, but theirs may be different. It’s important to discover both yours and theirs. The test is free.

 

6) Apest ($10)

APEST is a test that helps you understand your ministry style based on the ideas of the fivefold ministry from Ephesians 4 (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, Teachers). It helps to understand your motivation in ministry and the best way that you express and use that in ministry. The test costs $10.

 

7) VIA Institute of Character (Free)

Values in Action (VIA) is an assessment to find your character strengths. It’s based on 24 different strengths based on a person’s character. The 24 character strengths are categorized by six broad virtue categories (wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperament, and transcendence). The test is free online.

The cost of these 7 tests is only $52. That’s a small price to pay to learn more about your leadership personality, style and strengths. It’s a worthwhile investment that will have a high return.

Which test will you start with and what are your results?