Three Ways to Help Your Church Operate More Intentionally

One of the biggest hindrances to effective ministry is a failure to operate intentionally. Many churches choose to live in the comfort zone of a rut. But as someone once told me, “a rut is simply a grave with both ends knocked out.” While it is difficult, we must be willing to operate intentionally. Here are three ways that will help.

Intentional Church

1- Know Your Purpose, then Pursue It.

If your church is going to operate in an intentional manner it must understand and embrace its God-given purpose. Know what your strategy is, talk about, and then plan to accomplish it.

Simply going through the motions of ministry will not help you actively pursue and accomplish your purpose. If there is a ministry or program that is not helping your church accomplish its purpose, either change it or get rid of it. Yes, making those decisions can be difficult, but they are necessary – especially if you are serious about pursuing God’s purpose for your church.

2- Love the Future More than You Love the Past.

When a church loves the past more than it loves the future it will be tempted to simply go through the motions of what has been done in the past with no thought given as to why.

In this atmosphere people are resistant to any kind of change. The question is not ‘will this help us reach people for Christ?’ but ‘is this different?’

Unless these churches change their mentality, they will eventually die. It is impossible to reach people in the present and strategize for the future when you are idolizing the past.

3- Be Willing to Honestly Evaluate the Effectiveness of Everything Your Church Does.

Over time, programs and ministries tend to lose their vibrancy and effectiveness. Often these programs are allowed to continue for years even though they are not doing what they were designed to do. They are not necessarily bad, but they are not the best way to accomplish their intended purpose.

If there is a more effective way of accomplishing a goal, failure to do so is unwise and would make us poor stewards of the time, energy, and resources God has given us.

Let’s face it, there are many things churches do, not because it is effective, but because it is comfortable. We must resist the tendency to operate in this way.

While it can be challenging, churches must operate intentionally. Know your purpose, be committed to reaching people, and honestly evaluate everything you are doing. Understanding these three points will help your church operate more intentionally.

What have you found that helps your church operate intentionally? Please comment below.

6 Keys to Announcing Change to Your Congregation

Change is never easy, but it is often necessary. What is sometimes missed is that the success or failure of a change is directly tied to how it is communicated to the congregation by the church’s leadership. Here are 6 keys that will help you effectively announce change to your congregation.

Church Change

1- Own the Change.

If you are not 100% convinced that the change you are making is needed and the right thing to do, then perhaps you need to give it some more thought. Owning the change means that you are convinced of its necessity, are willing to spend time communicating it, are willing to invest time answering questions about it, and even willing to be questioned and criticized for it.

2- Have the Lead Pastor Personally Make the Initial Announcement.

This is not an ego thing, but if the change is affecting the entire church, they need to know that the Lead/Senior Pastor is behind it. Simply putting an announcement in the bulletin about a significant change does not send the right signals.

3- Acknowledge the Reality of the Listener’s Concerns.

There will be concerns – most of them you can anticipate. Let the church know that you are aware of those concerns and that you do not take those lightly. Be genuinely sympathetic with how the proposed change will affect those in church. By communicating that you are aware of the concerns, you are telling the church that you care about them and understand how this will affect them.

4- Tie the Change to a Mission-Driven Purpose.

Change for the sake of change is sure to ruffle feathers, but change for the sake of furthering your church’s missions has a much greater chance of being accepted (or at least tolerated). Clearly communicate how the change will enable your church to better do what God has called your church to do and more people will embrace it.

5- Make Yourself Available to Answer Questions.

There will be questions, and you need to be the one to answer them. Make yourself available. View the process of answering questions as a necessary step in the change process. Resist the temptation to view those who ask questions as opposing you. Assume they sincerely want to better understand what is happening.

6- Try to Over-Communicate.

You’ve made the announcement eight times, and you think that everyone knows about it and understands it. Guest what? You’re wrong. It is impossible to over communicate. Always assume that more announcements, information, and clarification are needed, because it is.

While you can’t make everyone like every change that is made, you can be wise in how you communicate that change, thus limiting confusion. Following these six suggestions will help you lead your church through the treacherous waters of change.

What would you add to this list? Please comment below?

3 Ways to Encourage Visitors to Give You Their Information

Whether you call it a visitors card, a guest registration card, or a connection card, every pastor I know wishes they had more of them turned in by those who visited their church. Here are three ways to help make that happen.

1- Ensure that all visitors actually receive a visitor’s card.

This is simple. A visitor can’t fill out a card they don’t have. If you want a visitor to turn in a card, start by being sure they have one in their hand. The best way I have found to do this is to make the card part of the bulletin and then pass them out to everyone.

2- Offer an incentive.

This can be done a couple of different ways. One option is to give a gift to each visitor who turns in a card. A better option, in my opinion, is to offer an incentive that is connected with the mission of your church. For instance, our church donates $5 to a local food pantry for every visitor card that is turned in. On holidays, such as Easter, when we want to receive as many cards as possible, we will up that to $10.

If people know that filling out a visitor card will directly cause money to be sent to help those in need, they are much more likely to complete and turn in the card. At the same time, it helps our church do something to help make a difference in our community.

3- Have a service worth returning to.

No matter what you offer, if your service is not worth returning to your guest won’t complete or turn in the card. Pursue quality in all that you do, ensure that your sermon is helpful and biblical, and strive to demonstrate the love of Christ to each person.

We have to be intentional about all aspects of ministry. Simply wanting more visitor cards turned in is not going to make it happen. You have to develop a strategy to make it happen.

What are your thoughts? What have you found that has helped?