I Am A Church Member – On Every Book Shelf!

I am Church Member

Reasons I Liked the Book

I like this book for several reasons. To list a few: it is small, simple, easy to read, practical, inexpensive and it has some great insights. Some of the content makes for some great discussions in small groups.

FIRST Read The Introduction

Many of us dive right into reading chapter one, but in this case I STRONGLY recommend reading The Introduction for it sets the stage for the chapters to follow. The introduction includes a story of the interaction between two different types of church members. If you are a seasoned church member I am sure you will be able to relate.

How to Use Your Secretary

secretary

 

How to Use Your Secretary

Stop Doing My Job.

I remember the day all so well. I found myself at the copy machine. Right when I was about to hit the ‘start’ button with my pointer finger, there she was. “What are you doing,” she asked with a puzzled look. I thought it was a trick question. So I responded with a sort of ‘question’ tone, “Making 20 copies of these documents.” She fired back, “But that’s my job.” I stood there not knowing what to do with my finger. Before I knew she was standing between me and the copy machine. Since it was a little awkward, I made my way back to the office. I had had secretaries before, or perhaps not.

3 Reasons to Consider On-Line Giving

giving online

Our church is currently in the process of restructuring our finances and committee roles.  We are adding, revising, and or deleting policies, functions, and systems.  We are also considering some new functionality.

We sat in a meeting on Thursday and literally wiped our brows having narrowly escaped the three foot snow storm that hit New York and Massachusetts.

We, like so many churches simply could not afford to ‘CLOSE’ church. Bills have to be paid and so do employees of which the pastor is one.

This narrow escape forced us to address the subject of online giving AGAIN moving it this time UP on our priority list.  Instead of discussing things-to-death we made a conscious effort to implement this task.  We even decided to enforce a deadline date as we simply could not afford to procrastinate any longer.

Three concepts we had to come to terms with:

1) We are living in a ‘cashless’ society.

To prove this point eight people were around the table and only two of the eight had cash in their possession.  The rest of us said that we had our Debit cards.

Interestingly enough, the average age of our committee was 60. So if 80% of our committee operated mostly using our cards, this only confirms what the majority of people are using – their CARDS.

2) Great number of people bank online.

Again, using our meeting as a sample poll, this percentage dropped by 50% as some people around the table still wrote checks to pay their bills.

I think it is also important to note that the oldest in this meeting was 74 and the youngest was 51. Those under the age of 60 ALL banked online.  Suffice it to say the average adult between ages 27-60 also bank online.

Why is this important to note?  Because we anticipate that when we finally introduce the concept to our congregation, it should be met with minimal resistance to the average person already familiar with the automation.

3) Closed church, closed wallet.

Weather is not the only obstacle, last year we had a mysterious power outage.  It did not only affect the church, but all the surrounding businesses and residential areas.  Everything was shut down. This lasted for four days.

What’s the significance? It’s the temptation to spend that which would have otherwise been earmarked for the offering plate.

To some, especially those not sold on this tithing thing to have to double up the following Sunday is more than they can bear.  It’s something about giving ‘the CHURCH’ that much money. See the humorous story called, ‘The Pastor and the Successful Young Man.’

The Real Benefit

Once you are set up to receive donations, contributions, tithes and offerings online, you will not be in FEAR when there is inclement weather or when there are mysterious power outages that keep you from having church services.

Many churches, from my research, have enjoyed more ‘consistent’ giving among their congregations as many of them have set up their accounts for a particular amount to be taken out at regular intervals of their own choosing.

This automation helps the member stay faithful in his or her giving as well, and of course, it eliminates the anxiety of having to double or triple their tithes on account of church closings.

There are many online giving companies that will assist the church in setting up this feature on their websites.  You can, of course, do your own due diligence, but here are just a few companies I put together that offer this service.

What is your back up plan if you had to close your church unexpectedly? How is the giving at your church?  What would happen if you couldn’t count on two of your largest tithers?

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Sermons: Address Congregational Care Issues

ButtonCongregationalCare

Sermons: Address Congregational Care Issues

I hopped onto www.churchleaders.com and was intrigued by an article entitled, “How to Preach Like Andy Stanley” written by Michael Lukaszewski.

Of course Mike’s title caused quite a stir.

Actually, it was quite clever. The title alone enticed us to read the article which really addressed why he felt Andy Stanley was one of the top communicators of our time.  Andy Stanley is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Georgia and is also son to the well known tel-evangelist, Charles Stanley.

Congregational Care: One of the Keys to Success

I would like to address two of the six reasons Michael highlighted in his blog because I think pastoral and congregational care are extremely important to the success of any church.

Mike wrote in his article that Andy Stanley understands people and tackles the tough topics with grace.

As pastors, it’s extremely important to stay connected with the real issues facing our congregations.

Pastoral and Congregational Care issues may look like this:

  • Depression or anxiety disorders
  • Marital unfaithfulness [infidelity]
  • Divorce
  • Loss of job
  • Debt
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Rebellious children
  • Unwanted pregnancy or abortion
  • Infertility
  • Rape or molestation
  • Illness

At Least 25% Need Pastoral Care

Adam Hamilton, author of Leading Beyond the Walls stated that at any given time he counts on the fact that 25% of people coming to worship are in NEED of pastoral care.

Depending upon how large your church is or your personal work load, it may be simply impossible to devote sufficient time one on one to these individuals.

What Mike was saying in his article about Andy Stanley is that Andy is very much aware that there are people sitting in his congregation who are battling issues everyday and need help.

Andy bravely takes on some of these issues in his sermons or sermon series and does so with grace and not condemnation.  Andy often cites that you may not always agree with him, but regardless, he is committed to sharing God’s truth. A prime examples of this is his video series on “Guardrails.”

Adam Hamilton states from his book that pastors have to address these real issues.  He gives a couple of examples and the first is when he preached a funeral of a man who committed suicide.

Pastor Adam sensing that there was a need, devoted a whole sermon on the topic of suicide.  A number of people told him that the sermon alone convinced them not to take their own lives.

Pastor Adam’s sermon was taped and copies remain in their bookstore weekly for anyone who wishes to pick up a copy for themselves or for a friend who is contemplating suicide.

Added BONUS: It Can be Evangelistic

Another example of meeting congregational care is the area of dealing with relationships and marriage. Pastor Adam devoted an entire sermon series on the “Biblical Perspective of Love, Sex & Marriage.”

This was as a result of a lot of pastoral visits of couples on the brink of divorce.

The goal of the series was to help the congregation understand the Biblical perspective on marriage and relationships between a man and a woman. By the way, everyone that is married at his church gets a DVD of this series.

Although the goal was to help relationships and marriages, members of the congregation invited friends and other family members.  By the time the series concluded, their church took in nearly 200 new families.

Pastoral care sermons are important.  As Adam Hamiliton quotes, “…help us offer real hope and help to those who are broken.”

Do you take time to assess the real needs of the congregation and intentionally study and create sermons to address congregational care issues?  If not, are you motivated now to?

 

 

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Improve Your Church Holiday Services by Planning Ahead

Snow laid woods w Red Xmas ball

Improve Your Church Holiday Services

Christmas is fast approaching.  For the church, there are three days a year that can serve to EXPLODE your church in terms of growth.  The three days are: Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter.  We call it the C.M.E. days.

These days should come as no surprise to you.   If you can’t get people in church any other time, you usually can on these days. I implore you to really pay attention to these days and not to ignore such a great opportunity to fish.

Feature Your Best Stuff

It is during these times, churches need to pull out there BEST stuff: music, best readers, drama, sermon, etc.  I’ve been in congregation where pastors sand blast their members for not inviting others to church with them.  Believe me when I say you don’t get warm fuzzies staring out at empty pews.

However, on the other hand, if there is nothing to look forward to but a typical Sunday morning format, where is the motivation to do anything different?

Plan Ahead

There are churches who put significant time into planning for the C.M.E. days to be a great worship experience, not only for their existing congregation, but also for their visitors. Some churches start planning as much as a year ahead for these special days.

The result of significant planning will always yield you positive results.

It really gets me how pastors will put in a week or two of planning, if that, just before the ‘special’ day and have the audacity to rebuke the congregation for not inviting guests.

The truth is there are always churches nearby that have planned ahead and are offering a great worship experience.

You know this personally because more than a month earlier, you received their glossy postcard, or a member gave you an event ticket, or you saw their specialty banner on the road, or viewed their updated website  or you heard their radio announcement or saw their TV commercial.

These are all indicators that this service has been well thought out, planned and will be different.

People Will Share What They Value

The truth is congregations from these churches will gladly invite friends, co-workers and strangers to their churches. Members value the time, effort and planning that went into that service.  And whatever gives them a sense a pride, they will gladly share.

So if you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly.  However, if you sow generously, you will reap generously.

Don’t Be Surprised if Your Own Member Skips Out

So, if you are a pastor who says, “It don’t take all that,” don’t be surprised or offended if you look up and even some of your own members are missing on these days.

Where are they?  They are at the church down the road enjoying their ‘planned’ church service.

 

 Does your church plan ahead for C.M.E. days?  How early?

Feel free to review the blog entitled, “10 Ways to Sabotage Your Church Holiday Service Efforts.”

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