Archive for January, 2007|Monthly archive page

Where We Get Stuff

I know there’s a lot of places to get stuff, but here’s a couple places we found.

T-Shirts:  Bargain Tees.
You can get white t-shirts with one color ink for about $3.  And
there’s no setup or screen charges.  Black shirts with 2 colors are
about $5.  Minimum order is 96.

Printing:  We primarily use JakPrints, NetPrint24 and PSPrint.
JakPrints has good prices on all kinds of stuff.  We get postcards from
NetPrint24, who seem to have the best prices we’ve found (and they are
super fast).  And we get invite cards,
digital banners and digital color copies (for short run things that you
want in full color with a full bleed…say like 100 brochures or
registration forms) from PSPrint.

Equipment:  We order a lot of sound stuff from Sweetwater.   Good service and good prices.

Direct Mail:  We usually work directly with the post office and make
use of the route carriers and our bulk mail permit.  But if we want to
mail to specific addresses, I’ve used Mailing Edge for several projects.  Always good prices and service.

Design Work:  We do most of our stuff in house, but we have outsourced some recent stuff to o2 Graphic Design.   They did the postcard and website for our upcoming sex series.  They are affordable and always meet our deadlines.

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Solving the Electrical Problem

Since we meet in a movie theater on Sunday, and bring in a great deal of sound and lighting equipment, powering this stuff became quite an issue.  Most schools and movie theaters aren’t equipped with appropriate electrical service.  We thought about paying for an additional electrical service in the main theater, but this turned out too be too expensive.  Plus, if we ever had to change theaters or move locations, it’s money wasted.

So we settled on a big generator.  One of our people brings a big generator and puts it outside the back door of the theater.  We power all our lights this way.  It’s pretty easy.  We get it far away from the door so you can’t hear it.  And it works great.  A simple, portable solution to our problem.

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Quick Excellence Tip #46

Don’t ever use those clear acrylic sign holders to display your information.  Go to Target and get a nice 8.5 x 11 frame, print your sign, and display it that way.  It’s so simple, and much better looking.

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Growth Questions

OLC is five months old.  Though I worked for about a year behind the scenes, we’ve only had worship services for five months.  For the past couple of weeks, we’ve had over 400 people attend one of our two services.  In the five months, we’ve averaged 13% growth each month, growing in every month except December.  The growth has really happened faster than I thought it would. 

And since you really need to act like you’re twice your size, our team is now restructuring as if we were a church of 800. What works for a couple hundred of people, doesn’t work at the next level.  And as a staff team, we have to all be on the same page and prepared for what God is going to do. This weekend, we’re going to do a one day staff retreat to look at plans for growth.  We’re going to tackle ten questions.  They are:

  1. How can we encourage more people to attend the first service?
  2. Can we create an overflow area in another theater for the 2nd service?
  3. What is our next step meeting location and when would that happen?
  4. What are we going to do for Easter?
  5. What does the overall organizational flow chart look like?  What does a flow chart for each ministry look like?
  6. If people have to wait to get into a JG at the next GroupLink, what other alternatives for connections do people have?  Is GroupLink the most effective way for getting people connected to a Journey Group?
  7. What are our available volunteer positions, and out of that master list, what are the KEY positions?
  8. How are we communicating with our people?  How do we communicate just the information that people need to those particular groups of people?
  9. How are we going to reach more unchurched people?
  10. Are we really counting duplicate people accurately?

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2006 Annual Report

Just finished off our 2006 Annual Report.  Though there’s some numbers in there, it’s really a story of where we’ve been in the past few months (we’re only five months old), and where we’re going in 2007.  You can download a PDF here.

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Combined Efforts

We’ve grown by 120 people in the last couple of weeks, having passed the 400 mark for the first time this past Sunday.  OLC is about five months old, and we’ve grown steadily nearly every month.  In January, we had our biggest boom yet.

I think it was due to the combination of four things:

  • The new year.  People naturally decide to go back to church or look for a church.
  • A direct mail.  These seem to work for us.  We sent out quite a few of them.
  • A new service.  We added a 9 AM service to go along with the 10:15 service.  This was a great time to launch the new service.
  • God is up to something.  Never discount the hand of God.  When God is at work, people show up.  Growth like this isn’t normal, and God is definitely working here in Cartersville.

I would highly recommend that you combine efforts and plan for growth at a strategic time.  The new year is a great time to add another service.  Don’t just put one iron in the first, take a strategic look and pull out more than one stop.  When you combine efforts like this, you generate buzz and create momentum. Maybe you don’t need the one big thing, but a combination of three separate things.

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Church Planter Discount for Sidekick Summer

As a church planter, I know church planting budgets are tight.  And as
a youth pastor for 12 years, I also know the value of involving your
teenagers in quality events.  For this reason, Sidekick Students is
offering a big church-planter discount on our upcoming Sidekick Summer
event in Washington, DC.  We are offering churches that are less
than three years old a $40 discount…this brings the cost of the trip
down to our real and raw cost.
  We’re doing this because we have a heart for church planters and new churches, and we want to help any way that we can.

With this discount, Sidekick Summer costs just $209
.  This includes hotel lodging in a great hotel just blocks from the US Capitol and Union Station.  Morning and Evening worship will be led by Tenth Avenue NorthJohn Evans
will speak in the morning sessions and I will speak in the evening
sessions.  We provide a dozen small group lessons that are designed to
be done on location around the city during the afternoons as your
schedule permits.  Imagine coming up to the WWII Memorial which reads
"here we mark the price of freedom" and stopping for a (seeminly)
impromptu discussion on the price that Jesus paid for your salvation. 

Our heart in this is to support church plants.  So many others have
supported Oak Leaf Church and helped us get off the ground.  Our prayer
is that this event might be a catalyst to help jump start a student
ministry or strengthen your church.

Attached is a PDF PDF document with more information.  You can get more information about Sidekick Students (where I serve on the Board of Directors) here.

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Service Starters

We show a 10 minute video or Keynote presentation loop before the service begins.  In addition to some normal announcement stuff, we throw in some random slides, funny quotes or interesting facts.  Here’s a zip file of about 30 different graphics that I made just to mix things up from time to time.

Download service_starters.zip

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Messages

For what it’s worth, I post my messages in written for to oakleafgroups.com.  Pretty soon, our small groups pastor will also post PDF versions of small group material based on these messages.  You can also check our out podcast to listen in to Sundays @ Oak Leaf.  Just click the podcast button at oakleafchurch.com.

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Newcomers Event

We do a Newcomers Dinner on Sunday afternoons from 5-7 PM several times a year.  We provide food, childcare, and let people meet the staff and connect with other new people.  Then I talk about the vision, values and strategy of the church. I don’t get into beliefs and teaching stuff too much.  I always let people ask questions, and tell them I will answer anything they want to know.

We give everyone that attends the Newcomers Dinner a little 50 page book called "The Oak Leaf Way."  It’s just an overview of the strategy, values, has our statement of belief and some other stuff.  I don’t cover all this stuff live and in person, but if people want to know it, then it’s right there.

We use lulu.com to print the book (very easy) and they cost us about $5 each.  I think they look pretty sharp.   Here’s a PDF of the interior content: The Oak Leaf.pdf

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