Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Skittles Series Resources

Here’s a zip file with three messages and three keynote presentations from our recent Skittles series.  We talked about money management, saving, spending and tithing.  Download Skittles.zip

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Fall Brochures

We just finished designing some new brochures that will sit on our information table. These simple brochures provide more information on the church, giving options (including the bank draft form), baptism and volunteering. We’ll print them as digital color copies from PsPrint – about $20 for 100 of them. This allows us to have nice looking brochures that go all the way to the edge of the paper without having to spend an arm and a leg for brochures. Here’s a zip file with all four brochures.

Download Brochures.zip

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Gift Bags for Guests

We give all first time guests that come to Oak Leaf a gift bag.  I usually let them know this during the welcome.  We ask them to fill out the connection card and invite them to stop by the info table on the way out and pick up the gift bag.  Inside, we stick:

  • a candy bar or some other kind of sweet stuff
  • a message on CD, one of our "greatest hits"
  • an issue of relevant magazine (they give us month old issues for just the cost of shipping)
  • a book – 50 reasons why Jesus came to die by John Piper
  • a journey groups brochure – we do not load up the bag with propaganda from our church, but we give one clear next step item.
  • any current series invite cards that we may have

We put all this in a brown gift bag that we buy for about $.40 from Target or Hobby Lobby.  Actually, we just ordered 1,000 of them custom printed with our logo for about the same amount of money.  We used these folks. I think the money we spend on gift bags is money well spent, because it’s for our guests.  I believe it is one of the reasons guests return…because they know they are valued.

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All Out

Every now and then, we pull out some extra stops for a service or a series.  Father’s Day was one of these times for us.  I did a stand alone message called "Dominate," which focused on the vision and heart of our church.  Here are some of the things we did to reinforce the sports theme for the morning.

  • We asked people to wear jerseys or sports shirts.
  • We had someone walking around "selling" peanuts.
  • We set up a putting contest in the lobby and gave away OLC logo golf balls if people made the putt.
  • We had a free throw contest outside the theater.
  • The band played eye of the tiger and we introduced the staff like a starting lineup.
  • We put green golf grass with yard markers on the stage, as well as another basketball goal.
  • We shot a basketball video to use during the welcome.
  • I talked about sports a lot in the message.
  • We created "Dominate" t-shirts and sold quite a few. 

Our creative team (made up of a lot of volunteers) came up with some good ideas.  While we do thematic things for every series, we determine some series or Sundays to be "A game."  We’ll do more for those series.  I recommend having three or four really big series each year…do more props, sets, etc. 

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Bulk Mailing

We’ve done about 7 or 8 different mailouts in our short history and wanted to answer some questions about how we do that.  There’s two ways that I would recommend.

1.  The first way, and cheapest, is to do what’s called a saturation mailout.  You’ll need your bulk mail permit, and you’ll want to go meet the person at your post office that handles the bulk mail.  But a saturation means that you give one card to every mailbox on a route.  You find out how many routes there are and how many boxes on each of those routes.  You’ll get trays from the post office and put a card in there for each box.  The mail carrier delivers one postcard to every box.  Instead of printing addresses on the card, you just print "Postal Customer."  Saturation rates are probably the cheapest rates you can get from the post office.

2.  The second way, which is what we’ve been doing lately, is to use a company like these guys.  They will print your card and send them out.  They can mail to a radius around an address or everybody in a certain zip code.  The last time, we figured it cost us a few hundred bucks more to have them take care of everything.  We paid them for printing and the address data, and paid the post office for the postage. 

Both of these methods have been pretty effective for us.  We never use stock, generic postcards from the postcard companies – we always design our own.  And we generally mail out to promote big days or the launch of "felt needs series."  Don’t spend money mailing something if it’s not cool.

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Simple and Streamlined

Our leaders don’t serve on committees…they volunteer on Sundays.  Our men’s ministry is the setup team.  Our women’s ministry are small groups, where women can go with their husbands if they have one.  We don’t need a flower committee, a motorcycle team or the latest Beth Moore resource to lead people to follow Jesus.

Come to church – bring a friend or neighbor.  Get involved in a small group – talk about God’s word and do something about it.  Put your money where your mouth is.  Serve somewhere.  It’s pretty simple.  That’s what we want people to do.

We don’t cater to the spiritual whiners who want more meat so they can just get fat.  I don’t care how much you know about the Old Testament if you don’t care that your neighbor is going to hell.   I say a sign of spiritual maturity is the ability to feed yourself anyway.  This church isn’t all about you.  We’re not going to be the buffet church that tries to do everything.  We’re simple.  We’re streamlined.  We’re focused.

I think most church plants try to do too much.  We did, too.  We tried to do youth ministry before we were ready and a monthly "believers service" before we should have.  But now, we’ll say no to everything, so we can say yes to the most important things.

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Baptism

Dunked
We baptized 20 people yesterday and we gave them all a t-shirt.  We figured it was a little better than the cheesy certificate.  When it was all said and done, we gathered up all those who were baptized and took a picture.

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Financing a Church Plant

Lots of guys get lots of money to start churches…it didn’t happen that way for us.  Our sponsoring church took care of my insurance and paid me as an intern for my first year on the ground (the year before our preview service).  We did all the things that you’re supposed to do – prepare a prospectus, meet with churches, and send out letters.  All in all, we spent about $50,000 from the time I moved to Cartersville, to the time we launched in August of 2006.  Our convention gave us $10,000 and another church gave us $5,000.  All of this went to some salaries, kids equipment, rent for the movie theater, outreach events, office stuff, computers, and everything else.  In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that much money and I don’t know how we did it.

We just launched the church and refused to let money be an excuse.  We used the offering from our first preview service to buy lights for the second one.  We went week to week.  We didn’t have a whole bunch of churches lining up to help us.  I told all our people that I really believed that we would make it
because of the faithful, regular giving of our people….not because
some millionaire or other church would swoop in and save the day.

I’m sure there are some great resources out there on fundraising, but we just weren’t that good at it.  Our staff raised support, we saved money where we could, and we didn’t try and operate like a church with 323 ministries.  We were slim and simple.  We spent money on things that affected Sundays and got people in the community to come to church.  We don’t do fundraisers and nickle and dime people to death. 

Our launch team stepped up and started giving before we had services.  We took up an offering at every launch team meeting.  Now that we are nine months into this, I am doing a series on money…this week we are hitting tithing pretty hard. 

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Staffing a Church Plant

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about staff, so I thought I would answer some of them here.  I moved to Cartersville, not knowing anyone, to start this church.  I worked for about a year before our first preview service. 

It was just before that first preview service that we "hired" our first staff position – a small groups pastor.  Most people will tell you to find a worship leader first, but we wanted to hire bands, so we just played to our strengths.  Tim came on staff without the promise of any salary, and he raised support.  Even now, he is still raising support for about 50% of his salary.  By the end of the year, he should be able to stop raising support.

We also hired a part time children’s leader.  That was an important area for us, so we needed a leader.  After we launched, we hired a part time administrative assistant to handle the office stuff and the money stuff.  So for the first 6 months, we had me, a small groups person, a part time children’s person and an office person.

All of these people were from within, and I’m a big advocate of hiring from within.  We just hired a new children’s person from within, and she already gets our strategy and philosophy.  We’ve seen her work and lead, because she’s a volunteer.   The people that we’ve brought in for interviews or brought on staff from the outside, haven’t gelled with us.  People don’t come to work here for the money…they come to work here because of the vision and because it’s a God-thing.  I’m a big advocate of hiring the right person, not just the right position.  And play to your strengths.  As a church plant, you can’t hire every position you want.  If there’s a guy in your circle who would make a great exec pastor, hire them.  If God has brought you the amazing worship leader, hire that person.

We just hired an administrative pastor who will help fly at 30,000 feet and run the church.  And since we believe you ought to structure for twice your size, we are re doing our org chart to reflect some of those changes.  I’m backing off from a lot of the things I did when I started and focusing more on vision and teaching, but I wasn’t able to do that in the beginning.  Church planters have to do it all, and then quickly move to getting specialists involved.

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Outside Opinions

Last weekend, Anthony (admin pastor) and I spent the weekend at Elevation Church in Charlotte.  We spent a lot of time with their Executive Pastor and visited their services on Sunday.  It was a great opportunity for us to learn from one of the fastest growing churches ever.  To prepare for the weekend, we sent some questions and thoughts in advance…things we were wrestling with and areas where we were seeking clarity.  We wanted to prepare for this weekend so that we could get the most out of it.   Throughout the weekend, we were able to talk about them and get some major insight.  It was a great use of our time.

I would highly recommend doing something like that.  Find a church that you respect, that is a little farther along than you, and plan your own conference.  Get insight.  Ask questions.  Learn.  At the end of the summer, we are actually going to spend a good bit of money bringing in a consultant.  I think churches ought to do this several times each year.  Elevation has brought in several already, and told us that 4 times a year is what they shoot for.  Maybe it’s a leader from a nearby church, or maybe you pay someone.  But organize and plan it and have a system.  You need to do more than just visit someone elses service.  Taking your staff to something like this is more valuable than a conference.  Or bringing in the consultant is like bringing the conference to you.

Here’s the document we used to prepare for our weekend.  Download evaluation_questions.doc

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