Archive for July, 2007|Monthly archive page

Children’s Ministry Policies and Procedures

We spent a good deal of time collecting handbooks, policies, etc. from various churches and putting together our own comprehensive policies and procedures manual for KidVenture.  This document goes over security, check in, operations, check in, and volunteers.  It includes our volunteer application and background check authorization form.

KidVenture Policies


Setup Photos

Click here to see some photos of our setup on Flickr.  And here to see some of our different series logos.

Calling Everyone

This last week, we used Calling Post for the second time. You record a message, and the service calls everyone in your database. It was easy to upload an Excel file with all our phone numbers, record the message, and send the phone call to every single person we knew. It cost about $50 to call about 750 numbers. Don’t overuse it, but it’s a great way to get the word out about a special event.

What We Don’t Do Well

I think it’s best to learn from other people’s mistakes, not your own.  And while I think we do a ton of things right here at OLC, not everything is perfect.  Yes, there were 619 people that attended church last week, and we’re less than a year old.  I think our services and our kids programs are great, but we’ve still made our share of mistakes.  Here’s two big areas that are kicking our butts right now.

1.  Small Groups.  We rolled out about 10 small groups right after we launched, but we haven’t  had much success since then.  We weren’t able to keep the momentum going after we started them, and we didn’t have a workable process for starting new groups or getting new people into groups quickly.  So, we’ve been pretty much coasting here and it’s hurting us.   Strong small groups will solve a lot of problems in a church, so we’re turning up the heat here heading into the fall.

2.  Giving.  I don’t think our giving is where it should be.  I’ve got lots of reasons and thoughts, but the bottom line is that it’s hard to do ministry without money.  I’m realizing that I need to talk about it more (not using guilt but using vision).  We did a series on money a month or so ago, but I know see what Bill Hybles means when he says to hit stewardship in every series.  We’re seeing a bunch of people come to church, but it’s going to take money to move to a bigger meeting location.  So, we’re trying to tackle this problem.  Our giving is about $14 per person, and we need that to go way up in order to dominate like we want to.

Guest Follow Up

Each week, we have dozens of first time guests.  I think it is very important to follow up with these guests immediately, and in a variety of ways.  Here’s how we follow up with guests.

1.  The guest fills out a connection card.  We ask them to give us as much information as they feel comfortable sharing.

2.  The information gets entered into our database.  We use Fellowship One. The person who enters the data can assign various staff people or volunteers “contacts”

3.  I send an e-mail to everyone that provided an e-mail address.  I include a link to a short guest survey.

4.  Our Small Groups pastor personally calls every guest, usually within a day or two.  He answers any questions they might have, invites them to the next Partnership Class and lets them know about small groups.
5.  A volunteer sends a hand written note later that week just thanking them for coming and inviting them back to church.  This is a great way to involve volunteers that have an hour or two to work from home.

That’s three touches within the week.  We’re still tweaking the system so we can follow up with people later on to see if they truly got connected.

How I Prepare for Messages

I get this question quite a bit, so I thought I would let you in on a process that you might not know much about (or care about). Over at Behind the Leaf, I talk about the process of creating our one year teaching calendar, so I know what topics are coming well in advance.

After we have a topic, I really pray and think hard on what the one driving idea will be. I work very hard to make it simple, yet profound. In general, I don’t like having lots of points in a message, because people can’t process all that. I go for clarity, not just a bunch of content. I arrive at this big idea from reading a bunch of Scripture on the subject, and realize that it’s not possible to say everything there is to be said on a subject.

After I have the big idea, I continue reading relevant passages in the Bible, generally settling on one that will serve as the focal point. I’ll then read that in a bunch of different translations. King James, NIV, NLT and the Message. This just helps me get the meaning of the passage in my heart.

After that, I will begin writing down thoughts and points. At this point, I’ll look in my books and commentaries. I have a set of New American Commentaries that I really like, I and I read a ton of books. On some messages, I’ll read 2-3 books. After that, I will search around through some websites and see what other people have to say on the subject. This is usually the last step, because I want to make sure the message comes from God and not somebody’s podcast.

For every message I do, I probably have twice as much content as I actually use. I cut out everything that doesn’t have to do with the one point. I usually have one short page of notes, but the message is in my heart and my head, not just on a sheet of paper. By the time I get up to teach God’s Word, I’ve internalized the message so I can teach from my heart.

Teaching Calendar

I stay about one year out in my teaching calendar. I do this mainly for two reasons.

  • It allows me to mediate on passages, read books and save interesting things over time. The more you can think and pray on a subject, the better your message will be.
  • It gives our creative people and music people lots of time to find cool things. I’ve asked our team to send me stories, clips, and whatever they find that they think I could use.

It’s limiting to think that the Spirit can only lead a week or two in advance. And I’ll always call an audible if God says so. But having a teaching calendar has proved to be a great thing for us. Here’s PDF’s of the Excel document that sits on my desktop.


Connection Card

Here’s the card we put inside the handout every week.  We’ll add boxes if it’s a special week (things like “sign me up for the next Newcomer’s Class”) I ask guests to fill out as much information as they feel comfortable giving, and have them drop it in the offering buckets.  Rocket science, I know.  Card.doc

Conferences and Lunches

Sometimes, a lunch can be as helpful as a conference.  I highly recommend finding someone slightly ahead of where you are, write down a bunch of questions and learn from them.  Before we started Oak Leaf Church, I met with every church planter I could find.

Conferences are great, but they can be expensive.  Take  a few hours, drive to meet someone who is doing what you want to be doing one year from now, and take them to lunch.  Come prepared with specific questions so you don’t waste their time talking about sports or the weather.

My Job Description

A while back, we took some time to write out our job descriptions, mine included. We tried to keep it simple. These documents are to help people stay focused on their main mission. I want our staff to become experts in their field. Used properly, job descriptions can be a great tool for staff evaluations, budgeting, and helping people accomplish their misison.

My job as lead pastor is to provide overall vision and leadership to this church and serve as the primary communicator. I don’t write the budget. I don’t pay the bills. I don’t run the children’s ministry. I focus on teaching for life change every week, and focus on leading the whole organization. Our Executive Pastor leads the lead team staff meeting, but I’ll lead the once a month, all staff meeting.

I am accountable to our Board of Directors, a group of people made up of other pastors who understand ministry and have a heart for the church in general and this church in particular. Anyway, for what it is worth, here is a Word document containing my actual job description. I’ll post some of the others on staff later. Download Michael’s Job Description.