Archive for December, 2007|Monthly archive page

Annual Report and Vision CD

Here’s a link to the PDF version of our 2007 Annual Report.  It looks back on the year and looks ahead to ministry opportunities next year.  It also contains some of my things that we need to do better as a church.

And here’s a link to an MP3 of a CD that we are sending to everyone in our database.  It’s our vision for 2008. It will also be included in our podcast if you’re a subscriber.

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Web Hosting

We’ve been using GoDaddy to host our various sites and blogs, but I’m about to switch over to Blue Host.  It looks like better prices, better support, and more storage space.

Chuck Norris

If your name is Charles/Chuck Norris or if you know someone who has the name, please let me know.  We need famous names to put on “I Love Oak Leaf Church” signs that will go all over Cartersville.  I can’t find a Chuck Norris, but if you know someone who would let us put their “famous” name on a sign direct them my way.

Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor

Top Givers

I haven’t been blogging like I should or like I want to lately. Instead, I have been using all of my brain power planning for 2008 and figuring out how we end this year on a high note. We felt that our final series of the year should be powerful and that it should make a statement that we are even more serious about reaching people next year.

With that said, we created a little thank-you package for those who give to OLC to let them know that we appreciate them, but hopefully communicate that we aren’t taking it too seriously.

We are sending all of them a thank you letter from Michael, a trophy, and a book. These are not incredibly valuable items, but the personal touch and the effort is our attempt to tell them we appreciative each of their contributions. Our trophy says, “I give to Oak Leaf and all I got was this lousy trophy.” A copy of the letter can be found here and the book is “In A Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day,” by Mark Batterson.

Just some ideas to thank people in a creative way 🙂

Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor

2008 Survey

We survey people a good bit, but our most important survey is the one that kicks off the year.  This time, we’re only doing a web-based version, using Constant Contact (who we use to do our bulk e-mails).  They automatically tabulate the results, and the features are pretty rich.  We’ll promote it in our online newsletter.  We also bought oakleafsurvey.com and forwarded it to the constant contact address, so that way, we can promote it on Sunday in our printed handout.

Here’s the survey. 

Staff Evaluations

One of the most exhausting things that you do as a leader is evaluate your staff. I finished the majority of these evaluations yesterday afternoon (I have one more Thursday) and felt like I just finished a marathon. It’s amazing how much more exhausted I am when I meet and talk all day long. I was a landscaper for 7 years and I never felt as exhausted as I after a day of thinking at Oak Leaf Church.

The process itself is pretty easy and simple. I pray with the staff member, ask them to sign the confidentiality agreement, fill out the housing allowance (if applicable) and then we go through the evaluation. They fill it out, print it, and then give it to me (48 hrs in advance). I fill it out, copy it, and we each have a copy to read through and discuss. After that we sign it and file it. Next is the Employee Handbook, we just hit the highlights. Again its signed and filed. Last part is expectations and money. Its encompassed in the staff member’s salary package document. It has their position description, the staff values, their salary description. Most of the time this isn’t a long conversations here.  However ,if a raise is involved we explain the number.  If not, we explain why not…nobody cried, YES!

Although exhausting, what I feel is the most refreshing about these meetings is they really are enlightening. We almost force the employees to be transparent and say exactly what they are thinking. Unresolved conflicts and tension can kill the rapport supervisors have with their staff and vice versa.

If your are interested in seeing what these documents look like click on the following links…

Housing Allowance

Employee Handbook

Confidentiality Agreement

Staff Salary Package

Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor

Behind the Scenes Pics

Here’s a few pics of our setup, kids environments and backstage type stuff.

Community Events

dsc09896.jpgLast week, we put a float in our town’s Christmas Parade.  It’s the second year in a row we did this.  Last year, we build a replica of the movie theater where we met; this year we put our band on the float to promote our community Christmas Eve Eve concert.  Our people walked beside the float and passed out over 4,000 invite cards.

Rather than organize our own outreach events all the time (like fall festivals), we like to look for things already going on in the community and just partner.  We always set up a booth at a big 4th of July thing in the park, we give out candy for Downtown Trick or Treating, we participate in the car shows.  There’s so many events going here – it’s more effective for us to show up at these things rather than start from scratch.  Instead of planning your own Fall Festival, what if you just called up a local elementary school and offered to make theirs better?

Show me the money…

Church finances are a lot more then balancing the checkbook. Anyone can add up all of the expenses and see how much money is left over in the bank. At Oak Leaf Church we are just too new to have accurate starting numbers for anything other then salary, so we had to do a lot of guessing. With that said, we felt like one of the most helpful things we could do would be to creating spending procedures.

None of the following are brain-buster ideas, but they do provide a starting point if anyone is starting a business, starting a church, or trying to impress their boss.

The basic outline for the plan, was to give people a ministry budget as a guide. We knew that people would want to spend their money at the same time, so in order to have enough cash we gave them guidelines. We said that they could spend their budgets at their leisure, but it would be weighted toward strategic times of the year when they would likely want to do events to build their ministry. First of the year, Easter, right before school starts and Thanksgiving/Christmas are all key times.

The last caution was that it all might not go according to plan, so if the money doesn’t come it (we based our budget on a 12% increase) then they would have to get creative.

More later, we still have to see if it works like we hope, but for more details click here.

Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor

Info for New Christians

We’ve always struggled with what to put in the hands of new Christians. Most books are too long. I should probably record a CD, but until we come up with something better, I created a four page document called “Now What.” We will have them available this Sunday for anyone who decides to put their faith in Jesus and begin following Him.

Here’s a Word version and a PDF in case you’re interested.

now-what.pdf

now-what.doc