Archive for February, 2008|Monthly archive page


Anybody have a small baptistry that they want to get rid of?  Any ideas on where you buy one of these things?


More Service Starters

Here’s a few more random fact slides that we use as a part of our preservice loop. Zip.

Group Text Messaging

For a few months, we’ve been asking our people for permission to send them periodic text message updates.  So far, we have about 200 cell phone numbers and permission to send messages.  Seems like it would be good way to send a quick reminder.

But I don’t know of a decent and affordable way to send out group text messages.  Anyone got any ideas?

Sunday Cheat Sheet

In our meeting room, I keep a sheet of paper with some reminder statements. These are things that shape our services. I have to keep reminding myself.

Connect the dots.
Keep the vision in front of the people.
Incorporate the mission statement into the welcome and announcements.
Tell personal stories about our volunteers.
Celebrate victories (look back) as much as you communicate vision (look forward)
Read cool e-mails.
Remind people about our kids policy.
Read Scripture during the worship set.
A hymn teaches people theology.
Make a big deal out of the offering. (a story, where the money goes, a Scripture)
Look at things from the eyes of a guest.
The unexpected gets noticed.
Humor unfolds arms.

On the same page…

I don’t know where this quote originated, but I’ve heard it said, “You will never be on the same page unless you have an actual page.” In other words if you have expectations, goals, and behavior you would like to see, you better put it in writing. Then you better make sure the person you are trying to lead can read your expectations for themselves.

At Oak Leaf Church, we desire to make Sunday morning a great experience from start to finish. If there is something we can do better we are probably going to find it. We never stop improving, so we are always drafting the next version of this policy or another.

A couple days ago our Connections Pastor and I sat down and worked for 3 hours making a few changes to our Host Teams. In case you are just curious, or you are one of our greeters, or you are church planter, I am going to provide a few of these lists for your review. I hope it helps you get everyone “on the same page.”

Kid’s Check-In



Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor

How Long Do You Teach?

My staff gives me a hard time, because they think I talk too long. But since the sermon yesterday was via video, there was no way I could go long. 33 minutes flat.

So I decided to do a little research. I looked at my podcast times and realized that I clocked in an average of 41 minutes. I thought it was closer to 35. Then, I looked at the last 10 podcasts of some of the guys I listen to on a regular basis.

Andy Stanley = 41 minutes
Steven Furtick = 49 minutes
John Piper = 46 minutes
John Burke = 37 minutes
Perry Noble = 52 minutes

All these, plus me, averaged together equals 44 minutes. So while I might teach a little too long, it’s technically shorter than average. What about you? Average your last 10 message lengths together and let me know how long you teach.

Evaluating Sunday

We’re really big on setting measurable, attainable goals.  How many small groups do we need?  If we have a target, we can know how we’re doing.  Open-ended goals aren’t usually good.  For example, “lose 5 pounds in two months” is much better than “get healthy.”

One of my five goals is to improve our Sunday morning service.  But since that was pretty open ended, we came up with a simple scoring system.  I ask everyone on our staff to give a score (1 to 5) for setup, kids check in, kidventure, the welcome, the use of humor, the flow of the program,  lighting, music, message and the overall feeling of the Spirit.  We tally the numbers and come up with averages. And then, we get a score for each service.

So now my six month goal is to have an average score of 4.2, up from 3.8.

Ministry Appraisals

I wanted to create a system to help our staff track their progress and reach their goals. I probably could have thought up a better name then ministry appraisals, but that’s why I am the Executive Pastor and not the Creative Arts Pastor.

These little 15 minute one-on-one session with our staff are a crucial piece of the puzzle. The puzzle for most administrators in a church or business is determining what their staff is doing, what they are accomplishing weekly, and if they are truly helping the church move forward. I don’t want our church to feel like a corporation, but we didn’t hire our staff because the love Jesus. We hired them to accomplish some task. The fact that they love Jesus just allowed them to be considered for the job.

The ministry appraisal is basically a diary of our conversations. Our conversation revolves around the, specific and measurable, goals that our staff sets for themselves and get approved by Micheal. The purpose and benefit of this meeting is for me to be completely confident that our staff is performing to their potential and that they are helping us accomplish our mission. I created an Excel spreadsheet to document our conversations and I make sure that the staff look at it after our conversation. In addition, we schedule the next meeting before they leave, so they know when we will check up on their progress.

I also make sure it doesn’t kill anyone’s day, so we make it only 15 minutes. It’s a real and practical number and I even downloaded a timer so I can make sure that we make it work for our schedules and doesn’t become a cumbersome chore.

If you want to use this meeting plan, have your employees or staff set 3 to 5 6-month or long-term goals and 2 to 3 short time goals. Track the progress during these meeting and catch up with their overall picture of their job, their contributions to the organization, and their overall well-being.

To download the timer click here.  The spreadsheet could/should have these headings: Meeting/Purpose, Date, Topics, Discussed, Mini-Goals, Deadline, Deadlines Met?, Performance Rating (10 Points)…sorry I couldn’t upload it.

Hope it helps.

Reaching Lost People

As a staff, we’ve been really taking about how to do a better job of reaching lost people in Cartersville.  Our church is open to everyone, including Christians who want to be a part of a big vision.  But what really fires me up is hearing stories about life change.  I want Oak Leaf Church to excel in reaching people who are far from God and leading them to where God wants them to be.  We’re looking hard at some events and philosophies, including:

  • We’re launching a venue on Sunday nights – a service that will take place in a bar.   It will be similar to the morning service, but we’ll add a question and answer time.  We’re going to go after men and young adults.
  • We’re ramping up for Easter Weekend, including the Cartersville Egg Drop and an out-of-the-box Easter service.
  • We are really encouraging our entire church to invest in a relationship with one person who might be far from God.  Sacrifice a relationship with a Christian if you have to.
  • I’m making a personal effort to be around more lost people.  I’ve gone to play cards at a bar three weeks in a row now.  It’s not a publicity stunt.
  • We’re doing a series on the family in March – this series is designed to be a big help to people and should give people an easy invite.
  • We’re ramping up some community service and outreach projects.  We’ve got some crazy ideas on a dry erase board and I’m praying though them.

What about you?  How does your church reach the unchurched or those far from God?

Made to Stick

If you haven’t read Made to Stick, you need to order it right now.  It’s worth the money and worth your time.  There are some phenomenal ideas in this book that will help church leaders and church planters.

One section of the book describes how movie maker pitch ideas to producers, who hear hundreds of pitches a month.  By comparing the movie to something the producer already knows, you’ll help him or her visualize the idea.  For example, trying to communicate the plot and the look of the movie Aliens might be tough.  Saying it was like “Jaws in Space” lets people know what it’s like.  They have seen Jaws, so they can relate.

We should do this for our church.  The average Joe in your community probably has a idea of what your church is like.  How can you put it in his terms so he’ll better understand?

Anyway, get the book.