Archive for March, 2008|Monthly archive page

Online Small Group

I’m sure this would be baby steps to the fine folks at LifeChurch, who have a whole church online, but we are looking into the possibility of doing an online small group.  I’m thinking about a moderated chat room of some sort.  You guys always have great suggestions here, so I thought I would ask.  Does anyone know of a service or website that would be good for an online small group?


People are People

Maybe this won’t mean much because I planted a church in the south, but I’m kind of tired about hearing how tough it is to plant churches in the Northeast or out West.

Out here in the west, people are supposed to be more anti-God, more liberal, and anti-establishment.  But Seattle is home to the evil-empire Microsoft were more than 70,000 people work in corporate America.  For every independent coffee shop, there’s 8 Starbucks.  Mars Hill is a church of thousands, so it’s been done at least once.  You can poor boy all you want, but God is bigger than people’s impressions or habits.

In the northeast, where 50 people is supposed to be a successful church plant, you find The Journey and Brooklyn Tab. I am convinced that church plants fail because the people weren’t truly called to plant them in the first place, or because they are lazy and don’t want to work hard.
Pardon my rant, but don’t limit God.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s too hard or too different.  Don’t accept the fact that it will take you five years to get 100 people to come to a new church.  I think the reason these churches believe that is because that’s all people talk about.

People are people, no matter where you go.  In the north, south, east and west, they want to know how to be better parents, they want to know how to make their marriage work, they struggle with finances, and they wonder who God is.  Go ahead and complain about how different people are if that will make you feel better, but people need Jesus everywhere and there is no box for God.

I know some things are different in the south, but that’s not what made Oak Leaf work.  We were called, we pray, and we work hard. That’s the model that works, no matter were in the country you are.

Ministry Filters

One of the toughest things about being on staff at a staff led church is that you aren’t just involved in your “ministry,” you are involved in almost everything related to the leading of the church. This is especially difficult for the staff that makes up the Lead Team. These guys not only have to lead their areas and think big picture, but they then have to make sure they can filter out stuff that will slow them down. Sometimes is huge projects, random questions, theological debates, and all other kinds of things things we end up discussing on a weekly basis.

In an effort to help our leaders be more effective I created sets of diagnostic questions that will help them be more productive. Maybe it will help other leaders too, but for now I have included Worship, Groups, and Assimilation…

Connections Pastor:

1. Assimilation – Do our guests get followed up with? Do we know what happens to them? Do we know what their experience was like and why or why not they would come back?

2. Volunteers – Does our structure and system allow for us to find and funnel volunteers into Kid’s Check-In, Greeters, Ushers, and the Parking Team? In so, how are we improving it? If not, what immediate steps are we making to fix the problem?

3. Partnership/Membership – How many people can we call Partners of Oak Leaf Church? Do we consistently add people to that number and how does it happen? What steps do these people need to take once they become “Partners?”

Small Groups Pastor:

1. Journey Groups – Does our church have regular connection points where OLC attenders can join a group? How do we know if a group is successful? What is the regular attendance in our small groups? How do we train our next group of leaders? How does we measure spiritual growth?

2. Community Outreach – What is our strategy for being in the community? Are we doing accomplishing our mission by the events we attend and/or put on in the community? How does the church connect the dots, in other words how does the church see the point in helping at these events and/or volunteer at them?

3. Benevolence/Care – Outside of the Journey Group structure, how will a person get cared for? How will make sure that people don’t fall through the cracks in the event of a personal or community wide tragedy? What is our plan to help those outside/inside of our church? Does it work like it should or do we have to turn many people away?

Worship Pastor:

1. Worship – Does the service we put on for people on Sunday morning cause them to engage God or to be entertained? How are we working to make it more worshipful (engaging)? What are you doing to become a better worship leader? In other words, who are you watching, how have you changed your style, and what in the service will truly create momentum where people meet God? How can we engage people better to connect to God through multiple mediums (video, music, etc.)?

2. Creative Arts – Does the improvements we make and the creativity we exhibit cause people to impressed or for them to think that we gave God our best? How are we improving the ministry for the benefit of volunteers who serve, for staff to have longevity, and for the church to see it as important?

Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor

Service Starters

I’ve updated the service starters gallery with 8 or 9 new pre-service slides.  We mix in these random slides with some announcements as part of a preservice loop.  By the way, you can upload your own preservice slides to this gallery and share your ideas.

Inbox Promotions

We’ve used Inbox Promotions a few times to send out thousands and thousands of e-mails to people that live in our area.  We’ve promoted our Christmas Eve Eve concert, the launch of a parenting series, and we’re sending one out this week to promote our Egg Drop and Easter Weekend.

We’ve very pleased with the results.  At least 1,000 people visited our website as the result of the last e-mail.  I think that’s pretty good for less than $300.

Budget Percentages

Here’s a little chart of how our 2008 budget breaks down.


Launching a Second Campus

We’ve told some of our leaders and we’re making the big announcement to our church this week, but I’ll let the cat out of the bag for the faithful Behind the Leaf readers.

On our two year anniversary (August 17,2008), we’re launching a second campus.  Back at the original site of our launch…the movie theater in Cartersville.  We believe this will allow us to reach thousands more people for Christ.  We’ll do the teaching via video, and everything else will be live.  We’ve been working on this behind the scenes for some time.

We’re treating it just like a church plant…creating a launch team out of our church, getting the stuff, developing new leaders, and raising money.  And speaking of money, we’ve launched something called the 250 project.  We’re looking for 250 people, small groups, churches, etc. to donate $250.  I’m doing this myself.  We’re asking all of our leaders to do it.  But I’d love to see some of the Behind the Leaf readers help out.

Anyway, here’s the launch website. 

Lord’s Supper

We are going to do a Lord’s Supper service in May, and I’m praying about a way to make it really meaningful to our people.  I don’t really want to pass the crackers and tiny crackers, because that seems so tired.  Has anybody seen a fresh way to celebrate communion?

Standing Announcements

I’m convinced that we should make the same five announcements over and over again in our services. The things that we do on a regular basis matter far more than the one time special event, but we forget to give them stage time. Things like…

  • Journey Groups – why we do them and how to get involved
  • KidVenture – what are the values over there and what are kids learning
  • Recommended resources available in the lobby
  • Partnership is a next step

Easter Mailout

On Easter, we’re doing a one week deal called tattoo. I like to talk about different things on big holidays so it’s not what people expect. I’m actually talking about circumcision more than tattoos.  I like doing that so the people that come to church on Easter and Christmas only hear more than the same sermon every year.

Anyway, here’s the postcard that we’re sending it to 50,000 homes.