Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Old School Solututions

For the past few weeks, we’ve been trying to print a document from a Dell (we are an all-Mac office) to our wireless printer.  The particular document had to be printed from this particular PC and everyone associated with this printing project was frusturated that it would not work.

After a few weeks, I decided to take charge.  I took a USB cable and connected the Dell to the printer and printed the document.

This proves two things.  First, I am smarter than most people that work here. 🙂  And secondly, sometimes old school solutions work better than new technology.

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where was your “Starting Point”?

Last week we started a “Starting Point Journey Group.”  It is a group that I will have the privilege to lead for a 6-7 week period. The SPG is designed to give long-time Christ Followers a fresh launch into their faith walk and help those starting out with their journey. This is what I absolutely get excited about, helping people learn to hunger for God as well as showing them how to get closer to Him through their own growing desire. We will limit these groups to 10 people and they will act as a fully functional group through the term. At the end of the term, I will invite several other Oak Leaf Pastors in for a Q&A session. My hope and dream is to have several of these groups going on through the year in multiple locations across the county. Once they have ompleted this group they will have experienced group life and can continue as a group or join a group that is already in excestence.

This is what we will cover during our group time:

* Scripture

* Creation

* Brokenness

* Promise

* Law

* Rebellion

* Grace

* Spirit

* Eternity

MItch Moyer

Connections Pastor

I Love the 80s Resources

Here’s a zip file with most of the stuff we used for an 80’s themed service:  message notes, graphics and promotional materials.  We used 80s TV shows to talk about four different topics.  Growing Pains focused on how to grow spiritually on your own.  Miami Vice was about money.  Family Ties was about marriage.  The A Team was about the mission of our church.  We played 80s music of course.  And we borrowed an idea from Elevation Church and made a bunch of cassette tapes to serve as invite cards.  It was a fun series.

Here’s a link to the zip file.  Enjoy what is helpful to you; delete what isn’t.

Supporting Cast

The longer I have been in ministry the more I am convinced of a few things.  One, any church can grow no matter the style, the denomination, or the location.  Two, churches won’t grow without a lead pastor who possess an incredible God-given vision and passion to match.  Finally, it’s impossible to be a significant force and sustain sizable Kingdom gains without a great supporting cast.

It’s my conviction that if you find a great church, with a sharp leader, making significant gains for the Kingdom you will find a talented support staff.  Said another way, no Pastor can grow a church just by being a great teacher.  They won’t be able to sustain growth without a good ministry staff.  People won’t be effectively coached and discipled if it’s all suppose to happen through the Lead Pastor.

I am not in anyway trying to say anything about me…I doubt my abilities every day.  What I am convinced of is that most church staffers falls into two categories and are either a hindrance or catalyst to a church’s growth.  I think the following is a pretty accurate synopsis of the categories.

1. They are scaffolding.  They are talented, passionate, and hard-working, but their capacity will only allow them to lead at a limited level.  Basically, they can take you only so far, because either their leadership style or ability has cap.  They are vital, but they can also get in the way.

2. They are a catalyst.  They are also talented, passionate, and hard-working, but their capacity is greater then the first group of leaders.  In a nutshell, they can take a church to new highs, because they see solutions, can build strategies, and can motivate leaders.  Leaders won’t follow non-leaders.

This might not be rocket science, but it is Bibilical.

Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor

16×9 Screens

Just a little follow up.

Most of the video equipment that we had for sale was snatched up, but I still have three 16’x9′ screens.  Quick setup, in cases, rear projection, like new.  They were $2700 new, and I’ll sell them for $1800 each.  Next week, they are going on eBay, so if anyone is interested, let me know.

Connecting the dots

As the connections pastor here at Oak Leaf, I think I have one of the coolest jobs in the world! I feel my ministry is two fold…one, I am always sharing “the vision of Oak Leaf”.  And second, helping others make a meaningful connection.  As someone who became a Christ follower later in life I know the importance of getting connected.  This can be the difference between someone really experiencing the ultimate journey and someone ending up being a pew sitter.

Anthony, our executive dude has been great about staying on our rears about setting measurable goals in our ministry areas and following up in timely increments. This comes from our Lead Team flash report that we produce weekly. This has been a great accountability tool for me and is allowing me to see some cool fruit from it.

One of my goals this past month was to see 100% return of partnership applications and watch those people get fully engaged into ministry opportunities and the life of the church. I cannot begin to tell you how awesome it was to see that happen and to see the faces of those that are staring into the face of a vibrant walk with Christ.

Just a  thought…

Stats

I think shepherds know the condition of their flocks.  Or to put this in modern terms:  car dealerships know how many cars are on their lot.  So, we keep track of some different things.  We keep track of numbers, and I can report things like this:

  • On Sunday, there were 781 people at church.
  • That’s 93 people higher than our annual average.
  • This was a 25% increase over the same Sunday one year ago.
  • 23% of our adults attended the first service; 30% attended the second and 47% attended the third.
  • We received 10 competed first time guest cards.
  • 28% of our total attendance was preschool + elementary.
  • 80 people have indicated that they have prayed to receive Christ so far this year.
  • Out of 38 possible Connection volunteer spots (greeters, coffee, ushers, etc), 40 were filled.
  • Out of 47 possible KidVenture volunteer spots, 44 of them were filled.
  • I know what the offering was, what YTD giving is, and what our ten week average is.

I know numbers are not the only measurement of health, but they are a good start.  What kind of numbers do you track?

Benevolence

The Church isn’t Paul, called to be all things to all people, but sometimes you have to play that game.  Sometimes the church is place for people to hangout, other times a place of worship.  It might be a safe place or a place to get some free coffee.  Either way, when you finally make your mark and get a reputation, in a community (hopefully for something good) you will begin to have to field calls for help.

More then likely it will come from people in your own church who are over-eager and want to tout their church as a place someone can receive help.  Other times it will be from a community organization that has run out of money and knows your name.  Maybe it might just be someone who saw your sign and thought…here is a free handout.

No matter what the situation or the reason you better have a benevolence policy.  It would be a tragedy to lose your integrity over whether or not you can give someone $20 for something, or not have a plan that is fair to your staff, ministry budget, and whoever manages the money.  For me it took my desk officially being covered under a layer of sticky notes to wake up.  When I could finally get my hands unstuck from the desk, I did my research, called my peers, thought and prayed and this is what I came up with…

Click here to download the policy.

Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor

Launching Large: Part 2

When it comes to promoting your church plant, or your big event for that matter, a lot of people look for the silver bullet.  I don’t think there’s a silver bullet…I think you need a six-shooter.  To use another metaphor, I wouldn’t look for the golden egg; I’d go buy a dozen.

I’m talking about promotion and advertising.  Instead of shelling out all of your money for one mailout, do three or four other things as well, even if it means sending out less postdcards.  In fact, if you’re going to do one postcard, I recommend cutting the size of your mailing list in half and sending the same people two cards.

When we launched public services a couple of years ago, we did a very small direct mail (we didn’t have the money for a larger one).  But we also put out a bunch of doorhangers and put out 100 road signs around town.  We showed up at every community event we could find and gave out helium balloons.  And we armed our people with invite cards.

Two years into it, we still do the road signs.  The last time we surveyed our people, 17% of them said they came because of one of those signs.  We still print invite cards for just about every series.  And we still show up at community events with helium balloons.  We print posters for our special events and hang them up around town.  We post event details on message boards and send press releases to the local papers (hey…that’s free!).  We look for lots of little ways to be a presence.  You don’t have to spend a ton of money; but you do need to think ahead and be creative.

Sending Financial Statements

Nelson Searcy is a big advocate of sending out quarterly giving statements.  We do this once a year, like the IRS requires, but we’re thinking about taking his suggestions.  He says it’s a great opportunity to communicate vision and develop your givers.   Do you have any thoughts on this?