Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

Mass Emails

Several people have asked, but we use Constant Contact to send out a weekly email update to our master database.  We send out about 1,000 emails and anywhere between 30-40% of them are opened.  Through Constant Contact, we can tell what links are clicked on and who clicks on them.  Constant Contact also has a good survey feature that will track results and help you understand the data.

Communicating to our people via email is going to be even more important now that we’ve decided to do away with the bulletin and handout on Sunday mornings.  If you’re interested in Constant Contact, click on the link below.

Emails for Small Business with Constant Contact



Here are some questions that we sometimes use to evaluate a Sunday.

1.    Was the information presented applicable to the entire crowd?
2.    Was there too little or too much information?
3.    Did the welcome accomplish the purpose of helping people feel welcome, explaining the connection card and laying out one next step?

1.    Was the quality appropriate?
2.    Was the song selection appropriate and effective?
3.    Did people seem to connect emotionally and/or spiritually?

Presentation and Environment
1.    Was the lobby welcoming and inviting?
2.    Did it seem that people were welcomed and accepted?
3.    Did kids check in run smoothly?
4.    Are there any distractions that need to be discussed?
5.    Were there any small things overlooked?

1.    Was the message and purpose clear?
2.    Where there any portions that were ineffective and/or unnecessary?
3.    What a clear action step presented?

1.    Were there any areas that were underprepared?
2.    What balls were dropped?
3.    Are there any consistent issues that need to be addressed?

Organizational Change

Most of the major decisions in our church come from our Lead Team, which is a group of pastors that lead the church.  Over time, this group has grown in size, but we recently made a change that I believe will help us grow.

We’ve shrunk the size of this team.  It’s not because we don’t value input or ideas.  In fact, teamwork is one of our core values.  Instead, we’ve made this team smaller so that we can lead bigger.

I want everyone that works for Oak Leaf Church to be good stewards of their time.  It doesn’t make sense for our children’s leaders to be sitting in a meeting where we are talking about capital campaigns or greeters.  He needs to be meeting with and leading his teams.  I don’t need our worship and production people sitting in a meeting about financial systems.

By shrinking the size of this group, our staff is  becoming more like a football team…with specialized players.  The offense and the defense both have the same goals (win the game!), but they don’t do the same drills or sit in the same meetings.  When this team is talking about production, we’ll bring in the right people.  When we’re talking about children, we’ll bring in those people.  But we all don’t need to devote half of a day to things that are outside our area of expertise.

So the Lead Team has become the Directional Team, and we’ve gone from 6 people down to three people.  I’m sure that will change over time, but at this stage, we feel like smaller is simpler.  And simpler is better.

what does a connections pastor do pt.2

Part of the success of my areas of ministry “assimilating people into the life of the church and impacting the community that we serve in” is seeing attainable goals reached regularly. Here are eight of my current goals for the rest of this year. Keeping these in front of myself daily will keep me clear on task and will assure that people are connecting and becoming part of the church family. Helping their personal faith walks and assuring that we serve our community purposefully.

1. Develop 6 Ushers per service (including the House of Rock).  The first service may need only 4, but we need 6 for the other two.  The House of Rock services are up for debate.
2. Get the Baptism and Salvation numbers to improve by 10-17%.  We currently have a 33% ratio of Salvations to Baptisms and it needs to be above 40% by the end of the year.  Next year we will need to get it above 50%.
3. Schedule and run at least 2 more Partnership Classes by the end of the year.
4. Develop a report and a strategy to determine the health of Oak Leaf Church partners.  Provide information on how many of them are active (giving, serving, in a group, attending, etc.).  In the future this should happen once a quarter.
5. We need to add a minimum of 50 new partners by the end of the year.
6. Create a spreadsheet to track and report the 10-week average fill rate for connections ministry (ushers, greeters, information table, etc.).  Provide a key that shows how you come up with your number and then record the numbers.  The 10-week average needs to stay above 90%.
7. Have at least 2 volunteers per service at the information table.
8. Develop a comprehensive Community Service Plan.  Include the goals, purpose, and dates.  It needs to be comprehensive and thorough.  We need to know if it was a success.

Mitch Moyer  connections pastor

Church Leadership Progression

I have heard this illustration in various places (no idea who deserves credit), but I modified it for our staff and context.  Maybe it will be helpful for your staff?

  • Church leader as a solo pastor, similar to a track athlete who participates in many events, but isn’t especially skilled at any of them.
  • At this level of church leadership (less then 150) the pastor is the counselor, preacher, administrator, and helps with everything on Sunday morning.
  • Next, church leaders operate like two or three golfing buddies.  There is a small team that meets informally and closely works through issues together.
  • At this point the church staff (around 250-350) are dividing up the tasks, but the overlap is obvious.  It’s evident that are people to help share the burden, but it’s not terribly efficient because every aspect of every ministry is discussed.
  • Moving forward a church leaders function as a basketball team of four to eight players.  The lead pastor functions as the point guard, still setting up every play and all the pastors still playing as generalists on both offense and defense.
  • Now the church (500-750) staff is starting to get in their groove and almost everyone is a specialist.  People have specific roles and the overlap is minimal.  People critique each other’s “play,” but it’s still up to each leader to implement the changes.  They may all have to go to certain meetings, but they have more meetings in their area of ministry then they do with the rest of the staff.
  • Church leaders as a football team where the staff functions as different teams that don’t really interact much and each have different specialties and coaches under the lead pastor/head coach.
  • At this point (1000+) there may be weeks that go by without some of the pastors spending much time with the Lead Pastor.  Instead they may now have another direct supervisor.  The staff is very specialized and is experts in their field.  They have either staff or Lead Volunteers that they communicate with regularly.  They are very focused on their weekly tasks and they only go to ministry specific meetings.  The only time they may spend extended time with the entire staff may be at an all-staff meeting or staff function.

Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor


“The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.” – Proverbs 11:1

I often joke that we bloggers are quick to tell people our attendance when it’s going well or when we have a big day, but then get silent about the numbers when things are slumping.  We do not apologize for counting people on Sunday mornings, but we make every effort to make sure it’s accurate.  Our goal in counting people is not to impress other bloggers, but to lead Oak Leaf Church to the best of our ability.  Facts lead to better decisions.  Here’s some tips on counting.

  • Be consistent.  You have to count the same way week after week.  If you change your formula, you’ll get different results.
  • In the main service, wait until the message when everyone is seated to count.  Have at least two people count and average their number.
  • Decide how you are going to deal with duplicates and multiple services.
  • Don’t send somebody down an aisle pointing their finger and being obvious.  We do use a clicker that someone keeps in their hand down by their pockets.  They count without looking like they are counting.
  • Use the same count sheet every week to write down the numbers.  Here’s a PDF of our simple version.  Download weekly-headcount-sheet.
  • Track the numbers in Excel or some other format so you can study trends and patterns.

We have three services on Sunday.  In the first service, we count the band and tech crew.  In the remaining two, we do not.  In our kids environments, we only count kids, assuming that those adult leaders are going to church and will be counted there.

Next Step

I thought I would share with you the resource that we provide for new believers called “Next Step”. These are available from counselors at the end of each service outside the adult theater.

  • Simple letter size envelope with “Next Step” stamped on it. In the envelope is…
  • A letter from me sharing our excitement in their decision and 4 steps to jump start their journey
  • A CD that Michael recorded outlining the step that they have taken and “what’s next”.
  • A hard copy of what Michael said on the CD with a “thirty days with Jesus” reading plan and some great web links to help them move forward.
  • A copy of “How good is good enough?” by Andy Stanley.

Mitch Moyer  connections pastor

Two Pools

Those of us who work in churches fish from two pools.

First, there’s the community pool.  Today in our lead team meeting, we strategized about more ways that we could get those in our world to attend Oak Leaf Church.  We invite, we emphasize relationships, we do community outreach, we put on events, we advertise.  We want to do everything we can to get people to come to church.

But there’s a second pool that we (and our key volunteers) need to fish.  When people come on Sunday, we need to treat that like an opportunity to connect people.  Journey Group leaders need to look for new members.  Kids workers need to invite people to join the team.  Just like we work to get people to church, those in the church need to fish for people to get connected.

We must learn to fish from two pools.