Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Saturday Night vs. Sunday Night Services

We knew we needed to choose either Saturday or Sunday night for an additional service at our new place, so I thought I would let you know why we chose Saturday night.

We talked to a lot of people, checked out a ton of church websites, talked about it in our team, and said a lot of prayers. In the end, I feel like Saturday night will allow us to reach people who do not know Christ or attend Church a little better than a Sunday night would.

In our area, churches have Sunday night services, and they are generally attended by the highly churched.  Nothing wrong with that, but we’re not trying to reach that demographic. I feel like Saturday night is a night out for a lot of people, and that they might make church a part of their night.

A few other reasons…

#1 – We’ve got a ton of families with children, and Sunday night is a school night.

#2 – We feel like we can develop an identity on Saturday night…no other churches are doing Saturday nights in our area. I think we can really gain some momentum and reach new people. We’ve got a full-blown coffee shop in our building, and I’m hoping that people will connect over coffee before or after the evening service.

#3 – One of the most common reasons we heard about churches doing Sunday night over Saturday night was because of staff. Saturday nights are hard for staff. But we don’t do Wednesday night stuff, we aren’t busy with night meetings throughout the week. We’ll do some things to make sure that we’re taking care of people, but our staff is committed to reaching people, and I think we could all give a night a week to that mission.

Coaching Network Update

Pushing forward with doing some kind of coaching network for church planters beginning this fall. A bunch of people have already emailed for info, but let me know if you think you might like to participate. We’re looking at six one-day sessions focused on all kinds of practical church planting issues. Things like staffing, sermon planning, systems and structure, vision, etc.

And FYI, the Hands On Resources linked above is a password protected page. It’s filled with insider documents for those who are part of the network.

Exponential

I’m speaking at the Exponential Conference in Orlando next week…part of the post launch track. Love to say hi if you’ll be there for the conference…

Registration via Google Docs

A couple of people have asked this question, so I thought I’d answer it here. For The Cartersville Egg Drop, we allowed people to pre-register online. We collected information on about 2,000 people, and when they came to the park, they just picked up an armband.

The simple form was created via Google docs, and when the user hits submit, the data automatically goes into a spreadsheet. That makes it easy to manage.  They also get a confirmation page – we used that to give them the schedule for the day once more.

We’ll send all the folks that pre registered an evite to our upcoming series. And we’ll later merge the info with the info received on paper registrations at the park and send a snail mail postcard.

It just allows us another opportunity to invite people to church, so that’s why we do it.

Church Planter Leadership Style

I have the opportunity to meet a bunch of church planters, and I see people falling into roughly three categories. The caution here is that these type of church planters grow a church to as many people as they can personally know and care for.

1. The Pastor Shepherd. This is the kind of guy that knows names, really cares for people, and is a pastor in the traditional sense of the word. The caution here is to remember that the church is not JUST a business, and that spiritual forces are in play.

3. The teacher. This is the guy that just loves to teach. Maybe he was a youth pastor. But this person has stage presence and the ability to teach the Bible with creativity, passion, and relevance. The caution here is to realize that a church is more than a church service and that there is more to pastoring a church than just speaking on Sundays.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a church planter that was all three of these, though sometimes people are blends of two.

If you’re really strong in one area, it’s important to hire someone who is strong in the others. For example, I’m not much of a people person (#1), so I have to hire people who are good at this so that our church stays balanced.
2. The Entrepreneur. This is the get-it-done, driven, almost business like leader. He probably understands marketing and leadership well. He’s got a big vision, and often has the plan to make it happen.

Church Plant Fundraising

Some of the most common questions we get on this blog are in the area of fund raising.  One such question is “how much does it cost to plant a church.”

My answer:  everything you’ve got.

If you raise $50,000 then you’ll spend every bit of it.  If you have less, it can cost less.  If you raise more, it can cost more.  There’s no set number.

I know of churches with amazing funding who blew threw it and never made it.  And I know churches that launched on shoestring budgets that are doing well.

Just so you know, between January 1, 2006 and August 20, 2006 (our grand opening), we spent about $55,000 on everything.  That included equipment, marketing, outreach and salaries.  Our first mailout went to 5,000 homes because that’s how much money we had.  If we got something on Sunday, we spent it on Monday.

I write about fundraising in my upcoming book, and I’m sure we’ll hit on it in an upcoming coaching network.

Memorable Messages

During an all staff meeting, I asked our staff how we could make our sermons and messages sticker. In other words, what makes a message memorable? Here’s some of their responses.

1. Humor and personality make it easier to connect and pay attention.

2. Audience participation. One time, we asked people to text in things during the service, and that was a memorable experience.

3. Personal stories. People connect and relate to personal stories. Emotional connections, not informational connections, are more powerful.

4. Aha sermon illustrations. Smashing plates, building a bunker, and giving a tattoo…everyone remembered these illustrations and the points that they represented.

5. Props. Jesus illustrated a point by causing a fig tree to wither up. I can’t really do that, but props and object lessons are often pretty sticky.

What would you add to this list?