Human beings seem to be wired to focus on what has not gone well or what needs improvement while giving scant attention to what has gone well. This happens in every organization including the local church.
Celebrating the win in the church is important to testifying to the power of God working in the midst of the congregation and it helps the church see how its mission is being lived out. In both leading churches myself and in visiting many local churches, I have found that churches do not celebrate nearly enough the Gospel Impact occurring in the church.
Bryan Rose, writing about leading change in the church, writes
Effective church leaders tell stories of Gospel impact and Christ-centered transformation, while pointing ahead to the next sunrise God is preparing.
Telling the stories of Gospel impact and Christ-centered transformation are critical to casting a compelling vision for the church and keeping the church aligned to such a vision. A story about a husband who lost his wife and was left raising three kids on his own but discovered Christ and community at your church is a story of Gospel transformation. A video testimony from three youth that went on the youth mission trip and how they were changed in the midst of such a mission is a story of Christ-centered transformation. The person who moved this year from tipping to tithing, the person who found strength to deal with an addiction because of their small group, or the family who successfully transitioned from living in a motel to living in permanent housing all represent stories of Gospel impact and Christ-centered transformation.
Telling these stories with creativity testifies to the power and work of Christ in the world, the community and your church. When people see the difference Jesus makes and the difference that followers of Jesus can make then they volunteer more, they give more, they invite their neighbors more, they participate more.
How are you telling stories of Gospel impact and Christ-centered transformation to point ahead to the next sunrise God is preparing?
It might seem silly to church folks to think anybody would not know which door to go in to attend worship.
The reality is that many of our church structures have a myriad of doors and it is not readily apparent which door one should enter to attend worship. Regular ‘ole church folks take it for granted that everybody knows what door to use.
Can you imagine as a guest coming to a church for the first time, driving up a little bit late and you get our of the car and you do not know whether to go in the side door, the front door or the back door. After trying the first set of doors and finding they are locked said guest may just turn around and go home to watch the pregame show or or catch “Joel!” on TV.
This simple issue of hospitality can be remedied through effective signage. A church might have effective signs on the building or near the building clearly directing guests which door to enter to go to worship or the multipurpose space or some other place. This is important to remember as well when the church has multiple worship services that meet in two different places.
After trying the first set of doors and finding they are locked said guest may just turn around and go home to watch the pregame show or or catch “Joel!” on TV.
This is also remedied by having parking lot greeters and outside the door greeters before worship begins who hang out for a few minutes even after worship begins. Even after they go in at least a guest will have the signage.
Some may think it silly or too much work to have greeters or too expensive to have signage. Think about it this way though…what if that person who is coming for the first time is giving the church and God one more chance and they get frustrated because they don’t know where to go in. What if they are on the brink of hurting themselves and are turning to the church but the church found it too hard or too expensive to ensure they were welcomed.
Then that is on us as the church and shame on us. We need to do all within our power within the bounds of the Gospel to ensure persons are welcomed to our churches so they might experience the life changing power of Jesus Christ.
One great way for churches to keep lines of communication open with those who attend regularly is by utilizing an HTML email. HTML emails allow for graphics, vibrant colors, videos and links and an overall better design than a plain text email. HTML emails are easy to do week in and week out and do not require huge amounts of time once they are set up. You don’t need to know any code. As long as you can cut and paste you are good to go.
There are a number of benefits to utilizing an HTML. Here are five of them.
- The first benefit to an HTML email is its cheap. Most companies that you will use to set up your HTML email will give you up to 500 free email addresses before they start charging you. If you are able to replace your printed newsletter with an HTML email you will save on paper, on stamps, on bulk rate permit costs, and volunteer time.
- The HTML email offers more opportunities for persons to engage. Let’s say you are starting a new class. You can easily write about the new class in your HTML email and put a link in to a sign up so persons can sign up from the comfort of their computer or mobile device. You can link to free sign up sheets from Google.
- The HTML email keeps people connected. Let’s say someone misses on Sunday. On Monday they receive an email from the church with up to the moment news, with a link to Sunday’s sermon, and with an opportunity to give through online giving. The HTML email helps to prevent people from falling through the cracks.
- The HTML email list can also be used to highlight other special events or ministries. Snow cancellations, church picnic, or Easter Egg hunts are great to send out under a separate cover. Be careful here to use the list wisely. You do not want to go and send too many emails and needlessly fill up peoples’ inboxes.
- Lastly, and probably most importantly use of the HTML email enhances communication. It is one more way to communicate. Some people can read it in the church bulletin and get it. Some can hear it in an announcement and get it. This is just one more way for people to “get it” and create a way for people to be “in the know.”
In my experience, I have used both Constant Contact and MailChimp to generate HTML emails. They were both great. Just do a Google search for “HTML Templates” and you will find plenty of companies.