Tag Archive for: leadership

Christmas is a time when there is hustling and bustling in stores, people are visiting relatives they haven’t seen all year (or longer!), and when it comes to church, you’ll likely see a few more new faces.

Whether it’s the sporadic member, the major-holiday-only attender, new guest, or even a relative of a regular attendee, this is a time of year when you are likely expecting additional people to connect with your church in some way. For many, this will be the primary time those individuals will connect and receive encouragement from a church in the year.

What an incredible opportunity we have!

As we enter this season, here are a few things we want to encourage you to keep in mind for your church Christmas service(s) this year:

1) Remember that people are still hurting and recovering from the disruption over the past two years.

Be mindful to acknowledge and consider that things aren’t “back to normal” yet. Over the last two years, many of us were cut off entirely from our community of support or were pushed to interact with them through a screen because of the pandemic. This was a major disruption that will likely have lasting effects for years to come. The best way to support people this holiday season is to make sure your church is a place where they can find stability and hope.

2) Be sure you have a first-time visitor follow-up process.

After new visitors walk out your door, do you have a plan to connect with them? Invite them back? Take some time before new people arrive to make sure you have a clear follow-up process. This is important to have set up year-round, but it’s doubly important around the holidays. And if you already have a follow-up process, take some time to review it before your Christmas services.

3) Don’t be afraid to approach Christmas with the same innovation you approached it with last year.

Last year, churches had to consider how to reach people when they couldn’t gather together in a physical space. As a result, many churches got creative with ways to connect with their community and offered additional resources to promote connection. While in many places, in-person gatherings are nearing their usual capacity, that doesn’t mean you should forgo a fresh approach this year.

Online resources, livestreams, video calls, and group study guides are a great way to reach a wider base of people than you may be able to with a physical service alone. What methods did you use last year that were particularily successful? Consider offering the most popular of these, or a version of it, again!

4) Make sure you are engaging people outside of Sunday.

We have a tendency to focus all our efforts into our Sunday service or Christmas Eve services, but what about the other six days of the week? Instead of only focusing on the service, plan ahead to have encouraging emails, text messages, weekly resources, or even some Christmas cards throughout the holiday season. Also, consider how you can be a special blessing to people around this season. If there is someone that doesn’t have family around to celebrate Christmas with this year, invite them to an event, go caroling at their house, or do something special to remind them they are valued and supported.

5) Don’t wait until next year to review how your Christmas service went.

If you don’t take the time to do this right after your church Christmas service, then it will likely be 11 months before you consider it again and, by that time, you won’t remember. By taking the time to review what you did well and what still needs improvement while it’s all fresh in your mind, you’ll be that much more prepared for next year!

6) Let the Truth of this season impact your heart, too.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in decorating, planning the message, and making sure that the service is just right that you forget to let the truth of Christmas impact your own heart. This is the time of year that we remember the incredible truth that Jesus came to earth as a humble child, fully experiencing our humanity, to freely offer us salvation, redemption, and hope. Don’t merely focus on communicating this truth to others; be sure to meditate on it in your own life and walk with God.

This Christmas, remember that the most important thing you can do is to share the Good News with others. That our voices might join in with the shepherds, wise men, and angels in saying, “…I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…” (Luke 2:10 ESV)

Merry Christmas from all of us here at One Church Software!

The generous financial gifts of a local church congregation are the backbone of sustaining a local church. Money and giving are twin topics that are often taboo in a local church, and this can obviously inhibit giving and cripple the financial situation of a ministry. It isn’t very fun to think about, but doing ministry does cost money, and the generous giving of church members is needed if the church is to serve their community in tangible ways.

One of the greatest giving pain points in local churches is encouraging giving among young adults. Research shows young people trust churches and church leaders less than their parents or grandparents did at their age. This lack of trust can often lead to a lack of giving. Then, their lack of giving can hobble the ministry of the local church.

How does a local church encourage young families to give? Here are three practical steps:

1. Make recurring giving simple.

Very practically, churches must make recurring giving as simple as possible. Once upon a time, churches could count on members remembering to bring their tithes via check or cash every week, or perhaps once per month. With the digital revolution and the relatively recent phenomenon of electronic bill paying, few young people (including people well into their 30s and even 40s) carry cash or checks with any regularity. If your church only has physical giving options available, with no opportunity to automate giving electronically, you’re missing out on a lot of potential to make giving easy for this generation.

Young people are much more likely to regularly and generously give to the local church if they have a way to do so electronically. This obviously has nothing to do with the discipline of generosity that should be important to all believers. Not having an opportunity to give to a church through the internet is no excuse for not giving at all. But local church leaders should recognize that friction can be reduced for young people who want to give by providing plenty of opportunity to set up recurring giving via an app or other kind of payment service. This will ensure regular giving from young people.

But how do these people begin to give generously, rather than just consistently? See steps two and three.

2. Make your values, not your programs, the focus of giving.

Church culture changes over time. This is only natural and has happened generationally for hundreds of years. Worship styles change. How people prefer to gather changes. Preaching styles shift. The Word of God and the message of the Gospel stay the same, but all of the contextual pieces around “how to do church” are pretty fluid.

One way these changes have been manifested in our current context is in how young people view church. Evangelical churches in the late-20th and even early 21st centuries were built on programs. Many young families around the turn of the millennium flocked to churches with the coolest children’s programming, the nicest facilities, or the most fun youth ministry. Do many people still choose churches and generously give to churches for these reasons? Most definitely. But the tides are turning away from programs and more toward values and community.

Plenty of statistics abound about how young people make more decisions based on values than generations who have come before. Young people today are more likely to give to your church because of your values than they are because of your programs. Quality church programming became such an integral part of local church ministry that it was almost commoditized—quality church programming could be found anywhere. Now, with a generation of young Christians who have seen some of their most beloved Christian leaders fall out of ministry because of moral failure or even criminal behavior, they are more likely to give generously to a church with whom their values align and who they can trust than a church with the coolest children’s ministry programs or facilities.

That last point, focused on trust, is our third and final step on how to encourage church members to give:

3. Make your church finances and budget transparent.

There is absolutely no reason that church finances and budgets should not be transparent to church members. This doesn’t mean church staff need to project their salaries up on the big screen once a month, but it does mean that church members should have a breakdown on where finances go, so they can make an educated and confident decision as they give.

Church leaders who provide no transparency into how church money is used or how budgets are made have no leg to stand on when it comes to wondering why church members aren’t giving. Young people are more skeptical of church leaders and their authority than any generation in modern history. Church leaders today need to earn the trust and respect of young church members, and when it comes to money, trust and respect is earned with transparency.

Young families will give generously when they realize their values align with the church’s values and when they are assured that the people collecting and spending their money are trustworthy and of Christlike character. Then, churches can encourage frictionless, consistent giving by providing young families with electronic means to set up recurring giving.

Want to read more?
5 Ways We Should Talk About Money at Church
5 Reasons to Consider Text Giving for Your Ministry

Looking for an easy giving solution for your church? Look no further than One Church Giving, Our safe, secure, and fully integrated giving solution. Learn more here.

Is your church still using pen-and-paper to plan events and collect guest information? Do you find yourself going in and manually sending follow-up emails or confirming with volunteers? Are you trying to plan events based on the verbal RSVPs you got last service? There is so much going on at your church and if you’ve been relying on any of these methods of organization, it can probably feel pretty overwhelming at times.

Your time matters. There’s a lot happening each week and the last thing you need to do is to manage details that could be automated.

Here are six automated church systems and services you need so you can focus on what you we’re called to do — leading your church and reaching people for Jesus.

1. Guest Follow-Up

Are you still typing an individual reply to every person that fills out a connection card? Do you find yourself copying and pasting a past email each time you reach out to someone who’s new to the church? It might seem like a small thing, but the collective time and the diverted focus this task is likely causing is a big deal.

While you will still want to be aware of who is new to your church and specific prayer requests, automating a well-crafted welcome note that is sent shortly after someone submits their information won’t just save you time, it also greets new guests in a timely manner. You can also include resources and links to your upcoming events so they can take the next step sooner.

This is actually a really easy automation to set-up! You’ll get any replies straight to your inbox, but all you have to do is write at least one email (though you could set-up more) that runs in the background every time someone new is added to the system.

2. Giving Responses and Follow-Up

Statistics show that you should be thanking givers within 24-48 hours of their gift. Are you aware of when people tithe? Is thanking someone for giving a task that consistently makes it to the bottom of your list or that you feel is just assumed? Odds are if you don’t have an automated church system here, some giving is falling through the cracks unnoticed and unthanked.

By automating your giving responses, you can make sure people get thanked right away. This lets people know that their gift went through and gives them confidence that they made the right choice in supporting the ministry. In this automated response, you could also include what their faithful giving has provided or even update them on any special giving progress.

3. Kids Check-In

If you have kids, you know how crazy checking them in can be. And with safety protocols to match up kids with authorized adults, it’s so valuable to have an automated check-in process here. (If you don’t have a process in place for check-in and security, you need to implement one ASAP! This is a crucial part of reaching younger families.)

By implementing an automated system, parents can check their kids in easily with automatically-printed labels containing all the information people need to know, from your child’s name to any allergies they may have. This system can also integrate into helping you track attendance throughout your children’s ministries.

4. Event Confirmations + Follow-Up

If you’ve tried to plan a church event, you know what a headache it already can be to figure out how many people to plan for, not to mention letting everyone know when dates, times, and locations change. So sending out a confirmation email and creating an updated list of event attendees are two things that should be done, but shouldn’t have to be done by hand.

Automating event lists (who’s attending) allows you to communicate with all the right people, rather than email blasting your entire church when the picnic gets rained out. Everyone who signs up gets added to a list. You can easily email (or text) just those people.

And by automating your event confirmations, you can send out event-specific follow-ups to go directly to the people that attended. This ensures people have the location, time, and any other details easily accessible come the day of the event.

5. Task Management

Have you ever had to track someone down to get a progress update about a task? It can be especially difficult in ministry, as you work with a lot of volunteers who help you in their spare time outside of normal work hours. 

By having an automated church service to easily assign tasks and get project updates, you don’t have to spend hours or days playing phone tag with someone. And if you have recurring projects, there are many automations, like our Workflows, that will allow you to set up a progression of subtasks, such as sending a follow-up text to a new guest, updating a donor address, or finishing up plans for an aspect of the Sunday service.

6. Attendance Tracking

It’s helpful to know how many people are actually attending your church, and to easily see who is falling away from the life of the church. Or if your church is hosting an event, it’s valuable to easily be able to see who ended up coming and who wasn’t able to.

By automating your service resources through One Church Software, you can create a check-in system so attendance is taken automatically. As an added bonus, you can set-up a notification for a member of your team or an automated follow-up process whenever someone hasn’t made it to a few services (or a workflow trigger of your choice). This is a great way to make sure no one falls through the cracks!

This is just a short list of some of the things you can automate at your church to save you time so you can lead your church more effectively. If you are ready to start automating or are curious what other time-saving automations are out there, check out One Church Software’s features or reach out to see how we can help equip and organize your church so you are structured in a healthy way.

Dear Pastor,

What a season we have lived through. You have stood as steady as possible and your church members are starting to trickle back into their “normal” routines. But let’s not forget all that we have been through the last 18 months.

You were suddenly faced with the uncertainty of if you could meet or even if you should.

You’ve had to shoulder the responsibility and weight of keeping your members safe while balancing the toll isolation would take on their souls.

You’ve had to shift to a world of virtual meetings and livestream, likely with little to no experience, equipment, or trained staff.

You’ve had countless conversations that felt like they were a lot less about shepherding someone’s soul, and more about the perspective of politicians and the recommendations of doctors.

When you began meeting in-person again, you noticed every face that wasn’t there. And today, there are still those that have yet to return, if they do at all.

You’ve felt the weight of leading your church in a way that honored Jesus and the call to the gospel, but may be fighting the feeling of personal failure when you see so many believers still fighting amongst ourselves.

You’ve been to all of the funerals but missed all the celebrations.

As you press forward, remember that you also need rest. You also need to be cared for. And instead of looking for the faces that are missing, look instead at the faces that are still there. You have done so much with what felt like so little.

God has given you a special calling to lead these people. And that is not by accident! As you are looking to the future and preparing to face new challenges, remember that God is the one that is equipping you to complete this work. You have what it takes to navigate what’s ahead and to shift your ministry as necessary to best meet the needs of your people.

This work is not easy, but it is the most important work in the world! As you work to serve your church, remember Jesus wants to serve them more. As you love these people, Jesus loves them more. You want to reach lost people; Jesus wants to reach them even more than you do! Jesus is ready to do incredible things in your community and He has chosen you to help do that.

So you may feel discouraged or burnt out going into 2022, but we are here to remind you of your calling. To remind you that this is not the end of the story. That God isn’t done working yet. There is hope and many lost people that He is still calling to Himself.

We believe in you and we are cheering you on! God is still doing a mighty work!

Money can be a taboo topic, can’t it? Money has torn families apart. Money has torn businesses apart. Money has torn churches apart. It can be a difficult subject and, because of that, we sometimes avoid it.

But this doesn’t need to be the case!

Given that money is a sensitive subject in churches for any number of reasons—from sin, to past church hurt, or others—we should talk about money at church strategically.

Here are five intentional ways churches can talk about money that lead to openness and Christlikeness rather than fear and sin:

1. We should talk about money frequently.

One of the most common mistakes church leaders make is avoiding talking about money and generosity until it’s time to initiate a building campaign or another kind of fundraising initiative to support the work of the church. This not only hinders consistent giving, but it can inhibit the trust of people in your church. Learning to manage money with wisdom and in accordance with Christian values are important to life and pursuing Christlikeness. Discussions about how to manage money or cultivate a heart of generosity should not be reserved for when one aspect of the ministry needs a new or expanded space.

Obviously, talking about money at church too frequently can hurt trust in another way…by making it sound like all your church cares about is money and gathering money from its people—a fear of many Christians that is all too legitimate.

Talking about money is important. Stay consistent with it. Find a healthy rhythm and balance to keep it at the forefront.

2. We should talk about money without shaming people.

Many churches struggle with church members who consume sermons every week and benefit from the ministries of the church without giving of their time or their money to further the work of the church in the community. It is a sad reality, but this is common, and it should be addressed by church leadership. But handling poor giving and stingy hearts by shaming church members who rarely give or don’t give at all is not the way to approach this difficult situation.

Instead, we need to approach how people give with grace and invitation, just like Jesus did. It’s an opportunity to live a life of generosity. This isn’t forced; it’s an invitation to take a step deeper into their walk with Christ.

3. We should talk about money in relation to discipleship.

Sex and money are two of the most common idols that we humans worship instead of our Creator. Part of the reason we are too afraid to talk about money in relation to our faith is because, deep down, we recognize that we hold on to our money a bit too tightly. How we handle our money is a discipleship issue. Mishandling money by being greedy, cheating people out of money we owe them, or other issues like those are spiritual problems, not just ethical or moral problems.

The sooner we start treating our relationship with money as a discipleship issue and not just a “money” issue, the sooner we will start handling our money in a more Christlike, God-glorifying way…and the sooner we’ll be generous with the money we’ve been given.

When church leaders talk about money, it is imperative they lead their people to see their relationship with their money as a matter of spiritual concern. This leads people to understand that money is to be handled with great care because it is so intertwined with their worship.

4. We should talk about money in our children’s and student ministries.

Adults give the most money to the local church, so it is only natural that church conversations about money tend to focus on how adults can be more generous with their money. But because our relationship with our money is a discipleship matter, not just a financial matter, church leaders should be sure that the topic of money makes a regular appearance in children’s and student ministry curricula as well.

Because the church is called to lead children and young adults to have the mind of Christ and pursue godliness in all aspects of life, the church should educate its young people on how to handle money in accordance with their young faith.

Just because young people can’t give very much doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach them the value of generosity!

5. We should talk about money with eternity in mind.

This point has been hinted at in passing throughout this post, but to wrap it up, let’s reiterate: Our relationship with our money is a discipleship matter, which means our relationship with our money is a matter of eternal importance. By God’s grace, those of us who trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ are saved by Him and what He has done for us. But this gracious salvation does not exempt us from opening our hands and giving back to God those dollars which He gave us in the first place.

God sacrificed His Son so that we might know Him and come to salvation, spending eternity with Him in His presence. In return, we can entrust Him with our finances by pursuing the life of generosity He calls us to.

Leaders, let’s be generous. Let’s encourage a culture of generosity in our churches. And let’s not be afraid to talk about money in the church.