Tag Archive - building

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How to make Guests Feel Uncomfortable at your Church

It’s uncomfortable for a person who’s unfamiliar with God and church to go to church for the first time. Often times they feel as though they’re taking a huge risk by even showing up. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that churches do to make guests feel even more uncomfortable when they go to church for the first time. Here are just a few…

Use Insider Language

Churches are notorious for using cute insider language like the “Butterfly Room” for the 2-year-olds. Just call it the 2-year-old room, that’s going to help guests understand it and not feel like an outsider. No guest knows if their kid should go in the butterfly room or the lady bug room…they’re raising kids not bugs. Also stay away from acrostics…I know every good Christian in America should know what FPU means, but I’m telling you, people who are new to church have no idea what you’re talking about. And if it’s confusing to them it could be the difference in them leaning in towards Jesus or away.

Point them Out

New people love to be singled out and made the center of attention, so make sure you do something like have them all remain seated and have everyone greet them in the worship service at some point. I hope you know that I’m kidding…if you don’t, let me let you in on a little secret…I’m kidding. Don’t point out new guests. Instead think through creative and nonthreatening ways for guests to self-identify themselves and let you know they’re there.

Make it Confusing to Navigate the Building

Make sure that you don’t use clear signage throughout your building. Guests should just know where to go when they come to our church, and if they don’t it’s their own fault. If they came to church more often they’d figure it out. When guests don’t know where to park, don’t know which entrance to go in, and have a difficult time navigating the facility because you haven’t thought about that for them and helped them through great way-finding, that always makes an already awkward situation worse.

Don’t Update your Facilities

That church building that looks and smells like it’s fresh out of 1980…yeah don’t update it, it’s vintage. We don’t need to impress people with our building. We’re here to worship God, not a building. I don’t think church buildings need to be crazy, over the top impressive…but when a church facility is not on par with other public space in the community it’s going to make guests feel uncomfortable.

Have Weird People taking care of their Kids

It’s weird dropping off your kids with someone you’ve never met before. It probably even makes some people feel like bad parents. Dropping off a kid in a room that is dirty and has old carpet, where the toys aren’t clean or a room that smells bad can make guests feel very uncomfortable. Not to mention dropping off kids where there is only a teenager or a male volunteer in the room can plain creep guests out. Oh, and make sure you don’t change their kids diapers and give the kids back to the guests with a dirty diaper…that always makes guests feel comfortable (sarcasm intended).

Ever been uncomfortable visiting a church for the first time? What made it so awkward for you? What are some other things you’ve seen churches do to make guests feel uncomfortable? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about your experience and observations!


Posted in Leadership

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Underfunded: 4 Reasons Why Church Vision Stalls

We believe in the power of a clear vision and a solid action plan to help churches move forward.

But too often, we see churches seek God for a vision, diligently plan for action and then hit a wall they don’t have to hit. We have seen passionate teams and inspiring visions stall out because one key aspect commonly receives too little focus…funding.

We often see church leaders sidestep this component of vision. No matter the effort and inspiration, an underfunded vision will result in a stagnant plan.

This is a conversation we’ve been having lately. We want to invite you into it. Join Tony Morgan, Joe Sangl and Marty Schmidt for a free webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 1pm EST.

Underfunded: 4 Reasons Church Vision Stalls

The conversation will center on the most common reasons we see church vision stall when it comes to funding.

You will learn to recognize and diagnose issues like:

  • The Un-Fundable Vision
  • Fundraising vs. Building a Generous Culture
  • The Campaign Trap
  • Not Knowing What You Don’t Know (and Proceeding Anyway)

Space is limited, so register asap. We hope to see you there!


Posted in Leadership

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Casting Vision for the Next Chapter: Sun Valley Community Church

Back in the spring, I had the opportunity to facilitate a strategic planning retreat with the leadership team from Sun Valley Community Church. Sun Valley is a church with 7,000 people gathering in five locations in the Phoenix area. Many times, I don’t get the opportunity to see the vision move from the planning charts to reality. Because of that, I was encouraged to see this update. Check out the video below.

 

As I was listening to Chad give this update, these leadership thoughts came to mind:

1) Owners need updates.

If people invest prayer, time and money, they expect to hear about results.

2) The Lead Pastor can’t delegate vision-casting.

Although a team can develop new vision, the lead pastor is primarily responsible for casting the vision.

3) Multisite only works if you’re actually one church in multiple locations.

Sun Valley is Sun Valley in all five campuses. You get the same experience, the same teaching and the same ministry philosophy regardless of where you go.

4) It doesn’t take a big personality to lead a big church.

Chad is a strong leader and a great Bible teacher, but Sun Valley hasn’t experienced health and growth due to his personality. I personally think it’s due to the strength of the strategy and the team Chad has helped build.

5) It’s important to say “thank you.”

The vision can’t be accomplished without the contribution of people’s time, talent and treasure. If you’ve made an investment like that in the past, you know it’s good to hear “thank you.”

For more inspiration on how to cast vision for the future, check on Sun Valley’s website for details on The Next Chapter for how they plan to help people meet, know and follow Jesus.


About the Author: Tony Morgan
Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He’s written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.


Posted in Leadership, Testimonial

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Breaking Through Your Capacity Lid

If you lead long enough eventually every leader and every organization will hit a leadership lid. You are going to outgrow your leadership skills and your organizational structures at some point. But what do you do when the lid at your church is a capacity lid? Capacity lids show up all over the place.

Facilities: If you build it they won’t always come.

  • Too many churches acquiesce to the pressure to build too soon and as a result they don’t maximize their current space. Instead of building try running multiple weekend services, try multiple venues on the same campus, park off campus, or move to a multisite strategy.

Volunteers: Volunteers are more important than the ministries.

  • Most churches run short on volunteers because they use volunteers to do the ministry instead of realizing that the volunteers are the ministry. Volunteering is discipleship. Take care of, invest in, and lead your volunteers and they’ll take care of the ministry.

Finances: Financial shortfalls can limit opportunities.

  • The two sides to finances in a church setting are building a culture of generosity in your church and then managing those finances so you position yourself to say yes to Jesus when He provides clear vision and opportunity. Immature organizations over extend themselves financially and self impose artificial lids as a result.

Staffing: The team outperforms the individual every time.

  • Scouting, attracting, developing and keeping talented team members are essentials to a growing church. But before you think paid staff think volunteer leaders. Paying people to do ministry should be the last resort.

Leadership: Leadership is a spiritual gift, but you can develop your leadership skills.

  • Leading a church of 100, 500, 1,000 and 10,000 are not the same thing. The higher you go you move from the science side of leadership to the art side of managing the momentum and emotion of the room. Get outside your tribe and start listening to and learning from successful people and organizations in other industries.

Character: Your talent can take you further than you character can sustain.

  • Character is the lowest leadership lid. No level of competency will ever make up for a fatal flaw in character because ministry and leadership run on trust. Character flaws erode trust every time.

Posted in Leadership

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New & Unique Locations to Plant a Church

Zoning ordinances, school and hotel usage regulations, overpriced rents, local restrictions on religious organizations – new churches face numerous challenges in finding a place to meet. With God’s help and provision, Converge church planters take some creative approaches to resolve this problem. Here are a few…

#1 Church in a Movie Theater
Iron Ridge Church
Waukon, Iowa
Marlan Mincks, pastor

After Mincks inked the contract to purchase the Main Feature Theatre & Pizza Pub in October 2007, the church decided to keep the restaurant open and remodel the theater as its sanctuary. All restaurant profits go to Iowa church planting.

#2 Church in a Skating Rink
Ambassadors of Christ Fellowship
Columbus, Georgia
Luis Scott, pastor

In 2010 ACF bought the 25,000-square-foot Lambert Skating Rink, which had been unoccupied for six years. After remodeling the rink, the church opened its sanctuary in October 2011 and added eight classrooms and three nurseries in 2012. English and Spanish-speaking congregations share the facilities. A fellowship area, café and offices are under construction.

#3 Church in a Computer Store
Heartland Church
Indianapolis, Indiana
Darryn Scheske, pastor

Leading a new church of 30 people, pastor Scheske signed a lease in May 2001 on a former Elek-Tek Computer store. The church remodeled the building for classrooms, offices and a 1,000-seat sanctuary. Since then, additional sites were added in Indianapolis and at Purdue University in Lafayette.

#4 Church in a Movie Theater
Epikos Church
Milwaukee, West Allis
Danny Parmelee, pastor

Founded in 2004 in Milwaukee, Epikos purchased the Paradise Theater in suburban West Allis in June 2011 and completed remodeling a year later. Continuing to meet in Milwaukee, they opened their West Allis campus in June 2012.

#5 Coffeehouse & Church Combo
SoZo Coffeehouse & Missio Dei Community Church
Chandler, Arizona
Scott Morgan, pastor

When you walk into SoZo Coffeehouse in Chandler, Arizona you won’t see crosses and Bible verses on the walls. And you won’t know a church of more than 100 people worships here every Sunday. In fact, the only hint of a church you’ll find is an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper displayed on the countertop. It reads, “Missio Dei Community Church meets here every Sunday. All are welcome.” Pastor and owner Scott Morgan calls SoZo Coffeehouse and Missio Dei Community Church his “unique venture,” a combination of business and missions.

#6 Church in a Gas Station
Epiphany Station
Thief River Falls, Minnesota
Jeff Gauss, pastor

Available sites were hard to find in Thief River Falls for this 45-member church plant. After a long search, church planter Jeff Gauss settled on remodeling a gas station. Epiphany saw more than 500 attendees this Easter.

*This article first appeared in Converge’s Point Magazine. Used by permission.


Posted in Leadership
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