10 Quick Questions

Survey SaysWMC Friends,

It’s that time again, for a quick survey of just 10 questions to get to know our readers better.

As we get a better grasp of how your ministry functions, we can create content that fits within that function.

It is anonymous.  Please share with other ministry leaders in your circle.

 

CLICK HERE TO TAKE SURVEY!

If you would like to send us any additional PRIVATE comments about how we can better serve your ministry,  please use the form below.   These comments will NOT be published or visible on our website.  If you would like to include your name, email should we have any questions related to your comments that is an option but is not required in order to send your comment/suggestion/question.

Welcome the Linger

THE ART OF LINGERING

Earlier this week, in the piece “An Amazing Event”, we explored how a local church hosted an event for women by pointing out areas of excellence.   The sixth point was that this church welcomed the linger.  This point resulted in a few questions that will be unpacked in this follow up piece.

At the end of the women’s event “Amazing”, the women in attendance were directed outside to the after party.  This consisted of lunch, places to sit and have conversations, a small market to shop, activities, etc.  I have no idea if there was an official cut off time, as I left after about an hour.  However it didn’t appear they were in a rush to send their guests on their merry way.  Speaking with one of their leaders, I learned that this is a very intentional decision, because they find that when they allow people to gather after their events better and deeper connections are made.

In theory, this sounds wonderful.  But, you may be asking about how it is logistically possible for smaller churches.  I believe it is fair to say that most of us are hosting events at our church, whether it be a simple brunch or a more expansive women’s conference.  I believe it is also fair to say that most churches don’t have a separate conference center or banquet hall on the property, but instead use a shared space.  With services on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, our events are most commonly held on a Friday evening or Saturday morning.  Once the event concludes those shared spaces must be reset for services.

How do we let our guests linger when we have to prepare our space for the church services that same day or the next morning?

Extra Volunteers – many hands make light work.  If you have more volunteers on hand, specifically after the event, it will take less time to reset the church.  

Move the Party – consider other spaces.  If you held an event in the sanctuary, once the event is over move to a new location.  This frees up the sanctuary to be reset by volunteers, while your guests can linger and talk in the lobby, parking lot, etc.  You can use the overflow room, lobby, or even outside spaces.  Keep in mind that if you choose to move the party off the church property, you may lose guests.  More people are apt to stay and linger, but once they get in their car it can be more tempting to just head home.

Designate the Space – if moving your guests into a new space to linger, define that space.  Clear signage indicating where the conversation space is located and volunteers to direct your guests from one space to the other is helpful.  Your church parking lot can be a great space, so long as you consider the weather, set up seating/tents, etc. 

Provide Food – if you feed them, they will stay.  This does not mean that you need to over extend your budget by providing free food.  Some churches can afford this, some will include it in ticket prices, others simply invite vendors and let their guests pay.  Just make sure if you are going to expect guests to pay for their own lunch that this is included in the promotional materials.  Food can be a meal or even just light snacks.

Create Conversation – give them something to talk about and engage with.  Set a space or few that are great photo ops.  You can create these spaces with things you can find around your home.  While waiting in line to take a photo, women will start talking.  As they walk the space, the décor itself is a conversation starter.  Food will ignite conversation, as your guests discuss their options or the quality of the food.  People love to talk about good food.

Fun Activities – so long as there is something to do, your guests will linger and connect.  Whether it’s a mini-market place they can stroll around and shop, photo ops, or games and activities, having something to do will encourage women to stay and engage.

Something else to consider…

As a woman who has attended many local events over the last 20 years, let me share what usually happens when I return home.  I’m walking in the door, feeling encouraged, inspired, motivated… I don’t want that feeling to pass.  Then I hear these words…

“Mom?  What’s for lunch?”

Within minutes of returning home, mom is back on duty.

If you are scheduling an after party similar to the event I attended this past weekend, that will include food… activities… etc.

Why not invite the family to meet them women afterwards?  Turn the after party into a family event.  A few food trucks or food vendors, activities for the kids to engage in, conversation areas for the women… but also opportunities for the men to connect too.  It adds to the community.

 

An Amazing Event

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By Gena McCown, Co-Founder of WMC

When I have an opportunity to attend a conference or women’s event in the community, only a prior commitment will keep me from registering.  As a leader, these events are often those moments when I am the one being served versus serving.  They are a space for me to just be one of the girls instead of the person in charge, and I find that I am often refueled and inspired from my time at the event. Leaders are always pouring out and I have said it before, we must also ensure that we are being poured into.

I also pay a LOT of attention to the details of the event.  I am learning from what works, what doesn’t, and trying to take away things I can share with other leaders.  This weekend, I was able to attend an event at Christ Fellowship called “Amazing”.  The theme for the event was “Flourish”, and it was executed flawlessly (at least to the perspective of the attendee).  I’d like to recap some of the things that I feel Christ Fellowship did with excellence.  And, the good news is, everything they did was something any church of any size could accomplish.

  1.  Clear Communication – From the earliest advertisements of the event to the moment you left the event, there was never a moment where I struggled for information.   I knew exactly when and where the event was, what time it started, and what to expect.  When I arrived there were signs for parking, volunteers to help navigate the parking, volunteers to help you get to the front doors, and the entrance was clearly marked.  Once inside, in addition to an information desk, there was absolutely not issue finding the restrooms or getting assistance.  As you moved through the event, you knew what to expect and when to expect it.  Clear communication is KEY to a successful event.  If a person struggles to find information about an event, they are less likely to register.  Struggling once there can ensure they may not return.
  2. Visible Volunteers and Staff – As you moved from parking to the event itself, and then the post event activities… volunteers and staff members were easy to spot.  You never know when you are going to need assistance, and knowing exactly who to speak to is comforting.  However, it also says volumes about the church community & commitment when they see many volunteers on premises and the staff in attendance.
  3. Event Ran on Schedule – I think anyone appreciates events that start on time and finish on time.  There are times when you just can’t avoid it, such as when technical difficulties arise.  What people want to know is that those moments are exceptions to the norm.  In the 5 years we have be running the WMC, I can count on 1 hand the number of times we have gone over our scheduled end time.
  4. A Well Executed Theme – I have been to some events that have a “theme” but what I walked into wasn’t cohesive.  Why does this matter?  In this point I’m not focused on how much money was spent, but rather that there was clear direction.  The team responsible for the event were thoughtful to ensure that all the details supported versus took away from the theme.  They approached these details with an editing eye.  Could they have done more?  Sure.  Less?  Definitely.  From my opinion, what was there was a perfect balance and avoided overkill.
  5. Community Involvement and Cooperation – When the event was over, we were released for lunch and invited to stay and mingle.  By the way, that was the fastest and most efficient food line I have ever walked through and I’ve been to MANY conferences that cost far more.  Outside, there was a cute little market set up where we could shop from local vendors.  It was sweet to see the church supporting the community in such a way.
  6. They Welcome the Linger – Something that really stood out to me was that they didn’t rush us off the campus when the event was over.  We were invited to stay and linger.  There were no lights dimmed to signify they were shutting down the house, or doors being locked.  No one was ushering us out the door, but instead inviting us to sit down and connect to one another.  I can’t express how much I loved this, but also how it stood out against every other event I have ever attended anywhere (from local church to national conferences).  The main event itself ran on schedule, which is a blessing for those who were running on a schedule for the day (especially considering it was Mother’s Day weekend).  However, they created a space where staying back to talk and connect was not just welcomed but encouraged.

Personally, I’d love a chance to sit down with some of the key planners of the event and walk through their process… I’m always up for learning more.

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A Popular Identity

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Do you remember the popular kids in school?   They were popular because they were known by everyone (known doesn’t necessarily mean friends with everyone).  Some of the kids were just naturally likeable, they didn’t do anything in particular to be loved by everyone.  They were just good people, that seemed to get along well with anyone.  Then there were those who made strategic moves (good or bad) to work their way into notoriety.  When you think back to these people you were in school with, or if you were one of them…

What where you know for?  What made people gravitate to you?  What made people like you or want to be your friend?

Now let’s spin this to ministry.

There are churches and ministries that are incredibly popular, everyone knows who they are.  They may never have even walked through their doors or looked at their website… but you drop their name and everyone recognizes it immediately.  Some of these churches and ministries have gotten to that position naturally.  They just do what God called them to do, followed that vision, and the people came to them.  Others made strategic choices (good or bad) to elevate themselves into the world of being known.

But, what are they known for?  What made the people gravitate through their doors or into their cause?

What is Your Vision or Mission Statement?

If your church has a vision or mission statement, that is the most obvious answer.  THAT is what your church or ministry should be known for.  If your mission is to serve the homeless, then that should be the answer.  “Community Church is known for it’s outreach and service to the homeless in our community”.  If your mission is to support the orphans in your community, then that should be answer.  “Women’s Ministry of First Church is to share the gospel with our foster and adoptive families, by walking along life with them.”  If the church has a mission, then the Women’s Ministry should have a similar mission pin pointed toward women.

When asking the community about your church or ministry, you would hope that their answer would be representative of your vision/mission statement.  If it’s not, that needs to be addressed.

A few years ago, I attended an event with my sister.  At the end of the event I asked her opinion of what she experienced.  She replied:  “These are precious, godly women.”  That is great feedback.  Part of the mission of that church foremost connecting people to Christ, and based on what we witnessed their women’s ministry was doing just that.

I recently had a discussion with a local woman about her church, and I posed a similar question to her.  I wanted to know what her church was known for, and she replied “Well, people call it the popular church.”   I asked her what she meant by that, I wanted to understand more.  Why is it popular?  Do they love on people well?  Are they super active in the community?  As I pressed in further, she explained… “Everyone knows the church by name or at least someone who goes there.”  When I asked what the mission statement of the church was, she didn’t know it.  This is not so great feedback.  It’s not terrible, but I’m not certain our ministries simply want to be known for existing.

Get a Vision or Mission Statement

If your church or ministry doesn’t have a vision or mission statement, it’s time to get into prayer and ask God to put a calling on your heart for your church/ministry.  If you do have a vision/mission statement, ask people randomly if they know what it is.  If they can’t answer you, or can’t articulate it well, then revisit your vision/mission statement.  Perhaps it needs to be revised so that it is simpler and more clearly defined.  Or, you may just need to remind those who are in your church/ministry every so often what your mission/vision statement is.

Have Accountability to that Vision/Mission

Once your church/ministry has a clearly defined and easily explained vision/mission statement, ensure that you have people on staff or in your planning team that are going to hold you accountable to that vision/mission.  Weigh your plans, budget, events, outreach, trips, programs, and ministries against it.  If it doesn’t hold up to the vision/mission, let it go.  If you can’t let it go, if you really feel like God is calling you to something new… it may be a case of the Lord giving you a new vision/mission.  Those who serve for this accountability can join you in prayer seeking God’s direction and guidance to continue as you have been called or that it is time to carve a new pathway.

Keep a Finger on the Pulse of the Community

If you believe that your church/ministry has a significant calling and presence in your community, the best way to find out if that is being executed is by checking the heartbeat of the community.  Ask not just your church members or the women your ministry serve, but also the community.  When meeting people and striking up conversation, ask them if they’ve heard of your church or ministry.  What do they say, how do they respond?  This is an easy way to find out if you are living our your vision or if there needs to be course correction.

Being a popular church or ministry is NOT a bad thing.  What matters is WHAT you are popular for, what you are known for in the community.  The simplest answer come from Scripture in John 13:35, we will be known for our love for one another.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

What will distinguish us from each other, as churches and ministries, and define our vision/mission is in the way that we love.  How we serve, care, tend, lead, teach, and guide the flock we have been put in charge of and the communities we have been called to.

United as One Body

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by Gena McCown, Founder WMC

For five years, we have been serving women in the Treasure Coast.  Pouring into leaders, connecting ministries from various churches, and introducing these ministry leaders to ministries that are serving our communities.  It has been an incredible blessing to us, sharing our 20+ years of ministry leadership experience.  It has been a blessing to leaders in our community, and we are beginning to see the longer reach as things set in motion come to fruition.

Recently, I was invited to a Church United Gathering in my city.  It was only the second meeting here, but a movement that has been in other cities a bit longer.  This gathering brings together Pastors and ministry leaders in our community… regardless of denomination… for the purpose of support and encouragement.  I participating in the pre-meeting prayer gathering, sat through the morning worship and message, then went to a break out group session for others who share a similar position in ministry as I do.  After the event concluded, my heart just felt so full.  To see the same call to unity and support on the church level that we’ve been working on a specific ministry level… I can’t even begin to explain how that makes me feel.

Years ago, the Lord put the call of unity on my heart.  Clearly, He has put it on the hearts of others.  Not only should we not forsake meeting with one another in church on Sunday mornings, but also we as leaders should not forsake meeting with one another.  We have not been called to serve in ministry alone.  Leaders pour into others, but leaders also need to be poured into.  I don’t know how many cities Church United has reached, but I am thankful for those who have begun this ministry… and thankful for the groups that will be meeting in the days, months, and years to come.

A cord of three strands is not easily broken.  What if 2 of the strands are not individual people, but churches… ministries… organizations?  What if a brother who is born for adversity, is the church down the street who answers the call of another in crisis?  What if our churches who are blessed financially provided an offering to our churches who are in need?  What if we shared our spaces?  What if we broke bread together?

What if we fulfilled the great commission as one CHURCH?

How do we start?  By opening our doors.

 

May 2018 Leadership Calendar

May 2018

Hope you are enjoying these monthly Leadership Calendars!  If you have missed a previous month, we have them in the “Downloads & Printables Section” .  If you have any suggestions that we could include for future calendars, please share in the comments section.  We are currently compiling these suggestions.