Tag Archive for: follow-up

Planning a service can take a lot of hard work and organization, from writing the sermon to picking the right music to coordinating all the volunteers needed to make it possible. While you don’t need to be planning out every tiny detail, you also shouldn’t be winging every aspect of your service the day-of either.

(We consistently see churches swing a little too far in one or the other direction!)

To give you a hand at finding that happy middle ground, here’s a list of some best practices for planning your service:

1) Make a church service plan in advance; make adjustments in the moment.

Planning is one of the most spiritual things a leader can do. Have you ever thought about that? Developing a plan is one of the core ways that we, as leaders, shepherd our flock carefully.

Now it’s still wise to allow for necessary, Spirit-led adjustments in the moment, and to remain flexible. But developing a plan helps your team prepare effectively, keeps your team organized, allows you to lead from intentionality rather than urgency, and keeps your overall pace at a manageable level.

2) Prioritizing excellence requires you to give your team time to prepare.

Rarely can a team produce their best at a moment’s notice. For most people, excellence comes when they know what their tasks are in advance, can prepare for those tasks ahead of time, and can even prepare their own heart for their role in the service.

If you’re not sure how much time would be best, ask your team! Giving them time to prepare shows that you care, and allows them to serve with the best of the passion and skills God has given them.

3) Stop texting your volunteers for their availability.

Texting may seem convenient, but in reality, tracking all those details week after week eats away too much of your time. Instead of texting each volunteer for their availability and then having to text them back after you’ve made your schedule, make it easier on yourself and them by utilizing a Church Management Software (ChMS).

Through a ChMS, you can have volunteers input their availability in advance, and the system will automatically notify them when they are scheduled to serve.

4) Communicate your sermon content as early as you can.

The earlier you can communicate your sermon content, the better! This will allow your team to have plenty of time to pick out music, Scripture readings, and special elements that match your sermon content and creates a cohesive service from start to finish.

Overall sermon topics should generally be defined at the start of a series, and a great goal is for your sermon content to be planned and communicated 1-2 weeks in advance.

5) Say “thank you.”

Encouraging your team is just as important in service planning as the elements you include in the service. You don’t want your team to become a revolving door of people. Building a solid team that is engaged in the work that God has called you to do requires that you encourage your team members regularly and show appreciation for what they do.

When you see a team member serving, take time to genuinely thank them. And it never hurts to schedule regular time in your schedule to give them a personal gesture of appreciation (handwritten thank you card, a small gift card, a text, etc.).

6) Always have a follow-up plan.

One of the most important pieces of planning for your service is your church service follow-up plan. How will you connect with new people that just experienced your service? Will people clearly understand what the next step is and how to take it?

Churches with a clear follow-up plan are much more likely to build long-term relationships with guests. Believe it or not, it’s actually something that can be automated!


If you are not naturally a planner, all this might seem a bit overwhelming. It may feel that way initially, but as you make these things part of your routine, you will find yourself with more time and less stress.

Ultimately, this is all about helping your church thrive and fulfill its mission to encourage believers and bring the Gospel to those that are not yet saved! The Holy Spirit has the power to work in our planning just as much as He has the power to work in the moment.

Looking for a church management system to support you in effective service planning? Learn how this core feature works in One Church Software’s award-winning, all-in-one software for churches.

Easter Sunday—According to Pew Research Center, it’s one of the biggest two Sundays people will attend each year and more Americans search online for “church” around Easter than they do any other time of the year. Every day in the life of a church matters deeply, but to say that Easter is the church’s Super Bowl for engaging new people is no understatement!

Whether you’ve already been planning for weeks and know where your team is headed, or if your calendar doesn’t yet have Easter Sunday highlighted, circled, with multiple notifications and a countdown timer, we wanted to share five simple steps you should consider as you get ready for your 2022 Easter Service.

Let’s jump in:

1) Make a clear plan in advance.

Perhaps this should go without saying, but with the number of people that will be coming through your church’s doors (physically or digitally), you need to have a clear plan in place. For many of those people, this is the one time a year they attend a church service. It may also be a chance to welcome back those that haven’t been attending regularly.

Take some time to detail a clear plan with any special elements that need to be created in advance. What are your goals for Easter? Will you have special graphics? Do you need extra help that day to make sure everyone gets a seat? Who are the key people on your team you need to empower to direct others?

By making sure you have a solid plan in advance, you are able to approach the day strategically, and you will avoid stressing out your team by scrambling to organize a service last-minute.

2) Communicate that plan to your team.

Now that you have a clear plan of what your church’s goals are for Easter Sunday, don’t keep it to yourself! That plan needs to be communicated to your team. This could be done over a detailed email, a planning meeting, or through your church management software.

Make sure your team has all the necessary resources to execute the plan and keep up-to-date on what has been accomplished and what’s left undone.

Most of all, this is your opportunity to get your team excited! Help them see the vision for your Easter service this year. Build excitement for them, praying together expectantly for what God will do in the hearts of those who engage with your church on Easter.

3) Make sure you have a guest follow-up plan.

It’s no secret that many churches view Easter Sunday as a prime opportunity to get once-a-year churchgoers or those who have been involved irregularly to engage with your church beyond this one Easter service.

But that doesn’t happen by accident. It requires an intentional follow-up plan.

How do you plan to engage meaningfully with the people who are attending your Easter service? This, of course, starts with how they experience the service itself. Is it easy for them to check their kids into the children’s ministry? Can they find a place to sit easily? Were people kind?

But beyond that, this leads into your follow-up plan. How do you plan to engage meaningfully after the service is over? Do you have a visitor card that is simple and can be quickly completed? Are you planning to send a follow-up text or a carefully-crafted series of emails? Would it make sense to send a thank you gift? What is the next step you’re inviting new people to take?

These are all questions worth asking.

4) Schedule an Easter debrief meeting ahead of time.

All too often, we have a habit of waiting until next year’s planning meeting to ask how the previous year went. But here’s the problem with that: Nobody remembers the detailed breakdown of what went right and wrong!

Instead, we should review what worked well and what didn’t within a week of Easter Sunday so everything is fresh in our team’s minds. Make sure you take good notes that you can find next year.

Is there anything you did this year that didn’t work? Was there anything that worked particularly well? Was there anything you missed that you need to remember to improve on next year?

5) Focus on the truth of Easter.

Ultimately, this one is most important. All of the planning and organizing in the world doesn’t make a difference if you are personally not being reminded of what Easter is all about. How is the truth of Christ’s death and resurrection affecting your heart right now? How should that truth inspire your church to live out their faith in your community? What hope does it give us in a world full of uncertainty and chaos?

As leaders, when our hearts are moved by the truth of Christ’s death and resurrection, and that is our focus while we observe Easter Sunday, we can rest assured these truths will bleed over into the hearts of those we lead as well.

Planning a service like this can take a lot of coordination and support from our teams, but there truly is so much opportunity for us to engage our communities. Take the time to make a plan, and remember your why—to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19-20a).

Organizing your people and communicating with them is a whole lot easier when you have a church management system doing the hard work for you of helping you stay organized. Learn how One Church Software’s all-in-one solution can help you manage your volunteers, finances, service planning, giving, children’s ministry check-in, event registrations, and much more.

Your church’s mission is to reach people with the Good News and grow their faith. It’s the core of everything you do, but capturing people’s hearts and attention isn’t always easy. And many times, it’s the little details outside of the regular service that communicates genuine care and understanding.

There are all kinds of trendy and cool things your church can offer, from running a cafe that serves lattes and giving out free t-shirts to guests. Those kinds of things are not wrong in and of themselves, but if your ministry’s structure isn’t considering how it lines up with your community’s values, then you will have a hard time reaching people.

Does your community have a lot of young parents or single parents? If so, your community probably values making it easy for families to participate in all events. To structure your ministry in line with this value, you may offer additional child care, make it easier to check in your kids, or even find ways to integrate them into events.

While there are many different values your church may identify, here are a few of the top values we’ve seen in communities and how churches can integrate those values into ministry structure using church management software like One Church:

Easy Connection to Community

Have you ever been the new kid on the block? It can be hard to get to know people, let alone find a core community to get support and encouragement. You can provide an easy way to find out what groups exist and when they meet so people can join without waiting to receive a personal invitation.

Security & Safety

This is especially important in your kids’ area. Not only can you give parents an efficient way to check their kids in, but they can also provide the people authorized to pick them up. And have you ever worried about if the right people know about your child’s allergies? Any medical needs and allergies are printed directly on a child’s security label.

Clear Communication

Our lives are busy and complicated. Often if you don’t add an event to your personal calendar during the announcement, you won’t get the details at all! Or even worse, if you come in late or miss a service entirely, it’s easy to feel out of the loop. By using church software to house all your upcoming events and opportunities, including registration and easy integration to your personal calendar, you can ensure that everyone stays in the know!

A Sense of Purpose

People are passionate about their causes. They want what they do to make a difference—providing in-the-moment action steps like text-to-give is just a small part of this. Communicating what those finances did and providing additional ways to get involved is crucial to connect your members to their sense of purpose. Your church has a responsibility to have transparency and follow-through when it comes to the ways we are impacting the world with our resources.

Clarity

Finding information, whether about events, your church’s mission, or more about what you believe, can be a treasure hunt! If your community has difficulty navigating your system or finding the answer in person, this is likely a point of frustration that can lead to disengagement.

Whatever your community values may be, how you structure your ministry should reflect those values. We know taking the step to get a church management software can feel like a big one. But, we have worked with countless churches and church leaders to help integrate their community values as they add church management software to structure their ministry.

If you would like to hear about how a church management software can support your specific community values, watch a free demo today

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!

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 things you should be automating at your church so you can focus on what you were 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 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 system 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.