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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 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 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 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 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

A typical problem churches face is maintaining a consistent stream of funds to support ministry operations. The work of the local church, whether discipling teenagers or providing meals for the homeless, costs money, and if a church struggles to maintain a consistent stream of giving from its members, the work of ministry can be hindered.

How can churches encourage consistent giving from their church members without breaking trust or sounding “greedy,” a common fear of church leaders? Here are a few basic ways to promote consistent giving in the local church:

1. Talk about money outside of giving campaigns.

One of the biggest mistakes churches make is neglecting any talk about generosity, giving, or money outside of specialized fundraising campaigns for new facilities, new ministry opportunities, or other such projects.

A common line churches use is, “This is not about a building…it’s about cultivating generosity in your heart.” Unfortunately, if the only time you’re talking like that on a Sunday morning or in your small groups is when you’re trying to add a new facility, people are probably going to roll their eyes! And more importantly, you’re going to lose trust.

One of the best ways you can cultivate a culture of generosity and consistent giving in your church is to talk about money and generosity regularly so that finances aren’t as taboo a topic as they too often are. God cares about our money and how we spend, invest, or give it, and church leaders should be talking about our relationship with money as a regular part of the discipleship process, whether there’s a fundraising campaign or not.

Make conversations about finances a regular part of your discipleship efforts. You will not only cultivate generous hearts that are more like Christ, but you’ll also see more consistent giving from your church members.

2. Encourage regular service within the local church.

This is an essential but often overlooked point. In general, even outside of the church walls, people are more likely to personally invest in projects or efforts with which they are actively involved in some way. Sure, plenty of generous donors give to nonprofits or philanthropic causes with whom they have little personal connection. Still, most small and medium-sized givers will be most faithful and consistent if they have a vested interest and participatory relationship with the recipient of their giving.

A really simple, underrated way to encourage consistent giving in your church is to encourage your church members to serve regularly. The more involved they are through serving in the children’s ministry or taking meals to new parents throughout the week, the more likely they will be willing to open their wallets and give.

Two of the resources about which people are most stingy are their time and money. If you can get your church members to loosen their grip on their time and be generous on that front, you are more likely to successfully loosen their grip on their money and encourage them to be generous with it.

Encourage service and watch giving become more consistent.

3. Prioritize electronic giving and monitor it.

More and more people are paying their bills through automatic electronic withdrawals from their bank accounts. The number of people who write checks to pay their bills will only continue to decrease moving into the future. The same is true with church giving. Though church demographics tend to skew older than the average age of a community’s population, the digital financial revolution will hit your church soon if it hasn’t already.

If you hope to encourage regular, consistent giving in your church, reliable electronic giving needs to be a top priority. There are seemingly dozens of options available for churches to make electronic giving available to their church members. Whichever option you choose, make sure that user experience is important in your decision-making process. Electronic giving that is difficult to use creates unnecessary friction and could even erode trust in your church members, which will only hinder consistent financial giving.

An extra bonus if the solution you choose makes communication easy with your donors, allows members to give via text, and makes it simple for you to monitor it all!

Consistent financial giving is important in the life of the local church because we should always be growing in generosity as we strive to become more like Christ, and those funds fuel the important ministry in your community and around the world.

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.

Want to read more?
– 5 Ways We Should Talk About Money at Church
– 5 Reasons to Consider Text Giving for Your Ministry
3 Ways to Encourage Young Families to Give to Your Church

As a church leader, you have a lot of things on your plate. You may have considered upgrading to a church management system (ChMS) before, but weren’t sure if it was the right move for your church. The thought of changing your systems up can seem overwhelming and you may be wondering if it is even worth the effort.

You have a unique calling to not only shepherd and serve your church well, but also to steward your resources well. That may make you hesitant to spend some of your church’s finances to switch to a church management system or even wonder if it is necessary.

The purpose of a church management system is to help your ministry stay organized, automate repeatable tasks (so you can spend your time on the big stuff), communicate with your people, and much more.

So are you ready for one? We’ve put together a list of the top signs that your church is ready to get a church management system. Let’s dive in:

1) Are your members able to donate online?

If your church is still passing an offering plate during your regular service, it’s time to upgrade to a church management system. By offering online donations, people can give securely online and also set up recurring gifts.  This also makes it a breeze to deliver your end-of-year giving statements.

2) Does it take more than an hour to schedule volunteers for serving opportunities?

This is a big one! If you are spending an hour or more each week comparing availability, scheduling, and notifying your volunteers, then you should make the switch to a church management system to easily complete this task and organize your volunteers each week.

3) Are you still sending individual emails to follow up with guests?

Odds are you have several emails that you’ve been sending manually that you can automate. If you’ve got a list of repeatable tasks when someone visits for the first time that bog you down, then it’s time to take a look at how a church management system can take some of those off your plate. We promise that it will still feel just as personal to the receiver (you still are developing the email) but your to-do list will instantly be lighter!

4) How do you take attendance?

The days of manually counting people in seats or using a tally counter is one of those tasks that doesn’t need to be on your shoulders anymore. If you have been using one of these methods, it’s time to start using a church management system to save some time and to save your fingers from all that clicking!

5) Are you still relying on memory to try and identify visitors?

Before the days of the internet, you identified new visitors by some key volunteers that were outgoing and could spot the new faces in a sea of members. But that doesn’t always work anymore. As your church grows, or if you are short volunteers, it’s easy for new people to slip through the cracks. A church management system can create an automated system for visitors to check in and receive a follow-up from your church. No more people slipping through your doors unnoticed.

6) Do your kids’ volunteers rely on their memory to match kids with their parents?

The safety of our kids is a top priority at any church. But without a church management system, you rely on the memory of your kids’ volunteers to know which parent or guardian can pick up each child. A church management system can provide check-in labels with important information, like allergies and authorized adults to pick them up.

7) Is it easy for people to find and register for events or groups?

Far too often, it can feel like we have to reinvent the wheel every time we have something new for people to register for. Sometimes it’s a Facebook event. Sometimes it’s an email to RSVP to. Sometimes it’s a Google Form. It can get confusing, and it takes a lot more time and brain power for you and your team than it needs to. With a church management software, that is all organized in one place. Easy to set-up and easy to share.

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 make the switch. You have been called to steward your church’s resources well and that means both your finances and your time. So if any of the tasks above are taking up so much of your time that you don’t have the space to think about big picture things in your church, we’d invite you to consider the ripple effect a tool like this would have in your ministry and your leadership.

Adding a church management system can help free up your to-do list and open up your time to allow you to focus on leading your church well into where God is taking you.

Curious to learn more? Watch a software demo at your own pace >>

With the start of a new year, it can seem like everyone is setting a resolution to lose weight, break a bad habit, or start a new hobby. It may feel like setting goals in January is more of a fad that we quickly forget once February arrives. 

However, there is value to setting goals during the start of a new year that shouldn’t be ignored.

Whether this is a new year or just a new season at your church, today we want to share a few principles every church leader should keep in mind when setting goals:

1) Setting goals is an important part of spiritual leadership.

As a leader in your church, people will naturally look to you for guidance and clarity in what direction the church is taking. You have a noble calling to lead and shepherd these people toward Christ and to reach the surrounding community. But this doesn’t just happen. It requires an intentional plan. As such, you should take time to set goals for yourself, your church, and how you will reach others.

In the end, it is God that will bring fruit to our efforts but it’s our job to partner with Him by creating a plan, setting goals, working the plan, and then seeing how God uses those efforts.

2) Don’t just make a to-do list; cast a vision.

It’s easy to set a long list of things to do, but that isn’t actually the point of setting goals for your church. Not to mention, you’d have to create unique to-do lists for each area of your ministry. Instead, you should focus on casting a vision. Help people see how the goals that the church is setting are actually helping the ministry move towards the overall vision.

This is an opportunity to inspire rather than just inform.

3) Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars, but make sure your goals are still realistic.

Michael Hyatt has said, “You can’t get where you want to go unless you start with where you are.” When setting goals, it’s hard to find that middle ground. We want to be ambitious and set near-impossible goals. Or we want to be realistic and don’t dream big enough.

A good goal will stretch us beyond what we are capable of, and will require God to show up in order to achieve it, but it remains in the realm of possibilities. “By next year, our church will take our attendance from 500 to 5,000” is an example of a near-impossible goal (in that timespan).

4) Be sure your goals are SMART.

If you aren’t familiar with the acronym of SMART goals, here’s a quick breakdown:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time-bound

The purpose of this acronym is to give you a tool to not only plan, but also achieve your goals. It’s one thing to say, “We want to reach our community.” It’s another thing to say, “By December 31, we will see 100 new connect cards filled out by first-time guests.” One is time-bound and measurable, and the other is not.

Utilize SMART goals in your planning!

5) Check your progress.

Just like those that make New Year’s Resolutions, if you don’t make a plan to follow through on your goals, you will tend to forget about them. The purpose of goal-setting is to keep you accountable to the mission as you move through the year.

Take the time now to set up times to review how you are doing with each goal. Make a reminder in your calendar now so you can look back at your goals and continually track your progress.

Goal-setting can feel like a heavy responsibility and a lot of work. The truth is that it is both of those things! It takes time and effort to set meaningful goals for your church and that is not something that should be taken lightly. The effort is well worth it! 

So this month, feel free to dream big, set goals, cast vision, and get excited about how God will show up to help you meet those goals. Setting goals is a necessary part of being a church leader, and you are equipped to dream about a potential future to pursue alongside your God.

Discover an all-in-one technology solution to help you care for your members, empower your volunteers, & serve your community. Learn more about One Church Software.

“A solid budget and spending plan creates trust between church leaders and church members, which is important because so many people lack trust in churches to manage money well because of past experiences they have had.”

Happy New Year! As we kickoff this fresh year, we’re tackling an important topic: Church budgets.

Most people who find themselves on staff at a local church didn’t go to school for finance or accounting. Few (if any) seminaries have classes about creating or maintaining a church budget. Wise stewardship of parishioners’ tithes can definitely fall into the “nobody-taught-me-how-to-do-this” area of ministry. But if the local church is going to handle money in a trustworthy, God-honoring way while also funding the important work of ministry that church members do, establishing an effective church budget has to be a top priority.

Whether you’re getting ready to plant a church or you’ve become a leader at a centuries-old church that doesn’t have the most solid budget, the best time to create a church budget was yesterday. The second-best time to create a church budget is now.

But where do you even start? How do you create a solid church budget from scratch? Here are a few considerations to get you started down the right path:

1) Consider your values.

Before you get into the weeds of dollar amounts, giving trends, and bookkeeping details, you need to be sure that the budget you’re creating is reflective of your church’s values and the needs of your church family. If your church is mostly made up of young families, it makes more sense to allocate more funds toward the children’s ministry than the senior adult ministry. If your church sits near an underprivileged neighborhood where you do regular ministry, it probably makes more sense to allocate more funds toward that work than it does toward another ministry effort that, though worthwhile, doesn’t fit the work of your church body quite as well.

Ultimately, if you don’t make your budget align with the values of your church, it won’t matter how well you evaluate giving trends or track spending. Why? Because your church members likely won’t give with the same consistency and generosity as they would if your budget aligned appropriately with the values and unique context of your church.

2) Evaluate past and projected giving trends.

Most church giving experts recommend not relying too much on past giving trends or projected giving trends to create your church budget, but to consider both past receipts and future projections. Every church is different, but generally speaking, creating a church budget based on past giving trends may cause you to create a budget that is too conservative, and misinterpreting future giving trends may lead you to create a budget that overestimates the dollars your church will receive in the coming months and years.

It is a good idea to examine the last few years’ giving, figure out what the “minimum” giving situation may look like to give you a sort of baseline off of which to work, and then project some increase based on higher church attendance or other similar factors.

Again, every church is different and your church’s context may lead you to consider putting more emphasis on either past or future giving…and that is okay! Just be sure to consider all possibilities and not marry your budget to one or the other too strongly.

3. Track every dollar collected and spent.

A fine-tuned budget established by a careful evaluation of past and future giving trends and defined by the values and work of the ministry can be completely and devastatingly sidetracked by poor accounting. What good is a budget if church leaders aren’t intimately aware of how much money is being given to the church in a given week and how much money the church is spending in a given week? Creating an effective budget but not tracking giving and spending is like buying a $300,000 Lamborghini and letting your teenager use it for driver’s ed—it’s foolish and dangerous!

It’s true: tracking every dollar your church collects and spends can be cumbersome. There’s no doubt about it. But effective money management is the gasoline that makes an effective church budget run. By tracking your funds, you provide your church members with a sense of trust that they deserve, and you make your budget more effective for future years.

Budgeting is important! It’s important for families, and it’s just as important for church families! A solid budget and spending plan creates trust between church leaders and church members, which is important because so many people lack trust in churches to manage money well because of past experiences they have had. At the same time, a church budget that is created with your values in mind and maintained by wise financial tracking will make your ministry more effective and help you reach more people with the gospel that we have been charged to share with the world.

Don’t neglect your church’s budget! Make one today.

When you use One Church Software, all of your giving, accounting, and people records are seamlessly connected within your church management software. Learn more about accounting within One Church >>

Holiday decorations? Check. Christmas sermon written? Check. Choir and band ready to perform? Check. Community outreach? Check.

If you are someone that likes checklists, you probably have one similar to the one above. Planning and preparing for the Christmas season is one of the busiest times of the year for church leaders. And you likely spend a large part of this time getting ready to share the hope of this season with your regular churchgoers and new guests.

But after the lights and candy canes are put away, there are still a few things that need to be done that can be easy to forget about.

As you prepare to celebrate with your family and look back on the year, be sure to set aside time to do these items that should be on every church leader’s end-of-the-year checklist:

1) Review your 2021 goals

You (hopefully) took some time to make them at the beginning of the year, so how did you do at achieving those goals? Were there some you didn’t reach or accomplish? Don’t just breeze past them; instead, take some time to review why. If you had too many goals or not enough help in achieving them, that will be important as you set new goals for 2022. It’s even just important to review all that you did in 2021! Celebrate how far you’ve come and the impact your church has had!

2) Evaluate your communication systems and where you can improve.

This is a great time to honestly evaluate how well your church is communicating. What’s working? What’s not? This doesn’t just apply to how you communicate with your church at large, but also how you communicate with your teams. Do you utilize software that helps track and notify team members that are volunteering or supporting a certain ministry? If you already do this, take some time to ask your teams how they feel it’s working and if you need to do anything differently.

3) Thank your faithful givers.

The end of the year is a perfect time to be able to effectively thank not only your regular members, but anyone that has given to your church. Make sure to include updates on special giving campaigns, missionaries, local ministries you support, and what the impact of their giving was in the last year. Saying thank you is so important to let people know that they are making a difference. This may be included with people’s yearly giving statements or it may be in addition to it.

4) Check to see if anyone is in need.

Christmas can be a hard time of the year for some. If they don’t have family, live far away from them, or have maybe experienced a loss this year, Christmas can feel lonely and isolating. Take some time to think about those in your church. Is there anyone that you haven’t seen around in a while that your church should reach out to? Is there someone that has lost their job or had health issues?

5) Give yourself time to rest.

Like really rest. It seems like the last two years have flown by and many church leaders have been working non-stop to adapt how we have done church during this time. Have you taken the time to rest and be still? Even if you’ve already taken some time to do that in the past, this should be a regular habit that is practiced.

As we celebrate Christ’s birth and close out 2021, we hope you plan some extra time to take care of these end-of-the-year tasks, and also to rest and spend meaningful time with family. Leading a church and organizing all of these things takes a lot of work. But we know that Christ is the one that will take our faithful efforts and cause them to bear fruit in 2022.

From all of us here at One Church Software, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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 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 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:

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.