Five Ministries Every Church Needs to Be Good At

Most small town churches are trying to do too much. In reality, you really only need to be good at about five things, and I would argue you could get by with being really good at three of them. For many years the church I serve has offered a great kid’s ministry, a great worship experience, and guest services that make guests feel like family. Throughout the years we’ve always grown in attendance, despite struggling to get groups going at our church and being even worse at missions. However, I think if we did all five of these well, we’d see even greater growth, and I believe you would as well. So, let’s take a look at each one.

  1. Kids

If you’re looking to reach young families, kid’s ministry is the most important ministry in your church. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest struggles of the small town and rural church, and it doesn’t have to be. You can do kid’s ministry well with a small budget and even a small number of committed volunteers. I outline the five ingredients to a great kid’s ministry in this post.

  1. 1st Impressions/Guest Services

The church I serve didn’t do a lot of things right when it started out twelve years ago. This is the one thing they did, and it held the church together during those early days when we were trying to figure everything else out. If you want to keep guests coming back to your church, you have to get this right. I share a few ideas on how you can do that in this post.

  1. Worship

I know worship can be used to describe many different things, but in this context I’m specifically talking about the singing and preaching that happens during a service. This is another big area most small town and rural churches struggle to get right. I totally understand. We struggled too for a very long time, but the key is trying to get better each week and never settling for mediocre. Regardless of the style of music your church sings, do it with excellence. In the same way, make sure you’re prepared to preach a gospel-centered message and speak with passion.

  1. Groups

Like many other small town pastors I speak to, groups is an area that we just can’t figure out. We can’t recruit people to lead groups, and some of those who do lead can’t get people to come to their groups. It’s been more than a little frustrating. Even though I’ve contemplated giving up on them, I know that they’re vital to keeping people connected and to keep people growing. If you’ve figured out the answer, please send me an email and share your secret.

  1. Missions

My first real leadership position in the church was Missions Director, and I was the worst. Every fundraiser I held lost money. Luckily, the church I serve gave me a second chance in a position for which I was better suited. We’re still not great at international missions, but we’re getting better. The area we’ve made the biggest strides is in local missions, serving our communities and local schools. If you want people to start talking about your church, one of the best things you can do is serve your community.

It’s very difficult for most churches to do all five of these areas well, which is why you often have to choose which you’re going to be good at. In my opinion, you start with the first three and add the other two when you can.

You may disagree, and if so I’d love to hear your opinion. Leave it in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Every Church Welcome Needs these Five Elements

Hi, welcome to the blog. My, that’s some weather we’ve been having, isn’t it? This is unfortunately how many churches welcome people to church. It doesn’t connect with people. It doesn’t communicate value, and it’s not even that welcoming. We have to do better than that.

Now, for those not quite familiar with the terminology, the church welcome is the critical time that someone from church welcomes people, mainly the guests, to the service.

I like to place the welcome right after the first worship song. This gives time for the people who’ve been hanging out in the lobby and the guests who are arriving a little late to find a seat.

I believe there are five elements to a great welcome, but maybe more important than those five is the person who is delivering the welcome. You have to make sure that person is a good speaker, they’re comfortable on stage, and they’re likable.

I’d prefer it not be the lead pastor because they’re the most likely to get caught in a conversation before service, or they may still need time to look over their notes. Plus, it’s just nice to have another person on stage people can connect with.

Once you’ve found that person, you need to ask them to do these five things during the welcome.

  1. Introduce yourself. Each and every week, you need to introduce yourself. Because each and every week we’re expecting guests to show up, and they may not know you.
  2. Welcome guests. You want to recognize guests every week. Not by making them stand up or raise their hand, just by saying, “If you’re new here, welcome. We’re glad you came.” Then if you use a connection card, you want to ask them to fill out the card and turn it in at the end of service.
  3. Share Vision. This is where you remind everyone of why your church exists. Try to share a story about how the church is changing lives.
  4. Invite them to connect. This could be to an event you have coming up, to a small group, or to a serving role. Statistics are very clear. If you don’t get people engaged in what you’re doing, then more than likely they won’t stay at your church.
  5. Pray. End the welcome by praying over the rest of the service.

It’s a simple as that. Here’s what mine would look like.

Hey, welcome to Strong Tower Church. My name is Travis. I’m one of the pastors here, and from everyone on staff and all our wonderful volunteers, we want to say we’re honored that you’re here today. If this is your first time with us, we hope we make you feel at home. When you came in, you were handed a connection card, and we’d love for you to fill that out with as much information as you’re comfortable with sharing. We promise we’re not going to show up at your house or anything like that. We would just like to send you a thank you card, and we have a free gift for you if you’ll take your card to our welcome center after service. This week I came across this post on Facebook from someone who recently started attending our church, and I wanted to share it with you. It says, ‘I think I’ve finally found a home church. From the moment I stepped onto the property, I’ve never felt so welcomed. It truly does feel like family. I can’t wait to go back on Sunday.’ Posts like this are why we exist. Our church exists to share the love of Jesus with everyone, so that everyone falls in love with Him. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, we’re having a pastor’s lunch right after service today, and we would love to talk with you about how you can get more involved. Thanks again for being here. Would you join me in praying over the rest of our service?

If you found this post helpful, would you do me a favor and share it with another pastor or church leader you know? My desire is to help small town pastors all around the world, and I’d love to have your help in getting the word out. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Six Types of Church Givers You Should Know

If you pastor a small town church, you know that every giver matters, because every dollar matters. You and I don’t have the luxury of having millions of dollars in the bank. The median household income for a family in the community my church serves is $37,000. And believe me, most of the time our church isn’t getting close to ten percent of that. So, money is always a challenge, which is why you need to know the different types of givers in your church.

I have absolutely no problem with a pastor knowing what each person in the congregation gives, as long as they don’t show favoritism. Treating someone differently because of what they give isn’t necessarily favoritism, in most cases it’s about addressing each person where they are in their spiritual maturity. You engage them differently.

That’s what this post is for. It’s to share with you how we engage different types of givers. So, let’s get started.

  1. Never Giver – These are pretty self-explanatory. This is a person who has never given to your church, which is ok if they’ve only been attending for a short period of time, but if they’ve been at your church for awhile and still won’t give, that can get annoying. Try to engage them through giving talks before each offering, a yearly sermon series on giving, and opportunities to give to special projects during the year. In most cases a Never Giver will never be in leadership at our church, but that’s up to you.
  1. First-Time Giver – Seeing first time gifts is always very exciting because it means God is doing something in their lives. It also means there’s potential for them to become consistent givers. Our pastor makes sure to send handwritten thank you cards to every first-time giver.
  1. Hardly Ever Giver – They’ve given more than once, but never consistently. Try to engage them through a financial small group like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace or get them to sign up for a 90 Day Tithe Challenge.
  1. Consistent Giver – Consistent givers fund my church. We have very few givers who give over $5,000 a year, so that means it’s those who are consistently giving $25 a week or $50 a week that keep our bills paid. Our pastor will randomly send them handwritten cards, and many of them get invited to an appreciation dinner just for givers each year.
  1. Over and Above Giver – We have a handful of people in our church who are able to give above a tithe. They’ve helped fund an addition onto our central campus, as well as our second campus location. We couldn’t have done it without them. With that being said, we’ve never had a single gift larger than $25,000. That’s the context we’re doing ministry in.
  1. Lost Giver – These are the people who use to give to your church, but no longer do. It would be wise for you to find out why. Every church loses a percentage of their givers each year, but when that number starts getting close to 25%, it’s past time to be concerned.

What’s the median income in the town you serve? How would you rate the giving at your church? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.