4 Big Asks You Should be Making Every Week

I’m convinced that more people would get involved in our churches if we just asked them. I went to one church for three years and not once did they ever ask me to serve. I got saved at that church, but they had no place for me to serve. How crazy is that? I just bet there are some people in your church that may be thinking the same thing.

The majority of people who don’t get connected to your church will quit coming within a few months. I was a rare exception.

People are coming to church looking for friends and purpose, and when they don’t find those, they go looking elsewhere.

So, don’t hesitate to ask. Sure, you may get a few no’s, but at least they’ll know you wanted them to be a part.

Ask them to do one of these four things each week:

  1. Serve on a team. People like to be a part of a team that’s winning. Or, even a part of a team that’s just being built. It’s exciting. Plus, you know you need the volunteers, so just ask. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this article for some ideas.
  1. Get in a group. Not everyone is going to want to join a group, but there’s a percentage that does. Groups are the best place to make friends and build lasting relationships. It doesn’t always have to be a Bible study either. Some of the best groups I’ve ever been a part of were mainly focused on just hanging out with each other.
  1. Give a little or a lot. For many of you, asking people to give is a huge struggle, but it shouldn’t be. If your church is doing it’s part to help spread the love of Jesus, then you shouldn’t hesitate to ask people to give towards that. People give to all kinds of charity organizations, and the church is more important than any of them.
  1. Invite someone. I’m a pastor, and I still need to be reminded to invite others to church. It just doesn’t come naturally to me, and I’m sure I’m not alone. It’s a struggle for most people. Most of them don’t mind doing it. They just need to be reminded every once in awhile.

Just like you need to be reminded to be asking people to get connected.

What are some of the best ways you’ve found to get new people connected? 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.

The Five Characteristics of a Great Volunteer

Being able to find a handful of great volunteers is often the difference between a small town church that grows and one that declines. Great volunteers are just as valuable as great staff members. In fact, they may be even more valuable because they’re willing to do the work for free. Before you start thinking about planting a church or transforming a church, it would be wise to find a group of great volunteers to help.

You know as well as I do that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find people who are wiling to give up their time to serve the church. So, I’m not going to pretend that finding great volunteers is going to be easy. It’s not.

The fact is many of you are going to read this list and decide that you have no one in your church who qualifies as a great volunteer. Unfortunately, that may be true, which means you have to work with what you’ve got.

Hopefully, over time you’ll be able to develop someone with these characteristics, or God will bless the church by sending some to you. The church I serve has gained great volunteers in both of those ways.

In fact, I wouldn’t have labeled myself as a great volunteer in the beginning. Thankfully, I had a pastor who saw potential in me and was willing to develop the characteristics I needed to be a great volunteer and eventually a great staff member.

So, what exactly are the characteristics of a great volunteer? These are the five characteristics I would look for.

  1. They own the vision.

I’m looking for someone who is personally engaged in the mission and vision of the church. I want them pulling for me, and not against me. Are they supporting the ministry with their time and money? Are they inviting people to church? Are they positive about the direction the church is going? Normally, if someone has this characteristic, the rest come a lot easier.

  1. They work to make it better.

I want people to be frustrated when things aren’t done well, as long as they’re willing to help to fix it. When they see a piece of trash in the floor, I want to see if they pick it up or not. I pay attention to those who show up to church early and those who leave late. I want volunteers who are constantly thinking, “How can we improve this?”

  1. They help each other.

If you’re going to be a great volunteer, you have to be willing to work with others. I want people who are willing to step out of the media booth when there’s a shortage of volunteers in the kids’ ministry. I want people who are willing to serve in areas outside of “their” team. The only way church works is if we’re willing to work together.

  1. They replace themselves.

If you’re a volunteer who is able to replace yourself, then you become irreplaceable to me. I’m looking for people who aren’t afraid to hand over their position to someone else. I’m looking for those volunteers who encourage and empower others around them because as the church grows, more leaders have to emerge.

  1. They’re always willing to change.

The biggest reason why many rural and small town churches aren’t growing is because of their unwillingness to change. We know the Gospel never changes, but everything else around it does. So, I need volunteers who are willing to change. I know we’ve never had people greeting in the parking lot before, but we’re going to start. I know we’ve never allowed coffee in the sanctuary, but we’re going to start this week. Are they able to embrace change?

This is my list. I’d love to see yours. Share it in the comments below. If you’re small town church pastor who is struggling right now, and you need someone to talk to, visit my contact page. Let’s set up a call. I’d love to help.

5 Assumptions Your Church Should Make to Serve Guests Better

Guest Post: Brett Bixby

There’s no guarantee that a first time guest will visit your church this week, but if they do, will you prepared to receive them? One of the biggest mistakes small town churches make is not preparing with guests in mind. We can’t afford to make that mistake. Our mission is much too important. So, I’d like to share with you a training we did with our teams, that you can take and share with yours.

  1. Assume there will be guests every week
  • We do what we do in guest services under this assumption every single week.
  • We are glad everyone feels welcomed and accepted each week, however, we do guest services for the person or family that arrives for the very first time.
    • Everyone knows where to park – but not the first-time guest
    • Everyone can open the door on their own – but for the one guest
    • Everyone knows where the kids check in is – but not the first timer
    • Everyone can find their own seat – but we want the first-timer to be able to find a seat and not feel like we are full or that they are taking someone’s spot. This is why we set up chairs as we fill up.
    • Guests usually come early or late – serve at your post at least 15 minutes before the service begins and at least 15 minutes after the service has started.
  1. Assume guests will not introduce themselves
  • Most guests are looking to stay anonymous
  • We need to make the first move in greeting someone we don’t know. They might have been attending for 3 years – but if you don’t know them, please introduce yourself. “How long have you been coming to _____________?”
  1. Assume guests do not understand WHAT we do or WHY we do it
  • This is why we wave people in at the driveway
  • This is why we help people know where to park
  • This is why we take people with young children to show them the children’s area
  • This is why we need to explain the security and safety of the kid’s area
  1. Assume every first-time guest has some degree of nervousness
  • They may be trying to find the person who invited them
  • They may be from a different church or religion and are out of place
  • They may just have a fear of the unknown
  • Some are worried the building is going to cave in on them
  • Parking, finding the bathrooms, and sitting down are three nervous points.
  1. Assume God is strategically working in the lives of everyone who drives onto the property and walks through the doors of your church on a Sunday morning.
  • Regardless of whether someone is a first-time attender or a regular, whether they are young or old, tall or short, fancy or plain, we assume God has prompted them to come to church today!
  • With this mindset, we present them with an over-the-top welcoming experience because we believe God has already been involved in them coming to church.

Brett Bixby is the Executive Pastor at Bridgewater Church. They have 5 campuses spread across Northeastern PA and the Southern Tier of NY. He has been a pastor for 20 years and has been at Bridgewater for the last 8 years. He is married to Nicole, and they have 5 children.