It’s time we worked together
I've been thinking through the processes of welcoming and integration at my church, and how these could be improved. I then realised that I'm not the first person to think through these processes. In fact, many people at churches everywhere have put lots of good thinking into these questions. The problem is, we don't usually talk to each other.
We work in silos, brainstorm alone, and are constantly thinking through issues that people in churches elsewhere are thinking through (or have thought through) too!
Surely we can make better use of our collective knowledge and work together on questions and issues that are common to most churches. As I thought through the question of welcoming, I emailed five pastors from churches around Sydney and asked how they do it. It was a great exercises in learning about different tools and approaches - things I would never have considered on my own.
And I got thinking - how could this extend beyond 5 separate email conversations? How could ministry leaders from across the city learn from each other and sharpen each other in these very practical elements of ministry?
After chatting with my colleague Hayley, I'd like to propose some ministry roundtables (name to be confirmed!). I'm suggesting that these would take place on an evening over pizza, and discuss a particular topic, for example: "welcoming and integrating people into church". Only one topic would be discussed each night. At the roundtable, 5 people from different churches would share their approaches in 5 minute slots. For example on the welcoming night, they might consider questions such as:
- Do you use name tags? Why/why not?
- Do you have welcoming teams?
- How do you encourage people to share their details when they visit church?
- Do you provide welcome packs? What's in them?
- How do you follow-up post-service? Phone? Email? Letter? What works?
- Once people have been coming for a while, how do you integrate them into the life of the church?
This would be followed by a time of questions, and an opportunity for others to share lessons learned. Do you think this would be a useful exercise for ministry leaders from different churches to meet together, explain how things work where they are, and learn from others elsewhere? Other potential topics for future roundtables include:
- promoting church in the local community
- running events to engage the local community
- recruiting and equipping people to serve
- setting and measuring ministry goals
- managing church membership information
- church worship software
- online giving/finances
- creative service structures
- running ministry training
- how to do present good notices in church services
If you're interested in participating, please complete this online form. At this stage, it'll only be open to churches in Sydney (where I live). You can also share the topics that you would like to discuss. I'll then get in touch with you with more details. I look forward to working with you!