What Churches Can Learn from the “Top 100″

Outreach 2014 100At ACTIVE Network Fellowship One, we’re not fans of a one-size-fits-all blueprint for church org structures, or cookie-cutter replication of churches. We believe each church has its own calling, its unique community demographic, its distinctive DNA.

HOWEVER…we also believe that:

  • Churches can learn a lot from each other
  • Sharing what works and what doesn’t can trigger creative thinking
  • The vetting process for tools and new ideas can be time-consuming and costly

These are the reasons we anticipate Outreach Magazine’s annual Top 100 Largest and Fastest Growing Churches issue each year. Undoubtedly, this extensive report was never intended to be the Golden Globes Awards Show for churches, an ego-raising nod to the so-called “popular” pastors and their flocks, or a list of Who’s Who to start emulating. At least that’s not the value we see in it.

What we see is an opportunity to let larger churches with greater resources do the heavy lifting of vetting ideas, processes, and tools.

Implementing new ideas and software solutions in churches can sometimes feel like trying to turn the Titanic around. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and risky to leadership credibility and mission momentum. Isn’t it better to see how things are working somewhere else first, before leaping on the latest bandwagon?

Larger churches have the budget, staff and other resources to do the vetting. But more importantly, large, fast-growing churches can help you see which products can keep up with rapid growth. [Tweet that]

83 of These 100 Churches Use F1

When we say that 83 of the top 100 largest and fastest-growing churches use ACTIVE Network products, we’re saying that Fellowship One has been put to the test!  And the results are in: F1 can support the weight of thousands and thousands of incoming database details in mega or multi-site churches!

Not every church needs that kind of support, but each of the churches on Outreach Magazine’s list understood before they got to that list that software that scales to growth (in pricing and capability) is better than waiting until they were drowning in data problems to find a solution for large churches. Many of these churches, in fact, tell us they couldn’t have managed the growth without F1.

If you’re looking into church management software, you might be interested in 4 short stories of churches that approached us about being evangelists for Fellowship One. We’ve compiled them into one case study.Download graphic. Why we chose f1

[Tweet this case study link]


‘Tis the Season for Giving Statements

Everybody’s busy closing the books on 2014.

For churches that means preparing and sending annual giving statements. If you’re still sending statements through the mail (and especially if you’re sending more than one per year), you should consider this. We encourage you to do the math for your own church this year. Continue reading «‘Tis the Season for Giving Statements»

5 Things Your Campaign Consultant Should Never Say – Guest Post by Lamar Slay

sexual harassmentMany churches enter a building project unprepared for what lies ahead. Horror stories abound about church construction projects that result in division within the Body of Christ and loss of credibility for the leadership. The church’s selection of a partner in managing their capital fundraising campaign is crucial. Here, Lamar Slay uses his long-time experience as a church consultant to help mitigate the risks:

Once a church has gone through the task of selecting the campaign company, it is time to get to know the consultant. Unfortunately, this is an “on the job” experience. While every church should insist on the sales presentation being made by the consultant who will be assigned to them, the relationship is not developed until the work begins. While evaluating the decision you have made, here are 5 things you should never hear your consultant say.

“I can raise 2 to 3 times your annual budget.”

The truth is, neither your consultant nor your staff can raise a penny. God holds all the resources in His hands. It is the consultant’s job to assist the pastor in leading his people to get in a spiritual position where God can lower the resources needed to accomplish the vision of the church. The campaign must be about the vision, not the building.

“I need more time in front of your congregation.”

Other than training sessions, your consultant shouldn’t need time in front of the congregation. The Senior Pastor is the shepherd. The sheep hear his voice and follow him. The consultant is a hireling.

“It will be 3 weeks before I can be there.”

A key ingredient in a consultant doing a good job is his availability during the campaign. When your consultant says he cannot get to your campus to help you deal with an issue for at least 3 weeks, he is telling you he is working with too many churches. Up front, ask how many churches your prospective consultant will be assisting during this time.

“I told ya’ll that wouldn’t work.”

A church hires a consultant to give them sound counsel, and his counsel should be trusted and followed. However, the role of the senior pastor must be clearly understood. Under God, he is the final authority. He knows his church better than the consultant ever will. When the decision is made to go a different route than what the consultant has suggested, that becomes the plan. No one outside those in that meeting should ever know the consultant suggested a different plan. It then becomes the consultant’s job to make the chosen plan as successful as possible.

“Follow-up visits are limited.”

The public phase of the campaign is just the beginning. The 2 or 3 years of the giving period is the key to the campaign’s success. Assistance and visits by the consultant should not be limited. He should be available to the church to lead them throughout that giving period.

To keep from hearing these statements from your campaign consultant, ask the right questions before you hire the company who will assist you with your campaign.

[As President of Partners in Church Consulting, Lamar Slay oversees all aspects of the consulting work done by PCC consultants. He has over 35 years of experience working with churches of all sizes, styles, and denominations. He has served on the teaching teams of Saddleback Community Church and Fellowship Church. His many years of experience with churches on the cutting edge of reaching people for Christ can be great resource for your church.]

Year-End Donor Messaging for Millennial Giving

GenY girls GenY and TechnologyMillennials. Gen Y. Second Boomers: The generation currently taking the world by storm is the same size as the Baby Boomer generation and twice the size of Gen X. Now in their teens and 20s, they are tech-savvy, well-informed, and results-driven, and will achieve a spending power of an estimated $2.45 trillion by 2015.

Continue reading «Year-End Donor Messaging for Millennial Giving»

Year-End Donor Messaging for Baby Boomers

man drinking coffee

Boomers and TechnologyThere was a time when a sermon on giving and the passing of the plate were all the “donor messaging” a church needed. However, generational, economic, spiritual, and social climates continually shift. With a national tithing rate of 2.5%, ministry leaders must use a more comprehensive approach to facilitate the simple biblical principal that members fund the church through tithes and offerings.

Continue reading «Year-End Donor Messaging for Baby Boomers»

10 Ways Volunteers Spell A-P-P-R-E-C-I-A-T-E

lightstock_75008_max_active-creativeNovember and December are busy months for not only the church, but also the individuals who normally serve as volunteers. Just as you’re needing more help than ever, it can be more challenging to get even your regulars to step up.

These tips aren’t just for the holidays. They’re the foundation you lay for seamless volunteer coverage year-round. However, we think you can use them now to help you define your immediate needs, craft your recruiting messages to get results, and ponder better ways to show your gratitude.

We know you appreciate your volunteers, but…

Continue reading «10 Ways Volunteers Spell A-P-P-R-E-C-I-A-T-E»