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Attracting the 20-30’s Crowd: 5 Ways To Engage Young Singles and Families

Vik Nanda via Flickr ccEven churches that began as “cutting-edge” can struggle to continue reaching the 20-30′s crowd as the leadership grows older. Culture, trends and preferences always keep moving. Keeping up can be daunting and can sometimes distract from ministry rather than contribute to it.

Here we’ve listed five ways to connect with young adults that won’t go out of style anytime soon.

Website and Social Media

Keep it clean and simple to navigate. Consult with a web designer about what’s current. This generation will know the difference. Make sure to use photos that demonstrate your church values young people and their culture.

Make links to your social media accounts highly visible so website visitors can easily find more ways to check you out before visiting.

On-Site First Impressions

Recruit a parking and greeting team, along with guest information area volunteers, that includes a diverse mix of people in their 20 and 30’s. Make parking for families with young children a priority, and assign parking volunteers to help them.

If it’s been a while since you updated your facilities, take a look at the environments being created by shops, restaurants and other hangouts that go after this demographic.

Exceed Parental Expectations

Young parents are very sensitive to the environments in which they take their child. Intentionally set their minds at ease with highly visible spaces for children and lots of friendly, responsible adult supervision.

Invest in this area: Make your nursery and children’s spaces incredibly appealing to both young children and young parents. If you’re unsure what to try, survey the young parents you already have about their kids’ favorite places to play.

Skip the Dress Code

Casual dress is a must. Many people in this age group don’t even have to dress up for work. A formal environment will not be welcoming to people in their 20’s and 30’s.

Help Singles Feel Like Part of the Family

Offer easy connection paths for singles such as small groups and events. Every church doesn’t need a singles ministry, but every church needs ways to help singles feel like they’ve found a spiritual family.

These are just a few ideas for getting started. As you attract and engage more young adults, make sure to involve them in future decisions. Connecting the generations is one important way to keep you unstuck.

Photo Credit: Vik Nanda via Flickr cc

By |2017-02-09T13:52:50-04:00January 9th, 2014|Strategy|0 Comments

Christmas Planning: 4 Ideas to Reach More People in January

Thanksgiving day is almost here, which signals there are only weeks left for making sure our Christmas services are ready to connect with a crowd that may not normally come to our churches. Christmas really is an opportunity to blow up preconceived notions and reach people outside the faith.

We know creatively planning and executing teaching series and worship experiences can be extremely challenging. Planning far in advance for Christmas seems like a no-brainer, but for all of us who have been part of a Christmas service planning exercise (or simply the Christmas shopping season), we know how quickly it can sneak up on you.

But even if you are just getting started, there is still plenty of time to make the most of the season. Here are four ideas to pique the curiosity of non-believers who attend church only at the holidays.

  1. Plan to launch a teaching series in January that hits a heart-felt need.
    Think about the lost people you know and what concerns they have. What about a series on how to have a better marriage? Or how to have a great relationship with your kids?

  2. Provide a short video about the series at the end of the Christmas service that connects on an emotional level.

  3. Hand-out fliers/invites to the new series as people leave the service.

  4. Equip your church members to invite their friends. (e.g. Create a Facebook event for the new series, etc.)

Don’t stress if you didn’t get a head start on Christmas planning this year: Try to work in some of these ideas and keep them in mind as you evaluate your services’ impact on January attendance.

Photo Credit: Joe Buckingham via Flickr cc

By |2017-02-09T13:52:51-04:00November 27th, 2013|Strategy|0 Comments

10 Common First Impressions Mistakes that Churches Make

One of the components of the Ministry Health Assessment that we offer at the Unstuck Group is our secret shopper experience. This is our chance to visit your church and experience the entire weekend as a first-time guest. From guest services and children’s ministry to music and message, we try to take an honest look through the lenses of a first timer who knows very little about God and church. Here are ten common first impressions mistakes that churches make:

  1. Not enough parking lot volunteers to show me where to park and where to go. I’ve actually gotten “stuck” in a parking lot with no way out.
  2. Inadequate exterior signage that identifies buildings and points me in the right direction. One church had a sign that pointed me to the right to enter the sanctuary and to the left to enter the worship center – you decide!
  3. Lack of guest service diversity that represent the demographic of the community or who you are trying to reach. I love my parents, but I don’t want to go to their church. I want to go to church with people at a similar stage of life.
  4. Confusing indoor signage that uses ministry names that I don’t understand or omits the things I’m looking to find. “Discovery Land” doesn’t mean preschool, nursery or children’s area for first-fifth graders to an outsider.
  5. Dated decor and unkempt facilities that communicate your church is disorganized, messy in your leadership and behind the times. Unprofessional signs, paper taped to the wall, worn out carpet and scuffed walls don’t make a great impression.
  6. No Hosts/Ushers in the Worship Center to greet and help people find a seat. Time and time again I see hosts talking to their friends instead of helping people find a seat, especially after the service begins.
  7. Musicians disengaged because they are too focused on the music and not the worship. Moving band members from players to leaders is not easy, but a great place to start is getting rid of music stands.
  8. No clearly defined theme and next steps from the total worship experience. Often the music, message, video, offering and announcements all feel like separate comments with multiple agendas.
  9. Sermons void of personal illustrations that connect the content to the real world and endure me to the authenticity of the pastor. As a first-timer I want to know that I can identify with the speaker and feel like I know him/her better after hearing them speak.
  10. No clearly defined communications strategy that brings a consistent message and brand identity through the website, signage, print pieces, series design, and announcement slides. If your information desk has a print piece for every ministry, the worship guide announces every single ministry event, and you announce more than one or two items, you have no strategy.

We would be glad to talk to you about doing a Ministry Health Assessment at your local church.

Photo Credit: tamahaji via Compfight cc

By |2017-02-09T13:52:51-04:00October 11th, 2013|Consulting, Strategy|0 Comments

10 Common First Impressions Mistakes that Churches Make

One of the components of the Ministry Health Assessment that we offer at the Unstuck Group is our secret shopper experience. This is our chance to visit your church and experience the entire weekend as a first-time guest. From guest services and children’s ministry to music and message, we try to take an honest look through the lenses of a first timer who knows very little about God and church. Here are ten common first impressions mistakes that churches make:

  1. Not enough parking lot volunteers to show me where to park and where to go. I’ve actually gotten “stuck” in a parking lot with no way out.
  2. Inadequate exterior signage that identifies buildings and points me in the right direction. One church had a sign that pointed me to the right to enter the sanctuary and to the left to enter the worship center – you decide!
  3. Lack of guest service diversity that represent the demographic of the community or who you are trying to reach. I love my parents, but I don’t want to go to their church. I want to go to church with people at a similar stage of life.
  4. Confusing indoor signage that uses ministry names that I don’t understand or omits the things I’m looking to find. “Discovery Land” doesn’t mean preschool, nursery or children’s area for first-fifth graders to an outsider.
  5. Dated decor and unkempt facilities that communicate your church is disorganized, messy in your leadership and behind the times. Unprofessional signs, paper taped to the wall, worn out carpet and scuffed walls don’t make a great impression.
  6. No Hosts/Ushers in the Worship Center to greet and help people find a seat. Time and time again I see hosts talking to their friends instead of helping people find a seat, especially after the service begins.
  7. Musicians disengaged because they are too focused on the music and not the worship. Moving band members from players to leaders is not easy, but a great place to start is getting rid of music stands.
  8. No clearly defined theme and next steps from the total worship experience. Often the music, message, video, offering and announcements all feel like separate comments with multiple agendas.
  9. Sermons void of personal illustrations that connect the content to the real world and endure me to the authenticity of the pastor. As a first-timer I want to know that I can identify with the speaker and feel like I know him/her better after hearing them speak.
  10. No clearly defined communications strategy that brings a consistent message and brand identity through the website, signage, print pieces, series design, and announcement slides. If your information desk has a print piece for every ministry, the worship guide announces every single ministry event, and you announce more than one or two items, you have no strategy.

We would be glad to talk to you about doing a Ministry Health Assessment at your local church.

Photo Credit: tamahaji via Compfight cc

By |2017-02-09T13:52:51-04:00October 11th, 2013|Consulting, Strategy|0 Comments

Communications Director, The Busiest Person In the Room

Why does the communications director always seem to be the busiest person on staff? This has been my experience and possibly it is yours as well. I have found that because our job is to write it, post it, print it, design it and sell it, everything in the church comes across the desk of the communications guy/girl. Creating all of these assets takes loads of time and our level of involvement is unlike that of anyone else on staff.

Here’s the reality, from day-to-day, a church communications leader sits through meeting after meeting talking through how to effectively promote ministry events. Its like acting as an internal consultant who influences the direction of ministry objectives so that they fit vision of the church and effectively connect with the right audience. However, it goes deeper than this. Not only do we help develop and manage great promotional campaigns, we often find ourselves in the deep weeds of planning the event itself. Why? Because we are typically the ones in the room asking the who, what, when, why questions; critical information that is needed to promote the event. We are also the ones in the room with a global perspective and don’t have the tunnel vision that ministry leaders can often have.

I found another dynamic that adds time and stress to the communications role.

The closer I get to the event, the more I discover about the leadership and practices of the ministry.

I have often uncovered staff issues, volunteer problems, and overall failures of the ministry. With this knowledge, I now have the responsibility to lead through what I know and work through the proper channels to address things as needed. Needless to say, this can be stressful and time consuming when there are so many other things on the plate.

Here are a few tips related to how a communications director can manage time and influence:

  1. Focus on Global Events

    Manage your time by strategically investing in church-wide events/promotions that impact the broader community i.e. sermon series, small groups, volunteering, etc.

  2. Understand the Vision

    Lean in when the pastor talks about vision to get a clear sense of his heartbeat. Let this be your filter to cut away projects that aren’t essential to the vision.

  3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

    Create margin to lead by outsourcing or delegating graphic design, web development, and social media to contractors and volunteers.

  4. Avoid Additional Responsibilities 

    When you discover trouble spots in a ministry, work through the proper channels and let the supervisor deal with the issues. It’s not your responsibility to fix everything that’s not working in the church.

  5. Give Yourself Permission to Say No

    Create a communication path for ministries in the church to promote their initiatives and set proper expectations. Let them know you’ll have to say no to many things.

In addition to our existing consulting services, our team would love to talk to you about reviewing your church’s communications systems: staffing, website, graphic design, branding, social media and messaging to help you create a strategic communications structure and planContact us if you would like to find out more information.

We also recently released a Communications Director Job Description in our store that may be helpful to your church.

photo credit: alfred hermida via compfight.com

By |2017-02-09T13:52:52-04:00September 1st, 2013|Communications|1 Comment

Top 10 Qualities of a Church Communications Director

by Troy Page, The Unstuck Group Consultant

Eight years ago I was asked to assume the role of communications pastor at Fellowship Church. I’m convinced it was because I had a good eye for design and a knack for trends. I thought all I had to do was lead the graphics team to create the coolest and hippest designs. However, I quickly realized there was much more to this role than having an eye for design.

Here the top 10 qualities I have found necessary to be a great church communications leader:

  1. Creative – able to think out of the box and design communications that get the attention of the culture.
  2. Strategic – a gift to see the big picture and design systems that make all the pieces fit together.
  3. Loyal – believes in the vision and tenaciously communicates it.
  4. Organized – ability to spin multiple plates while managing time and meeting deadlines.
  5. Progressive – innate sense of where culture and technology is headed with the discernment of when to change.
  6. Practical – makes sure in the midst of creativity, art, and design, people get the message.
  7. Intuitive – can trust their gut and knows if something will work within the context of the culture.
  8. Communicator –  can naturally translate concepts and communicate clear messages through art and words.
  9. Influencer – relationally connects and influences others to jump on board with new ideas.
  10. Good Eye – an inherent sense of what artistically works when directing graphic, web, and video design/production.

In addition to our existing consulting services, our team would love to talk to you about reviewing your church’s communications systems: staffing, website, graphic design, branding, social media and messaging to help you create a strategic communications structure and plan. Contact us if you would like to find out more information.

photo credit: richard stowey via compfight.com

By |2017-02-09T13:52:52-04:00August 14th, 2013|Communications|0 Comments