Regaining Momentum for Serving, Services, Kids, and Giving
Many of us held the assumption that once restrictions were lifted, everyone would rush back to work, school, and church. But we’re hearing from pastors across the country that the momentum they hoped for just isn’t there.
After over a year of life in the pandemic, people have developed new routines, new patterns, and new priorities. The pull to “get back to normal” has been replaced by “the new normal,” and regardless of church size or location, we’re all asking similar questions. How do we encourage re-engagement after a season of disengagement? How do we find momentum again?
On the Unstuck Church Podcast, we invited church leaders from across the country to share with us their best practices for re-engaging their people in serving, weekend services, kids and student ministry, and giving. There are no experts in this season, but we can learn from the stories, failures, and successes of others who are working faithfully alongside us in this new reality.
In our podcast conversation with leaders from Quest Church, we discussed the highs and lows of their experience in re-engaging their people in serving roles. Here are the best practices we took away:
- Build new teams rather than try to get old teams to come back
- Dedicate an entire sermon to inviting your people to serve
- Create an easy first step and provide immediate follow up
- Give people a start date
- Show appreciation for those who serve
Key Takeaway: There are two types of people attending your in-person worship services right now: people who were at your church pre-COVID and people who are new. Both groups of people won’t know there’s an opportunity to serve others unless you make the ask. You need to directly answer the question, “Why should I serve?”
Matt Manning became the lead pastor of Crossroads Church two months before the pandemic hit, and we actually walked their church through the Unstuck Process in March 2020. Matt shared some great insights and encouragement on the podcast, including these best practices for re-engaging your people in weekend services:
- Pull your team together and reconfirm your mission
- Ramp up outreach efforts in your community
- Move to a digital-first mindset for weekend services
- Link every core ministry together so that there are no ministry silos
- Leverage a new model for sermon series planning to reach new people in your mission field and help believers grow their faith
Key Takeaway: For good or bad, the days of just expecting people to show up every time the doors are open are behind us. Churches are going to need a more intentional strategy to engage their unique communities and create compelling weekend experiences.
It’s always been harder to do ministry for kids and teenagers, and there are no tried-and-true formulas for this unique season and time. We were grateful to gain some insights from the team at Orange, who have dedicated their lives to empowering parents and discipling kids. During our conversation, they recommended these key practices:
- Bring your best resources to the next generation
- Focus on providing more options for parents beyond just Sunday
- Empower your student ministry teams to take risks
- Redefine what your “win” is (attending church isn’t the same as discipleship)
Key Takeaway: If we really want to go all-in on the next generation, it’s going to require some pretty big priority shifts. And if we’re going to help kids and students grow their faith, we really need to figure out how to engage and equip parents.
Athens Church has some pretty unique approaches to giving and stewardship, and it’s evident how much they trust God with their resources. The way they’ve modeled this has allowed the people in their congregation to do the same. Bronson Crawford, the Stewardship Director at Athens, shared with us the five strategies they recommend to maintain financial health:
- Hire a stewardship director (this could be a lay leader)
- Lead with generosity
- Start with prayer (and dream big)
- Prioritize online giving
- Incentivize recurring giving
Key Takeaway: Generosity is a spiritual discipline that we’re all called to—encouraging people to prioritize and trust Jesus with this area of their lives is an act of discipleship. So remind people what you want for them rather than what you want from them.