4 Tips To Help Prepare For VBS In 2016

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Well brothers and sisters it’s that time of year again! Summer is just around the corner and that means Vacation Bible School (VBS) is upon us. We’re adding some new planning tips and strategies to consider this year, as we have done with the past VBS planning posts, which will help make your VBS go smoothly!

Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

Prayerfully Consider Your Teams, Theme, & Timelines (6-12 months out)

As any church event should begin, start with prayer. Prayerfully consider your VBS program director and leaders, then select the best candidate that God has inspired for your church. Work with the new director to pull together a team of dedicated leaders and pray for them.

Once your team is ready you can choose a VBS curriculum and order a starter kit. Most publishers run sales on their kits starting early in the first quarter, and Christian bookstores like Lifeway often have the kits on hand so you can look through to help make a choice.

When your VBS kit arrives, you can get down to the real planning, such as recruitment, training, and requesting donations of money and supplies.

Recruiting & Registration (3-6 months out)

Finding dynamic, kid-friendly personalities can be a challenge. It’s also one of the reasons that the kids get used to seeing a lot of the same faces each year. Keep in mind that it’s always important to try and bring new volunteers into the fold, not only to avoid burnout, but often to reveal undiscovered spiritual gifts.

At this point, you should have a curriculum mapped out including supplies needed for each day & event, as well as how many volunteers you’ll need for each station. Communicating with the leadership of the church regarding any budgetary needs is also very important during this time.

Fundraising through events like trivia nights, silent auctions, and church meals is a great way to raise money for the program to cover costs that might exceed your church’s budgetary limitations. At our church we hold a trivia night and silent auction at the same time, where the questions relate to the theme of the VBS program. We register teams from the church members who then compete that night for an actual trophy that is displayed throughout the year in a common area of the church. This year we’re using Group Publishing’s Cave Quest theme, so all of the questions will relate to caves in some way based on Trivial Pursuit style categories.

Promoting the VBS program and keeping the community and the congregation in the loop is incredibly important. Churches vary on whether or not to charge for Vacation Bible School programs, so be sure to make your position clear from the beginning as it can help with fundraising.

Don’t forget to start allowing families to register their children around 3 months out. Today’s busy families start mapping out their summer plans in the spring, so be sure to allow registration – and make it easy! Consider using a system like Elexio Deluxe Suite or Essentials Giving that enable online event registration for programs like VBS. These systems can even process payments, if needed.

 

Training, Promotions, & Production (0-3 months out)

Don’t wait until the last minute on any of these. With the latest changes to law, at least where I’m at in Pennsylvania, requirements on volunteers for background checks and training are time-intensive and involved for whomever is coordinating VBS.

Elexio’s integrated background check system can help reduce some of that workload, but you definitely don’t want to take this to the last minute. Finding volunteers can be a challenge for many churches.

Training is important, too. Not only can you begin to identify a volunteer’s strengths and weaknesses, training will help both of you identify the best station or place for that volunteer to help. Many programs offer training materials, but churches can and should also include their own guidelines that are required by both state and federal laws, as well as any additional requirements from within your own denominations.

Pre-registration should be well underway at this point, and you should be able to start building group rosters and assigning volunteers.

Depending on how involved your decorations will be, 3 months before launch can be a good time to start assessing your needs for decorations and any sets. Last year, we ran Group’s “Everest” program and we started planning and buying materials around 3 months out. Within 2 months of our program we began building our set pieces, like small mountains, holding routine set building days for a few hours each Saturday.

Finals & Follow-Up (Last few weeks & Program)

During the last few weeks you should be pretty much ready, just putting the finishing touches on training, set building and decorations, or any last minute volunteer recruitment.

The last week before is always a rush. Many decorations and set pieces cannot move into place until the day you launch the program, and many times our volunteers are turning in clearances and paperwork at the last second. That doesn’t even take into consideration the mass of registrations that will all happen the “day of”.

For these reasons, we recommend scheduling a time of group prayer before you enter into the fray and welcome all of those young souls into your fold.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Ensuring that you have the right tools will make VBS planning easier. Elexio offers the tools needed to track incredibly useful information, like:

  • Who have been our key donors?
  • Who has the spiritual gifts appropriate for this kind of ministry?
  • Who has volunteered in the past?
  • Who has registered in the past?
  • How much have we spent before, and on what?

Even better, when you can pre-register families through a web form and even take payment, you’ve effectively reduced the workload of your registration volunteers.

Take a closer look at Elexio church software solutions today and you’ll find out how you can focus on your ministry, not the management.

6 Keys To Successful Church Event Management

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From cantatas to conferences to camps, churches typically host dozens of events each year. Hundreds of details need to align so these events can go off without a hitch—that’s where technology comes in and can simplify event management.

But before you even get started with planning, make sure the event is right for your church. Don’t just host a bunch of random events because that’s what you’ve always done. Ask these five questions to determine if the event has a real purpose and is right for your church.

Once you’ve ensured that a banquet or retreat or breakfast will serve your church community well, consider these 6 factors to successfully manage the event:

Communication and promotion

How are you going to get the word out about your next conference or outreach activity? You have plenty of opportunities to make sure people know what’s coming up; you just need to take advantage of them. Promote your event during the Sunday morning service. Use the information you’ve collected to send a mass email to the right audience. Include details on your website. Post on social media to keep your church community informed and allow them to invite guests. And integrate all calendars from your mobile app to your website so you can communicate consistently.

Registration and payment

Don’t let a complex registration process deter people from signing up for your event. Online registration forms provide convenience, and a mobile app option allows people to sign up from the pew as your staff announces the event. If your event has a fee, include payment options in the registration process. When all these elements are integrated with your church database, planning will be much simpler for your staff.

Volunteers

For most events that your church hosts, you’ll need some extra hands to get all the work done. When you’re recruiting help, make sure you find the right volunteers with the right talents for the right positions. Let your church community know that you need help and make signing up for these service opportunities easy—like from a kiosk or online. Once you’ve got the people you need, maintain communication with them and let volunteers know what you expect out of them. And after your event, express your gratitude for their service so they’ll be happy to lend a hand again.

Resource planning

Some events will be offsite or require nothing more than just standing room, but others require plenty of church resources like chairs, AV equipment, and designated rooms. Rather than learn at the last minute that the tables you need for the men’s breakfast are all being used for a seminar down the hall, plan and claim everything you’ll need in advance. Keep track of these resources within your church database, so everyone knows what items are up for grabs.

Check-in

Keep a record of everyone who arrives at your event while making the process a breeze for attendees. Allow guests to check in on a kiosk and encourage your church community to check in from their smartphones on the way to the event.

Follow-up

Use those check-in records to send follow up communication to the people that attended your event. You might send them a general thank you, a feedback survey, or complimentary resources. You can also invite them to related events in the future.

Looking for church software that will simplify these elements of event management? Contact us!

 

Image Credits: istockphoto

Is Your Church Getting The Most Out Of Trunk Or Treat?

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It’s that time of year when churches invite their members to fill parking lots with cars covered by DIY costumes and pack their trunks with candy corn and peanut butter cups.

Trunk or Treat is about providing a fun, safe activity for kids and families in your community. If done properly, it can be a great outreach initiative.

So you’ve got the kids, cars, and candy ready to go—but how do you make sure this amounts to more than just a night of fun and nauseating amounts of sugar?

Although it’s probably a little late to begin planning or advertising for this year, there are still some things you can do to ensure a successful Trunk or Treat.

Social Media

Hopefully you’ve been promoting your Trunk or Treat event for several weeks now. But even if you’re behind on the marketing, you can still use social media to attract more people—up until the day of your event!

  • If your church has an active social media presence, consider creating an event hashtag. You can use it leading up to Trunk or Treat, during the fun, and after the event as you share details and pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • You can also create buzz by inviting people to a public event on Facebook. It’s not so much about predicting attendance as it is about creating awareness. But it will help you gauge what kind of turnout to expect.
  • Need some more last minute volunteers? Recruit help from your church community by sharing those service opportunities throughout your social channels. Get them involved after the event, too by having them share posts, pictures, and updates with their friends.
  • Before posting pictures online, make sure you have consent from parents—and watch out for license plates. Your social media activity could backfire if you don’t respect people’s privacy.

Event Day Considerations

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the event, but make sure you’re prepared with more than just some sweet treats.

  • On Trunk or Treat night, take advantage of the fact that hundreds of people from your local community are pouring into your parking lot. Advertise another upcoming event for kids and families so they’ll come back for more fun.
  • Make sure you have plenty of volunteers available to not only hand out candy and help with the grunt work of the event, but also to engage with the families and answer any questions from parents.
  • One of the biggest draws of Trunk or Treat is that it’s typically safer than children roaming neighborhoods in the dark. So make sure you take all the necessary precautions to ensure a secure environment for families.

Follow-ups

Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about the people from your local community so you can follow up with them later.

  • Ask parents and guardians to fill out visitor connection cards or enter their information on a check-in kiosk. Keep it short, though. You’re providing a free event to the community, so don’t make people feel like there are strings attached to your friendly gesture.
  • Consider allowing those cards to serve as an entry form to win a drawing–for something that is worth sharing their contact information.
  • Be straightforward. People will be more likely to give you their information if you tell them what you’re going to do with it. Will you send them a letter or add them to your weekly newsletter?
  • Use that valuable information within the next few days after your event—while the fun is still fresh in their minds. Get them entered into your database and into a workflow so they receive an automated email or letter. Have a member of your follow-up team call them. Invite them to the next family-friendly event at your church. Use Trunk or Treat as just the first step in making families familiar with your church.

Most of these ideas are perfect for other seasonal activities your church plans like a fall festival or spring fling. Throw seamless events, but make sure you focus on more on the outreach opportunities—isn’t that why you’re doing it, after all?

CHECK OUT THESE OTHER RESOURCES ON EFFECTIVE FOLLOW-UP:

Fantastic Family Follow Up

Follow-up after a Church Holiday Outreach Event: Speed Dating or Relationship Building? (article removed)

8 Effective Ways to Follow up with Guests at Your Church

How To Decide If An Event Is Right For Your Church

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Church events come in all forms.  They might be a regularly scheduled outreach event for teens, a social event such as an annual picnic, special classes or seminars, a special holiday celebration such as a Christmas or Easter pageant, or community service events.  These events can create community, help people grow in their faith, and bring people together to serve the needs of the local community.  There are many great reasons for hosting an event and some church events consistently draw faithful crowds because they serve a need and are planned and executed well.

Unfortunately, events can also become a habit with no definable outcome.  In these cases, reasons churches do events might range from “because we always have” to justifying staff positions.

When trying to decide if an event is right for your church, answer the following 5 questions:

 

1. Who is the event for?

Is the event to prove you are doing your job or to be visible? Or are you meeting a true need for a specific audience outside of worship?  Who are you trying to reach with your event?

Few events should be planned for everyone.  Events require a lot of planning and follow-up (if done properly) and a lot of work.  Church-wide events should be reserved for special celebrations or purposes.

All other events should be designed with a very specific audience in mind.  Use your church database to capture demographic information about who is coming to your church events and talk with your staff about what is working and what is not.

Who exactly do you want to come to the event?  Take the time to write out a clear description of who the event is for.  Be specific.  “All women” is not specific.  “All women between the ages of 25-50 who are new to Bible study and are interested in exploring their faith with other newcomers” is better.

It is probably safe to say more women attend church events than men. If you really want to engage men, create an event for men targeted to specific segments.  Don’t expect men who are newcomers to automatically feel comfortable attending an event designed for guys who are very active in church and mature in their faith.  Even the way you welcome men to church and engage them during worship should be different.

2. What do you expect to get out of the event?

The fallback answer everyone gives is to “create community.”  But is your event really creating community?  Does the event lead to a deeper relationship with Christ or are people just showing up because they feel obligated to or because it is easy?  Take a look around at the next event.  Are staff and members really reaching out to someone they don’t know and newbies or are they playing it safe?  Is your church growing as a direct result of the events you host or has attendance been flat for some time?

3. What are you asking event participants to do?

Hopefully the answer to this is more than, “show up and have a good time” or “join the church.”  Expecting someone to join the church after a single event is probably a little unrealistic.  And, even if they do, what will you do to ensure they stay engaged?

What is the next thing you want people to do after an event that will lead to a deeper relationship with your church?  Are you equipping them with information and helping them make connections?  Are you giving them an opportunity to provide feedback before and after the event?

4. How will you evaluate the event?

Headcount is the equivalent to likes on Facebook. Sure, high headcount feeds the ego but it doesn’t mean you moved anyone down the path of engagement.

Are people still talking about the success of the event after it’s over? Are they sharing positive experiences from the event with their social networks?  Did the event encourage people to invite non church members?  How many newcomers were at the event?  Did more volunteers sign up to help with the next event because they felt this event was worthwhile?

5. Is it worth the cost?

Unfortunately, too many churches expect their staff to donate their time for free at events.  Church leaders and members expect staff to put in a full work schedule that often includes night and weekends and unpaid extra time for events.  And, let’s face it, they are usually paid a fraction of the average salary at for-profit businesses.  People often seek a position with the church because they truly want to serve the Lord.   Unfortunately, too many of them become disillusioned when they are expected to sacrifice time-off and time with their family.

A church cannot grow if its staff and volunteers feel overly burdened.  They might continue to serve, but do so with less enthusiasm. Or worse, they might vent about their negative work experience with family and friends and discourage more people from coming to church.  Staff should be your best ambassadors.   Are they?  If you want them to encourage more people to come to your church, think carefully before you ask them to sacrifice more time away from their family to plan and run the next event.

 

Before you plan your next church event, decide if it is right for your church.  Need help managing your church event? Our church software includes an effective event management solution that simplifies event planning and promotion.  It helps you reserve and track valuable event resources, identify and request volunteer assistance, and equip attendees with online signup & payment options. Contact us.

Image Credits: istockphoto

5 Email Marketing Mistakes Your Church Should Avoid

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As a church, it’s important to stay connected with your community—from visitors to volunteers to the entire church body. Email is a great tool! But you should operate with some best practices in mind so you don’t make these email marketing mistakes.

1. Hoard email addresses

If people include their email addresses on a sign-up form for an event you’re hosting, that doesn’t mean they’re giving you the license to add them to your regular email list for eternity. They are signing up for a picnic, not subscribing to your newsletter. If you take any email addresses you can find and send those people hundreds of emails, you’re just asking for them to be reported as spam.

Create separate email lists. If someone voluntarily gives you his email address, he probably anticipates getting an email from you at some point. But not every single email you send out. If you need to contact small group leaders, send the email to them only. Keep your lists separate so you aren’t flooding inboxes with irrelevant messages.

2. Use terrible subject lines

Free!

Special!

Dear Friend,

Subject lines containing these types of words will almost guarantee your email goes directly into the spam folder, never to return. And even if your email somehow finagles its way into someone’s inbox, there’s a good chance it still won’t get opened. They sound generic, like they came directly from a used car salesman’s manual. You want those recipients to open the email and find all that great content inside! A great guideline to go by is, “the best subject lines tell what’s inside and the worst sell what’s inside.” Keep it short, sweet, and honest.

3. Talk like a robot

If your email flows off the tongue as easy as Exodus 29, consider how this might discourage your audience from attending your conference or visiting your church. People want to hear from other people. You don’t have to impress people with your vast vocabulary. Stay conversational. But that doesn’t mean you want to use junior high text lingo like “how r u 2day?” You still want to maintain some level of professionalism while sounding personable. Find the right balance.

4. Make it impossible to unsubscribe

Another sure fire way to get reported for sending spam is not giving people the option to opt out of future emails. Sure, you don’t want them to unsubscribe, but you have to make that option available or their only alternative will be to flag your emails as spam. It can be placed discreetly at the bottom of the email—where they are typically located. Make it easy to find, but if you are following other best practices, hopefully they won’t need to use it. Most ChMS solutions also provide these services in their communication tools so you don’t even have to think about adding it to your emails.

5. Leave people wondering the purpose of your email

Never send an email just because you haven’t sent one out in a while. If you don’t have anything important to say, don’t say anything at all. That being said, you do want to maintain some kind of regular communication schedule. Odds are you will have an update or announcement important enough to shoot into your subscribers’ inboxes from time to time. Be sure that anytime you send an email you include some useful content that gives value to the readers. And make what you would like them to do with that information very clear through strong calls-to-action. If people feel like they truly gain something from your emails, they will remain loyal subscribers.

Email, when used properly, can be an effective tool to communicate with your community and “market” your church. What are some rules you go by when creating an email for your church?

Check out these other great resources for more insight when developing your church’s email marketing plan:

7 Email Marketing Best Practices for Small Businesses and Organizations

10 Ways to Avoid Common Email Marketing Mistakes in 2014

 

Image Credits: istockphoto

8 Ways To Simplify Church Management

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Church management has evolved significantly over the past several years.  Changing demographics, use of technology, multi-site campuses, and social media all play a role in shaping the way churches connect and interact with their members and visitors.  Staff is challenged to stay focused on the mission of the church while constantly adapting to change and managing with fewer resources.

How can church staff stay engaged with members and visitors and work more efficiently?  Here’s a look at ways churches can simplify church management:

  1. Maintain a USEFUL database
    One of the best ways to simplify church management is to start with your database.  Your church database is only as good as the information you put into it.  Take the time to assess the information stored, identify areas for improvement (cleanup!), and establish clear guidelines for how information is collected, entered, and used.  All too often databases are poorly maintained and become a roadblock to ongoing communication.  If you have recently merged databases, take the time to purge duplicate records.  If you are converting from one database to another, take the time to clean up the database both before and after the conversion.  Ask your software provider if they offer support in migrating your old database to the new system.Next, identify the information you are going to collect and manage going forward.  Think about how you are going to use the information to grow fellowship, serve unique ministries, and identify opportunities to grow.  Do you know which small groups your members participate in?  What about their passions and spiritual gifts and how they relate to volunteer opportunities? Are there any special event requests from a member that need to be managed (e.g., wedding)?  How about tracking of contributions to thank faithful givers?
  2. Give Individuals the opportunity to update their own records
    Save time.  Decentralize your people record management by empowering individuals with secure web-based access via an online portal to your website or mobile apps.  These tools provide a way for attendees to access/update personal information. Church attendees can also update information with a Self-Service Kiosk.  Remind them while they are at church and give them the opportunity to update their information while they are thinking about it.
  3. Use Your Database to Target Communications
    Church databases should be more than a place to store information. Use data in combination with mass communication tools to assist with your discipleship process.  Send targeted email and text messages, post engaging content to your social networks, and send US mail only to those that prefer this communication method.  Targeted communication is far more efficient and cost effective than sending out information that is not matched to interests, duplicated to multiple household members, or not sent via a recipient’s preferred communication channel (e.g., email or social networks).
  4. Set up Automation
    Are you regularly communicating with members and visitors?  Identify opportunities to connect and engage with your audience and create email templates matched to these opportunities.  For example, create templates that thank first-time visitors, follow-up with people before and after an event, wish members a happy birthday or anniversary, remind people of small group opportunities, and thank them for their contributions.
  5. Engage Volunteers Wisely
    First, a word of caution.  Volunteers play a vital role in ministry.  They help with discipleship and extend limited church resources.   Volunteers deserve our ongoing appreciation.  They also need to be matched to the right opportunity and engaged at the right time or they will suffer burnout and withdraw from volunteering altogether.Church staff needs to work together to plan opportunities for volunteers that are tied to its mission and then coordinate calendars to understand church-wide volunteer needs for the year.  All too often the same small group of people is asked to volunteer for every need the church has.  Plan out volunteer needs across all ministries and then use personal relationships and your church database to identify opportunities specifically tied to interests and spiritual gifts.  People are more likely to volunteer for things they feel passionate about or feel confident they can add value to.  Set up .your automated email system to make sure volunteers are thanked regularly for their service.
  6. Save Time with Online Giving
    Reduce administrative costs with online giving.  Use web-based tools to efficiently collect contributions and extract data to make decisions based on trends. With online giving and access tools, the church office no longer has to send statements and giving becomes as easy as using the church mobile app or self-service kiosk.
  7. Use an Event Management Tool
    Simplify event management with a system that helps you plan resources and handles registration, payment, and promotion.   An effective event management tool should integrate with your church database to streamline marketing of the event and identify and request volunteers.  It should also allow you to save registration information for follow-up & future event participation.
  8. Simplify Check-In
    A secure church check-in system simplifies children’s ministry and event attendance. It can help manage registration and ticketing, print name tags and security receipts for parents dropping their kids off at the nursery or kids’ ministry, and maintain a room registry that is easily retrieved for room checks.  It can also be used to retain data for future events.   Simplify church management while keeping attendees happy with shorter lines and quicker, more secure processes.

Looking for ways to simplify church management?  Contact us.

Church Event Management: Christmas Edition

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Already?!

I’m pretty sure that was the reaction most people had upon seeing Christmas displays in retail stores just after Labor Day. That’s still summertime!

As chagrined as most of us might feel about merchants stocking the shelves for a season still three months away, these months are the home stretch for many ministry leaders. Church teams are already in high gear, planning for the upcoming Christmas season.

As a former worship pastor, I’ve planned a lot of Christmas events. Sometimes my team and I were already out of steam by the time the event came around. For too many ministry leaders, the Christmas season is less about celebrating and more about surviving.

A lot of the holiday frenzy can be avoided with thoughtful planning. Whether your church’s Christmas events are simple or complex, your leaders and volunteers can enjoy the season’s special occasions when they know that the details are being taken care of.

It’s not too late to begin planning meaningful Christmas events for your church. (But don’t wait too much longer, or you’ll be able to sum up in two words the plan you will have chosen: winging it.)

Christmas gatherings, like most church events, typically need planning in these categories:

  • Type of event. Will it be a concert? Worship service? Dinner? Party? Caroling?

Facility and resources. Where will your event be held? What rooms will you need to reserve? Will you need to rent facilities? Rent or purchase equipment? Will your event need extra funding? How will you raise the funds? Will you be selling tickets? How will you receive payment? How will you register attenders, particularly guests? Are online registration and payment an option?

  • Volunteer recruitment. Will your regular ministry teams be enough, or will you need additional volunteers? How will you recruit them? How will you train them? How will you thank them?
  • Publicity. How will you promote your event? How will you communicate with your teams?
  • Follow-up. Will your greeters need training? Will your regular assimilation process work? Will extra team members be needed to follow-up on more guests than usual? The congregations that do the best job of welcoming guests and drawing them into the life of the church are those that make it an essential part of the church’s life.

Many churches struggle to follow up with their guests. Does your church have an effective assimilation process? Elexio’s Fusion provides resources to assist you with assimilation. In fact, Fusion has features to help you with every aspect of event management and follow-up.

There’s no denying that a successful Christmas event takes a good deal of prayerful planning and effort. Even a labor of love is still labor. So above all, be sure to plan for regular rest and spiritual refreshment before, during, and after the Christmas season.

Walking in Christ every day is the most important preparation of all.

How is your church planning to celebrate our Savior’s birth this year?

Easter’s Over; Church Management Never Is

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Churches usually see their highest attendance numbers on Easter Sunday, and your church was probably no exception. You might have been blessed with 30% more visitors than usual. Or maybe this was yet another weekend service in an ever-expanding attendance pattern. The situation is the same in either scenario. Many of these folks are looking for a church home.


How will your church reach out to them? Do you have effective welcoming, follow-up, and assimilation strategies that help to ensure that folks don’t fall through the cracks? Are you helping new people become active participants in the life of your church?


Specifically, what will your team do with the information you collected from your guests on Easter Sunday? Remember, this is more than just raw data to enter into a database and forget about. Those names and ages and interests belong to real people whom God brought your way. How can you use this information in meaningful ways? Do you have a timely way to help your teachers, youth workers, hospitality team, nursery workers, and others to connect with new people?

 

To be effective in drawing recent guests deeper into the life of your church, the church needs to:

  • Gather information and use it effectively
  • Communicate with your guests and with your team
  • Track your efforts
  • Track their participation

What tools do you use to easily and efficiently do all of these things and more? Remember it’s really about helping these new men and women and teens and children become part of your church family.

Communicate with your guests

With proper communication tools, you can create personalized emails, prepare letters instantly, and set reminders for phone calls to connect with your guests again.

  • Thank them for coming
  • Invite them to return for worship
  • Connect them to events and activities targeted to their interests
  • Provide access to small groups/classes/ministry teams

 

Communicate with your members

Pastors can’t personally provide in-depth follow-up to everyone who visits. Fusion helps you to keep your assimilation team in the loop. You can easily provide them with all the information they will need to effectively connect with recent guests in a timely way. Small-group leaders can get up-to-date details about potential group members. Youth workers can get the names and contact information on teens that have visited a class or attended an event.

 

Timing is critical

It’s not too late for your church to reach out to your Easter Sunday visitors. But following up with them and keeping track of all those details can be daunting, even overwhelming.


But it doesn’t have to be.


What difference would it make to your church’s assimilation process if you had a tool that pulled all the details together for you? That’s just what Elexio’s Deluxe Suite does.

If you already use Fusion, take another look. You may discover additional features that could take your assimilation strategy to the next level. If Fusion is not yet part of your ministry toolbox, learn more about its incredible features here. The Elexio team will provide the tools and the training you need to connect with the people God sends your way and help them find a home in your church.

Most Important Question To Consider When Building A Church Website

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Although I’ve worked in the web industry for 13 years, I’m continually fascinated by all the ways a website can be used by organizations. For churches, there are potentially limitless opportunities to interact not only with members, but with the rest of the connected world. With a myriad of opportunities, it can often be difficult for churches to define what a website should accomplish.

To help churches uncover the path that is most appropriate for their community and culture, provided below is a question worth visiting for churches that don’t yet have a website, and may be worth revisiting for churches that are in the midst of a redesign. Although simple, it may inspire conversations and help to define a church’s vision for how they approach their presence on the internet. Here it goes:

Why do you want a church website?

Yes, sometimes this question is never asked. We have to have a website because we have to have it. Everyone else has a website, and that’s the thing to do. There’s no telling what will happen if we don’t keep current. We hear buzz words like podcasting, social media, blogging, mobile-friendly, and we’ve got to have it all. Wait, what is podcasting?

Although the entire connected world will have access to your website (is that even really necessary?), for most churches – unless their congregation is big enough to declare sovereignty and they podcast all the way to Mars – their primary audience will likely be both current and prospective members. If you want to know why you want a website, it would benefit to ask your congregation. What will be helpful to them is rather important. Why would they want to go to your site and for what reasons would they want to return? How will it add to their collective journey maturing into the unflinchingly loyal, loving and self-sacrificing disciples that God desires?

For instance, social media is a big thing (and by big, I mean evolving by the second and very time consuming). A church could spend hours of time each week pushing out Facebook posts, instagrams and tweets. However, who belongs to the network you are building through online social services? What kind of network and community were you intending to build? How does that interaction add to the interaction your congregation already receives through bible studies, Sunday classes, events and other gatherings?

Posting blogs or video and audio sermons on your website is also rather popular. There are many compelling reasons to have rotating content on your website, especially since it can improve your listing on search engines and ultimately increase traffic. Having more people visit your site means you are influencing more people. However, do you want to expend your resources on visitors to your site who may live halfway across the country (and even halfway across the world), or do you want to focus your resources serving those in your own backyard? If your focus leans in any way to the latter, their voice matters for any feature or content you provide on your site. They may not want to read blogs from your pastor. Does that mean you shouldn’t do it? Not necessarily, but their voice does influence the framework for how to build your site, it helps clarify what kind of content and features should take priority on your homepage and site navigation, it guides how you want to spend your time and resources, and most importantly, it focuses your vision on caring for God’s sheep (both lost and found) that He has, and will soon, put in your trust to shepherd. They are why you want a website.

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