4 Things I Learned Doing a City Wide Outreach

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Church Growth

Rather than inviting people to come “in” to our services and programs, what if we took the message “out” to every home?

I had always preached about “reaching our community” and everyone would nod in grand approval.  But what were we really doing to accomplish that vision?

There came a day when I decided to take concerted action on this point, and to start floating to my leadership team the idea that we should develop a coordinated strategy to reach the city we were in – the entire city – as in every home!  I had heard of other churches approaching things this way, and the more I thought about it, the more it seemed right for us.  Rather than inviting people to come “in” to our services and programs, what if we took the message “out” to every home?

After a few meetings to discern what our community needed, and what skill sets we had, our church landed on developing a magazine-style print campaign that would land in more than 28,000 mailboxes – six times in a row!  For us, it felt like a dramatic undertaking, but we knew that the topics our magazines would address (finances, marriage, purpose, forgiveness, addictions, and stress) were exactly what our community needed to discuss, particularly the Bible’s wisdom in those areas.

We formed teams to study each topic and also to prepare for any response that might come in from the mailings, and these teams took on the identity of “their issue” of the magazine. (Being a member of the “love” team was much more attractive than being on the “addictions” team to be sure!)

The whole process was good for our church.  Not only did we involve most of our adult congregation in a direct community outreach, but we did actually reach our whole city with the gospel. In six separate magazines over a little more than a year-long period, we offered the truth right in mailboxes – not just promotions to “come and hear” the answer, but – here, in friendly four-color – is the answer!

Church Growth – Our Experience:

The success is difficult to measure, but here’s what happened to us:

  • In the year of the mailings and then the following few months, I believe nearly 1,000 people visited our church for the first time.
  • The conversation of our town was remarkably shaped by this. Our members reported countless conversations that started with, “Wait, are you from the church that sent me the…”
  • A large number of adult attenders of our fellowship got involved in small groups (teams) and evangelistic conversation – many of whom had never done so before.

Here are four things I learned from our city-wide outreach:

1. People want to share the gospel, but they need a practical pathway. We had no problem finding volunteers and donors to make the whole program happen – but they wouldn’t have gotten involved without a specific pathway to do so.  The plan itself is all they were waiting for!  I didn’t need to preach more about outreaching, I needed to lead the way.

2. A strategic plan was necessary from the outset. Those who made the project possible (our church family) needed to see that initial PowerPoint presentation where I showed charts of the number of households in our church area, the religious affiliations of those households, cost projections for reaching out, and more.  They needed to see the plan before they could work the plan!  And that process required prayer, creativity, lots of meetings and plenty of offline conversations.  It was well worth it in the end!

3. City-reaching is a wide-open market. Most churches build their organizational structures and keep things afloat for the general benefit of their members.  There’s nothing wrong with that per se, except that Jesus didn’t found the church to be an end in itself!  Elevating outreach to the top of the priority list at our church changed the temperature of the people.  It also gave our internal ministries renewed purpose and vision.  When I say city-reaching is an “open market” I mean that very few churches are really doing it.  Many talk, but few get strategic and practical with that talk.

4. Bolder is better, as long as its realistic. I don’t suspect the momentum or change in our church (or the actual effect of the effort) would have been the same if we had taken action on a smaller scale.  We did have voices in our church arguing for smaller or more conservative plans.  “Isn’t this too expensive?  Shouldn’t we do _______ first?”  My favorite piece of feedback came from a non-Christian after the mailing of our first issue.  He wrote, “This is awfully aggressive for a church. Please remove me from your list.”  Amen!  Imagine, people who believe the gospel is the only way to heaven – being aggressive!

As you contemplate strategic planning and leadership coaching in your congregation, my encouragement is to think out of the box. Gather a leadership and creative team together and begin with the question: “How can we complete the Great Commission in our community?”

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Strategies: How to turn them in Action Plans

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You know the feeling, Pastor.  At least I do.

You’ve cast a bold vision in front of your congregation, you’ve verbally committed to a project that would change lives!  But then, in the hustle of daily responsibility, and the grind of ordinary human weakness, those good intentions go un-fulfilled. People who were nodding in excited agreement at the new ministry prospect went back to their own priorities, never giving another thought to yours.

The plan doesn’t advance past “go” and you’re called to account a few months later: “Pastor, whatever happened to….?”  Or, “So, who is working on…?”

Strategies: Your heart was right, your vision was clear.

You may have even laid down a good set of strategies to accomplish the objective.

But in the end, crickets.  And, honestly, embarrassment.

The failure was in the conversion of strategy to action plans.

Strategy talks about how an objective gets completed, action plans assign specific responsibilities and prescribe detailed steps.

What is step one and who will take it?  When?  How much will step one cost, and where is that money coming from?

What is step two, and who is responsible for that?

Strategies: An action plan turns a bright idea into a concrete to-do list.

As a pastor, I didn’t lack for vision, or even for strategies. I had a pretty strong sense of what should be done, what would probably “work,” and even the right pathway to get there.  But I struggled a lot when it came to implementation, delegation, assignment, and (MOSTLY) accountability.

I would be lamenting the lack of “buy-in” or volunteerism from people, when really I should have been making a spreadsheet.  My people weren’t unwilling, they were just weren’t directed.  And whose fault was that?

One reason I recommend the strategic planning process to churches is not because an outside coach has all the right ideas.  They probably don’t.  YOU probably do, at least as far as how ministry should work in your context.  What a strategist can do is help you turn those good ideas into specific actionable plans, the kind that get measured, and the kind that get DONE.

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Logical Tests for Your Strategic Plan

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Strategic Plan: “will all of our activity yield the results we want”?

Everything at the bottom of your strategic plan must add up to the line on top.  That is, all of your activities and action items should, when added together over time, accomplish your vision.

If they don’t, you may do a lot of good work, but you’ll never see your mission completed.

At Leadership Outreach, we help churches and non-profits develop the kind of growth strategies that can pass this sort of logical test, and at each level of the plan, we can help you and your team think it through.

  • If we execute every strategy we’ve written down, will we overcome every known barrier, and set in motion every factor necessary for success?
  • If we could check off every one of this year’s objectives, will we be satisfied that we met our goals?
  • Do the goal areas we have identified really add up to mission completion?
  • In summary, will all of our activity yield the results we want?

We have found that this is one of the best reasons to work with a third party during the development of an organization-wide strategic plan. A Leadership Outreach strategist can help navigate the conversation, and even at points where it may be uncomfortable, enforce the “logical tests” necessary to take the ideas of your team and turn them into actionable plans.

For example, churches often have lists of ministry activities and fairly complex budgets dedicated to maintaining them. But is that activity and investment really in line with the vision the church has for its future? And for accomplishing its mission in the community?  What if members, staff and volunteers are spending time and money in ineffective ways, not because the activity in question is “bad,” but because it isn’t properly aligned with overall objectives?

As we often say, “your mission is too important to attempt without a plan.”  Building that plan is an exciting process, a chance to focus on what counts the most, and then target resources and effort in the right direction.  If you’d like some help, or just receive some friendly coaching, give us a call, or fill out the interest form here.

About the Author–Dan Jarvis is a certified strategists with Leadership Outreach and a free-lance writer. He is the editor of Revive! Magazine, a publication of Life Action Ministries. Dan is the author of Commissioned, a book detailing the explosive growth of the local church in India. Dan can be reached at Dan@leadershipoutreach.com.

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Mission: Your Inspiration Or Your Destination?

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Mission: Remember what once captured your heart?  The reason you got involved?

Some leaders have the mission firmly planted in their hearts, but only loosely conceived in their minds. That is, they care immensely for their work, but they haven’t really mapped a plan for the next steps, and the steps after those.  Good intentions, yes.  A clear road, no.

Imagine this: what if your completed mission wasn’t just your inspiration, but rather, your destination?  What if you had a specific game plan in hand, with well-thought-out action plans?  What if you could show your team the logical, value-driven steps that would result in your mission being accomplished?

What if you could chart out the most strategic ways to use your time, invest your resources, and deploy your volunteers, then be released to go out and make it happen?

That’s where strategic planning comes in, and where quality coaching can turn your visionary ideas to change the world into a task list for implementers, volunteers and donors.

The process isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. It begins with an honest assessment of where you are, and where you’d like to end up. 

  • Reaching your city with the Good News?
  • Multiplying the membership and reach of your church?
  • Serving a specific community need?
  • Educating children in wisdom?
  • Tackling an impossible global task?

Completing your mission takes not only the courage to dream, but a strategy to implement.  This is where Leadership Outreach can help. Using proven methods to facilitate plans for churches and non-profit organizations, our seasoned coaches and strategists can come alongside your ministry, helping you (and your team) take important next steps.

Our mission is to help you accomplish yours.

We’d love to hear your dreams, engage your staff, and help you define specific, actionable, realistic and measurable objectives.

Your mission is too important to attempt without a plan.  So let’s get started!

Call and speak with a Leadership Outreach strategist, to see how our coaches can come alongside your ministry team.

We help churches and non-profits facilitate strategic plans by working through three key areas of development:  vision, strategy and leadership.

If your organization keeps doing what it’s doing, will your mission ever be accomplished?

Organization Mission, Church Mission, Non-Profit Mission

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Non-Profit Consulting in Florida and nationwide

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Church Growth & Visioneering – Unique approach to church consulting and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations in Florida and nationwide

Inspired through the teachings and directions of Chip Ingram and Rick Linamen, Pastor Tim Neptune’s heart was awaken and inclined towards the church consulting ministry

Leadership Outreach was formed to help churches and faith based nonprofit organizations clearly understand and communicate their ministry’s vision (visioneering), systematically develop a strategic planning for their path forward, and prayerfully connect life-seasoned mentors with emerging ministry leaders for greater Kingdom impact.

Leadership Outreach helps leaders by developing an extended strategic planning for their nonprofit organizations, efficiently promoting church growth nationwide.

Florida nonprofit consulting

Need help developing a Church Growth strategy? Does your ministry in Florida need consulting services? Are you looking for a consultant that will help with the strategic planning of your nonprofit organization?

Look no further! Leadership Outreach has a team of experts that will help you with the following services:

Vision Development

Visioneering – Clarifying Your Ministry’s Next Steps

church growthA clearly defined vision acts as an organization’s True North by clarifying priorities and focusing the ministries resources on God’s unique purpose for that nonprofit organization. Through our facilitated meetings, Leadership Outreach coaches work with your leadership team to discover and clarify your ministry vision.

Pastors and not-for-profit leaders must cast a compelling vision for the future of their ministry in order to rally the support of their followers, team, and stakeholders. How do you distinguish between a good idea and a God idea? Discovering God’s clear direction for your ministry is vital to the health and growth of your ministry/church. Let the staff and seasoned leadership veterans at Leadership Outreach help you prayerfully discover and uncover God’s dream for the future of your ministry through our nonprofit / church consulting services in Florida and nationwide.

Strategy Planning and Development

Church Growth and Nonprofit Strategic Planning

church consultingOnce an organization has clearly defined their long-range vision, the next step is to create the step-by-step plans to achieve that vision. Leadership Outreach strategists work with your team to set long-term ministry goals, quantifiable yearly objectives, supporting strategies, and detailed action plans. Together we will determine the factors that are critical to your ministry’s success and work to identify and overcome the barriers towards church growth in Florida and nationwide.

Strategic Planning is simply a process of making decisions. It is an ongoing leadership tool whereby an organization envisions its future and develops goals, objectives, strategies, and action plans to achieve that future. A compelling vision without a well-developed strategic plan may produce some good results but not the explosive church growth that could occur if both vision and strategy were clearly aligned.

Typically this plan is created in two, three-day sessions whereby we come alongside the organization and direct them through the process. The strategic planning becomes a new way of life for the organization, not simply a check off list. Our unique facilitation exercises make strategy development easy.

Leadership Development

Mentoring Church and Nonprofit Leaders For Greater Impact

strategic planning for nonprofit organizationsGrowing organizations are led by growing leaders. Even the greatest athletes retain the counsel of mentors and coaches throughout their careers. Like professional athletes, ministry leaders need the support and advice of godly mentors, church consultants and coaches who have navigated the waters of change and survived the challenges that come with the church growth. Whether raising significant capital resources, negotiating difficult staffing transitions, or inspiring people to embrace your ministry’s mission, leadership coaching is an invaluable tool in helping the leader, and their team, fulfill their calling.

Our objective is to accelerate the church growth and effectiveness of ministries in Florida, by helping them fine-tune the leadership skills necessary to increase their outreach and scale their nonprofit organization through our nationwide church consulting services.

 

Leadership Outreach provides consulting services to churches and faith-based nonprofit organizations in Florida, to help develop and execute their strategic planning which stimulates church growth. Our vision is to see transformed ministries resulting in transformed lives.

Our goals are to:

• Assist ministries in accomplishing the Great Commission.
• Help ministries gain clarity in their God-given vision.
• Guide ministries through the process of developing and implementing strategies for spiritual, numerical, and financial growth.
• Provide facilitated strategic planning sessions to develop a three-year comprehensive ministry plan.
• Extend leadership coaching and mentoring to empower leaders who desire to use their talents for growing God’s Kingdom.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

Contact Leadership Outreach today and get to know more about our church consulting services in Florida and nationwide:

• Schedule a free ministry consultation
• Apply to become a Leadership Outreach strategist or coach
• Sponsor a facilitated strategy session for a qualifying organization of your choice
• Become a Leadership Outreach Strategic Partner by making a tax-deductible donation

 

Florida Non-profit consulting, Florida Visioneering, Florida Church Vision, Florida Church Consulting, Florida Strategic Planning for nonprofit organizations, Florida Church Growth