|Moving ahead, step by (affordable) step|
|Written by Tom Ehrich, Church Wellness Project|
Okay, busy times, lean budget, constituents being made nervous by general economy and ugly politics. What can you do?
Here are five steps you can take immediately to move your congregation forward, four steps you can take by Easter. Most cost virtually nothing out of pocket. They are high-profile initiatives. They will help you fashion a new narrative for the congregation.
Five steps you can take immediately
» Start one new small group
Use the group as a test-bed for group formation ideas. Learn from your experience in it. Share your learnings with others.
» Start one new workplace group
This gathers people who happen to work near each other. Your aim is to learn about the challenges and effective processes for finding prospective members, selling the idea to them, negotiating time and space, and getting started.
» Start a “touch list”
You already have a membership list. Now create a list of people whom you and/or your church touch. Facebook fans, Twitter fans, people who attend events at your church, preschool and day school parents, and more. Use the list to broaden the reach of your church e-letter and pastor’s blog.
» Start a pastor’s blog – or expand the one you have
Either way, work on extending your reach and getting more traction for your message. If you’re blogging for the first time, I suggest Tumblr (the easiest), TypePad or WordPress. A blog is only as useful as the list of people to whom you can send it by e-mail. Hence the prior step of creating a list.
» Start attending 12-step meetings
Addiction is the most common pastoral situation you face. Learn the language of addiction and recovery. Experience the power of honesty. Hear people tell their stories. Write about it. Preach about it.
Four steps you can take by Easter 2012
» Start one house church
This will begin to decentralize worship — not to diminish Sunday worship, but to reach new constituents who aren’t drawn to Sunday morning worship, no matter how much you tweak and polish it.
» Start one regional gathering
This will increase your visibility out in the community. It will give current constituents a place to invite friends, and over time will become a magnet for new folks. I suggest a midweek event focused on fellowship and study.
» Launch a social media campaign
Knit together Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog, e-letter and other tools in a coherent strategy that seeks to ramp up visibility and engagement. Consider recruiting a social media strategist.
» Start one online class
I suggest a simple webinar format. Your goal is to establish online learning as legitimate and enjoyable. Record the live sessions, and make them available on your Web site.