November 14, 2011

Assimilation Strategy

Tonight we had a great meeting at Edgewood to talk about our new assimilation process. This was a result of several months of intense prayer, research, and discussion on this topic. We wanted to share the strategy with the church tonight and plan to launch this new process THIS Sunday, the 20th.

Here are the notes from what we discussed. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for this process. We'll be evaluating as we go and definitely want to make this as strong as possible.  Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Edgewood Mission Statement:
We live to honor God, to be equipped, to serve and to see lives transformed by the message and person of Jesus Christ.

By our research, we've found that in the first seven minutes of contact with our church, our first-time guests already know whether or not they are coming back. They’ve decided whether or not they’re coming back before the service even begins!

Everything speaks to first-time guests…everything. No detail can be ignored.
When someone decides they're going to visit a church for the first time, the enemy is going to do everything he can to try to stop them.  They will sleep in later than they hoped, the kids will spill their breakfast, the dogs will make a mess, etc. etc.  When they finally make it to the church, we have to work extra hard to overcome their already stressful morning.  We must go that extra mile to help them feel welcomed and comfortable at our church.

The Assimilation System is built around a three-step process:
1. Turn a first-time guest into a second-time guest.
2. Turn a second-time guest into a regular attender.
3. Turn a regular attender into a fully developing member.

Sounds simple enough...but how do you do that?  Well....

We feel our assimilation process needs to improve in these three areas:

1. We must be EXCELLENT in how we handle guests in their first 7 minutes on our campus.

- Customer Service Approach - We want our greeters/ushers to go the extra mile in helping our guests find what they need and feel comfortable at Edgewood.
- Greeters/Welcome Center/Ushers - We want these existing teams to understand the value of their ministry.  Also, these volunteers are all part of one big team working together toward the same goal.
- Parking Lot Team - This is a team we'd like to get started in order to help guests find a spot to park and know how to enter our confusing building.  We are currently looking for a volunteer to coordinate this, please let us know if you're interested.
- Coffee Fellowship - Our research has shown that guests' stress level is immediately dropped when they're standing behind a cup of coffee or have a donut in their hands.  We are going to work toward having coffee/snacks available before both services in order to help with this.  Our Sunday school classes currently volunteer for this, but we are looking for a coordinator to help keep this ministry consistent from one week to the next.
- Signage - Our building is confusing to navigate.  Later this week, new signs will be installed for the sole purpose of helping visitors know where to go.  They will label the South Entrance, the Auditorium, and Adult/Youth/Kids classrooms.

2. We need to be more efficient in getting contact information from guests in order to follow-up.
- Connection Cards - For this to work, every single person in the service needs to fill these out.  This will greatly encourage our guests to fill them out.  Without contact information, we can't do any type of follow-up.  These cards will also be used to challenge our regular attenders to grow spiritually.
- Follow Up Team - Dave Anderson is going to coordinate a Monday Response Team to send e-mails and HANDWRITE cards thanking guests for joining us.

3. We want to provide more opportunities and easy access to small groups, fellowship events, and service opportunities.
- People will not stay at a church long if they do not develop relationships.  We believe small groups and fellowship events will be the best avenue for those relationship to develop.  We will do our best to schedule as many of these as possible.  Allowing guests to join us in service opportunities also allows them to have ownership that Edgewood is now "their" church.

Other items that we discussed at the meeting.
1. In order to collect the connection cards, the offering will now be at the end of the service.
2. The Welcome Center must remain strictly focused on visitors. Signups for ministries and events will take place through the connection cards.
3. The ushers will be handing out EDGEWOOD pens (for the next two weeks) with the bulletins in order to strongly encourage everyone to fill out the connection cards.  After the next two weeks, we will make sure they're available in a basket in the back and inside the pew racks.
4. The ushers will encourage each person (not just each family) to take a bulletin.  This will allow for each and every individual to fill out the card and make personal responses.
5. Because our parking lot fills up so quickly, we strongly encourage regular attenders to park on the far side of the parking lot or even across the street at the Elementary School.  We've gotta save our close spots for our guests.

Closing Quotes
"It doesn’t matter how well you preach or how talented your worship team is—if newcomers do not find relationships and take on responsibility within the church, they will not stay long."

Matthew 25:29 “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given…but from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” God will never give you more than you are prepared to receive.

"The Kingdom only grows by one person at a time. Focus on the one God sends you, and the one will turn into many."

This is definitely a church-wide process and in order to pull it off with great success, it's going to take all of us working together....all of us going that extra mile.  Little things can make a HUGE difference.  We want to do our part and we are very excited to see what God's going to do!

November 4, 2011

Time to catch up

Many things have been happening since the last time I wrote on here.  I can't believe I didn't add one post throughout August, September and October!  It's time to catch up....

Edgewood has many things to be excited about right now.  We just got to celebrate the fact that we are now completely debt free. That is a huge relief and reason to celebrate as a church. 

The new vision/direction that I talked about on here in July is in FULL swing and things are going well.  .  In addition to all of those changes, we as a staff have been working hard at preparing an improved "assimilation" process.  We are looking at better ways to help people move through the process of "just visiting" to making Edgewood their home.  One interesting statistic that we found during our research...did you know that most people have decided whether or not they will come back to a church after their first SEVEN minutes on that church campus?  Seven minutes...that's before the service even starts!  Visitors notice everything and they have many times made up their minds about our church before the music even begins.  That sure changes our perspective on things and how we approach our guests!  We're finishing up some details for this strategy with the goal of launching this new plan on Sunday, November 20.  I invite any of you Edgewood readers to come join us in the sanctuary for a meeting on Monday, November 14th, at 7:00pm.  Dave and I are going to present these plans and share ways that the whole church can get involved.

In addition to the assimilation process, I'm absolutely PUMPED UP about our Christmas program this year.  We are bringing in World Class Illusionist, Brock Gill to highlight the show.  This is going to be a Christmas program like we've never seen before!  That's coming up on December 10th at 3:00 and 7:00.

Our "vision" team that met throughout the summer has continued meeting in order to evaluate our progress and to work on other church issues.  We're currently evaluating the structure of our Elder Board and wanting to make sure it's setup in the most effective way.  Lots of good things going on there.

On the personal side, a LOT has been going on as well.  It has been a privilege serving on the Edgewood staff, the elder board, and the vision team.  But through all the challenges over the last year, I have many times felt "under-equipped" in knowing how to handle these situations.  I have also realized that my education and background has been strictly in music and music ministry.  I haven't had much training in church ministry as a whole.  So, I have been praying hard about the possibility of going back to school.  I believe a seminary education would be very beneficial.  It would greatly enhance the ministries that I am already involved in and would give me a wider set of knowledge for things to come as well.  Multnomah Seminary in Portland has a Bellevue extension campus and I am strongly considering going there to get a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies.  This would include many great Bible classes as well as a variety of ministry management classes....all of which would be hugely profitable to me.

As a family, we are feeling really comfortable in our schedules right now.  Megan has been able to continue with her job, but they've allowed her to work only two days a week.  That has continued to give us a steady income, but make it where she can be home with Madelyn more.  Megan and I have also both recently gotten involved teaching music lessons at a studio near our house.  It is extremely convenient, adds a few more hours of work/pay each week, and has been an enjoyable place to meet some new people.  So...I have been feeling that we've been in a great groove recently...working hard, but enjoying life.

And...then comes a little surprise =).....

We just recently found out that Megan is pregnant again!  Madelyn will be one in March and then will become a big sister in May.  Keep the diapers coming!  Even though this was a little sooner than we expected, we are excited about adding another little one to our family.  We should find out whether it's a boy or girl right around Christmas. can see why I haven't written in awhile.  There is a LOT going on right now.  It was time for an there ya go!  I'll try not to wait three months to write again.

I'd appreciate your prayers as we continue plowing ahead ...

For the church....I believe the next couple months are going to be very exciting.  Pray that the new assimilation process and the Christmas program will both be powerful opportunities to help new people connect with our church. 

For our family...pray for Megan and the new baby, and pray that if it's God's will, He will make this opportunity to go to seminary become a reality.