Blog Archives

Easter, Word of Mouth and the Invite Card

Invite at Easter

At Easter - Word of Mouth is Still the Best Invite Tool

I came across this article by Executive Pastors Online, and it truly could have been written by someone here at South Hills

The #1 Cause Of Church Growth

Over our almost 12 year history, we’ve had the following measure in place: How Did You Find Out About CCV?

You would think our website, visibility from the major highway running through our target area, or direct mail advertising would be The #1 Cause Of Church Growth. Nope. Not even close.

Are you familiar with the use of Pareto Analysis as part of any continuous improvement process? I know, it sounds technical! It’s pretty basic, though. It’s a bar graph, arranged from highest bar to lowest bar. The purpose of the analysis is to determine and illustrate the “highest contributing cause” of something. In this case the graph shows the highest contributing cause of church growth.

By far and away it’s “Invited By A Friend Or Family Member.” Surprised? Sometimes I think we underestimate the significance of “a person with skin on them” personally inviting their friend or family member to church.

OK. So now what? What do we do with this knowledge? The first step is understanding that the people who are attending our churches are our best tool for growing our church. Now, we must do a number of things to equip them and help them succeed.

First, we must put a service together that our people wouldn’t be embarrassed about asking someone to attend. In addition, we must create a warm and welcoming environment. The list is long and requires us to re-think everything about our churches. And, in most cases the stuff we must do is difficult and takes a significant amount of time to get in place.

But there’s one thing we can do that’s pretty easy. The Invite Card. Yes, it’s a simple business card sized tool that we can print for our people that equips them to simply hand someone a card that provides the needed information. Here’s an example:

CCV Easter Invite Card Front The #1 Cause Of Church Growth
CCV Easter Invite Card Back The #1 Cause Of Church Growth
We print a whole bunch of these cards and hand them out at church services for several weeks leading up to Easter. It’s that simple.

The Invite Card we have at South Hills for Easter looks like this…

Easter invite cardEaster invite
We also have coordinating invites for Good Friday and  our community Easter Egg Hunt. We create invite cards or flyers for nearly every new sermon series and special event. It is just a simple way for people to invite friend, family, or the person they just met to come to church. It is also helpful that they have all of the details such as service times right there on the card.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

80% of people surveyed said they would attend church if invited. – Barna Research

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The Importance of Children’s Ministry

importance of children

Place a high value on the children in your church

Here at South Hills Church kids are a very big deal. If fact we are determined to make our church “The premier place for Families” and the first step is to fully embrace the children in our community. To that end, recently we needed to hire a new children’s pastor, and so we scoured the country to find the very best we could get. We found that person in Justyn Smith.  Justyn has recently been named one of “Children’s Ministry Magazine’s” Top 20 to Watch, and with his help, we are looking forward to taking our “Kidmin” to a whole new level. Here are some thoughts from Pastor Justyn on the importance of Children’s ministry.

How Important is Children’s ministry?

How important is children’s ministry? How about if you don’t reach people with the gospel by the time someone turns the age of 12 there is only a 20% chance that person will ever become a Christ follower. Yet, only 13% of senior pastors list “ministry to children” among their church’s top three priorities.

Children’s ministry is one of the most important ministries in the church. It’s important because they are our kids. They are the leaders and movement shakers of tomorrow. Children’s ministry cannot be just a babysitting service. Children’s ministry should have the church’s best and brightest teachers and leaders. We all want the best for our children, yet we grow complacent with accepting anyone with a pulse to teach our kids. It’s not a time to become self-indulgent. We have been commissioned and entrusted by God to train of the next generation.

Children’s ministry is an equipping ground; it’s a time where kids should get together to celebrate God and reinforce the teachings of Christ that they should be receiving at home. If they’re not receiving godly teaching at home, then it’s a place of hope and love where we should be reaching out and become a Christ-like figure for those kids.

The healthy, growing churches of today all have at least this one thing in common—great children’s ministries. They have invested in the next generation. They have poured resources, money and time into creating a culture where kids—our future—are valued and celebrated. These church’s understand that children’s ministry is vital to the continuation of the mission God has placed inside of them. They have chosen to look beyond themselves and today and instead look outward and what lies ahead tomorrow.

For some larger church’s who have the ability to pour major money into their children’s ministry atmospheres have seen up to a 150% increase in church attendance. That means thousands more people—not just kids—are coming to church to hear about Jesus and grow deeper in their relationship with Him.

We are already seeing exciting changes in the couple of months since Justyn has joined us. In addition to the great things Justyn is doing on our church campus, he is also helping us to put Celera Kidmin in place.

Celera Kidmin was created to equip and empower children’s leaders by sharing resources for the kingdom. We are very excited that Celera Kidmin coaches are some of the greatest leaders and innovators in children’s ministry today, and those that are part of a Celera Coaching group will have access to their knowledge and direction on a monthly basis.

In addition to the monthly coaching Celera Kidmin members will receive:

One-on-one coaching
During the course of the twelve month pastors’ coaching series each participant will receive two one-on-one coaching sessions with Pastor Justyn Smith.

Annual Roundtable Discussion
Once a year you will have the opportunity to come together in a live setting with your and other network groups and one or two of the Celera Kidmin coaches for a full day of discussion and connection.

Free and discounted resources
Over the course of a twelve month subscription each participant will receive a variety of free resources from the Celera Kidmin coaches.

I strongly encourage you that if Children’s ministry is not yet a priority in your church to do so. It is our great desire to reach kids for Christ and to help Kidmin leaders better meet the need of the kids in their communities. If you would like more information on how we can help you please contact us at info@celeragroup.org. Or call us at 951-734-4833.

Until next time.,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

To Seek and Save the Lost

Merlin

Embrace the "Merlins" God sends your way

God has called us to seek and save the lost. He did not tell us to seek and save those whom you connect with, those whom you are alike, those who are “normal”. He said “the lost”. Will the lost sometime be those whom you connect with, you are alike and are normal? Absolutely! But sometime the lost will be the racially different, the dirty, smelly homeless, the openly gay, or the just plain weird. We do not have the luxury of being selective. Evangelism cannot be selective. We need to open our arms and hearts wide. We need to cast out a bigger net. As fishers of men we need to embrace every soul that God places in our boat. Below is a compelling article by Pastor Clark Cothern that was originally published in Christianity Today. It really makes you stop and think, “who have I tuned off to the gospel because of my cold shoulder?”

Church Shows Love to New Age Visitor

Pastor Clark Cothern tells this story to illustrate how God speaks to us through his Word:
A self-appointed New Age guru glided into our church wearing an outfit that rivaled Merlin the Magician’s best duds. It was 10:55 a.m. and I was changing for a baptism, when a couple of deacons popped their heads in and said, “Pastor, I think we have a situation.”

After explaining who had just entered the sanctuary, they asked, “What do you want us to do?” Underneath their question was this subtext, “Do you want us to throw him out?”

Perfect love casts out fear. That was my first thought.

“Well,” I said while buttoning my robe, “we should demonstrate that we love him and that he’s welcome here.” The second thought that came to mind: For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

“Tell you what,” I said, grabbing a towel. “If he’s here seeking truth, let’s let him listen. God’s Word will be proclaimed, and God’s truth will be revealed. If he’s here to make trouble, we’ll know it soon enough. If that’s the case, I’ll warn him once not to disrupt the service, and I’ll politely ask him to stay afterward so we can get to know him better. If he persists in making trouble, then we’ll follow through on our promise to politely remove him. And if that happens, one of you should call the police—just in case.”

The moment I stepped into the baptistery, I looked out and saw that man and began a silent prayer for him to know that he was loved. God’s perfect love was casting out fear—in the messenger.

I found out after the service that one of our elderly members, a gentle fellow named Elmer, had seen the Merlin look-alike walking in and had whispered to his wife, “Oh, good! It looks like we’re going to have a skit today.” He and all the others in the church had smiled graciously and warmly welcomed our guest, Merlin costume and all. That morning our congregation loved that uniquely clad man. He stayed. He listened. He didn’t cause trouble. He heard the gospel. And he even stayed after to discuss the gospel with several of us for nearly an hour.

Those thoughts that rushed into the brain back in the changing room? That was God talking.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Matthew 9:9-13