Tag Archive for: leadership

Decorations are up, your Christmas sermon planning is in full swing, and in the midst of all the organizing and planning you have one more thing on your mind—end-of-year giving.

31% of charitable giving happens in December because for many donors this is the last chance to get their giving reflected on this year’s taxes, and for companies their fiscal year often ends in December.

Anywhere you look this time of year, it’s common to see organizations putting together one big push for donations before January 1. However, churches and church leaders can often feel deterred from talking about this topic too much for fear of being pushy, seeming ungrateful, or to focus on other important reminders during the holiday season.

While we want to be intentional about how we talk about finances, we also have a responsibility to think and talk about end-of-year giving in a way that honors our church’s mission and doesn’t let this opportunity go unnoticed.

Here are a few tips on how to approach end-of-year giving:

1. Talk about it.

There is a reason so many people and organizations have a big push at the end of the year. It’s not only the last opportunity to get donations in this calendar year, but this is also a major opportunity to practice a mindset of generosity. Around the Christmas season, we are surrounded by opportunities to “buy, buy, buy” that can shift our focus on what we don’t have rather than appreciate what we do.

But the true reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Christ, recognize the hope we have, and practice giving generously out of gratitude of the gift we have received in Jesus.

You may have a fear that talking about giving in a public way may put undue pressure or an expectation on those who cannot afford to be generous. However, we have to remember that God works in everyone’s heart individually, and will lead each person individually. When we present the reasons giving matters in the ministry of the church, we can trust God to faithfully lead those in our congregation through how they should individually respond.

People can’t respond to a need if they don’t know the need exists.

2. This isn’t the only time to ask people to give.

While this is a great opportunity for giving, you can take some pressure off your shoulders by remembering that this isn’t the only time of the year that people can give. You have many faithful, monthly givers who donate year-round to support your ministry.

Take a deep breath and remember that this isn’t an all-or-nothing situation. It’s an opportunity we can leverage as much as possible and an opportunity to give people a chance to get involved with what God is doing in your church, but this isn’t the only time of the year you can invite your congregation to take this step.

READ: 5 Important Online Giving Statistics

3. Connect giving to a specific outcome.

What are people’s gifts going to be used for? People like to help you meet a specific need or fund a project. This also helps build excitement around your ministry and allows you to tangibly show people how their dollars help achieve the mission. You might consider connecting your end-of-year giving with a building project, ministry upgrade, or particular area of service so people can see something tangible their dollars will go towards.

There may also be years that you have a shortage in your budget from lower giving throughout the year. Make sure you communicate that need to your congregation. The majority of people won’t know you have a potential deficit if you don’t communicate it to them.

4. Incorporate storytelling into your messaging.

End-of-year giving isn’t just about soliciting donations; it’s a chance to celebrate what God has done through generosity in the past. This is an opportunity to talk about the heart of your ministry and even share some stories of the impact you have been able to have through generous giving in the past!

What stories can you focus on telling as you invite people to give generously?

READ: 5 Ways We Should Talk About Money at Church

5. 73% of church giving happens throughout the week.

You don’t have to push people to give only on Sunday mornings. In fact, many people do the majority of their giving during the week. This means that you should be including an opportunity to give in your emails, on social media, and even giving people a text reminder. These helpful reminders throughout the week with a direct link to where they can donate are a great way to lead people to take action whenever they are ready.

The end of the year is a great opportunity to give people options to donate and practice generosity. As church leaders, we have a responsibility to talk about how people can get involved without guilting them into giving.

By following the tips above, you can start thinking about end-of-year giving in a way that is God-honoring and doesn’t let the timeliness of this season pass you by.

Do you need a church management system that can help you communicate with your congregation, organize volunteers, and lead efficiently? You can try One Church Software FREE for 14 days to see all the ways it can help you care for your members, empower your volunteers, and serve your community.

During the holidays, there is an emphasis on gratitude and “giving thanks” but it can often be overshadowed by the messaging of Black Friday and the busyness of Christmas traditions and events.

As a church leader or pastor, you might take a moment to incorporate gratitude into your personal life or even study for a sermon on the topic. But if we’re honest, we can easily get so caught up in preparing for the Christmas season that we forget to truly pause and be grateful ourselves.

We may even be overwhelmed with the numerous problems we are asked to help solve, the daily running of the church, or even addressing the life challenges of our congregation during this time of the year. It can be a lot to handle, and all that gratitude can get moved to the backburner.

We are told throughout Scripture the importance of giving thanks and offering praise to God for all that He has done in our lives. Here are a few examples:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV)

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! – 1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV)

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. – Psalm 95:1-3 (ESV)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)

Offering thanks and cultivating gratitude is an opportunity to orient our hearts to what God is doing and what He has been up to. It’s a reminder of what we should focus our minds on. By first ensuring our hearts and minds are full of gratitude and praise for the story God is writing in our life and our churches, we can trust that God will provide the outcome and bring about fruit from our faithful labor.

READ MORE: 6 Things to Keep in Mind for Your Christmas Service This Year

In the midst of the holiday season, consider taking a moment to pause and focus on gratitude for these things: 

1. What God is Doing

Take a look around your church. How are people growing and changing? Whose life stands out that God is actively working on sanctifying or at work in? Regardless of the size of your church, there are likely several people who stand out. God is actively at work in your church, its members, and even in your own life. Consider starting a list and adding to it each day. You may be surprised by how long it is and what God is up to!

2. What God Has Done

In Scripture, the Israelites would set up altars or stones of remembrance. These would serve as a physical reminder of when God came through for them, fulfilled His promises, or did miraculous things. We are a fairly forgetful people and can easily forget what God has done in our lives and around us.

Where have you seen God do incredible things? Could you set up something physical to help you remember all that He has done?

3. The Gifts God Has Given You as a Leader 

Many of us as church leaders can easily name all the things we are lacking or the talents we wish we had. But how often do we consider the gifts God has given to us? Rather than falling into the trap of comparison, focus on all the ways that God has uniquely equipped you for your current position.

4. Your Congregation

Not only are your congregation the people whom you have been called to minister to and shepherd, but they are the people who will do much life alongside you and your family. Give thanks for their role in your own story!

5. Your Community

Where is your church located? What is the community around it like? What is the incredible mission God has put you on at this moment in time in your unique community. Give thanks to God for the opportunities and consider the ways you can communicate your appreciation for being a part of your greater community. 

6. Your Family 

Family is something that is too easy to take for granted or it can feel like it’s a challenge to get enough time with them. Your family is one of the greatest gifts God has given you, and is something to thank God often for!

7. Your Staff

Your staff often share the responsibilities that allow the church to function efficiently. They too answered the call to serve the Lord and live out the mission of your church. They partner with you day after day to serve your congregation well. From the big things to the small things, our staff is worth our gratitude and appreciation!

8. Your Volunteers

A church can’t run without faithful people serving by giving their time, talents, and resources. They make it possible to offer nursery services, VBS, Awana, worship, and other programs at your church. How can you express gratitude to your volunteers in a heartfelt way this holiday season?

9. Your Friends

Who is your support system? Who comes to you to give rather than receive from you? These are the people who seek ways to feed into your soul, allow you to be vulnerable, and truly cherish your friendship. Give thanks for the breath of fresh air they are in your life.

As pastors, church leaders, and followers of Christ, we are called to have a heart of gratitude and offer praise to God.

Consider ways you can continue to cultivate gratitude in your daily walk either by starting your daily devotion time with thanksgiving, keeping a gratitude journal, or even setting up a physical reminder of all the things you have to be thankful for.

Our team here at One Church Software is cheering you on!

Do you have a church management system or are considering switching? You can try One Church Software FREE for 14 days to see all the ways it can help you care for your members, empower your volunteers, and serve your community.

Christmas is a time when there is hustling and bustling in stores, people are visiting relatives they haven’t seen all year (or longer!), and when it comes to church, you’ll likely see a few more new faces.

Whether it’s the sporadic member, the major-holiday-only attender, new guest, or even a relative of a regular attendee, this is a time of year when you are likely expecting additional people to connect with your church in some way. For many, this will be the primary time those individuals will connect and receive encouragement from a church in the year.

What an incredible opportunity we have!

As we enter this season, here are a few things we want to encourage you to keep in mind for your church Christmas service(s) this year:

1) Life is full of disruption and worry.

It wasn’t that long ago that we were all collectively navigating a global pandemic. For many, this year has been full of health challenges, work stressors, economic fears, and so much more. Those who participate in your Christmas services are likely carrying stress and worry. The best way to support your community this holiday season is to make sure your church is a place where they can find stability and hope.

2) Be sure you have a first-time visitor follow-up process.

After new visitors walk out your door, do you have a plan to connect with them? Invite them back? Take some time before new people arrive to make sure you have a clear follow-up process. This is important to have set up year-round, but it’s doubly important around the holidays. And if you already have a follow-up process, take some time to review it before your Christmas services.

3) Don’t be afraid to approach Christmas traditions with innovation.

Think back to 2020: Churches had to consider how to reach people when they couldn’t gather together in a physical space. As a result, many churches got creative with ways to connect with their community and offered additional resources to promote connection. While in-person gatherings have returned to their usual capacity, that doesn’t mean you should forgo a fresh approach this year.

Online resources, livestreams, video calls, and group study guides are a great way to reach a wider base of people than you may be able to with a physical service alone.

4) Make sure you are engaging people outside of Sunday.

We have a tendency to focus all our efforts into our Sunday service or Christmas Eve services, but what about the other six days of the week? Instead of only focusing on the service, plan ahead to have encouraging emails, text messages, weekly resources, or even some Christmas cards throughout the holiday season. Also, consider how you can be a special blessing to people around this season. If there is someone that doesn’t have family around to celebrate Christmas with this year, invite them to an event, go caroling at their house, or do something special to remind them they are valued and supported.

5) Don’t wait until next year to review how your Christmas service went.

If you don’t take the time to do this right after your church Christmas service, then it will likely be 11 months before you consider it again and, by that time, you won’t remember. By taking the time to review what you did well and what still needs improvement while it’s all fresh in your mind, you’ll be that much more prepared for next year!

6) Let the Truth of this season impact your heart, too.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in decorating, planning the message, and making sure that the service is just right that you forget to let the truth of Christmas impact your own heart. This is the time of year that we remember the incredible truth that Jesus came to earth as a humble child, fully experiencing our humanity, to freely offer us salvation, redemption, and hope. Don’t merely focus on communicating this truth to others; be sure to meditate on it in your own life and walk with God.

This Christmas, remember that the most important thing you can do is to share the Good News with others. That our voices might join in with the shepherds, wise men, and angels in saying, “…I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…” (Luke 2:10 ESV)

Merry Christmas from all of us here at One Church Software!

Casting vision is one of the core responsibilities of a leader. Being able to translate the mission of who you are as a church and communicate where you’re headed is what inspires unity and purpose throughout your congregation. When the vision is understood, everyone can work together towards that future.

Casting a vision for your congregation gives clarity of where your church is headed, provides inspiration about the future, and unites everyone around what your church is doing. This can feel like a daunting task at times, though, can’t it?

Here are some of our favorite tips on casting vision for your congregation:

1. Make Sure You Have a Clear Mission

Vision starts with mission. Vision is about how you’re accomplishing your purpose even better in the future. So if your unique mission is a little fuzzy, set aside some time to answer this question: Why does our church exist in our community at this time?

That mission is the core of who you are as a congregation, and who you are in the context of a larger surrounding community.

Your vision is the expansion of that mission. It is the place that God is calling you to that will extend that mission in even greater ways. Vision is the picture you can paint for the people you lead of where you all are headed, together.

2. Dream and Plan With Your Team

Vision clarity starts with your core team of staff and leadership. Before you consider casting vision for your congregation, make sure you have a plan in place on how you will accomplish it. Your team will be able to provide feedback, identify ways you can practically accomplish the vision, and help you discover the pieces of the puzzle that will help the church move forward effectively.

Let the vision breathe, change, and expand as you share what God has placed on your heart with your team!

3. Connect Exciting Vision Initiatives Back to the Mission

It’s always exciting to share vision initiatives with your congregation! But we can forget to connect these back to the mission, which is who we are and why we exist as a church.

It’s important that exciting new goals don’t get communicated as goals for the sake of goals. By sharing how new vision initiatives connect back to your mission, you can ensure your congregation remembers your greater mission and how this particular initiative fulfills your church’s purpose.

4. Remind People of the Vision and Mission Often

Perhaps you’ve heard the famous leadership principle: “Vision leaks.” This is very true! Vision isn’t something you can set once and then forget—this is something we have to consistently nurture.

In order to do that, we need to be talking about our vision and mission often! Doing this not only keeps it at the forefront of your congregations’ minds, but will help them actively look for opportunities to move towards that vision in their daily life.

5. Let Yourself Be Excited!

Casting vision is something to get excited about. God is at work within you, in your church, and in your community! Let yourself dream and get excited about how He is at work.

When you lead from a place of excitement, it becomes contagious. This is one of the core ways of how your congregation can “catch” the vision and how your church can become eager to move forward in unity.

Your congregation needs to be aware of your mission and vision. They need to be connected to the future goal. Without that connection, it’s like running a relay race with only half of your team showing up to run! We hope these tips have inspired you to cast vision in a way and support the people you lead in getting involved in the work God has called you to accomplish.

Do you have a church management system or are considering switching? You can try One Church Software FREE for 14 days to see all the ways it can help you care for your members, empower your volunteers, and serve your community.

If building an app for your church is something you’ve looked into before, you likely know that in many cases developing a custom app from scratch can be quite expensive, which isn’t always the wisest investment for the average church.

This is why church app templates are an economical and popular option for churches wanting to offer all the features of a custom app but at a tiny fraction of the cost. The reality is that templated church app solutions are not all built the same, though.

There’s no denying that most church app templates allow you to provide a virtual portal to connect and stay informed with the going-ons of your church community. You might even be able to access event information, watch or listen to the latest sermon, and even set up your mobile giving.

But the majority of church app templates don’t connect to your current Church Management System (ChMS) so you can only get the full potential out of the app by manually updating each and every feature. As a church leader, your schedule is already maxed out with caring for your members, managing your volunteers, and serving your community, you don’t need yet another system that requires constant updating to manage.

“You don’t need yet another system that requires constant updating to manage…”

A great church app is valuable. Not only does it simplify communication, but it also ensures that everyone stays connected, informed, and engaged, while even having the potential to extend the reach of the church beyond geographical boundaries, ensuring that faith and fellowship travel far and wide.

There’s a Better Way to Build a Church App

Our priority here at One Church Software is to bring you all-in-one technology solutions for your church that allow you to focus on one thing—your ministry. One of the ways that we do that is by including our free app with all One Church Software plans. This app seamlessly syncs to your One Church Software account so there is no clunky management or combination of multiple softwares.

If you want even more options to go beyond the provided introductory design, we offer an app builder add-on for you to have more control over the navigation and design of your app. Integration and customization right at your fingertips.

All the Church App Benefits Without Unnecessary Work

There are many reasons your church can benefit from having an app. It can enhance the effectiveness of your work and magnify the impact of your ministry by putting tools directly in your church-goers’ pockets.

In One Church Software, this includes things like:

  • Push Notifications: By sending push notifications through an app, you have the ability to provide pertinent information and even lead people to take the next step.
  • Giving: Now, more than ever, people are using their phones to set up giving and respond to special offerings.
  • Sermons: Keep your sermon archives in one central location that is easy for others to enjoy and grow through. You can also offer free-form notes for people to follow along with your sermons live.
  • Pre Check-In: Pre Check-In allows members to check-in themselves or their children before arriving at the check-in kiosk. A scalable QR code is generated directly on the phone which allows for quick scanning and check-in after arriving at your church.
  • Groups: Your members will be able to search through a list of groups and sign up right from their mobile devices. All important details of the group are at their fingertips, so they can make the best choice from what is available.
  • And much more!

A church app can offer a virtual hub of activity and information to ensure that every member of the congregation stays informed about church events, prayer requests, and more.

The decision to offer this essential tool to your church shouldn’t come with a host of extra work to maintain it. Learn how One Church Software’s integrated app can support your church without creating additional workload!

Children’s ministry directors, teachers, and volunteers are often the unsung heroes of your church. Each week they organize a host of volunteers, plan the teaching curriculum, and the same person that heads Sunday programs is often the same person that also handles summer ministries and Wednesday evening programs without skipping a beat.

As you make the shift from summer programs like VBS and return to your regular Sunday School, Awana, and any other fall programs, your team may find yourselves feeling excited and even a bit overwhelmed.

Before you get too deep into planning mode, we have a few tips to help you navigate your fall program kick-off with ease!

1. Remember the importance of what you do.

In all the hustle and bustle of planning, organizing, and more, it’s easy to lose sight of this important fact. There are several passages in Scripture that point to this. Jesus reminds of this during His ministry on earth and we should follow His example by recognizing the unique calling we have been given.

Mark 10:13–16:

“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

Mark 9:36–37:

And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Proverbs 22:6:

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

2. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

It’s valuable to have tried-and-true resources and curriculum, but don’t let that stop you from trying something new this fall. There are a ton of great resources out there that can bring a fresh outlook to your fall ministry. You may just find a new favorite!

Explore. Innovate. Get excited about something fresh.

3. Make sure your volunteer roster is up-to-date.

Volunteers are a HUGE part of what makes your ministry function. Without them, you can’t be as effective or reach as many children with the Good News. 

Take a moment to check in with your volunteers and ask if they’re ready to renew their commitment to be a vital part of your ministry again this year. Update their preferred schedule and contact information so you can be sure to effectively communicate any changes or serving schedules throughout the year.

4. Share encouragement and resources with parents.

In addition to your ministry kick-off, parents are navigating new routines as their kids return back to school. This is often a high-stress season of the year for parents. Any resources, tips, and added encouragement during this time can go a long way in letting parents know that you care about them on the days of the week their children aren’t at the church

This is a great moment to send encouraging Bible verses, back-to-school tips, prayers, and more.

5. Remind volunteers how to help children move up to new grade levels.

The fall is a time when many children are moving to the next room in your children’s ministry and it is helpful to remind volunteers how to help children make that transition smoothly. It may also be beneficial to allow parents to bring their children early to tour their new room. Remember to make this a time of celebration as kids move up to their new grade!

This transition in your ministry is the perfect time to renew your calling to serve the children of your community. We hope these tips help you kick-off your fall children’s ministry well! We are cheering you on!

If you don’t yet have a Church Management Software, this is a great time to see how One Church Software can help manage every aspect of your children’s ministry from kids check-in to volunteer management. Try it out free for 14-days!

As the warmer weather approaches, calendars fill up with vacations, sports, and other fun activities to take advantage of the summer sun! If you are a church leader, you have probably seen how this season impacts attendance at your church.

This dip in attendance is commonly referred to as the “summer slump.” Churches see attendance hit an all-time low as the snowbirds return to their summer homes, college students travel back to their home states, and parents are looking for ways to occupy their kids during the break from school.

Even after years of recognizing this as “normal,” this can be a discouraging reality for leaders. We can start to see it as a setback rather than an opportunity. We can focus in on the stark difference from where we may have been a month ago in comparison to where we are now.

While you can’t bypass the summer slowdown/slump altogether, we’ve got a few tips for church leaders to help deal with the summer slump and prioritize your church calendar:

1) Set Realistic Expectations

This is first for a reason. It’s important that you intentionally don’t become discouraged when you see the summer slump start to impact your attendance.

It truly is normal for the large majority of churches to see a dip in attendance, and it is in some ways unavoidable. By setting realistic expectations, you can guard yourself against feeling major disappointment or discouragement when those numbers start to dip.

Your expectations and goals may even need to change over the summer months in comparison to the rest of the year. You may find yourself targeting different types of goals during this season (such as vision clarity, team growth, or digital ministry milestones rather than attendance metrics).

“Even after years of recognizing this as ‘normal,’ this can be a discouraging reality for leaders. We can start to see it as a setback rather than an opportunity.”

2) Get Creative with Your Ministry

During the summer months, it might be difficult for some people to show up on a Sunday morning consistently. But that doesn’t have to mean they want to be disconnected from their church community during this time.

Look for ways to minister to your members and community outside of your prescribed service times. Look for local festivals, events, and service projects that you can participate in as a church and have a presence at to invest in the community.

This typically requires creativity, and that can be an exciting opportunity for you and your team to problem-solve together. Rather than focusing on the question, Why aren’t our people showing up right now?, we can focus on, What creative opportunities are there to show up for our community in a fresh way right now?

3) Prioritize Digital Ministry

If you haven’t already, this is a great time to consider digital ministry options that people can partake in whenever it fits their schedule. Some questions to ask: How can we add value to people’s spiritual life through a digital ministry? Can we provide resources for a family worship night? Or maybe bite-sized devotionals that can easily be done in 5-10 minutes? The possibilities are endless to provide alternative ways to keep people connected to your church online.

This is a great time to be reminded of the reality that digital ministry is not “second-rate” ministry. When we can show up in meaningful ways in the places that our congregation and community are spending time, we have the opportunity to make a real difference in their day-to-day life. That’s exciting!

4) Make Giving Accessible

Just because people are less likely to be physically at your church every week over the summer doesn’t mean that they don’t want to give regularly. Make sure your giving is accessible to those members with busy schedules.

Online giving is a great way to provide flexible options to your members, whether they want to give once or set up a recurring monthly gift. Make sure your members know online giving is an option before the summer slump is in full swing!

READ MORE: How to Know if a Church Giving Solution is Secure

“Just because people are less likely to be physically at your church every week over the summer doesn’t mean that they don’t want to give regularly.”

5) Plan Ahead for the Fall

Remember all those times that you’ve wanted to do some strategic planning, but have felt too “in the weeds” of the day-to-day requirements of church leadership?

This might just be your opportunity!

With a decrease in attendance, the summer slowdown is the perfect time to review and plan for the Fall and the vision your church should be pursuing moving forward.

Set aside some time to review any systems you currently have in place and see if there is a way to improve them. When involvement gets more consistent, how will your ministry need to change? What initiatives need to be planned out now to be most effective? What goals and milestones feel important for the church as a whole to pursue and champion together? What major areas of growth do you and your team have?

6) Provide Special Events for the Whole Family

With children out of school and one or both parents working, it can be difficult to find events the whole family can enjoy. Take note of the demographic of your church: Do you have more families, singles, or young couples? Then look around to the demographics of your community: What kinds of events will serve your community best?

Depending on what you find, you might consider offering VBS, movie nights, water park days, or picnics in the park. By offering events that help bring the family together, you can make sure connecting with your church feels beneficial to those you’re trying to reach and doesn’t feel like another obligation to fill-up their busy calendar even more.

The summer slowdown/slump can be discouraging if you aren’t prepared for this season and don’t adjust what your church offers to support your community. If your church needs help setting up online giving or adding systems to be better prepared to get back into your stride in the Fall, now is the perfect time to try out a demo of One Church Software.

Did you know that more people search for “church” online around Easter followed quickly by Christmas? As we know, these are the two most popular Christian holidays for non-regular churchgoers to step through your church’s doors.

For many churches, this is one of the biggest opportunities of the year that we have to not only invite people into your church, but to minister to their hearts.

That puts a lot of pressure on church leaders as they plan for Easter! Whether this is your first time planning an Easter service or your twenty-fifth time, we’ve got 6 common Easter planning mistakes to avoid:

1. Starting late.

At the time of this article, we are just under a month away from Easter. While every church is different in terms of staff, creative teams, in-house graphics, and marketing, if you haven’t started planning your Easter service yet, you should get started!

We think a good rule of thumb is to give yourself approximately eight weeks to plan, set up, and implement every part of your Easter service. But we would also recommend having a vision meeting in the first two months of the year. This will allow your team to have the time and space necessary for great ideas to be developed.

But if you haven’t done any planning yet, don’t be discouraged! It is possible to pull off a well-put-together Easter service in four weeks. We would encourage you to make sure to pull in extra staff and volunteers to help make sure you have the best plan possible. And remember to watch out for the other mistakes to avoid on this list.

2. Leading from duty rather than conviction.

Easter is the “Super Bowl” of church holidays and because of that, it can feel like we have an obligation to plan something big and spectacular. Let us not forget the real reason Easter Sunday is such a big deal. It isn’t because we have an opportunity to grow our church attendance numbers and it isn’t about fulfilling a line on your job description.

Easter Sunday is about helping people encounter the life-changing love of Jesus!

In order to do this, you need to consider how you can give yourself space for God to bring you a fresh conviction of the truth we celebrate at Easter. This week and the weeks leading up to Easter, set aside time for the Spirit to remind you of this truth.

3. Assuming your team is bought in from the start.

Your team is going to put in a ton of time and energy to make your Easter Service possible. It is crucial that they understand and have “caught” the vision of what will take place the day of. You can’t just assume they are bought into the purpose and vision that needs to inform the work they will have to do to make it all possible.

Take some time upfront to cast a vision for what you are hoping to achieve on Easter and how that reaches other people with the Good News. Be sure to share the why and help them see how their specific task connects to the overall purpose of the service. By doing this, you will energize them in the part they are playing to make it all possible!

4. You don’t give a reason for guests to fill out a card (physical or digital).

Easter Sunday is often one of the highest-attended services of the year. If you don’t have a way to collect people’s information, you aren’t likely to see them again until next year. Most churches have a church visitor card, whether that be a digital or a physical card. But what we often forget is to give people a reason to fill it out and turn it in.

People are much more likely to share their information if they are receiving something in return. A great idea that we’ve often heard is to offer a $5 donation to a charity that guests can choose from on the card. This is a great, community-centered way to incentivize guests to fill out a connection card and make follow-up possible!

5. Forgetting to clarify your follow-up process.

Once the service is over, we tend to let out a sigh of relief, maybe sleep in a little on Monday, and then bring in donuts for our staff to celebrate. But what happens next is truly one of the most important parts of your church’s connection with new people!

What are the next steps you want people to take as a result of your Easter service? How are you going to engage them after they leave the building? Don’t wait until after your Easter service to develop the plan here!

Take some time to consider what next steps you are leading people towards, especially those who are new. Then consider how you will prompt them to take that step. One Church Software can help you automate some of this process (even some of the follow-up)!

Read more: 6 Processes You Should Automate in Your Church

6. Prioritizing production over purpose.

Our desire to have a powerful Easter service can easily lead us into thinking that production is the most important part; how we perform and if we created a great experience for guests. But we need to remember that the purpose of Easter is not the production of it all. It’s okay to have a flashy production and special effects so long as we don’t get fooled into thinking those are the most important elements of your service.

The entire service could “fail” with microphones cutting out and musicians off-key and church leaders stumbling over our words, and Christ can still be glorified through it. The purpose of Easter is simply this: to celebrate Christ and to share clearly with others why we do so. 

We are praying for you, and we can’t wait to hear the stories of how God shows up in your planning, in your service, and in your follow-up this year!

If you don’t have a church management system or are considering switching, you can try One Church Software FREE for 14 days to see all the ways it can help you care for your members, empower your volunteers, and serve your community.

Choosing the right church management platform can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. The key to selecting the best fit for your ministry is to continually consider how a church management system (ChMS) will help your church in its mission.

Before your church leaders begin their search, make sure a clearly defined mission has been created and that the goals and/or strategies to fulfill this mission are communicated. Prioritizing your mission will serve as your guiding light, helping to maintain focus on what’s most important. Doing this goes far beyond writing down a list of necessary features – which is important, too, but can lead to comparison shopping for tiny feature sets that may not benefit your church or may just go unused.

Focus instead on finding a worship technology platform that aids in your church’s growth, whether numerically, spiritually, or both and acts as a helpful tool in fulfilling your mission. A vast majority of churches agree that the most helpful software tools benefit their ministry values by aiding in the care of church members, helping to promote spiritual growth, simplifying ways to engage the community at large, and freeing up time for personal ministry opportunities. Software features of any church management solution should be measured against these core values.

Finding a ministry technology system that helps your church reach its goals is primary. To help in this process, it’s important for a church to understand organization pain points with its current solution, and to actively seek out a platform that can alleviate as many of those pain points as possible. Setting aside time to identify and record these pain points can act as a guide to finding the best fit for your ministry.

Church management software can help you run your ministry more efficiently. Once you’ve decided to invest in a ChMS, many times the most challenging process is narrowing down your options to identify which platform is best for your church. Remember to focus on finding a platform that will help your church grow and fulfill your mission.

Download our FREE ebook discussing this topic along with a decision-making guide for your church leaders.

Planning a service can take a lot of hard work and organization, from writing the sermon to picking the right music to coordinating all the volunteers needed to make it possible. While you don’t need to be planning out every tiny detail, you also shouldn’t be winging every aspect of your service the day-of either.

(We consistently see churches swing a little too far in one or the other direction!)

To give you a hand at finding that happy middle ground, here’s a list of some best practices for planning your service:

1) Make a church service plan in advance; make adjustments in the moment.

Planning is one of the most spiritual things a leader can do. Have you ever thought about that? Developing a plan is one of the core ways that we, as leaders, shepherd our flock carefully.

Now it’s still wise to allow for necessary, Spirit-led adjustments in the moment, and to remain flexible. But developing a plan helps your team prepare effectively, keeps your team organized, allows you to lead from intentionality rather than urgency, and keeps your overall pace at a manageable level.

2) Prioritizing excellence requires you to give your team time to prepare.

Rarely can a team produce their best at a moment’s notice. For most people, excellence comes when they know what their tasks are in advance, can prepare for those tasks ahead of time, and can even prepare their own heart for their role in the service.

If you’re not sure how much time would be best, ask your team! Giving them time to prepare shows that you care, and allows them to serve with the best of the passion and skills God has given them.

3) Stop texting your volunteers for their availability.

Texting may seem convenient, but in reality, tracking all those details week after week eats away too much of your time. Instead of texting each volunteer for their availability and then having to text them back after you’ve made your schedule, make it easier on yourself and them by utilizing a Church Management Software (ChMS).

Through a ChMS, you can have volunteers input their availability in advance, and the system will automatically notify them when they are scheduled to serve.

4) Communicate your sermon content as early as you can.

The earlier you can communicate your sermon content, the better! This will allow your team to have plenty of time to pick out music, Scripture readings, and special elements that match your sermon content and creates a cohesive service from start to finish.

Overall sermon topics should generally be defined at the start of a series, and a great goal is for your sermon content to be planned and communicated 1-2 weeks in advance.

5) Say “thank you.”

Encouraging your team is just as important in service planning as the elements you include in the service. You don’t want your team to become a revolving door of people. Building a solid team that is engaged in the work that God has called you to do requires that you encourage your team members regularly and show appreciation for what they do.

When you see a team member serving, take time to genuinely thank them. And it never hurts to schedule regular time in your schedule to give them a personal gesture of appreciation (handwritten thank you card, a small gift card, a text, etc.).

6) Always have a follow-up plan.

One of the most important pieces of planning for your service is your church service follow-up plan. How will you connect with new people that just experienced your service? Will people clearly understand what the next step is and how to take it?

Churches with a clear follow-up plan are much more likely to build long-term relationships with guests. Believe it or not, it’s actually something that can be automated!

If you are not naturally a planner, all this might seem a bit overwhelming. It may feel that way initially, but as you make these things part of your routine, you will find yourself with more time and less stress.

Ultimately, this is all about helping your church thrive and fulfill its mission to encourage believers and bring the Gospel to those that are not yet saved! The Holy Spirit has the power to work in our planning just as much as He has the power to work in the moment.

Looking for a church management system to support you in effective service planning? Learn how this core feature works in One Church Software’s award-winning, all-in-one software for churches.