how to start a church

How To Start A Church: Your Detailed Guide

By | Resources

Taking the lead and planting your church is a serious decision. This venture requires a lot of confidence and planning to properly pull off. It is okay to be a bit scared at first because you don’t know what to expect.

You would think that with the decline in church attendance that now is the wrong time to open a church. In reality, now is when you should seize the opportunity because so many people have defected from their church. There has been a growth in the number of believers that are vulnerable to identifying with a new home.

Thousands of Americans have taken it upon themselves to start a church. You have the power to do the same. Many startup churches fail before they see any success at all but that’s the result of erratic planning. With the right strategy, effective marketing, and your commitment⁠—we believe you can build a worship sanctuary that will last.

The Planning Process

Having the right plan will help you go about starting your congregation on the right foot. The hard part of figuring out your strategy is understanding what you should plan. It can be confusing for a newcomer because there are so many variables at play. That said, we will give you some insight into the most important factors to plan out for your startup church.

So, let’s begin…

Who will you be?

It is important to understand what your identity is within your congregation.

Will you be involved in preaching or only serve as the director?

Who do you need?

What positions need to be filled? Who do you have on-hand so far?

What values will the church hold?

Every church has unique values. Define yours and don’t defect from your vision.

These are simple points to think over. Now let’s get started with the rest.

What is the Denomination?

The biggest focal point of any church is its denomination. Assuming it’s a Christian-based church, the main denominations that you might choose from include:

  • Roman Catholicism (1.313 billion)
  • Independent Catholicism (18 million)
  • Protestantism (920 million)
  • Anglicanism (85 million)
  • Eastern Orthodox (270 million)
  • Oriental Orthodoxy (80 million)
  • Non-trinitarian Restorianism (35 million)

These figures indicate the number of church members worldwide as shown on Wikipedia. In the United States, the most popular religions are Protestantism (48.9%) and Roman Catholicism (23%).

It is important to stick to your beliefs. Church planting is something that is done out of deep faith in our Lord and no ingenuine decisions should be made along the way. However, you must avoid alienating potential church members by getting too specific with your denomination.

If it applies to you⁠—choose to be a Protestantism or Roman Catholicism-based church and don’t go micro-niche by further detailing your denomination. Your message and goals can fall in line with specific beliefs but you can still be welcoming toward all Protestants or Roman Catholics.

Alternatively, you may want to consider starting a non-denominational church.

What is the Branding?

Just like starting a business, a new church should receive proper branding so it is attractive to potential members. Good branding can make all the difference when attempting to increase attendance and turn churchgoers into disciples.

The body of your church will grow and help boost overall success because of the team dynamic at play. But, for this to happen your church must appeal to enough people and that starts with the “branding” you choose.

What’s the name?

Start by reading some tips on naming a church so you can wrap your head around this subject. This decision will carry with you so be thoughtful. You do not have to be overly creative with the name that you choose⁠—many churches are named based on the street or neighborhood where it’s located.

Don’t stress too much—the identity you carry is what truly counts.

Who will you appeal to?

Figure out your church’s target demographic. The main variable will be what denomination they are but you should always dig further. If you are a pastor already, consider who your sermons and personal beliefs resonate with to detail your typical church member. You do not need to overthink this subject but it is still good to generally outline your target demographic.

Here’s a good idea—define these people by “mindsets” instead.

What are the goals of your church?

Church planting is often done because a void is seen that needs to be filled. Think about what inspired you to look into building a church in the first place. Look at what your church body can do through discipleship and the different goals that can be achieved. Realistically speaking, church goals should be dynamic and there should be both big and small targets.

Here is a good church goal-planning strategy that should help you with planning your hopeful achievements.

Who are the pastors?

One of the brainstorming questions we mentioned at the start was “Who do you need?”. Your pastors are the glue of your congregation and hold a fundamental role in the church’s success. It is important to identify and plan around these individuals.

Without a doubt, make sure you determine who your regular pastors will be⁠—and hopefully get on talking terms with a few guest speakers⁠ as well. Figuring out the identities that will represent your church is key and should be done during the planning stage. Of course, things might change in this department but always be selective and only bring in quality fits to your congregation.

How to find pastors for your church

It can be difficult for a startup church to find a dedicated preacher.

In fact… it’s very hard for smaller churches to find a willing pastor.

Sometimes you are better off getting an interim pastor to serve the role for the first 3-6 months or so. This person might turn into a permanent speaker. Since you cannot guarantee successful attendance from day one—not putting too much pressure on a prospective pastor is a good idea.

With an interim pastor on board, even if it’s someone with less experience, it becomes easier to attract other preachers to your church. You might be able to fill the role with a senior pastor as the lead preacher. You do not want to build up a congregation based on convenience; be patient with finding the right people for your team, but always make sure all roles are filled.

Read online to find tips for finding a pastor for your church to better grasp your options.

What else to know when team-building

Remember: Choosing a new pastor is a difficult process when there are multiple parties involved. It is a good idea to make a constitution that applies when filling important roles. A vote amongst your congregation is a good idea. As your church grows, the percentage of votes required to pass a decision should increase to prevent creating unease within your team.

Planning a non-denominational church? Many pastors are influenced by the idea of preaching at this kind of church. The non-denominational movement is growing in size and is becoming a more acceptable choice. Push the reputability that comes with your non-denominational church when trying to bring a new speaker on board

Lastly, you will need more than one preacher prepared for sure. Your lead pastor is important but you should focus on finding an associate pastor, assistant pastor, and youth pastor.

Interview potential church staff members. 

Make sure their message falls in line with what you want to achieve. Your team should be passionate about the goals that you set out for your church. Forcing a congregation simply to have all your “ducks in a row” will backfire every time. There has to be heart from all, not just you!

Establishing the Church

Your general outline is now in place. Next, how do you establish the church?

This process is the tiring part. It’s all logistics and little emotion.

We will walk you through some of the most important steps.

Choosing Your Location

God calls it upon all of his disciples to plant their own church. If you have the ambition to achieve such a missionary goal there will be no challenge that you cannot overcome. Ask for His guidance and embark on your mission to find chapel space with the help of the spirit of the Lord.

Next, begin figuring out your preferences and check your options.

Where would you like to plant your church?

You probably have an idea of what part of town or which neighborhood you would like to plant your church. Finding the right location can be difficult but the searching pains will vary depending on where you live and what the real estate market is like.

Without a doubt, your first course of action should be to look at all of the currently vacant churches and see if any fit your criteria. You can then look at converting a zoning-appropriate building if none are in an acceptable area.

Of course, when planting a church it is not essential to have a full-size venue from day one. Your plan can be a bit staggered and could involve renting out spaces to host meetings and sermons in the early stage of your growth. That way, your major real estate-related investment will only come once you have built up your team and developed a relationship with the members of your church.

Determine Your Costs

You must determine your budget and analyze your costs.

Take a basic accounting course if you are not qualified.

Make use of an accounting software program to keep it all simple.

Check out cost estimates for church planting to get an idea of what you might expect to pay when starting up your own church. Consider both your launch costs and your operational costs.

Look for fundraising and sponsorship opportunities. Here are some fundraising tips that can help when trying to raise capital for your startup church. Be creative and get some suggestions from others on your team too.

Getting Finances in Order

Many important things need to be done to make sure your church meets basic requirements financially and legally. Below we will go over a handful of points that should not be ignored.

How do you get an EIN?

You need to fill out Form SS-4 to receive your EIN (Employee Identification Number). You can do this online, by mail, or through fax. Check out the IRS information page to find everything you need to know about getting an EIN for your church.

How do you open a bank account?

You need to prepare everything the bank will want to see. The documents you should have ready include a copy of your proof of incorporation, “meeting minutes” from the board meeting where the bank account decision was decided and signed for, your EIN number, and your personal ID. Make sure to confirm with the bank if there is anything else that they will require from you.

How do you get your Proof of Incorporation?

The requirements for how to incorporate a church will vary depending on the state where you are located. Usually, the process involves submitting forms to your Secretary of State. This process is only different in three states. In Louisiana, the state approves or rejects the incorporation request but the documents are ultimately processed and stored with the local Parish. In Michigan and Virginia, there is a Corporations Commission that handles everything. Check the site for your state or give them a call to get the exact details on how to incorporate your church.

Being incorporated is important. It takes personal liability away from the church if anything happens to any members or staff. It gives you the chance to qualify for some grants via both the federal government and certain faith-based groups. It gives you cheaper mailing costs and various other types of discounts. Learn more about the why and how of incorporating a church if you are feeling a bit out of touch on this subject.

How do you get grants?

If you are incorporated you have a chance to qualify for some grants for your church. Check out this simple guide for finding church grants to get a better idea of where to look to find the available options. These grants won’t just help with startup and operational costs but also with raising capital for a mission or special event. Here are more tips covering church grants and the faith-based foundations that supply them.

How do you become tax-exempt?

Churches are qualified for tax-exempt status through the IRS. Nothing must be done to maintain this status. You can find out more about this exemption and the exception from filing the annual information return (Form 990/990-N/990-EZ) on this page.

Marketing Your Church

Now you get to the fun part.

You need to gain attention for your startup church. After you get known, the next step is to increase the attendance growth. When this is no longer a concern you can focus on upping financial contributions and church commitment/discipleship from your active members.

Two quick pieces of advice…

This YouTube video touches on how you can optimize your church for growth behind the scenes.

The first piece of advice that is given (by pastors-turned-entrepreneurs) is that you should always be measuring your metrics. This aspect matters in the business world but far too many churches fail to measure enough factors to truly be able to optimize for growth.

You should look online at different list-based articles and metric-tracking tool feature pages to compile a comprehensive list of what to measure. This list will give you 20 metrics to track which is a good start⁠—you can borrow some standard business metrics as well.

The second piece of advice is to be strategic in your hiring by outsourcing many jobs to qualified people. Instead of keeping it all in-house, get expert help because the difference matters. It might seem easy enough to “do it yourself” but a church marketing guru will always be a step ahead.

You can handle most of this stuff yourself at first, but as your church grows an emphasis should be put on outsourcing to experts. Some tasks are more important to outsource than others. Use your logic and always consider how much it will impact your church’s growth and reputation.

How to Gain Attention

Getting exposure to a new church can be very tough.

Here are some methods that have worked for others in your shoes:

Host a “Neighborhood Day”

Have a BBQ for families and friends in the community. Make the event non-denominational and focus on having a good time. Consider this your “housewarming party” and use it as a means of networking and building early relationships.

The people that live closest to your church location are the easiest first leads to convert into actual attendees. Even if they don’t stick around, many that live nearby are likely willing to visit your church at first and return for occasional events/sermons.

Live Stream via Facebook

Build interest in your sermons and get your church’s message across through social media platforms. Facebook, in particular, can be very beneficial. You can run a live stream and talk about your mission to plant a church, the goals you want to achieve, etc. You can live stream sermons held in rented venues before launching in your official space.

The social reach that Facebook offers is immensely powerful. Use your live streaming as a way to connect with prospective church members. These people will share content from your page and increase attention to your church. You can make a big announcement for your opening day and continue promoting your church this way every week.

Use Paid Advertising Methods

Local advertising methods can work. For example, sending out pamphlets in the mail is costly but not as expensive when done efficiently. Target households within a 2-5 mile radius depending on the population in the area. Do whatever you can to get the word out—put up posters, hand out flyers, pay for a radio or newspaper ad, etc. 

Your launch day is a big moment and needs to be planned to perfection. Get your marketing materials in order as early as possible. Think through all the different promotional avenues that are available to you and don’t be afraid to bring in some outside help.

Plan separately for member retention.

It is hard to keep church members even after they attend a service a few times. You must build a relationship, create a community feel, and engage everyone to keep up your attendance numbers. 

Establishing a Digital Footprint

In today’s age, every church needs to have a proper presence on the web. People are always seeking information and engagement through digital sources. From your perspective, having an established position online and on social media will empower your church to grow!

You need:

  1. A social media presence
  2. A website
  3. A church app

We will go over these three variables in more detail.

Social Media Marketing for Your Church

Your church should have an active Facebook page at the minimum. Some other platforms you might want to engage with people through would include Instagram and Twitter. These social media networks are the most populated and create the best results from a marketing perspective.

You should hire a social media marketing expert to handle your social pages. The way to approach everything will vary depending on the specific network. The best techniques are not easy to learn and succeeding means knowing how to adapt “on the fly”. Even so, learn how your church page should be used to get an idea of what needs to be planned out.

Think of your Facebook page as your brand image and reputation. Anyone can discover it. The way your page is presented will give the first impression that could attract or detract potential church members. The way your page is used also has the power to engage current church members which helps your church sustain its growth. Remember, the more happy and engaged members you have⁠—the more disciples you will have on hand to serve your church!

Your Church Needs a Website

Your church’s website is a landing page for current members and potential newcomers. The way your homepage is presented will play a big role in how people engage with your site. The right layout can influence visitors to go through what are essentially the “steps of a marketing funnel”. You should take a few minutes to learn more about how website conversion funnels work and understand what they can achieve.

You have the power to direct your visitors to act as you want. You can encourage new people to try your church and influence discipleship or contributions from your active members.

Take a look at our list of the best church website designs of 2019 to get an idea of what works. We provide commentary on some of the key elements of each listed website design. Your website has many variables that matter ranging from the page tabs to typography choices. Take the time to learn the ins and outs—we discuss the marketing strength of certain design features in that piece as well, which is very important.

How can you easily set up a website?

Your options include:

  1. Outsourcing the web design work to a freelancer in your area or online. Websites like Upwork and PeoplePerHour are full of low-cost designers and developers that can bring your vision to life.
  2. Setting up your website on your own through a builder like Wix, Weebly, or SquareSpace. These services come with a recurring cost but the simplicity makes it easy for a beginner to set their site up without needing outside help.
  3. Building your website through a premium WordPress theme. ThemeForest is the most popular site to buy theme licenses from and you can check their church themes here. Most of the themes are extremely user-friendly and the WordPress backend itself is very easy to use and update.

Increase Donations & Engagement with a Church App

Many churches are incorporating a mobile app as a way to increase engagement with their members. At the same time, the application serves as a simple and secure transaction source for church donations. Along with push notifications, the right app content can grab the user and build their commitment to your church.

Churches use their app to supply members with:

  • Regular sermons
  • Event invitations
  • Volunteer requests
  • Contribution requests
  • Plus whatever else…

Our “Church Giving App” gives you the ability to accept donations from mobile users. The payment options are immense (including Apple Pay). We’ve also put our software into a tablet-style kiosk machine which receives 24% more donation $’s on average.

If you want to wait for an app till a later date that’s understandable. You can still go for text-to-give donations which work incredibly well. We also have embedded give forms that can go onto your website (contact us to go over your options). 

Managing the Church

In the last section of our detailed guide, we want to touch on the important factors regarding the management of your church. We’ve already covered planning the startup and marketing to gain attendance. But, it is essential to make sure that your church is operational and obliging to all expectations.

Some important things to consider includes: your accounting, on-site security, event planning, and discipleship growth.

How to Handle Church Accounting

It is usually good to leave your accounting work in the hands of a professional. You can run the books at first on your own but pass this role to an expert when your church starts to grow. It would be a good idea to make use of a popular church accounting software program like FlockBase or Aplos Church Accounting.

Check this review list to compare your options.

How to Handle Church Security

Security is of the utmost importance. Threats will always exist but the more your church grows the more you should do to protect your members and staff. Take a look at our list of 10 church security tips to get an idea of the different practices and protocols that you should make common.

The points we cover include:

  1. Specifically detail all assigned roles
  2. Run background checks on members/volunteers
  3. Develop emergency scripts for speakers
  4. Invest in communication tools like walkie talkies
  5. Always have security cameras and cover the entries
  6. Consider the position of your pastor’s pulpit
  7. Be certain everyone is aware of the exit points
  8. Communicate, discuss, and develop with your team
  9. Watch out for other sources of disruption
  10. Create a sense of joy from within

How to Plan & Schedule Events

Planning and scheduling events should be done amongst all staff members. You can hold weekly meetings to go over what’s happening with the church, its congregation, the community, etc. These meetings are the perfect opportunity to go over any events that you would like to plan. You can always have guests join in on these meetings if any upcoming events will involve other churches, speakers, or any other third-party.

You will have to address each situation individually based on the circumstances. For example, if there is an upcoming missionary trip you want to make sure it is scheduled for a time that works for most members. In this scenario, it might make the most sense to create a poll asking which days work for your members and which days are not possible.

The goal is to leave the opportunity open for as many members as possible. You want to sustain their discipleship which is why optimizing your scheduling efforts is so important.

Using a live schedule spreadsheet through Google Sheets or an actual program or mobile app would be a great idea. Many mobile apps are full of beneficial features for teams like yours. Take the time to look for one and get everyone to start making use of it if you like that idea.

Also, consider the financial side of planning an event. You need to make sure it is workable with your church’s budget. To offset the costs it would be a good idea to get fundraising and sponsoring for as much of the cost of the expenditure as you can. Plan to raise funds ahead of when the event or excursion will take place. You can do a vote with your board members to determine if the opportunity is worth the cost before green-lighting it.

How to Build Discipleship

Solid attendance and commitment to your church result in a growth in disciples under your congregation. Establishing this relationship requires evolving a new church member into someone who feels like they are a full part of your team. The “we’re all in this together” approach is fundamental and should be ingrained into every aspect of your growth efforts.

Read this article on discipleship culture in the church to understand how you can influence your members to get more involved. Their description explains it well by claiming that people do not just go to church and become disciples overnight. They attend, get baptized, and then become teachers/servants. The church is responsible for evangelizing non-believers, establishing their beliefs through baptism and teaching, and then equipping them with the knowledge and power to be disciples.

Two other key things you should do to build discipleship within your church include incorporating disciple-making sermons in your weekly service and pushing opportunities for your believers to teach and serve the Lord. You can also seek out the help of a senior pastor to build a detailed conversion strategy.

Conclusion… It's Possible

Church planting is an intimidating process but that doesn’t mean you should give up the idea. Many people succeed at starting a church of their own. With His help, you will find no struggle too overwhelming to overcome. However, it WILL take a lot of planning to make everything work.

At NewFire Giving we regularly provide hands-on consultation for both new and established churches. You’re welcome to reach out for help. Check out our Ignite Coaching service page to better understand what we can do to help grow your church and maximize your donations.

Trust in the Lord above all things

By | Clarify the WHY

Ask yourself, who is it you trust most in this world? Who is the most worthy of your trust? Think of all the wonders that god gives us, and how little he asks in return.

Building your relationship with the lord means building trust with him. It is when uncertainty has fled your heart that God’s love will show itself.

Remember to stand in awe at the narrow range of the lord’s capabilities that you are able to understand. Fear his wrath and what is wrought upon his enemies.

Take a few minutes and think about trust. What does trust mean? What can be gained from it?

We all falter from time to time. When you are down and out, remember this page and re-read some of these passages. Contemplate what trust means to you, and what you can do to place more of it in the lord in your everyday life.

Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.

Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.”

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

and he will establish your plans.

Psalm 143:8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,

for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

for to you I entrust my life.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

James 1:6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Hebrews 13:6 So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?”

Proverbs 29:25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,

but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 16:20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,

and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Psalm 31:19 How abundant are the good things

that you have stored up for those who fear you,

that you bestow in the sight of all,

on those who take refuge in you.

And with these thoughts in mind.

We have some thoughts to pray on. We need to see the light that shines upon us when we trust in a higher power. We need to feel the strength that flows through us, knowing that we are not along. We know that it is our faith that gives us his favor. It is our devotion that will sow the seeds of prosperity.

We need to know what it means to see god in everything. We see the beauty of his love in everything around us. We see the trials that he sets before us for what they are. We are alive in the knowledge that with his love, there is nothing that we cannot overcome.

We could all do with more trust in our lives, and trusting in the lord is our best foundation to do so.

Prayers For The Church

Prayers For The Church

By | Bible Verses

Prayer is one of the mysterious ways of the Christian life. Praying for yourself, your family, community or your country is one thing while praying for the church is a different thing altogether. Prayer is the heart of the church. Through prayers, we seek reconciliation, express our gratitude, seek wisdom and ask for grace. Since the church is not immune to earthly problems, we as Christians ought to pray to God to let the spirit guide us in building, protecting and expanding the church.

Prayers give the church a deeper understanding of the true nature of God and His purpose for the world. Kneeling before God alone in your room is often powerful, allowing you to connect to God in magical ways. For a church, prayer is a conduit to the power of God. As a church, how do you pray together? What prayer items are essential? Who should lead church prayers?

Here are crucial 9 prayers for the church you should consider when planning your church prayer sessions.

1.      Thanksgiving Prayer

Whether it is in a thanksgiving celebration or the usual church service, a thanksgiving prayer is an excellent way of expressing our gratitude to the ultimate Creator. In 1st Thessalonians 5:16 – 18, we are reminded to pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances. It does not matter if the church is facing problems or celebrating milestones; the bible urges us to give thanks to Whom we bestow all blessings at all times. Thankfulness opens up a stream of wonders and delight and draws us closer to God.

2.      Reconciliation

Reconciliation should be a central theme in church prayers. Sin can alienate the church from God preventing it from witnessing the omnipotent nature of the Almighty. Jesus’ prayer for peace in his sermon on the mount shows that reconciliation lies at the epicenter of Christ’s ministry here on earth. In Ephesians 2:14, it is succinct that the role of the church is to pray to break the walls of division among people of all backgrounds through prayer. Paul teaches the church of Corinth to pray for reconciliation among themselves and, most importantly to God. Pray to Creator to give your church an understanding of what it means to be reconciled to God. Reconciliation is the way you can comprehend your problems, forge up solutions and fulfill the purpose of the church on earth.

3.      Church Growth

Churches are required to trust in God to work miracles in and through their growth. Church leaders and followers are urged by God through the Scriptures to build and expand the church, making disciples in every people, tribe, and nation. This is a huge task which no single follower, pastor or church leader can accomplish alone. But with the help of the Almighty through prayers, church growth becomes easier. Christians are required to invoke God’s guidance through constant prayer to enable both the physical and spiritual growth of the church.

4.      A Prayer for Grace

The Scriptures tell us that if we ask anything from God, through His will and faithfulness, we shall be given what we seek. Grace is the foundation of a church. It is the fuel that enables churches to put on the armor of light and shine Jesus’ kindness and love to the world. In 2nd Cor 12:8, we are told that God’s grace is sufficient for all of us for His power shows during our darkest moments. A prayer for grace enables the church to grow up in Christ resulting in lifelong spiritual maturity. With grace, the church can sail through storms, withstand trials and temptations and witness the fruits of proclaiming the purpose of Christ for the world.

5.      Church Generosity

Most verses in the bible about money emphasize on the importance of sharing the little we have with the needy. Generosity is one of the primary obligations of the modern church, where most churches lay down frameworks for charity or crowdfunding to raise money to assist the needy in the society. Praying for generosity allows the church to show God’s limitless and never-ending ability to bless those who give generously. A prayer for generosity involves asking God to bless others through us (the church). Generosity is not just tied to material things – it also involves sharing the fruits of the Holy Spirit and extending grace and mercy to the world.

6.      Prayer for Church Leadership

Praying for God to bless and provide knowledge and resources to the church leadership is fundamental. From the time of Paul, successful churches have always relied on prayer to give wisdom to their leaders. When three enemy armies surrounded King Jehoshaphat, he did not know what to do but pray to God. Praying for church leadership will enable them to break obstacles in their most difficult times. In prayer, we draw church leaders into deeper dependence upon God allowing them to walk a life worthy of their calling.

7.      Church Unity

Divisions in the church can arise because of differences in culture, political ideologies, or socioeconomics. Paul noticed that the Church of Ephesus was about to divide because of disagreements between the members. He then wrote from prison reminding them of the need for unity in the church. When organizing a prayer week or planning for a church service, keep in mind that prayer for unity is the pillar for success. Prayers for unity bring church members, leaders and partners together, enabling them to work in harmony to fulfill God’s will for the church.

8.      A Prayer for Peace

Peace in the church is a status of the inner joy, tranquility, and comfort where members and leaders coexist in harmony. A prayer for peace can help your church to resolve conflicts where every party gets satisfied. The Bible urges us to face conflicts in the church head-on and use the power of prayer to invite peace among the conflicting parties. Prayers enable us to seek personal peace with God through Christ creating an inner sense of calmness and well-being.

9.      Forgiveness

Prayer allows us to seek restoration and healing for the church. Whether you are seeking forgiveness for your own sins or asking God to forgive others, forgiveness is a powerful fruit of the Holy Spirit. It frees the church from past wrongdoings and prepares them for the future. Our shortcomings as human beings can anger God in ways we may not understand. That is why we are reminded to seek forgiveness for the sins we know and those we don’t know. A prayer for forgiveness gives the church new hope and beginning.

When God’s house on the earth is a house of prayer, then heaven is busy in its plans for the church. A church that prays is encircled with protection and peace of Christ. It is shielded from its enemies by supernatural powers of God.

How to Lead Church Prayers

While you can quickly assume that pastors or church leaders have a mandate of discipling the church towards prayer, any Christian can lead church prayer. There is one caveat, though. Some biblical lessons teach that God may not answer your prayer if you are asking for the wrong things, or asking for wrong reasons, or if you lack faith and have not asked for forgiveness. You need to ensure that the person leading your church in prayers is spiritually mature and can ask the right things for the right reasons.

If you are planning a prayer meeting or a prayer week in your church, here are some of the tips that can help you have a fruitful prayer session.

  • Have a specific theme. Whether you want to seek forgiveness, pray for church members, or ask God to help strengthen the growth of the church, you need a well-thought theme that will drive your prayers.
  • Is it an invitation-only or an open prayer meeting? Church leader groups, women groups, or any other group in the church might want to engage in prayers. Organize everything to suit the needs of the group
  • Consider the number of the congregation. If you are organizing a prayer meeting for the whole church, senior church leaders and pastors should be given the role to lead the church in prayers. You also have to inform your members early that you’ll be having a prayer meeting.
  • Define the length of the prayer session. Congregants need to know how long a prayer will go on.
  • Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Some topics or sessions can be uncomfortable for some of the people. But that is the essence of prayer – to bring to God issues bothering us and ask for His grace and assistance in resolving the issues.
  • Write down your prayers. If you have the prayer leader, you might want to write down your prayer to enable you to stay on the rails even as other congregants veer off from the main prayer theme.

Leading people in prayer is a humbling role that requires you to plan well. You need to be dynamic so as to accommodate other prayer items that can pop up during prayer meetings. Praying and worshipping go hand in hand together. You can make your sessions more engaging by including praise and worship sessions. Encourage your church to pray by carrying out occasional all-church prayer meetings.

Prayer Items for Your Church

Sometimes, you don’t know what to include in your prayer or where to start and stop. When engaging in all-church prayer, some members of the prayer team may go off-topic. So, what prayer items should you consider in your church prayers? Paul prays for the church of Thessalonica, Rome, Ephesus, and Colossae where he considers the needs and problems of these churches in his prayers.

Most churches structure their prayer calendar in such a manner that the prayer items coincide with the theme of the week. If your theme for the week is spiritual growth, then your prayer items should center on aspects regarding spirituality.

In the church, we may have a few prayer warriors, but many church members lack the biblical vision and discipline to commit themselves to intercessions, and supplication. Prayer is communication with God, believing and receiving what He has given to us through Christ. Proper connection with the Almighty implies understanding how God receives and responds to prayers.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when suggesting prayer items for your church:

  • Is the prayer item relevant to the congregation?
  • How does the item address the church’s intimate relationship with God?
  • Does the prayer harmonize with God’s will for the church?

Like praying for yourself, you need to be steadfast and persistent when praying for the church. If Christians fail to pray for the church, the Bible tells us that we may not realize the true power of God. During church prayers, let us remember to include the prayers we discussed earlier to build our spiritual authority with Christ.

digital giving

7 Digital Giving Myths That Are Crippling Your Church

By | Resources

There are a lot of myths about the effects of digital giving. Some of those myths encourage churches to stay away from technologies that let members donate through text messages, kiosks, apps, and websites. Others paint an overly-optimistic picture of how quickly digital giving can grow a donation base.

It’s time to dispel seven of the most common digital giving myths. They are crippling your church by preventing you from making smart, informed decisions.

Let’s set the record straight.

1. People Prefer Donating Cash to Churches

As a kid, you probably watched deacons or other members of your church pass around collection plates. People added cash money and checks to the plates to fund the church’s mission.

Do you believe that people still prefer donating cash money? That belief could make it harder for you to reach your funding goals.

People Carry Less Cash Than They Used To

Surveys show that people carry cash less often than they used to. According to research from U.S. Bank, 50% of consumers carry cash less than half of the time. Even those who keep money in their wallets tend to carry less than $50.

As society moves away from cash-based exchanges, churches will find it increasingly difficult to solicit donations. Digital giving software makes it easier for people to give money to their churches without stopping at ATMs on Sunday mornings.

Digital Giving Helps People Track Tax Deductions

Donating to church can help people lower their tax burdens. They can only take advantage of the tax benefit, though, when they itemize and document their deductions.

The IRS doesn’t put a lot of trust in taxpayers. It wants to see a proof before it accepts deductions. With digital giving, your donors get electronic receipts. That means they can get their tax deductions, and your office staff doesn’t have to provide receipts to individuals.

2. Digital Giving Software Charges Too Many Service Fees for Churches to Afford

Companies that make digital giving software must charge fees to make money. Some churches believe that the fees will cost too much for them to afford. For most churches, though, that isn’t the case.

Increased Donations Make Up for Service Fees

The fees that you pay a software company will take a small portion away from your donations. Fortunately, digital giving can increase your overall contributions. When you increase the amount of money coming into your church, you make up for the service fees charged by vendors.

Trustworthy Processors Keep Fees as Affordable as Possible

Software companies understand that charitable organizations have limited resources. The most trustworthy payment processors, therefore, keep their fees as affordable as possible. They need to earn money, but they also need your church to thrive.

NewFire Giving helps make digital payments affordable by giving you control over the services you use. Some of the company’s most popular options include:

NewFire Giving doesn’t force you to use options that you don’t want. Instead, you choose the digital giving opportunities that you think will fit your congregation best.

In the end, you get affordable fees for giving software that matches your needs.

3. Only Big Churches Benefit From Digital Giving

Since digital giving software often charges a monthly base price and takes a small percentage of each donation, people assume that digital donations only work well for huge churches.

Big churches, of course, bring in more money because they have larger congregations.

Small churches, however, need to invest in software so they can accept more donations from people. Even with a small congregation, it doesn’t take long before you cover the monthly cost of a digital giving app.

Small Churches Benefit From a Larger Base of Donors

When your church can accept digital donations, you automatically increase your donor base.

The most recent data from the Pew Research Center Religious Landscape Study show a decline in attendance at church and other religious services. People are more likely to go to church a few times a year instead of attending once per week.

Members of your congregation probably don’t donate cash unless they attend a service. With digital giving, though, they can donate money to your church even when they can’t come to Sunday service.

Former Members Can Keep Giving Digitally

Former members of your church may still want to give you money and watch you succeed. If they have moved to a new neighborhood or city, though, they may find it difficult to visit.

You can use your digital giving platform to maintain relationships with former members and encourage them to donate.

With digital giving, you have a way to get more money without taking people’s time. Even people who have moved from your congregation to another church may see the benefit of donating to your small church.

4. Churches Can Expect More Donations as Soon as They Launch Digital Giving

Digital giving opens your church to a whole new way of receiving donations. That’s exciting news!

Which is why you need to keep your expectations in check.

Some members of your congregation will probably love the idea of text-to-give or donating money through an app. Others might dismiss the idea completely.

Most people will fall somewhere in the middle. After seeing other people donate digitally, they will give it a try. If they like it, then they will keep using software to fund your church.

How long does it take for congregations to adopt digital giving?

It varies significantly from church to church.

You can, however, help congregants open up to the idea by encouraging them in newsletters, emails, text messages, and after sermons. Explain the benefits that they get from digital giving. A lot of people will find those benefits appealing.

Some people will never try giving to your church digitally. That’s okay as long you grow your overall donation base and bring in more money.

5. Young, Tech-Savvy Church Members Don’t Have Much Money to Donate

A study from the Federal Reserve shows that Millennials typically have less wealth than their parents. Poor economic performance, high college tuition, and other factors make it difficult for Millennials and younger people to do things like buy homes and start families.

A lot of non-profit organizations assume, therefore, that young, tech-savvy people don’t have much money for donations.

When you assume that young people who are likely to use digital giving don’t have even money, it makes sense to target older people who prefer using cash.

Fortunately, Millennials belong to a philanthropic generation that enjoys giving money to worthy causes. They don’t own as much wealth as their parents, but they give a high percentage of their salaries to the causes they believe in.

Young Donors Are the Future of Churches

Even if young people can’t afford to donate as much money as their elders, churches still need to address Millennials. Eventually, young people will make more money, which means they will have more to donate.

Using digital donation software today helps young people develop the habit of giving. If your church shuts them out today, then they will find a congregation that welcomes them.

Instead, embrace the future by understanding that the donors you create today will continue to help your church in the coming years. Without the ongoing support of today’s young people, your church won’t have anyone donating money to it in the future.

6. Individuals Don’t Give Enough to Justify Digital Giving Apps

A survey by America Magazine finds that 25% of respondents donate $50 or more to their local parishes per week. Over a year, those respondents give their churches at least $2600.

An additional 23% say that they donate $21 to $30 per week, which comes to at least $1092 per year.

Only 14% of congregants say that they donate $5 or less per week.

The cheapest NewFire Giving plan that includes giving software costs $147 per month. Even if your donations stayed the same after adopting digital giving, it only takes one of your $50+ donors to pay for your software.

It’s more likely that investing in digital giving software will expand your donation base.

How many people donating $5 or less per week simply don’t have enough cash to pay more? Perhaps they want to give you $20, but they don’t have enough cash on hand. Digital donations would make it easy for them to increase their giving.

You can also use digital giving apps to remind members of your congregation to donate money. Members can even set up reoccurring donations. You get money from them whether or not they come to service this week.

As you can see, some individuals give more money than you think. A lot of churches rely on donations from individuals. You don’t have to get a huge amount of money from a business or business leader. The weekly money from your congregants adds up quickly.

The amount will add up even faster when you give people more ways to donate money.

7. Your Biggest Donors Want to Use Checks

Undoubtedly, some of your biggest donors will want to give you checks. Checks make it convenient for them to track their donations. Checks also make it possible for them to donate large sums without carrying a lot of money with them.

You can’t use this as an argument against adopting digital giving, though.

Churches Need Multiple Donation Streams

Would you tell your church members that they cannot donate cash because you prefer large checks? Of course not!

When it comes to cash and check donations, all churches understand that they need multiple streams of giving. You don’t deny one resource just because another option provides more money. You take as much as possible so you can keep your church funded and support your community.

Multiple donation streams have become more important than ever.

In 2018, 35% of the American population didn’t identify with any religion. Just 5 years before that, only 30% of Americans said that they didn’t identify with a specific religion.

The trend looks even scarier among young people. More than 40% of Americans between 18 and 44 identify as “nones,” which means that “no religion” has become the most popular religion.

Many of those young people will find their faith as they get older. Still, churches need to prepare for a future with fewer believers. As the religious population shrinks, churches will need as many donation streams as possible.

Digital donating gives you one more tool to reach your church’s financial goal.

Final Thoughts on Digital Donations

NewFire Giving creates new donation opportunities for your church. Request a free consultation from NewFire Giving to learn more about how digital giving options can benefit your church.

You may discover a new donation source that helps your church thrive.

The Parable of the Sower: How to Preach It and Use it as a Model for Church Growth

By | Resources

Of all the parables that Jesus told, there is none that He explained extensively than the Parable of the Sower. Could it be that this parable teaches us something so foundational about God’s kingdom that He personally rounded up His disciples to explain it to them in simple terms? Here, we carefully pore over what Jesus said and its implication on church growth.

The Tale of the Types of Soil and the Seeds

And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable… Luke 8:4

Having done so many miracles at this point, people were coming to Jesus by the hordes. And with multitudes surrounding Him, He began to teach this parable, which involves a man sowing seeds in four different kinds of soil.

Seeds on the Wayside

The seeds on the wayside remained out in the open, vulnerable to the birds who were out to devour it. Jesus likens this type of ground to people who hear the word of God but because of the lack of understanding, the word remained superficial. And Satan easily snatched it away from them.

Seeds on Stony Ground

The seeds that fell on stony ground are those who hear the word joyfully at first. But having no root, the enthusiasm dies down and when faced with the challenges of following Jesus, they can’t take the heat.

These are the people who seem to follow Christ with eagerness and fervor. They seem to grow at such an explosive rate, they talk about their faith with so much zeal and passion. But when the rubber meets the road, the euphoria wore off, they’ll bail out and throw in the towel just as earnestly as they came in.

Seeds Among the Thorns

Those that fell among the thorns became choked with so many distractions: cares of this world, riches, and pleasures in life. The thing with thorns is that they don’t grow overnight and choke the seeds out of the blue. No, thorns grow slowly over time when the ground is not cultivated and cared for.

And so it is with life. Career, family problems, and health issues are legitimate concerns. But if we don’t watch it, they could steal most of our focus that they choke out our faith.

Seeds on Good Ground

And then there are seeds that fell on good ground. These are the people who received the word, took the time to understand and nourish it. In due time, they began to produce an exponential harvest.

These are game-changers and mission-driven people with whom the word of God is firmly entrenched. They are the blessed men and women that the psalmist talks about in Psalm 1:

his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.Psalm 1:2-3

Sower, Take Heart

Jesus shared this parable to the multitude at the height of His ministry. His popularity became widespread and people from different backgrounds were following Him around. He knew that the multitude was following Him for a variety of reasons.

He knew the heart of men and yet, He never stopped teaching the multitude. He scattered seeds wherever He can even with the understanding that only a few will ever nourish His words in their hearts. And this is a vital lesson for sowers to understand.

Sowers have two jobs only: receive the seeds from the Master and sow wherever he can. That’s it. Everything else is out of your scope. And the moment the church understands this, the more room we give the Holy Spirit to do His job: cause the growth.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3: 6-9

As a Christian, it is never our job to worry about how the person we are sharing the Gospel is going to take it. Nor is it our job to change people’s hearts. That’s too big of a task for sowers and it should not take our effort away from the job we are called to do. Sow the seeds. There are plenty of seeds to go by. Cover as much ground as you can.

This is not the most comforting message to people who like to take charge. And yet, that is the message of the Holy Spirit to the church: sow the seeds and then sit back, relax and watch Him make it grow. The proud man will take issue with this. But the one who is truly dependent on God gains assurance from this.

Even Jesus knew that not all who listened to Him will abide in Him. And yet, He still went about teaching and healing people who came to Him. He never turned anyone away. And as Christ’s follower, we are called to do the same.

Out of the 25%, Multitudes

If you read the parable closely, you would probably think to yourself that this is such a waste of seeds. Think about it. Out of the lot, only 25% of the seeds makes it to the good ground and bore fruit. That’s such a lame return for all that effort, don’t you think?

But then, the parable did not end with such a grim projection, does it? Because the 25% did produce a harvest—some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Even the most conservative projection—thirty fold—gives a hefty return for the seeds that the sower started.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58

This is the perfect illustration of what it means to have the Holy Spirit at the helm of the church’s growth. At first, you may be sowing the seeds and have nothing to show for it.

You share the Gospel with people and they don’t even respond to it. You invite people to church or your small group and they don’t show up. You watch people become so focused on something else, you no longer see them in church.

This can be very disheartening. But the story does not end this way. The story ends with a harvest.

Shout Out to All Sowers

Whether you are a pastor, a church leader, or a newly baptized Christian, the parable has implications in your life. The Parable of the Sower is a parable about the mysteries of the kingdom.

Want to see how God works in His kingdom? Be part of the action. Receive seeds from the Master, go out there in the field (church, workplace, household) and sow. Don’t stay in the bleachers. The field is where the harvest’s at.

And as you put in the time, effort, and money into the sowing, this parable won’t remain a parable. The seeds you sow into the field will produce a harvest that will first manifest in your heart. After all, you’re dealing with the word of God. And it's living and active.

Not Giving: Are Your Church Members NOT Giving? Here Are 10 Reasons Why

By | Clarify the WHY

Before judging why your church members are not giving, stop to find out why. It could be a simple issue, or a far more complex problem.

Here is a list of 10 reasons that could be at the root of that problem, and how to address them:

1.  They aren’t yet believers at heart

Christians who have been brought up in the faith understand many basic concepts, such as tithing, giving, and the importance of donations in the church. If they are new to the church, however, they will need to be taught these concepts. That may also be a slow process. Don’t expect everyone to start giving right away. They also may need time to grasp the concept. Take them where they are and do not judge anyone.

2.  It’s just not the right time

Even the tiniest seeds of faith need time to grow. It may not be the right time for your church member to give. Perhaps they are in transition, have just paid off debts, or are undergoing expensive medical care. Whatever the case, hold their hands—and hearts—gently through this time.

3.  They don’t have an understanding of church budget

In order to encourage giving within your church, you must be transparent with the budget. Your church members need to understand where their donations are going. Sharing testimonies during meetings and services, keeping people updated on projects, or even sending out thank you notes and newsletters are simple ways to do this. Those who want to know where the money is going should be able to access this information, and this will allay any fears they may have.

4.   It’s not practical for them to give financially

Maybe there are those in your church who are more than willing to give. They have the means. So what’s holding them back? It could be something as simple as the practicality of giving. Perhaps they don’t physically attend church, due to a physical ailment or other personal reasons. A Giving App or Giving Kiosk might be just the solution. You can manage all the donations digitally, making it easy for your members to give in a single click.

5.  They are in a crushing financial fix

Debt is a common reason people are not able to give financially. It puts them under tremendous stress and all kinds of problems. How do you address this issue? You could offer financial management courses, showing them how to better their money management, secure good income, and invest in the right places. Creating long-term wealth is a skill that can be taught, and learned.

6.   They don’t trust your church’s leadership

Trust is essential. How can people give to your church unless they trust you, its leaders, and managers? Lack of trust in your church means a lack of financial support. Do your part to inspire trust and generosity by being more open. Like we said in point number 3, stay transparent. Let your flock in on the details, such as your church budget or the total amount raised during a fundraiser.

7.  They don’t know why they should be giving in the first place

Giving may sound like a basic principle, but in fact, it comes a little later in spiritual growth as a Christian. Just as you would not expect a newborn baby to eat solids right away, don’t ask too much of your newest church members. Instead, teach them the foundations of giving. For example, stewardship; how to work with and grow what they already have. Teach them trust and faith in the Lord, and the benefits of their giving will be a natural step in their maturity.

8.   They Think Their Gifts Don’t Count or Are Too Little

Some people feel they have too little to give. They see the large numbers of your church and think, “My gifts don’t really count!” No matter how little or how big their gifts are, however, God sees their motives, and judges only their heart—and so should you. (Mark 12: 41-44)

9.   They are not the one in charge of family finances

We see this scenario time and again: one spouse has control of the family’s finances, yet the other wants to give to the church. What should you do? In no case should the willing spouse be given without the consent or knowledge of his or her partner? The church should always encourage unity and oneness in marriages. It is more important to keep to this standard and spiritual ethics than to achieve your fundraising goals.

10. They have already committed to giving elsewhere

Many folks are willing to give but have already made prior commitments. This is completely natural, and quite common. As they review their next year’s budget, however, they may reconsider giving to your church instead. Let them know that their gifts—and their presence in your fellowship—is welcome anytime, regardless.

One way you can encourage giving in your church is by offering visitors and members 24/7 access to a digital platform. With this, you can setup recurring giving or let them make a single donation, securely online and through mobile. Visit New Fire Giving to find out more about our innovative digital donation management software.

CHurch Staff Salaries

Church Staff Salaries: A Short Guide

By | Resources

Although church-related jobs may fall in the realm of service, not all of them are necessarily unpaid or voluntary. You need paid staff to carry out the many important responsibilities associated with the running of the church.

While you may struggle to determine church staff salaries, job applicants may also be confused as to the payment they should quote. Consider the following aspects to provide fair salaries, commensurate with the work involved.

Common Benefits Included in Church Staff Salaries

Church jobs are great choices if you wish to combine your career and faith. Churches not only need people for religious duties, such as ministers and choir directors, but they also need people to handle administrative and technical responsibilities, such as accounting and website maintenance.

Although pay is not usually stellar for most of the church jobs, the positions offer many opportunities for spiritual growth and providing services to individuals and communities.

Church salary is not usually just a regular paycheck. It includes weekly or monthly pay and benefits with monetary value. For example, a church staff member may have a total salary of $50,000, which includes $40,000 as check or cash and $10,000 of yearly benefits.

Some of the most common types of such benefits that constitute the overall salary include:

  • Paid vacation
  • Retirement, such as 401(k) or 403(b) in non-profit scenarios
  • Housing allowance
  • Auto allowance
  • Life insurance
  • Healthcare and health insurance
  • Disability

Just like all other employees, church staff often accept a lower salary if they are offered great benefits. It is also beneficial to your church, as the responsibilities of an employee on vacation can be covered by your other staff members or volunteers if it is for a few days or a week.

Variation in Church Staff Compensation

According to the 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff and the 2016-2017 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, the following factors affect church staff compensation.

Worship attendance/congregation size: Salaries of church staff members are dependent on the size of the congregation and its budget. This is because of the greater the congregation and worship attendance, the higher the church income. Church staff compensation is directly proportional to church income. The higher a church’s income, the better salaries its employees receive.

Large churches with many members provide their employee's much higher salaries than small churches with lesser members. Medium-sized churches usually have only one pastor and a few staff members. Some small churches may have part-time ministers who serve more than one church, while others have ministers who work other jobs too.

Type of community: Church staff salaries differ from the community where the church is located. The highest salaries are in large city suburbs, followed by city/urban settings, small towns, and farming/rural areas.

Post: The pastor receives the highest pay, then the executive or administrative pastor, the worship/music leader and so on. 

Gender: Women's church employees earn less than men at all church positions. They receive only 80 percent of the salary that men do in the same role in similar churches.

Education: This is a major determinant of compensation in church positions. Church staff members with college degrees receive higher salaries than those without them. Those with masters and doctoral degrees receive even higher pay. Similarly, ordained and licensed clergy receives better compensation.

Experience: Pay does not vary according to the length of tenure. More experience does not necessarily mean higher pay. However, seniority at a particular church can be a determining factor in compensation at all positions.

Denomination: Denominational affiliation affects the salaries of all church jobs. The level of compensation is higher in some denominations than others.

Geographical region: Church staff salaries vary from region to region. Churches consider the local cost of living while deciding on staff compensation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest mean annual salary for clergy was in California at $67,140; and the lowest in Michigan, at $41,040.

Common/Average Church Salaries

As of 2018, the mean annual salary of US clergy is $53,290. As this statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not specify the job position, it could include clergy of all levels and from all sizes of churches. So, there may be large variations between the lowest and highest clergy salaries.

The following are some more specific church staff salary information, based on studies by organizations, such as PayScale and Lifeway.

The salaries of senior pastors can range from around $4,800 to $189,000, depending on factors such as congregation size, locality, etc. Regardless of their congregation size, all churches have senior pastors.

Usually, only churches with up to 500 members or more have positions, such as executive pastor, worship pastor, student pastor, and children’s pastor. The salaries of executive pastors can be around $54,000-$135,000 and those of worship pastors can be approximately $50,000-$92,300. Student pastors receive around$35,000-$75,400 and children’s pastors, $34,000 to $58,600.

Salaries for administrative and technical positions depend largely on qualifications and experience. Administrative positions in churches generally include teachers, secretaries and office managers. Accounting personnel makes the highest salaries, followed by executive secretaries, office administrators, office managers, administrative office assistants, teachers, and secretaries.

Errors That Churches Make While Determining Salaries

The staff members belonging to your church may be sincere and genuine in their work towards meeting the spiritual and other needs of your congregation and community. They may do so uncomplainingly because they have immense faith in God and love serving others.

Regardless of how service-minded they are, your staff members and their families have basic physical needs. This is why their compensation is extremely important.

Lack of or deficiencies in compensation strategy: Many churches make salary decisions based on hunches or approximations. Most of such approximations are, in turn, based on the salary structures of other churches. However, every church has different circumstances. Hence, such salary decisions are not fair to church staff members.

Low pay or missed payments: If churches do not pay employees well or miss payments, it may weaken their enthusiasm, joy, and fortitude. Such churches also miss out on talented and experienced candidates who want to join their team, but cannot because of financial burdens.

Many of their existing church employees may have to resort to working a second job. This is because some of them, such as childcare workers and custodians, make less than the minimum wage. Bivocational ministry is quite common among church employees.

Absence of good human resources (HR) processes: Many churches may not conduct performance reviews or give their staff members pay raises. Some may also not take salary concerns seriously. Some others do not provide annual incentives or have poorly planned incentives. Most of them do not explain their budget and the reasons for low pay or lack of incentives.

While some churches pay different people with similar responsibilities disparate pay packages, some others may hire more employees than are needed, which causes overall lower pays. Churches also make the mistake of replacing core staff members with volunteers in a bid to save money.

Faulty staffing budgets: Church staffing budgets have decreased. Growing churches pay their staff less than declining churches. This is most probably because their congregations consist of younger families with lower incomes or of new Christians who do not have healthy giving habits.

All such compensation errors can backfire and cause strife in the church. They may cause low morale, infighting, lack of accountability, attrition, and general discontent.

You must remember that the staff members of your church are primarily working there because they wish to help. You should avoid such errors in compensation so that they are not stressed about their finances and are able to focus on their responsibilities.

Best Practices for Improving Church Staff Compensation

Many volunteers may be willing to give their time to perform various tasks in your church. They may work for you as and when they can. However, they may not be as reliable as your paid employees, who are fully dedicated to the success of your church.

Your permanent staff has important tasks that are necessary for the church’s existence. Moreover, volunteers can stop offering their services unexpectedly, whereas you get enough notice to replace your paid staff if they wish to move on.

So, it is important that you hire the best people possible to help you build and grow your church and try to keep them happy. Fair and sufficient remuneration will certainly foster employee morale. This means they would work harder to create a positive, welcoming atmosphere in the church.

Determining what to pay your various staff members can be difficult and confusing. The following are a few best practices that help you devise a robust strategy to improve church staff compensation.

Consider Your Church's Culture

A church’s culture consists of many factors, including core values, vision, mission, and the denomination and community to which it belongs. You need to have a clear understanding of your church and its culture, as it can have a profound impact on your compensation strategy.

Develop a Good Compensation Policy

A strong church compensation policy should be fair, competitive, and aligned to the church's culture. It should be money-wise and based on the church’s financial resources.

An effective compensation policy should consist of the following:

  • A clear idea of compensation packages, including pay grades, salary ranges, benefits, incentives, savings, and retirement, based on available resources.
  • A well-defined plan to administer these packages.
  • Tactics to attract talented people to become their employees.
  • Steps to motivate employees to perform well.
  • Ways to prevent attrition, retain high-performing employees, and reward them.

The policy should be reflective of market conditions in the local community and the larger church community. It must be compliant with all federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations. You should be able to communicate it well to your employees and the congregation members.

Consider Common Staffing Costs

You should understand the following costs accrued by churches in terms of staffing.

  • Direct cash compensation, including wages/base salary, bonus or incentives, other cash payments
  • Paid leave, such as vacation, sick leave, personal leave, and bereavement leave
  • Health benefits, including employee/spouse/family healthcare plans, annual physicals, and disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
  • Social security
  • Workers' compensation contribution
  • Retirement/savings plans, such as 401(k), 403(b), defined benefit or pension plans, and supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs)
  • Automobile allowance or automobile provided for personal use
  • Health/dinner club membership
  • Interest-free or below-market loans
  • Deferred compensation plans
  • Supplemental executive health/life/disability insurance
  • Housing allowance
  • Travel allowance
  • Relocation allowance
  • Financial, tax, and estate planning
  • Legal services
  • Counseling services
  • Educational assistance and related expenses
  • Reimbursement for cell phone, email, and personal Internet service
  • Miscellaneous compensation-related items

Making such a list of all applicable costs would give you a fair idea of what is absolutely necessary and what is not.

Check Compensation Surveys

After assessing your culture, outlining your compensation policy, and understanding current costs, you should check valid compensation surveys to learn the latest trends. Good compensation surveys contain detailed information about wages, incentives, benefits, etc.

They compare jobs and employee wages and benefits by church, company, or size of the organization. They present this information according to job descriptions, position levels, denominations, and geographic locations.

You can use such information to compare jobs and compensation with positions in your church, to plan for growth, and to recruit high-performing candidates.

Some potential survey sources include:

Analyze Jobs and Their Descriptions

A job description describes a job’s essential functions, minimum educational and experience requirements, and the details of all tasks and responsibilities associated with it. You should gather, document, and analyze all jobs based on job descriptions. You can then update the descriptions to reflect the actual work involved in each job.

This will help compare the data obtained from salary surveys to the job roles in your church, rather than job titles. You can thus set appropriate compensation for each job role.

Develop Your Pay Structure

Based on all the activities you have done so far, you can develop an actual pay structure, which includes pay grade, pay range, and job classification. You should consider all the pay ranges in salary surveys and how the jobs are grouped while doing so. Establish a minimum, midpoint, and maximum pay range for each pay grade.

Take Stock of Current Financials

After developing the pay structure, review what your church is currently paying your employees. Based on this, you might need to adjust compensation to ensure that you are paying your employees justly and equitably. Also take into account the loss you would accrue if you lose employees who are dissatisfied with their pay.

Revisit and Review Regularly

Your job is not done even after you establish the pay structure. You must review it regularly. As your church changes, so do the salary needs of your staff members. You have to review salaries and offer raises at least once a year so that your employees remain happy. Also, consider giving performance-based raises and rewards.

Communicate Effectively

Keep your staff members and your congregation up-to-date as to what is happening on the compensation front. Even if the salaries and raises are low, your employees will appreciate it if you share the rationale behind the pay structure. Your message to them should be clear and genuine.

Limit Expenses

Developing a compensation strategy for your church is a multifaceted process. Although there are many other factors that influence salary decisions, better compensation depends largely on the church’s overall budget. You can do the following to limit expenses and improve the budget.

  • Make use of volunteers: Ask for help with tasks, such as maintaining the website and social media accounts and community outreach. Many people in your congregation may be ready and willing to volunteer.
  • Encourage giving: Set up methods for easy tithing and donations, using online or app-based software.
  • Increase membership: Maintain a peaceful, welcoming atmosphere in the church to retain your members and to attract new ones. Ensure that existing members are happy enough to help bring in new members.
  • Discard unnecessary programs: Use your budget towards more fruitful, meaningful and popular programs. Discontinue those that are not effective.
  • Hire wisely: Limit the number of your employees to what is absolutely essential for the church. Smaller churches may not need the same staffing structure as larger churches. Moreover, lesser people mean a more stress-free compensation process.
  • Outsource, but only when necessary: If your staff members are overwhelmed with tasks, you can hire people with specific skills for certain tasks. For example, you can outsource jobs that are peripheral to a church’s functioning, such as webmasters and writers.

Church staff salaries are sensitive as well as a complex issue. Creating a fair, equitable, reasonable salary structure involves many processes. For these processes to be successful, there should be collaboration among your church leaders. More importantly, all salary decisions should be communicated effectively to your staff members and should be acceptable to them. This would go a long way in creating a positive, happy church environment in the church.

leadership books

10 Leadership Books Every Leader Should Read

By | Resources

Leadership is tricky. When it comes to being the head of a church – in charge of shepherding others, managing all aspects of an organization, and dealing with a wide range of personalities – everyone could use a little guidance from some of the world's top leadership minds. Those that have “been there and done that” have plenty of valuable lessons to teach us. Luckily, there are plenty of incredible books out there with lessons all leaders can utilize. Here is our list of ten leadership books every leader should read.

  1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey – Over 25 million people have enjoyed the lessons in this breakthrough leadership book since its first publication in 1989. It's one of the must-have leadership books for anyone's shelf, with in-depth examinations of those seven habits – everything from proactivity and synergy to win-win mindsets and continuous improvement. This is an essential book for any leader. Oh, and if there are any teens in your life that could use some guidance? Try the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Covey's son.
  2. Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg – Sandberg grew to prominence as the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Her engaging and empowering book contains a full roster of leadership essays, with a focus on women's place in the workplace and their unique struggles within an organization. It's a valuable tool for leaders of both genders, and a great look inside the neo-tech industry.
  3. Wooden on Leadership, by John Wooden and Steve Jamison – Over his incredible career at UCLA, John Wooden brought his Bruins ten national basketball championships and became known as one of the greatest coaches in sports history. This book dives deep into his fabled 12 Lessons of Leadership and “Pyramid of Success,” providing valuable managerial lessons and tips from the “Wizard of Westwood.”
  4. Powerful: Building a Culture of Leadership by Patty McCord – As one of the key members of Netflix, Patty McCord helped to establish an innovative, high-performing corporate workspace that changed entertainment forever. She brings valuable lessons on leadership to the world in this book, preaching “radical honesty” and utilizing engaging assignments to assure success in work and life.
  5. First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers do Differently, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman – After careful study of some of the world's most successful business leaders (in both Fortune 500 companies and smaller enterprises), the authors distilled their findings into this excellent book. Full of examples and lessons from the world's most out-of-the-box thinkers, this book provides a fantastic look at creative leadership.
  6. How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life, by Geoffrey Lewis, Joanna Barsh, and Susie Cranston – This engaging and entertaining leadership book collects lessons from some of the most successful female leaders from around to world to deliver a wide selection of leadership insights. Featured leaders include orchestra conductor Alondra de la Parra, Andrea Jung of Avon, Ruth Porat of Morgan Stanley, and Eileen Naughton of Google. There are plenty of helpful tips in the book for any leader, man or woman.
  7. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie – Originally published in 1936, this extraordinary work by the acclaimed self-help author Dale Carnegie is one of the landmark volumes in the self-help and leadership genre. There's a reason why this book has sold millions of copies and continues to be popular today – the smart, insightful lessons Carnegie imparts about leadership, personality, management, and more are eternally helpful. Sections like “Seven Rules for Making Your Home Life Happier,” “Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment,” and “Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking” will help any leader in all walks of life.
  8. Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results, by Judith E. Glaser – As any successful leader will tell you, the art of conversation is key to success in business and life. Judith Glaser's valuable book explores “conversational intelligence,” delivering plenty of excellent tips for leaders to get the most out of their conversations and establish meaningful relationships within them. The book also utilizes a science-first approach, distilling new neuroscience and psychological findings to underscore its lessons. It's an interesting and vital book for any leader to add to their library.
  9. It's Not About the Coffee: Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks, by Howard Behar and Janet Goldstein – With an employee-focused approach, Starbucks has grown into a true behemoth in the United States economy. In this entertaining book, famed Starbucks executive Howard Behar explains the people-first approach from Starbucks and provides plenty of lessons about how to apply this revolutionary approach to all leadership situations. Stories from inside the Starbucks expansion and growth movement provide plenty of color to this excellent leadership book.
  10. Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, by Hugh Delehanty and Phil Jackson – Throughout his long and successful career as an NBA player and coach, Phil Jackson – leader of the 1990s Bulls and 2000s Lakers – became known for his unique style in dealing with volatile and complex personalities. This engaging book contains plenty of valuable lessons in creative management techniques as well as dealing with complex and challenging characters. The insider NBA stories (featuring stars like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, and Michael Jordan) add spice and flair to an engaging book.

Women Would Tithe More If You Followed This 5-Step Approach

By | Alternatives

Many churches still subscribe to the idea that men are the ones who make tithing decisions in a household. A wealth of research over the past decade, though, proves that church leaders should pay more attention to women’s giving. By doing so, it’s very likely that they’ll increase church tithing.

The fact is that women’s median income – adjusted for inflation – more than doubled between 1980 and 2018. This means more financial independence is being enjoyed by both single and married ladies. If your church follows these five easy tips, you can take advantage of this shift and quickly increase tithing from women.

1. Offer Church Programs Women Enjoy

Did you know that women are more likely to attend church weekly than men (40% vs 32%)? What about the fact that 60% of ladies say religion is very important in their lives – compared to only 47% of guys? The fact is that the fairer gender accounts for most of your true devotees. If you want to increase women’s giving, though, you have to provide value.

Do this by offering activities and programs that they will actually enjoy. While you could find plenty of research regarding this online, it’s important to realize that every congregation is different. Instead of making educated guesses, utilize a women’s ministry survey to find out what the women in your flock most enjoy.

2. Women in Leadership = Women Giving

Women are already leaders in their homes. In fact, 90% of ladies have the final say on spending in their households. When you put women into leadership roles into the church, you’re letting them know that they’re valued. This is one of the most important things you can do to increase tithing among the sisters of your flock.

Keep in mind that ordination and leadership aren’t necessarily the same thing. Even if your church only ordains men as pastors, there are still countless leadership roles women can undertake in the Lord’s house. Just consider a few of the following:

  • Sunday School Director
  • Women’s Ministry Coordinator
  • Church Treasurer
  • Missionary Director
  • Administrative Staff
  • Church Officers

If your church does allow for the ordination of women, it’s important to do so and cultivate a culture that celebrates both genders. If not, invest in opportunities that can give ladies the skills they need to become active contributors. When anyone feels like part of the game rather than just standing on the sidelines, they’re much likelier to give more.

3. Tell Women’s Stories of Changed Lives

When it comes to increasing tithing in church, a touching story will go much further than a simple request. This is just as true when it comes to women’s giving. They want to know that their dollars are going to something worthwhile, and if you can share the testimony of how other ladies have benefited, they’ll be more driven to continue giving.

This can be done in newsletters, programs, church social media strategies and even from the pulpit. When doing so, however, make sure to personalize the stories. Did a single mother need support during a difficult month? Did everything turn around financially for the niece of a current member when she started tithing again?

These are the stories that touch people’s hearts, and they’re the ones that can increase women’s giving. Many ladies experience the same hardships at different points in life. When they know their tithing is going to help other sisters in Christ through similarly difficult circumstances, they’ll typically be happy to pitch in more.

4. Make it Easier to Give

God’s women aren’t afraid of hard work. We can see this biblically through the stories of Esther, Miriam, Huldah, Lydia and Ruth. This doesn’t mean, however, that modern ladies don’t enjoy simplicity. Online giving statistics show that 60% of congregants want to give digitally. While this isn’t broken down by gender, other studies show that women’s giving is likely the same.

When it comes to female Millennials, for instance, 58% make the majority of their purchases online. It’s important to look at this group since Millennials were projected to become the largest age demographic in America in 2019. Even in other age groups and outside of females, however, this doesn’t change. Nearly 8-in-10 Americans now engage in commerce online.

If you want to increase women’s giving in the church, you need to have digital choices. This can include giving options on your website and even text-to-give campaigns. NewFire Giving offers this ability so that you can focus on creating an atmosphere where your lady congregants feel valued – rather than worrying about how they’re going to tithe.

5. Become Family and Missions Oriented

No two groups of people within your ministry are exactly the same. This holds just as true for the female congregants as anyone else. One thing that is true, though, is that family-oriented and missions-oriented programs are very popular among the fairer gender. Of course, even this truth can differ based on who you ask.

When it comes to married women, they tend to prefer family-based programs. Single ladies, on the other hand, like their church to engage in missions-oriented programs. In order to appeal to each of these groups – and thus increase women’s giving in general – your ministry should have programs devoted to both objectives. This guide will help you with the goal of your mission, and this guide will show some great family outreach ideas.

As these programs have consistently proven popular among female congregants, they will help increase the level of women’s giving. Considering single-female households donate 57% more than single-male households – and their contributions are similarly higher in other demographics – boosting tithes from the ladies might be the smartest thing your ministry ever does.

Increase Tithing Today!

While some churches may still view the ministry as a man’s world, there’s no doubt that it’s held upon the shoulders of women. Houses of worship across the country would lose over half their congregations if ladies stopped showing up, and this is a fact that should never be forgotten.

You should work hard to increase women’s giving in your church. Take your first step by scheduling a Discovery Call with NewFire Giving today. It’s only 30 minutes for a minimum of 10% increase in tithing after only 6 months!

10 Ways Youth Pastors Can Make More Money

By | Resources

Working as a youth pastor can be a very rewarding career and life purpose. The typical duties that a youth pastor takes on are not financially redeeming by any means. Although, the professional qualities that these pastors hold do have value.

You should know that there is hope if you desire a side income as a youth pastor. Outside of your main gig, many other avenues are available for you to explore. Take a look below at the list of 10 ways youth pastors can make more money to get some ideas for yourself.

1. Speaking

Youth pastors target a specific audience and their services are in-demand. Recording some of your sermons to use in your work portfolio will help you get more speaking gigs. You can always offer them free-of-charge at first to accumulate samples and earn a reputation. Or, offer your first sermon for free to show that you are serious about bringing value to the client’s audience.

You can increase your speaking fees as you establish yourself as a professional speaker. You should scale up pricing as your schedule starts to fill out. You can command a higher rate as your demand grows and this will make a big impact on your financial gain if you succeed.

2. Self-Publishing

Writing a book or eBook serves to achieve two things. First, it gives youth pastors a direct source of income that requires a passive effort after the initial writing and promotion. Second, it gives you greater exposure and recognition as a specialist in your field.

Self-publishing gives you a way to get your message across an extra communication channel. This material can be referenced when you are doing outreach for potential speaking gigs. Add the book to your portfolio and provide some powerful excerpts so people get a feel for you. Remember to differentiate yourself based on your personality and the strongest beliefs that you tend to speak of when doing your sermons.

3. Side Business

Youth pastors are natural-born leaders and a subset of people that are highly qualified when it comes to becoming a great entrepreneur. The go-getter mentality and confidence that these people wear so proudly is a big part of the puzzle for starting and growing a successful business.

The idea of the business doesn’t matter so much–it could be anything from digital marketing to lawn care–the key is to recognize their individual potential and find a niche that fits your skills and interests. Take some time to consider how you could make your own business and follow the “lean startup” approach so an ongoing financial investment isn’t a concern.

4. Coaching

You can provide coaching services (similar to what “tutors” offer students) and charge your clients a fair rate for their time. You could work 1-on-1, with small groups, hold classes, etc. However, only coach something you have a high level of expertise and knowledge in so your reputation remains intact.

An experienced youth pastor could provide coaching for an up-and-coming youth pastor as well. The experiences that you have from serving as this type of pastor make you unique and your knowledge is exactly what someone who wishes to become one would love to access.

5. Consulting

Consulting is similar to coaching but you are not trying to teach things as much as you are attempting to help people with brainstorming their plans. As a coach, you would bring your extensive experience and knowledge to the table to help other churches, organizations, church marketing agencies, what-have-you, with ensuring their plans are solid and effective.

You will find that there are many unique opportunities to provide consulting services. As an example, a youth convention might be in the planning stages and the people looking to host these events could need some consultation to help make it a success. You will need to do some cold outreach and attempt to network around to get your foot in the door but consulting opportunities can pay very well.

Take some time to learn how to maximize your earnings as a coach or consultant before you begin either journey.

6. Writing

The online world is full of paid writing opportunities. Clients want to hire those with specific expertise and are not appealed by generalists. The knowledge that you have as a working youth pastor can appeal immensely to clients in this specific niche. Your writing services could become in-demand and it will become easier to attract new clients and higher pay rates as you establish yourself on the Web.

A great way to build up a reputation online is to publicize your writing on some popular sites free-of-charge. You can utilize platforms like Medium if you are unable to get into well-known religious websites. Over time, you will be able to get a bunch of bylines acquired and use these in your portfolio to show that you are an expert in your niche. This extra effort will help show that you are an industry expert and an influential figure which will translate to consistent gigs and increasing pay rates.

7. Host Events / Conventions

Youth events can be profitable if done right. You can try to run the event on your own or host it alongside a church. There are many lucrative ways to go about finding new opportunities when working with other churches and organizations. Youth pastors have greater youth outreach in particular, which can appeal to the other party (bringing something for all ages to the same event).

You should upsell the fact that you can serve the younger audience. You can provide consultation alongside speaking services for these events. You can provide some marketing help as well. The more you bring to the table the more the other parties involved will believe that you are needed. The more they invest in you being a part of the project the greater your share of the pie will be when it comes down to the bronze tax.

8. Youth Camp

Youth camp is a great way for a youth pastor to get involved with their core audience and make a little profit on the side. While it can be tough to arrange everything, it is a lucrative opportunity for those who manage to bring it to life. Plan out some fun activities to play at camp with the kids that join and make it an experience they seek out every year. Also, look at the youth camp as a specific venture and learn how to run a successful camp before you start to plan it out.

Running the camp alongside other pastors or a church can make it a bit easier to handle all of the responsibilities as well. The camp can be more for fun but still Christian-based so it caters to a wider audience.

You could try to promote the youth camp through local gyms like the YMCA, local (Christian-based) schools, etc. Think of lucrative ways to market the camp and you will find the attendance rate to be sufficient to make it financially worthwhile to continue each and every year.

9. Funerals

A youth pastor can serve as the perfect choice of person to preach at a funeral when a younger person is lost. While they can technically provide the preaching services required for any funeral–this area is where their specialty adds to their demand. Contacting local funeral homes is a great way to network around and find possible funeral preaching gigs.

You can also market yourself online for this service. Start a PPC ad campaign around keywords that have to do with speaking at funerals. This part of the market is highly tailored and not optimized by service providers. The clients also do not have a good idea on how to find the right person for the job so if you stand out as a specialist you will get more interest.

10. Church Marketing

Set up marketing services for other churches in or out of your area. Help with advertising, media production, etc. There are many opportunities at solid full-time income for pastors that focus their efforts on digital marketing and advertising. For example, you could specialize in managing Facebook ads for churches and provide your services both locally and remotely.

Bringing your marketing efforts to the Internet would be a great idea. Many churches are trying to set up websites, mobile apps, social media campaigns, etc., and become more engaged with their members and prospective members. You could find yourself making money consistently off of multiple clients which is a very lucrative and secure working situation.

Opportunities for Side Income Do Exist

Without a doubt, youth pastors are able to make extra money on the side if they take the initiative to find work. Sometimes you need to be creative with your ways of thinking but you would not be the first one to make it happen. Actually, there are many youth pastors out there making $50,000 to $100,000 and more annually by working their way into the right opportunities.

If you are a youth pastor with a native church, we recommend you look at ways to increase funding through current church members. Check out our Ignite Coaching page to see how you can see a big change in monetary donations which will also increase your bottom line earnings as a youth pastor. If you pour your heart and soul into your home church—you won't need to look for income elsewhere.

10 Best Bible Verses About Family

By | Alternatives

From the beginning of the world, when God first made man “in his own image,” the family unit was close to His heart. All throughout the history of the old Testament, we see how generations of believers were led by a father-figure, and that the unity, brotherhood and shared responsibilities of the larger “tribe” were also lessons passed down to generations of families.

Children were often seen as a blessing, and the Scriptures have entire chapters dedicated to genealogies and family history. Even though New Testament does not focus as much on family, we still see how Jesus had great love for his mother and physical family unit. He does admonish us to not make any one single person take the place of God in our lives, and the Apostle Paul often reminded the church to not let relationships distract from spiritual work.

Bible Verses on Family for Your Service and Sermons

One good place to find dozens of verses related to families and children is in the Psalms and Proverbs. Seems like King David and King Solomon also saw the importance of child-training, and many beautiful passages provide insights into godly parenting.

Here are ten of our favorite Bible Verses on Family. Are you familiar with most of them? During sermons, you may want to choose one or a few to expound on, bringing in even the youngest members of your flock to listen and understand how much God loves families.

1.    Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Here, we see how essential it is to start kids off on the right path. Parents cannot leave it up to the church or school (or nowadays, the internet) to guide their children. It must be each parent’s responsibility and mission.

2.    And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.–Deuteronomy 6:6-7 

This verse shows us how God’s Word doesn’t have to be reserved just for Sunday Service. Parents who strive to teach godly ways must make it a lifestyle, and show by example.

3.    Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!–Psalm 133:1 

A divided house cannot stand. Let the church be a place where family members can find encouragement and the strength to sort out difficult family issues with prayer.

4.    Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.–Ephesians 6:1-3 

As long as your kids are minors, obeying their parents is not an option. The world today sometimes promotes independence in a rebellious way. Parents need to be aware and mindful of how they raise their kids; this is where youth fellowships and church activities can be a great source of support.

5.    But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;

To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.–Psalm 103:17-18 

Forgiveness and mercy—isn’t that what parenting is all about? We all make mistakes, and no parent or family is perfect. Let the Lord’s mercy be your ultimate guide in everyday decisions.

6.    Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.–Proverbs 17:6

What a beautiful passage showing how it’s not just the grandparents that can feel proud of their grandkids—but when the elders of a family have raised their kids right, it’s the younger generations who have a real treasure.

7.    Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.–Matthew 19:19

People were always asking Jesus for advice. The Pharisees, if you remember, were also always trying to trip him up with trick questions. But he was quick to put them in their place, with wisdom and love. In this case, he was admonishing a young man who was seeking wisdom, and the way to live.

8.    Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.–1 Corinthians 1:10 

Here is one of Paul’s letters to the church, who often had disputes in his absence. He uses the analogy of family unity to show them how to act and live.

9.    Thy wife [shall be] as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.– Psalms 128:3 

Here is a promise made to those who walk in God’s truth and love. A fruitful vine and olive plants—signs of abundance, fertility, prosperity. Sure, it takes adequate finances to raise a family, but even those who don’t have much materially will be blessed with fruitful homes if they follow God’s word and wisdom.

10. For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?–1 Timothy 3:5 

This is a good scripture for any church leaders who want to take on management responsibilities in the church. Plus, a good way for you as a pastor to judge who to give leadership roles to. Observe how he or she interacts with their families, wives, husbands or children. This is a good sign of how they may lead others in congregation.

It’s often been said that charity begins at home. And this holds true, even today. Today, where families are more connected—and sadly, sometimes disconnected—than ever before. Let your church be a safe haven for them to come and find fellowship.

If you need more tips, topics and takeaways for your church services, keep in touch on the blog. We offer coaching as well as digital software–physical, spiritual and technical solutions to grow your church today.

why go to church

Why Go To Church: Does Attending Still Make Sense?

By | Resources

Going to church has always been a part of the family and social life in America. Every Sunday families would go together to church to celebrate, worship, and come together for the Lord. Many people would show their commitment to Jesus by attending church more than once a week as well.

Nowadays, churches are not respected and visited as much as before. The truth is that people are getting busier with their work lives, kids are active in sports and arts programs, etc. People are starting to run tighter schedules and the idea of another weekly activity can be overwhelming for some. Faith may not be the issue but there is no denying that the way people have shared their relationship with Jesus has changed (for the worse).

Church Attendance Rates Stats

Churchgoers are an aging demographic and attendance rates are falling off. Statistics show that “regular attendance” in 2018 consisted of attending church three times a month—meanwhile, three times per week was the standard a few decades ago.

A Loss of Faith in Religion

The drop in attendance comes alongside a decrease in faithfulness in the United States. Younger generations are not seeking out religion as much as older generations did when they were growing up. Many people in today’s world do not assign themselves to any type of religion or fall in the atheist or agnostic category.

In reality, today’s society creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. This generation exists in a world where information is abundant and incomplete data is unbelievable. Faith is not a simple calculation and no calculator will help you figure it all out.

You will see that even celebrities like Brad Pitt have admitted to claiming atheism as a form of rebellion. Everyone wants to be omniscient to the world but no one knows all (other than Him). The reality is that this Faith rebellion movement is greater now than it has been for 1000’s of years.

It is normal for people to have their experience of questioning their Faith. You do not come to be religious automatically. The process of finding God is one that requires a lot of inner-seeking and bible-studying. You might go through moments of disbelief and that’s okay, but what you see in today’s society is a certain level of ignorance.

A Loss of Faith in Churches

Another important point to make is that many people are starting to question churches, even when their religious beliefs are undeniable. You see this regularly because of prominent church figures getting caught up in financial and sexual scandals. You also see this because people are beginning to question the church’s authority in the first place.

Many parts of religion have changed in recent years to adapt to what is ethical in today’s society. As an example, you no longer see churches severely intervening in the home life and attempting to control how a wife serves her husband. You also do not see as many cases of religion-based child abuse because it is no longer seen as generally acceptable or justifiable.

From the 1970s till now, trust in the church went from 65% of Americans to 41% which was a significant drop. While it varies by religion, some churches are self-governed in such a way that it is concerning for the members. For example, many churches deal with issues like abuse and police them on their terms instead of involving outside law enforcement. People have also grown more aware of the issues in churches in general and have begun to negatively stereotype. Also, many approaches in the past won't work for churches now.

Why Going to Church Matters

The act of going to church matters. Joining together with others that walk with Jesus as one of his disciples is empowering. Watching sermons and talking to Him alone is not enough. The church serves as a networking ground, creates volunteering opportunities (discipleship), and so much more. Nobody should go on a journey into Christianity alone. The self-led approach does not work in most cases; at times, even the biggest believers need to be re-affirmed through the spirit of fellow believers.

Many people find their Faith by studying scripture. Their beliefs are formed but the acceptance of their views does not happen until it is realized on the social level. You do not truly become one of God’s people by limiting yourself to learning on your own. The consistency that comes from attending church week in and out is also somewhat therapeutic. It serves as a reminder that no matter how hectic life gets at times, you just need to let it go and be free.

When your final moments are upon you and Jesus comes back you want to be confident that your efforts here on Earth to serve His purpose is enough to get you into the Kingdom.

Digital Media is a Supplement

People eat food to get protein. However, for a quick fix after a workout, they will have a protein supplement because their muscles need it. People turn to simply watching sermons, reading lectures, and conversing with other believers through the Web. This source of “church” is great because it’s available on-demand. However, this approach serves as a supplement for the natural source of faith-seeking (attending church) and should be seen as such.

To put it simple, you cannot attend church from the comfort of your laptop. You can get some quick fills and remind yourself of the importance of Jesus, discipleship, and believing and having Faith. But, you should treat digital media more as a means of communicating your ideas and feelings, sharing scripture and sermons, and bringing others closer to God as well.

Re-Establishing Your Faith During Hardship

The Internet won’t fill the void that is felt when you hit rock bottom. When your relationship with Jesus is in question–or if it has yet to exist–going to church is the only appropriate way to establish/re-establish it. The consistency that comes with attending church every week helps you prevent yourself from falling off track. Your relationship with Him is reaffirmed even as life throws challenges at you throughout the week.

If you are new to Christianity the support from others in the church helps immensely–based on your life circumstances and situations you can get advice for scriptures to turn to, get help with your studies, etc.

The Growing Popularity of “Fun Churches”

Gone are the days of formal church services. Everything is different from social media inclusion to mobile apps for greater engagement, the use of video, proudly seeking recognition for their volunteering initiatives within the community, etc. The “team” feeling that many churches have today is something that it once lacked and it is why many of the current and new church members will stick around.

People do not want to attend church just to hear the gospel and listen to someone preach. These parts are still fundamental but there is a need for more social inclusion. People interact better and engage themselves more when the church body is influential and involved. If the church makes the moments fun there will be no reason for people to consider dropping their attendance in favor of something else. Making church fun essentially helps people keep it a priority.

The Future of Church Attendance

The drop in attendance in American churches is not likely to continue. Many churches are finding lucrative ways to lure old members back. The only major statistic that works against the growth of attendance is the one indicating that people who are 18 to 29 years old do not identify with any religion. These people will age into questioning their beliefs and decide at a later point. Without a doubt, Faith is still a fundamental part of life and everyone evolves at a different pace.

As today’s generation grows more accepting there will be a heightened amount of attendance in tomorrow’s generation as well. The first step is for people to recapture their interest in attending church at least once a week. This behavior will pass down to the next generation and will allow for the church attendance rate to continue to trend upward. For churches, though, the process begins with a strategic church revitalization attempt for one simple reason: what once worked no longer does.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

By | Resources

The Halloween season can be a confusing time for Christians because we want to witness for Christ by actively participating in our communities, but we don’t identify with the symbols of this holiday. Christianity has no connection with black cats or jack o’ lanterns, let alone some of the darker images of Halloween. (On the other hand, it’s hard to object to a baby dressed up as an adorable pod of green peas, or an earnest three-year-old fire fighter or ballerina knocking on your door.) The best approach to this holiday is to recognize the spirit of generosity that underlies the neighborhood traditions, and to channel our children’s excitement by shaping the holiday around acts of kindness.

Practicing Radical Generosity

One Christian family found a unique way to approach the annual Halloween dilemma. They felt hesitant about joining in with all the spooky symbolism, but they also didn’t want to just close their doors and turn off the lights. They said, “We wanted our neighbors to know we cared about them whatever day of the month or year it was.” To give the holiday their own special twist, they decided to practice what they called “radical generosity.” They handed out full-size candy bars to everyone who knocked on their door. The first year, it was 300 candy bars. The next year, 800. And the third year it was over a thousand. They didn’t pay out-of-pocket for these treats: Instead, they drafted college students from their church group to fund-raise for this giveaway, drawing those young Christians into the spirit of celebration. Needless to say, the family’s house has become a neighborhood magnet on Halloween night!

Compassionate Awareness of Others

A couple of years ago, a 15-year-old in San Diego showed that his family had taught him to view Halloween in a spirit of giving. Lawrence Malot was out with other kids trick-or-treating, when they came to a house where the candy bowl was empty. Thinking of the children who would come later and also be disappointed, Lawrence took a big handful of candy out of his own bag and put it into the bowl as they left. When his identity was figured out, he and his family were featured on the local TV station, as an embodiment of the right kind of holiday attitude. This heartwarming story has undoubtedly made a lot of people feel like they live in a more loving world.

An Opportunity for Expressing Gratitude

There are many reasons behind giving: It can be a way to provide care to those who are in need, or a way to express membership in a community. Other times, generosity is a means of saying “Thank you.” The tradition of giving candy at Halloween can fit into this third mode, and Operation Gratitude is a good example. This organization collects donations of fresh, wrapped Halloween candy from trick-or-treaters, and asks them to include a personal letter. The candies and letters are then included in care packages that are sent to overseas service members. Lt. Col. (ret.) and CEO of Operation Gratitude, Kevin Schmiegel comments, “The Halloween Candy Give-Back Program provides every American child the opportunity to learn about service, sacrifice and generosity.”

The origins of Halloween are complex, but historians believe that the holiday's earliest roots began with celebrating the harvest. This is easily translatable to the present day, when we can appreciate the richness of God's bounty, harvested from the beautiful earth He created. To help your congregation express God's abundance throughout the year, contact NewFire Giving to schedule a free thirty-minute discovery call.

Church Names

Trends You'll Notice in Church Names

By | Resources

Modern, Meaningful Names

When you name a person, an item, or a church, that word or phrase establishes an identity. A name often becomes the first fact a new person learns about an organization. Names provide powerful information. A title can honor the past or declare a future intention. A name can connect you to similar groups or set you apart.

Many churches continue the legacy of one name for decades, even generations. But people found around 1,000 new churches every year. Just as human names have grown more unique over the last century, so have the names of faith communities. We’re going to explore those newer trends. And, if you’re in the exciting but stressful stage of naming a church, you’ll receive some pointers.

Where Church Names Began

Names allow people to differentiate between entities. So, as the Christian faith grew, names for the many churches became a necessity. The most basic and common church names appeared. For many years, congregations by default followed a denomination with a place name or a number. The latter half helped avoid confusion with neighboring congregations. You found “The Presbyterian Church of Newtown.” A year later, a growing population might require the establishment of “Second Presbyterian Church of Newtown.”

These traditions appear in lists of common church names. Over 5,000 institutions in the United States use the name “First Baptist Church.”

The Changing Tide of Names

Now, bolder name choices grow more popular. Some of this shift links to overall naming trends. When you run the only store in a small town, a sign reading “grocery” communicates everything you need. If half a dozen supermarkets open nearby, you need a memorable moniker. With the vast amount of information available through the internet, we encounter so many more organizations. Names help us tell them all apart.

Recent church names shy away from simple descriptions for another important reason. More and more people choose to forgo church attendance. Only 64% of religious Americans belong to a church. When picking a name, religious leaders wish to emphasize the importance of faith communities. Traditional names may feel insufficient. Even among people who grew up with your church’s denomination, in today’s world, it takes more to attract members.

A good name can suggest the value of the congregation. It shares core values and emphasizes the overall power of spirituality. These titles can demonstrate that a church is less focused on the following tradition for tradition’s own sake, and instead focus on uniting Christ’s followers.

Now, let’s think about some naming factors before hitting the trends.

General Considerations

Keep It Short

Even if you want to use many great ideas, a church name needs to stay short. Remember how often people will have to write or say that name. It should fit on signs and printed materials. Plus, people will remember a shorter name more often.

Explore the Connotations

Keep in mind that everybody will think of something unique when they hear your community’s name. When considering a name, ask folks of different ages for feedback. A word that sounds positive to some might feel hokey or have negative slang associations for others. You can also check for unforeseen connotations by running your idea through a search engine.

Stand Out Locally

While you’re performing that web search, also run the name through with your town or state. You might find important geographic information. Imagine naming your church “Assembly of Life” and then discovering a “Life Assembly” down the road. This avoids lots of potential confusion.

Now, on to some modern name trends. You can spot these styles on many church signs near you.

Current Styles

Trend: Place of Solace

Example: Faithful Harbor

“Refuge” or “haven” also fit this theme. These names establish your church as a place of peace and safety. It’s important to avoid vagueness here. Solace names can easily sound inspirational without describing anything about your congregation. Simply adding a location can make these more concrete. Try “Faithful Harbor of Greenville” for added context.

Trend: Actions

Example: Defender Fellowship

These powerful verbs reckon back to Biblical values. They suggest a congregation of “restorers” or “givers.” Your name can offer potential congregation members a glimpse of the virtues your community aspires to embody.

Trend: All Capital Letters

Example: RESTORE

Switching “Compass” to “COMPASS” creates a powerful visual. However, you probably want to steer clear of this trend. It stands out, but lacks a timeless quality. Remember ten years ago when it was popular to name everything like the iPod? The “iChurch” or “iAssemble” already sound dated. Some cultural trends move too quickly. Ask yourself, will people still appreciate this in fifty years?

Trend: Directional

Example: Pointe Church

A trend that includes allusions to a “compass” or “journey.” The theme evokes a strong idea, the guidance of God in our lives. Like the place of solace trend, take care to choose descriptive words. A directional name can easily sound vague. These also can sound like a general nonprofit, not necessarily a church.

Trend: Denominations.

Example: Lutheran Assembly of Springfield

Old school for sure, but helpful. People familiar with your denomination will discern a lot of information from your name. Especially if your practices do trend more traditional, there’s nothing wrong with communicating who you are.

Trend: Avoiding the Word “Church”

Example: Too many to list!

This trend could hit or miss the mark. You should still identify yourself as a faith community. Words such as “fellowship” or “assembly” can get the point across. Make sure that strangers can tell you apart from a tech startup company. Don’t make anyone guess whether “Catalyst” is a new church or a website developer.

After You Find the Perfect Name

A name is only the beginning. Many more choices follow for a religious community just getting off the ground. Any faith leader establishing or rebranding a church will find their hands full. To seek support and professional guidance on all things public-facing, consider scheduling a free, 30-minute Discovery Call with NewFire Giving.

We offer coaching that can help your community better reach present and future members. On the technical side, we designed all of our software for religious communities. Experts understand what is most important to your congregation—and the most challenging. We can help churches through revitalization or their creation, no matter what name you picked.

 

Youth Group Party ideas

8 Youth Group Halloween Party Ideas

By | Resources

Halloween can be a scary night for parents, and that's not just because of horror movies and scary costumes. Parties outside the church can have all sorts of mischief. Ministry Halloween parties not only help kids avoid getting into trouble, but it also helps to keep them focused on worship and what is important. It can also be a time to shake things up in your youth group and have fun. Having a harvest or Halloween party at your church? Here are some ideas to make it a blast!

Don't forget – any church event is a great opportunity for fundraising. Leave envelopes by the entrance or at a welcome table at your Halloween party so those who wish to donate cash can do so easily. Put donation links in clear spots on your website so those reading about the party online can also donate if the mood strikes.

Idea #1: Have a Cute Costume Contest

While some churchgoers enjoy playing dress up as witches, ghouls, and goblins, others like to keep costumes focused on wholesome themes that don't distract. This serves two purposes. First, it can help to keep things on the theme of worship. Second, it avoids scary costumes that would be inappropriate for younger youth group members. When you add a theme to your costume contest, it gives youth guidance so they don't stray off the track of appropriate behavior and dress. Even if you do pick out a theme, make sure to set forth rules for modesty and behavior so everyone is on the same page. Here are some ideas for themes!

Sports

Have kids dress in the colors of their favorite sports team, or wear the uniform of their favorite sports-star! Some families struggle with deciding whether to go to church events or support kids' sports activities, but this costume idea is one way to bring everyone's interests together.

Biblical Characters

What better way to serve the lord than by dressing up as the characters everyone knows and loves from the Bible? Many kids already do it by participating in their church's Christmas pageant or play, so families may already have costumes at the ready.

Favorite Decade

This is a fun one. Either tell kids to pick an outfit from their favorite decade or pick the decade yourself and have that be the theme of the party. 20s flappers, 80s punks, and 70s hippies are all great options!

Superheroes

Heroes are a great idea for costumes. They help people and are great role models for kids. Have them dress up as their favorite superhero to appropriately celebrate Halloween.

Pajama Party

While it's not a costume per se, pajamas are fun. They are comfy and great for movie parties and other harvest celebrations. Pajamas often have fun patterns and are nice and cozy for fall weather.

Mismatched Clashing Outfits

Usually, we try to make our clothes match. But it can be fun to avoid convention and create a whole costume party based on clashing colors, mixing patterns and even wearing two different shoes!

Favorite Animals

Having kids dress up as their favorite animals leads to colorful costumes and plenty of opportunities for pretend play that celebrates all of god's creatures. Animals can be more than just the usual dogs and cats. Encourage kids to get creative. Butterflies, zebras and hippos are great ideas too!

Idea #2: Make an Appropriate Halloween Playlist

There are a lot of fun Halloween songs but many of them wouldn't be appropriate for a church event. Do you really want your church youth group listening to songs commonly played around October 31st like “Highway to Hell”? Make a playlist for your party of songs you know kids and their parents will appreciate.

Monster Mash

The Monster Mash is a cute song about what happens when Dr. Frankenstein and all his creepy pals boogie. The song is toe tapping and is just about having a good time dancing to the music. Some Christians don't like songs that have any mention of ghosts or goblins at all, but for those that do, this one is just about as wholesome as they come.

Halloween Shark

Pinkfong is the kid's band that came up with the hit classic Baby Shark. They have a jazzy Halloween version that includes a video with the sharks dressed up in their favorite costumes. It is a little on the spooky side with witch and ghost costumes in the online video, but kids love it.

Harvest Songs

If you don't want to focus at all on the spookier aspects of Halloween, make a playlist of songs that celebrate all the bounty that comes with harvest season. Even if you are not a farmer you can still show gratitude for the food that we eat and the fact that so much of it is harvested at this time of year. This is a popular topic for Christian bands and worship music groups so finding a great selection is easy.

Fall Songs

The fall is a beautiful time of year. The leaves change color and fall to the ground. The weather becomes a bit more crisp in many areas. Show thanks for god's beautiful world by playing songs that are all about the season.

Idea #3: Use Appropriate Decorations

Halloween decor doesn't have to be scary or make those who are uncomfortable with the idea of Halloween feel bad. If you want to keep things on the spookier side, focus on things that exist in the real world like cobwebs, spiders and skeletons. If you want to avoid any scary things altogether, fall leaves, pumpkins and signs of the harvest make lovely decorations! The best part about the latter is that you can leave them up for the Thanksgiving season.

Idea #4: Scary Bible Study

All Christians know there are some intense and scary moments in the Bible. Focusing on these Biblical stories can bring the spirit of the season, but keep things focused on study and worship. Need some inspiration? Here are some sections to study.

Job 41: The Leviathan

The leviathan is a scary creature from the ocean. Just the description alone may send shivers up your spine! However, it's more than just a story. There is a great opportunity for a discussion of pride, and why putting god first is important.

Matthew 27:50-27:53: The Living Dead

In this verse, When Jesus is killed, the dead back to life to walk the streets again. However, it is only the bodies of holy people (saints) that come back. Some say this miracle proved that Jesus is the son of god. Talk with your youth group about this and other miracles that prove the point.

Trusting God

The old testament is full of examples of god showing his almighty power. Sometimes it's a bit scary. The flood was surely terrifying for Noah and his family. The moment of crossing the sea that Moses split open was also pretty scary. Both of these stories involved trusting god through challenging times, which is a great lesson at any time of year.

Idea #5: Everyone Loves Candy

Candy is something that everyone can enjoy whether or not they want to celebrate Halloween. Candy is appropriate for any time of year. Make sure to get different options for dietary restrictions. Keep in mind many youth groups avoid nuts due to allergies. Don't want to overload everyone on sugar? Bring healthy homemade options and fruit instead.

Idea #6: Hashtags Are Everything

Want to keep older teens engaged? You've got to get on social media. Create a hashtag that they can use on Instagram and Twitter to share photos of the party. You can even have a hashtag contest. Have teens post their favorite photos of the event using the hashtag and the person who posts what the youth group leaders deem the best photo gets a small prize. Another contest idea is to offer a prize for the photos that get the most likes or comments, or to simply offer a special treat to anyone who uses the hashtag. These types of social media campaigns are also useful for getting your church's message out to a wide audience online.

Idea #7: Invite Members of the Community

Halloween is traditionally a time when people go out and meet their neighbors through trick or treating. Having an event at your church doesn't have to be any different. Make your community even stronger by opening the invitation to your general community. It's a great way to grow your church's membership and expose the community to what your organization is all about.

Idea #8: Movie Time

Show a movie during your party that everyone can enjoy. Movies are a great way to fill a large amount of time and make the party last long into the night so kids stay at the party and out of trouble elsewhere. Here are some ideas for seasonal movies to delight the whole crew.

For Younger Kids

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

This wholesome film stars Charlie Brown and all his friends. They spend the night waiting for the legendary “Great Pumpkin” whose existence is much debated. This movie can bring up helpful conversations for youth groups about doubting beliefs and how to maintain faith through those doubts.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

This is a sweet movie featuring dopey farmer Wallace and his super smart dog Gromit. The pair must work together through silly antics to find a giant rabbit who is eating all their delicious crops. It's simply a fun movie that gets kids and parents giggling.

Monsters, Inc.

While the cute monsters in this film might seem scary at first, kids soon see that Mike & Sulley are nothing to fear. The movie is appropriate for all ages and has sweet messaging about how to be a good person and a good friend.

For Teens

Signs

This movie by M. Night Shyamalan stars Mel Gibson as a priest who has lost his faith due to difficult life events. When strange things start happening in his cornfields, he begins to wonder if there is something else out there. The movie is about aliens, but it brings up important questions about faith and retaining faith through difficult events. It is a great discussion starter for teens.

Thr3e

This is a thrilling movie based on a Christian novel by Ted Dekker. It focuses on the story of a Christian seminary student and a police psychologist working together to stop a serial killer. The movie deals with questions of sin, and how to deal with something sinful one did in the past.

A Quiet Place

While this isn't exactly a movie about anything related to Christianity specifically, it tops many Christian movie lists. Why? It shows a family working together through adversity and deals with issues of sacrifice for the greater good. This movie is another great conversation starter for teens.

These are just some of the ideas to make your youth group party Halloween party great. There are so many ways to engage teens and kids and keep them interested in Christianity on Halloween instead of out at friends houses getting into trouble. Have you had a successful Halloween party at your youth group? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Women in Church Leadership

The Roles of Women In Church Leadership

By | Resources

The role of women in church leadership varies from church to church. Some believe that men and women were created equal but different and that a woman's role in the church should be more supportive. Others believe that anyone who feels called to the ministry or seminary should be able to lead others in worship no matter their gender. Regardless of what you or your church thinks, there are always opportunities for women to get involved at church.

A Brief History of Women in Christian Leadership

Having women in leadership positions has been controversial until recent years, and it still is in some circles. However, early texts show that women had key roles in spreading the religion as it was forming. Mary Magdalene, Susannah, and Joanna were three of Jesus' earliest supporters, and Mary Magdalene was reportedly the first person to see his resurrection. In early Christianity, after the death of Jesus, women were apostles, and some of the most important people to help the religion survive since it was illegal in the Roman empire. Meetings took place in homes instead of Churches, and that was the domain of women at the time. Many of these women who took the lead in early Christianity were the people who helped spread the word about Jesus and helped the religion survive this difficult time.

It was not until a few hundred years later that we see the first texts written excluding women officially from church leadership. The main thing these texts stated was that widows, often benefactors of the church at the time, were not to preach or teach to anyone because church officials thought it could cause controversy. They were only to stay home and pray all day. The common view for a long time was that women should be subservient to their husbands and should not be involved in church leadership.

When Christians started having convents in the middle ages, there were more opportunities than ever for women to devote themselves to the church in leadership roles. Around the same time, some powerful female European royalty converted to Christianity, providing a different type of leadership to Christian communities.

Nowadays, there are many women who find roles in church leadership. Many Christian denominations allow women to get ordained. Even in those that don't officially allow it, certain churches may choose to ordain women as a statement, though the church may not officially recognize their ordination.

Differing Views of Women in the Church

Women in church leadership is a big discussion. Some churches don't allow it, while others are happy to have women in leadership roles. Looking for an experience that is one way or the other? This list from the Pew Research Foundation shows which denominations allow it and which don't.

The Biblical View

Many Christians still follow what they consider to be the biblical view of women in the church. This means that they believe God created men and women equal but different. They believe that men should be leaders in the church, and women should be in supportive roles. Some, but not all, who follow these biblical beliefs also believe that men should be leaders at home and in society at large, and women should not. Those who follow these beliefs think that men and women should be complementary to each other. Men take the lead, and women support by being a good wife and taking care of house and home as defined in the Bible. That's why many call this view the complementarian view.

These views are based on the biblical analysis. God created man first. Eve caused Adam's deception, and there are many instances in the New Testament stating women should be subservient to men.

The Egalitarian View

Those who hold this view believe that men and women can be equal in the church and that there is even biblical evidence to support this. People who are egalitarian often also believe in equal roles in marriage and society as well. The passages in the Bible supporting their views include Galatians 3:28, in which Paul wrote: “There is no…male nor female, for you are all one in Christ.” Additionally, Genesis states that men and women were created equal by god.

Further to the left on the egalitarian view is the feminist view. Those who hold this belief go so far as to outright challenge passages in the Bible that talk about the traditional roles of women. They also tend to hold more socially liberal views that some Christians do not share.

Which One is Right?

The truth is that no one can answer the question of which of these views is right for you. Only you can decide that for yourself. There are churches out there that support people of either belief. If you're not sure, do your research, read the biblical passages on the topic, talk to different members of church leadership, and talk to other Christians whose opinions you respect. Then, find a church that matches your beliefs about whether or not women can be a part of church leadership and ministry.

Why Egalitarian Churches Want Women in Ministry

Religious Beliefs

Those with egalitarian beliefs think that Jesus taught equally to both men and women in public and in private. There is biblical and historic evidence to support this. During the time of Jesus, women were generally considered property, and were second class citizens. However, Jesus spoke directly and warmly to women in public, which may not have been the norm of the day.

Unlike those who hold a biblical view of men and women, they believe that god cursed neither man nor woman at the fall of man when the serpent tempted Adam and Eve. They believe it was the serpent who was cursed. Finally, others point out that most modern Christians do not follow every single point of the bible, so why should this point be any different? They believe that as long as one is following the teachings of Christ, their gender shouldn't matter.

Social Beliefs

Egalitarians also believe that times have changed. Some think that women's exclusion from the church was more social than religious, at first at least. That is why it didn't officially appear until a few hundred years after Christ's death. Old habits die hard and they believe that the church must change with the times. The ways we practice Christianity are different now. We use social media and websites to share our religion and information about our gatherings. We may even use apps on our smartphones to help us with Bible study! We eat shellfish and wear mixed materials. Egalitarian churches think we should update other Christian views as well, like this one.

Opportunities for Women in Traditional Churches

So, what do you do if you want to be more involved at church but you have more traditional biblical views about women in church leadership? There are always opportunities to serve even if you don't become part of the ministry. Here are some ideas.

Childcare

The youngest in a church congregation can't often sit through a full service. They may get fussy and disrupt everything. Many churches have childcare available for this reason. Those who care for the children are sometimes volunteers and sometimes paid. It just depends on the church. Women are usually the ones to fill this role. This is a great service to offer your church and helps facilitate a smooth worship session for all.

Sunday School

Many churches have educational programs that are separate from church services. They always need teachers and classroom helpers. Through this role, you can help to educate the kids in your church about Jesus and Christian values. If you feel you have a gift for teaching or supporting a teacher, this could be a great role for you.

Adult Education & Mentorship

Do you know a Christian who is just getting started on their journey at church? Or perhaps someone who was gone for a while and is now coming back? You can act as a mentor to them, helping them to study the Bible and educating them about religion can really help them stick on the right path. Sometimes it's helpful to just have a friend in the church to keep someone coming back.

Volunteering

Churches always need volunteers, especially at special events. Sign up to support in whatever way is needed. It may be hanging decorations, cleaning up after a party or greeting church members at the door. Whatever the need, you'll be doing a great service by helping out.

Food Support

There are many different types of church events that require food. There are bake sales, potlucks and more. Put your culinary skills to good use and make something yummy for everyone to enjoy. A grumbling stomach isn't conducive to Bible study or worship.

Music

Many churches praise the Lord through song. They may have a band or choir that anyone can join. Everyone loves the music at church services and it's fun to be a part of it. If you've a good ear or simply a desire to try hard, join the choir and sing praises.

Ask Your Church Leaders

If you're not sure how to get involved at church, ask your church's leaders how you can help. They may tell you the best thing you can do is support your family at home by modeling a Christian lifestyle for them. They may have other ideas for what you can do at the church. Either way, they will know where your talents can best serve.

Whether or not you believe that men and women should be equal in church leadership, there is always a way to be involved. If you find yourself unhappy with your particular church's treatment of women, it might be worth it to research others in your area that are more in line with your views. There is no right answer to the question of women in church leadership. The main thing to consider is what you personally believe, and to follow your own religious path.

Church Trunk Or Treat: Everything You WANT to Know

By | Resources

Instead of viewing Halloween as a “non-holiday,” why not use it as another outreach opportunity? Parents and children will be out in droves. Therefore, that's an incredible opportunity to turn Halloween into a fruitful and positive community outreach during a church trunk or treat event. You'll find this is particularly true if you're a church that is struggling to attract young families.

Hosting a “Christian Themed” Trunk or Treat Event

Who says your event has to follow the traditional norms? Step outside the box and change a few things up by including the Gospel and introducing Christian themes. Encourage children and parents attending to dress up in costumes, but handle the rest of the event a bit differently. Here are some suggestions:

  • Encourage those who bring their vehicles to decorate them according to a Christian theme. These could include Jonah and the Whale, like the Arch, and so on.
  • Set up a “Candy Land” themed church trunk or treat event whereby each attendee has to “travel” from one vehicle to the next, play games, and receive Christian-themed prizes.
  • Instead of using decorated vehicles, have your youth ministry decorate booths according to a theme. Challenge them to come up with something—maybe a competition where they can win prizes. Then, they can run the booth with games, prizes, and handing out goodie bags according to their theme.

Plan on a lot of families to come to your event. Trunk or treat events draw large crowds because parents are looking for safe places to bring their children as an alternative to trick-or-treating. Consider serving a meal or finger foods for those who arrive when the doors open.

Have a Trunk or Treat and Hayride Combination Event

Who doesn’t love a hayride? Hosting a trunk or treat in combination with a hayride is an excellent outreach opportunity. When setting up your event, create or order posters with Biblical scriptures. Place them on a wagon with bails of hay or hang them prominently throughout your venue.

Set out a series of pumpkins spelling “Jesus,” as well as other phrases. These pumpkins can decorate the entrance to your church, or lead the way to where you’re having the hayride. Place flickering battery-powered tea-light candles inside each one. That way, you don’t have to worry about flames going out or any safety issues.

Conduct the hayrides throughout the church trunk or treat event. That way, parents and children can enjoy a ride after they’ve had the opportunity to visit each “trunk” and enjoy the Gospel. Here’s another opportunity for introductions to occur and to get to know young members of the community.

Pass Out Biblical-Themed Goodies

Some communities don’t like change. When they go to a trunk or treat event, they have certain expectations. If you’re unsure how the community will react to change, hand out Christian-themed goodies. You can approach this in a variety of ways. Here are some suggestions:

  • Set up a booth specifically for handing out copies of the New Testament and other Christian-themed materials in goodie bags.
  • Create goodie bags that include candy and kid-friendly tracts.
  • Add kid-friendly Christian-themed goodies to bags including pencils, stickers, and small puzzle books.

When handing out goodie bags, make sure you’re thanking guests for visiting your church. Every goodie bag should also include your church’s pamphlet. That way, everyone knows how to contact you, when you’re worshipping, and when you’re hosting other events.

Final Thoughts

No matter if you plan to host your church trunk or treat in the parking lot, your church’s gym, or at a local non-profit, you’ll find it’s a positive opportunity for reaching young local families. Encourage everyone to wear non-scary costumes. Plan your event early and be sure to market it on social media, as well as throughout your community.

Fall Festival: X Tips for Your Churches Fall Festival

By | Resources

Fall is upon us. It’s the time of the year when days become shorter and the temperature becomes cooler. Kids go collecting candies and you’ll be seeing pumpkins everywhere. And if your church is up for it, it could also be the season when people will get to know the love of God. To create that opportunity for people, here are fall festival ideas that you can organize for your church.

Organize a Puppet Show

Kids dig fall festivals the most. In fact, right this moment there are probably kids in your church who are praying for days to go faster so they can don on their carefully-planned costume. The church can make the most out of this festival and tell kids the greatest story ever told at a time when they’re most enthusiastic. And who better to tell that story than very entertaining puppets? Make sure to ask kids beforehand to invite their pals over so they also get to witness puppets preach the gospel.

Inflatables Galore

You can never go wrong with inflatables. Young ones and “young once” love it. You can even use it as a prop for an obstacle course or other games.

Trunk-or-Treat with a Twist

It’s the time of the year when kids can load up on all the sweets as they go around trick-or-treating. But aside from candies, why not load ’em up with food for the soul. Instead of ghoulish-themed trunks, you can ask volunteers to design a bible story-themed trunk.

With the help of creative minds and hands, you can convert a car trunk into the mouth of a whale. And volunteers manning the trunk can regal kids with the story of Jonah and the great fish. Or you can have the trunk transformed into Jesus’ tomb with the stone rolled away. And you can tell kids the account of Jesus’ resurrection.

Bible-Themed Amazing Race

Get everyone pumped up for some adventure around the neighborhood with your own version of The Amazing Race. And to get to the next clue, have the participants answer some trivia questions, including items from Scripture. This is a good way to get siblings, pals, or parent and child to bond together by trying to solve puzzles to get to the last destination and win the prize. And mind you, it doesn't take a very grand reward to get everyone eager and excited; you can count on people's natural competitive instincts to kick in at the mere mention of race.

What’s in a Name?

Kids can have their names printed on a special paper along with their meaning. A computer and printer will pretty much do the trick. And if you can have some volunteers explain to every kid that visits this booth the meaning and possibly, relevant stories for names taken from the Bible, that would make this booth even more special. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to instill positive values that kids can remember for years. After all, nothing’s more memorable than your own name.

Auction for a Cause

Fall Festival is the time when kids and even adults receive all sorts of things from the organizers. However, you can go the extra mile and make this an opportunity for participants to give back. To do this, organize an auction of a ticket for a popular sporting event, a rare collectible, or even mystery boxes. Proceeds of the auction can go to the church building fund or food for the homeless or other projects in your community.

Creative Booth

Get everyone to express their creative side. You can have this booth designed for participants of all ages. Kids can have their own corner for some exciting arts and crafts. The will surely love wearing a mask that they made on their own. Teens can try their hands with face painting. Even adults can join in on the fun and get their temporary tattoo done.

Keep It Small and Simple

If thinking about the Fall Festival is enough to get you worried about the budget to pull off the event, fret not. This event doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With many communities organizing their own event, you don’t have to compete and host an expensive festival to have an impact.

To keep it small yet meaningful, ask your church members to get involved by inviting their close friends or neighbors to this church event. The best time to conduct this mini Fall Festival is right after the service. Organize something special for the kids: cake walk, sack races, and even trunk-or-treat stations in the parking lot. The important thing is you never lose sight of the real objective of the festival—to reach out to people who need to hear the gospel.

Photo Booth

Immortalize the fun by having a photo booth where families and pals can take a picture of themselves having the time of their life. To make the booth extra special, provide some funny speech balloons or bring some wacky accessories that people can hold or put on before having their pictures taken.

Something for Everyone

While you can expect kids to have the most amazing time of all during Fall Festival, don’t forget to have something for the entire members of the family. You can give away some tokens to everyone who participates. Better still, get the adults to volunteer at the different booths. This will keep parents, grandparents, and young professionals occupied and interact with people from different backgrounds. Plus, they can be part of the mission to reach out to people while enjoying their kids and grandkids at the different booths.

When everyone is making preparations for Halloween, you can give the community a better alternative that provides a safer venue for kids to collect candies, a more wholesome set of activities for all members of the family, and most importantly, a festival where the community can come together and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, Fall Festival doesn’t have to dwell on the grisly and macabre. It can be an outreach opportunity for your community and a wonderful chance for the congregation to invite their friends and neighbors over.

how to recruit volunteers

How To Recruit Volunteers: 10 Key Steps to Recruit Volunteers

By | Resources

A strong ministry is often built on the goodwill and participation of individuals. Your volunteer program is an important way for you to advance your mission and run essential services. You may rely on paid staff for administration and church operations. But volunteers may run Bible studies, support groups, outreach programs, and a host of other intiatives that you perform in the community.

Finding and keeping volunteers can be a challenge. By spreading the word about available opportunities and elevating the volunteer experience, you can have a robust roster of people willing to help on a long-term basis.

Why Do Churches Benefit from a Volunteer Program?

Perhaps more than any other nonprofits, churches often strive for a foundation of service. That goes hand in hand with asking folks to get involved with church initiatives. A faith community is fundamentally about spreading the message of scripture. That necessarily involves people engaging with one another on an individual level. It often means getting their hands dirty for the work of the church.

Volunteering gives congregants the ability to see how the church matters to the community. It also gives them the chance to get to know other members of the faith. This type of interaction ultimately contributes to the idea that everyone has a role to play in helping others and helping the church body as a whole.

Ten Key Steps to Recruitment

So, how do you get the volunteers that you need? Getting people on board is important, but so is keeping those who provide ongoing service to the community. Here are some steps that can help you gather those individuals and make them long-term participants in your volunteer programs.

Promote the Volunteer Program

The first step seems obvious, but it may be overlooked. It's essential to let people know the volunteer program exists. Many of your congregants might expect that people “help out” from time to time, but may not be aware that volunteers can have dedicated roles. That level of participation can come with significant personal satisfaction that your members may want to experience.

There are many ways to promote the volunteer program. Include a note in your church bulletin. Have a dedicated section on your website. Discuss the volunteer happenings during services. Let people know who they may contact if they are interested in volunteering. That's achieved by including a contact name and email on your website, and by asking the volunteer coordinator to give a wave or hello during services.

Ask People to Volunteer

It's always great when volunteers come to you. But sometimes, it helps to go to them. Recruitment is often an outreach activity. People may not know they are wanted, or needed, as volunteers, until someone asks them. Approaching small groups of people at church events is one way to put out the call. That way, it's a personalized invitation but doesn't put too much pressure on individuals who may not be able to participate.

You can also put out the call to volunteers in your church messaging. Let people know what volunteer positions are currently available and what they entail. It's kind of like a job description, but the emphasis is on encouraging people to increase their role in the community.

Treat Volunteers With Respect

Some church commentators note the importance of staying away from a hierarchy. Specifically, pastors and members of the church leadership are no more vital than volunteers. That's easy to understand from a spiritual perspective. In the hustle and bustle of busy church life, it can sometimes get lost. For that reason, it's key to remind all members of teams to respect one another.

Reduce Barriers to Volunteering

As a church community, you should be no stranger to the idea of reducing barriers. These come in many forms. Sometimes, people want to volunteer but have family commitments, health issues, or other constraints on their ability to do so easily. The requirement to fill out forms may pose a challenge for those who struggle with literacy. The list of specifics may be long. But the easier you make it for people to join your church, the more folks you can make part of your faith community.

Try to adopt this low-barrier mindset while developing your church volunteer program. Be on the lookout for barrier issues and ask church members to report them. That way, no valuable person is lost because of a simple matter of lack of accommodation.

Develop Different Tiers of Participation

Most people will volunteer for their own sake. Indeed, it is often expected that people humbly do the work of the church. But even the most dedicated individuals need to expand their skills and grow within a position. This helps to keep them engaged and interested. As they become more capable in their roles, those roles should shift to allow them to bring more to the church community. For example, you may promote experienced group leaders to board members. Seasoned volunteers can train and oversee new recruits.

There is real value to this process for the church as well as the volunteers. Experienced volunteers bring institutional memory to the programs they run and to the organization as a whole. Often, volunteers know more than new staff recruits just because they have been there to see how the church has evolved.

Reward Volunteers for Their Efforts

As much as volunteers want to learn and advance, they also appreciate the recognition. This helps volunteer leaders to reinvigorate and revitalize their team. This is important in any nonprofit, but especially so with the work of the church. Faith communities deal one-on-one with people experiencing many challenges. Often the task of the church is to support those who need food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities. This work has numerous rewards. But it can also become tasking for volunteers, who may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who need help.

A recognition program, which can be as simple as a semi-annual potluck or regular “kudos” in the church newsletter, can remind volunteers of their value. Everyone needs to be noticed every so often, at least to know that they should keep doing the good work they are pursuing — because it does mean something at the end of the day.

Provide Training

Both paid and volunteer personnel needs the tools to perform their roles well. Volunteers are often asked to show up at a particular place and time and simply go to work. This can make the program work less efficiently. It can also make volunteers feel like they do not have the knowledge or skills they need to contribute as much as possible. A robust training program can help resolve these issues. This may take the form of online modules, a paper manual, or a buddy system where a new volunteer shadows an experienced volunteer during their first few shifts.

Give Regular Feedback and Support

As much as church volunteers may want to do their work humbly and without fanfare, they are individuals who may need assistance. It never hurts to have a regular check in with each volunteer to find out how they are faring in their individual roles. You can offer encouragement and offer a few words of thanks to everyone. You can also take this opportunity to hear from the volunteer. Specifically, you might ask whether they feel the particular role they are fulfilling is right for them or whether they'd like to try something new.

It is through these one-on-one conversations that you can discover how best to support your volunteers. There are usually little changes that can make it easier for them to do their work and increase their level of satisfaction. This makes them more likely to continue volunteering. It also gives you ideas on how you can improve your volunteer programs in the future.

Show the Impact and Results of Volunteer Work

Even the most dedicated team members can question whether their efforts really make any difference. As part of your church updates during services, or during volunteer team meetings, try to highlight the impact the volunteer program has. For example, you can share stats about the number of meals served at the community kitchen.

This is particularly important for initiatives that don't have an obvious impact. For example, those who offered to assist with moving boxes when the church moved to a bigger location might be hard pressed to see how they helped. You can make that connection by reminding them what the new location means in real terms. It might be the growth of church programs, expansion of the size of the community kitchen, or a larger congregation able to attend services.

Focus on the Team

At the end of the day, a church is a community. That means it's as important to emphasize team goals as it is to support individual volunteers. In all of your efforts, try to encourage everyone to work as part of a team. That means mutual respect, support, and collaboration to advance the common goal. Together, volunteers make a huge impact on the community. Emphasizing that community helps individuals to feel a part of things, as the church becomes more and more important in their day to day life.

Every church has its own ideas about the roles of volunteers. By focusing on the organization's key mission, it is easy to develop strategies that emphasize respect and efficiency. That leads to successful church programs that grow the ministry. You can help your church to grow, one volunteer at a time.

halloween outreach

Halloween: An Opportunity for Outreach

By | Resources

Many Christians find themselves conflicted when Halloween comes around. Sure, it’s a globally-celebrated festival, but we all know it has pagan origins. The costumes aren’t always very inspiring, to say the least.

If you have children or children in your congregation, you can use this festival as an opportunity for outreach. Here is a helpful list of practical ideas on how to turn your Halloween festivities into Godly and uplifting outreach opportunities.

1.       Organize Bible-Based Halloween parties

Costumes can be from Biblical stories, saints, even animals and monsters or creatures mentioned in the Bible. Don’t be limited to contemporary outfits and costumes. If you are throwing a Halloween party, state specifically that each person must come dressed as a character or creature found in the Bible. For example, how about a dinosaur, Leviathan, or one of the four horsemen of Revelations?

2.      Focus on spirits who inspire

Kids love dressing up, but you don’t have to stick the usual scary ghosts and ghouls. For your Halloween outreach, think of inspiring spirits to imitate: saints from the past, the Holy Spirit, or famous historical characters. Inventors, scientists, and ancestors whose memories fill us with hope and peace can make good dress-up ideas.

3.      “Fruits of the Spirit” Games

Many folks like to play “Bobbing for Apples” during Halloween parties, or have bake-offs and cooking activities. If you do one of these, it’s all in the theme you choose. Give the games original names: “Bobbing for Apples” Turns Into “Bobbing for Fruits of the Spirit,” etc.

4.      Have a Harvest Theme

As Halloween falls around Autumn time, make it a chance to do your own Autumn community outreach. Throw an Autumn Fall Festival and invite both members and non-members to attend. You can still decorate with the usual suspects: scarecrows, pumpkins, and seasonal fruits—but you are focusing on the harvest theme rather than the Halloween factor. Make it a time to be grateful for the “harvest” and share blessings between your congregation. It could be a potluck where everyone brings something to offer or a time to share uplifting testimonies of the harvest of souls your church has had this year.

5.      Trunk or Treat

Instead of the regular neighborhood candy hunt or door-to-door, a Trunk or Treat brings the sweets to the church parking lot. All the park cars are decorated in various themes, and the kids have to go around to each set of wheels. They collect their sweets, and can also collect other goodies from each car: a Bible Verse, an inspiring quote to help them in school, or even a free hug from church members. This is one way to have kids involved in a candy hunt while keeping their security and safety a priority.

6.      Leaf-Raking Outreach

Choose one weekend day where families get together and help rake the lawns or gardens of the elderly in the neighborhood. One of the best ways to raise children to want to help and serve others is through example. If some have baked goods, these could also be brought around the homes and offered while the Autumn leaves are being raked up. Make it a united effort, so that the kids feel like they aren’t just doing another boring chore, but being a blessing.

7.      Halloween Movie Night

For a twist on the usual activities, throw a movie night for the young people in your congregation. There can be a showing of spiritual-themed movies that have good lessons. Movies that deal with the afterlife and can lead to some in-depth conversations about Heaven are good to show. Other appropriate films include themes on Heaven, Angels, and Time Travel. There are some classics from decades ago that still warm the heart and soul. Here are some examples to get you started on a great Halloween Movie List:

·      Ghost (Deni Moore, Patrick Swayze, 1990)

·      What Dreams May Come (Robin Williams, 1998)

·      Heaven Can Wait (Warren Beatty, 1978)

·      All Dogs Go to Heaven (Animated Movie, 1996)

·      It’s a Wonderful Life (James Stewart, 1946)

·      Always (Richard Dreyfuss, 1989)

·      Dragonfly (Kevin Costner, 2002)

Note: The above movies are just a suggestion. We recommend previewing them before showing younger audiences, and deciding whether any or all are appropriate for your church activity.

8.      A Night of Miracles

Halloween may be a celebration of the dead for many—why not make it a celebration of life for your church and community? Throw an outreach event where folks can come to gather and share miracles. Whether great or small, life-changing miracles, or tiny ones. All are needed for the encouragement and inspiration they bring to our hearts. Let some of the members know in advance about your plans for a “Night of Miracles” Halloween fellowship. That way, they can think about their testimonies, plan, and prepare accordingly. Remember, even the simplest of activities can be so much more fun and inspiring with the right preparation.

Each outreach event is also an opportune time to encourage giving. Whether you set up a fundraiser before the event or during it, we have all the best digital resources to help you make it successful.

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