Pastor appreciation day

Out-of-the-Ordinary Ideas for Pastor Appreciation Day

By | Resources

They feed and lead God’s people often at the expense of their own convenience. And even in the background, they are praying for you and you’re even unaware about it. So how do you say thank you to these generous souls who are serving the church every day without fail? We’ve rounded up unique ways to express your gratitude this coming Pastor Appreciation Day.

Support their Quirks

The man of God can be a man of many quirks too. This Pastor Appreciation Day, you can stoke some of their quirks. If your pastor is fond of a particular drink, you can ask the help of his family and stock up the fridge with that beverage. Fond of chocolate or any particular snack? Have a bouquet made of chocolates or other snacks delivered to his office.

Thank Him for An Entire Year

You can express your appreciation and say thank you in the form of an annual membership. For instance, if your pastor has always wanted to start a fitness regimen you can sign him up for a membership at the gym. Or if he is a movie buff, a Netflix subscription might be apt. If he is an avid reader but just lacks the time to binge read, an Audible subscription might be the best gift.

Double Honor, Double Rest Days

Sabbath is very important for everyone, not just your pastor. When God instituted a rest day out of a week of work, He knew our body needs it. Observing the Sabbath honors the Lord. This Pastor Appreciation Day is the perfect time to give your pastor additional days for rest. You can even go the extra mile and shoulder a vacation for him and his family as well. Not only will he enjoy that time, but the whole congregation will also be blessed with the pastor rested and refreshed.

Feed the Shepherd

Your pastor has stayed true to his mandate to feed God’s flock, it’s fitting to take one day out of a year to return the favor and feed him and his whole family. You could have a home-cooked meal delivered straight to their dinner table or you can treat him and his family to their favorite restaurant. Or better yet, invite your pastor’s family over for dinner at their convenience and prepare something special for them.

Get Creative with a Collage

Grateful for the life of your pastor? Say it creatively! Instead of the usual collage, you can have a collage with pictures of a herd of sheep and superimpose their faces with the faces of people from the congregation. You can even have a speech balloon on each “sheep” and ask the people to write something encouraging for your pastor.

Hide it in Plain Sight

Planning to give a bonus check or even a simple letter to your pastors this Pastor Appreciation Day? Make the gesture extra special by hiding the check or letter in their most read book⁠—the bible. This will entail the help of their family members if your pastors keep their trusted bible at home.

Give a Tech Gizmo

For the tech-savvy preacher, you can get him useful gadgets like noise-canceling headphones to keep him focused and zone out from the distraction when he’s preparing for his preaching. Other useful gizmos are phone or tablet accessories as well as external hard drives. Or better yet, you can give him a tech store gift card so he can have a field day there.

Follow the Word

Instead of giving your pastors the usual notes of encouragement from members of the congregation, why not make it even more thoughtful by placing them strategically in different places where they frequent. You can have a mix of notes from church members and encouraging bible verses. You can place some notes visibly while others are concealed. After all, you never know when your pastors need the extra boost of encouragement and finding those notes just when they need it can be very refreshing.

Be Marthas For this Month

Most times of the year, you’re Marys, sitting in the church, listening to pastors teach and preach the word of God. This Pastor Appreciation Day, it’ll be great to be Marthas for once. Yes, we’re talking to you guys too! You can make your pastors' life easier and it doesn’t even have to cost a cent. You can volunteer to mow their lawn, clean their house, or babysit their children while they're out on a date with their spouse. Taking the time to serve your pastors even outside the four corners of the church is an excellent way of saying thank you.

Host a Mini-Concert

Rally the members of the different ministries in your church to prepare a presentation for your pastors. You can have the kids, with the leadership of Sunday school teachers, prepare a dance presentation. The youth group, ushering ministry, and worship team can also come up with their own unique presentation. The staff and the pastors’ children can even join in on the fun to honor the men and women who stepped up to answer God’s call in their life.

Pray for Them

This one shouldn’t be an out-of-this-world idea, but it’s the most important so it shouldn’t be left out on this list. It’s no joke being given the mandate to lead God’s people while tending to their own household. That’s why they need the grace of God more than ever to fulfill their calling. And while the congregation’s at it, speak a blessing over their family as well. They’re one of the reasons your pastors do what they do even when the going gets tough.

There are just some of the ways to honor the people that God has appointed to pastor His church. And while you’re at it, you have to know that you’re not just honoring a person, you’re honoring the One who gave them the calling. Thus, Pastor Appreciation Day is not just for pastors, it’s for the congregation as well—the day presents an opportunity for the Church to honor God by appreciating the leaders He has installed over us.

Text In Church

Text In Church: Reviews and Pricing and More | New Fire Giving

By | Resources

Building a community within your church congregation starts with good communication. Many churches rely on weekly or monthly newsletters, bulletins, and announcements. Research shows that turning to text may be a better way to boost engagement.

Gartner reported that 98% of text messages are opened compared to 20% of emails. Response rates for SMS are also much higher. As communication technology advances, it is important for churches to keep up. Many pastors are turning to church-based software, like Text In Church, to reach their congregations.

Text In Church claims to help busy leaders build relationships through communication tools. The company focuses on guest retention rate by using automated messaging and emails.

If you are a busy leader hoping to grow your congregation, you may benefit from a church communication platform. But finding the right software isn’t always easy. Is Text In Church right for you, or are there better options? This guide looks at Text In Church features, pricing, and alternative solutions.

What is Text In Church?

The idea for Text In Church stemmed from a church plant and the need to improve engagement with guests and members. The software company helps pastors and leaders build authentic relationships. It uses text messaging as a means to stay in touch with church members. Text In Church advertises three simple steps to using their platform:

Gather information

Leaders can transfer their church’s database of contact information directly into the Text In Church software. Guests and members can also text your church’s Text In Church number and fill out a Smart Connect Card.

Follow up with guests

Text In Church provides 16 different templates to send follow-up texts and emails. Communication with new church attendees follows an easy, automated pathway.

Engage in real conversations

The software offers two-way texting so that members can respond. Send text announcements, event invitations, and encouragement.

The Key Features of Text in Church

Engagement is an essential part of church-building. Communication tools like Text In Church attempt to bridge the gap between church attendance and church engagement. The company claims that the world sends over 23 billion texts each day. People are already texting, a lot, and it makes sense to use this form of communication to stay in touch.

Text In Church includes some basic key features for communicating with church members.

  • Automated workflow
  • Two-way messaging
  • Database organization by group (small groups, volunteer groups, ministry teams)
  • Integration with MailChimp, Community Builder, and other services

The software is for church leaders. Pastors and leaders are busy and communication tools can help them stay connected. Text In Church is an effective way to promote upcoming events, share church information, and send automated communication. Users can even send birthday greetings or event reminders. Text in Church is for any size church, and it even offers a custom tier for large churches.

How much does Text In Church Cost?

Text In Church advertises three different pricing tiers. The basic, pro and premium plans offer various levels of support and features. Starting at $37 per month for the basic plan, users can send 500 monthly text messages, unlimited emails, and access to email and chat support. Each plan increases progressively. For $67 per month, users can send 1500 texts, and for $97, users can send 2500 monthly texts and get phone support.

There is a fourth tier for churches that want to send more than 2500 texts each month. The pricing is not advertised as it depends on the custom needs of the church.

Customers often ask how they calculate text messages. Each message sent to a single number counts as one. If you send one text to 20 people, it counts as 20 text messages. Incoming messages do not count against the final number of texts.

Exploring Church Engagement

Text In Church focuses largely on saving leaders time and helping them grow church attendance. They offer 16 follow-up templates along with a six-week follow-up calendar. The idea is that by automating communications, guests feel engaged and more willing to return.

What communication needs or gaps does your church need to fill? Do you need easier communication with your church? Or are you looking for ways to encourage engagement through giving?

Growing your church attendance is useful, but did you know that only 10% to 25% of church members tithe? Fulfilling your church’s mission and vision requires volunteer support and it requires funding. Platforms like New Fire Giving encourage engagement through giving and participating in church campaigns and fundraising efforts. Church engagement looks different for everyone. Understanding your goals and needs will help you determine the best software for your church.

How do Text In Church and New Fire Giving Compare?

Both Text In Church and New Fire Giving encourage church member engagement. Text In Church focuses on text-based communication. New Fire Giving uses digital giving to increase donations and church involvement.

New Fire Giving’s approach is unique. The company encourages and educates pastors, and also provides software to make giving easier for church members. Their focus is on both the church leaders and the congregation.

Text In Church is largely focused on leaders. Their website directs questions specifically at church leaders, asking, “Are people not reading your newsletter?” “Did you have low attendance at your last event.”

The two platforms coincide in their goal to improve church involvement through text. Churches that use Text In Church are seeing an increase in return attendees. Those that use New Fire Giving are seeing a 32% increase in new givers. They are also seeing an increase in recurring donations.

The power of text doesn’t end there. Offering online tithing options increases tithing. The majority of online tithers prefer mobile giving, including text-to-give. People today are giving less to church than they did during the Great Depression. The solution to this downtrend could be to increase engagement and involvement through mobile giving.

The Key Features of New Fire Giving

New Fire Giving offers four ways to receive donations: online, at giving kiosks, on an app, and through text messaging. New Fire Giving software integrates with current church management software. But it also serves as a standalone product. Users can easily sign up and the software saves the contact information. Leaders can then use this database to communicate with church members.

The software behind New Fire Giving offers these key features:

  • Email statements of giving
  • Giving analytics
  • Recurring payments
  • Custom branded app and online giving page
  • Apple Pay integration
  • Multi-campus functionality
  • Unlimited custom giving categories

New Fire also makes it easy for church members to sign up for small groups, volunteer for events, and join in giving campaigns. All from their phones.

New Fire Giving doesn't just focus on sharing information through text. The platform uses text and digital giving to encourage congregations to give, volunteer, and participate in the wider mission of the church.

With increased engagement also comes the need to effectively communicate church goals. New Fire Giving provides coaching and training for pastors. The Ignite Coaching and Generosity Framework helps leaders assess their church and build an action plan that supports the donation software.

New Fire Giving has three tiers at three different costs, depending on church needs. They offer basic coaching, a complete package, and an accelerated package. The complete package is the most popular for $147 per month and provides Ignite coaching as well as the digital giving software.

What Others are Saying About Text In Church and New Fire Giving

One of the best ways to learn about a product is to see what others are saying. Your peers and fellow church leaders are already using these products. What do they think about them?

Reviews of Text In Church

On Capterra.com, Text In Church received an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, and an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on g2 Crowd. Customers enjoy the ability to easily text congregants and organize their congregations into groups.

Several customers mentioned that they mainly use the service to connect with volunteer teams. The interface is clean and simple, but some state that there is a learning curve involved. There are also some ongoing integration issues that users find frustrating. The feature people love the most is that it’s text! They are seeing a higher response rate than with only using emails to communicate. Overall, users had good things to say about Text In Church:

“The Text In Church software is very easy to use and quite user friendly…The response rate is amazing as the majority of our people are getting and reading our messages to them. Can't say the same about emails, though. Don't like how the text messages split up into multiple messages if you go over the character limit. It's way too easy to put in too much information and bam…you're over the limit.”

“Great program with good features. Please wage functionality vs. support. If function is the main concern, this product is great. If you would like help along the way, don't buy this product.”

Pros

Easy to use: According to customers, the biggest pros of Text In Church is the ease of communicating with church members.

Automated workflow: Customers also like the automation features that allow them to easily connect with guests and new members.

Saves time: Many churches commented on how much time they saved using the platform.

Cons

Lack of support: Several users commented on the lack of support when they experienced issues with the software and billing.

Poor Integration: Text In Church advertises integration with a few existing programs. Some churches, however, struggled to use it with their current software.

Reviews of New Fire Giving

Customers of New Fire Giving enjoy the growth in giving and engagement within their churches. The majority of reviews on Facebook are 5-star ratings. Many customers also expressed satisfaction with the way the Ignite Coaching changed their perspective on giving. One customer shared their satisfaction with the entire program that New Fire Giving offers, from software to coaching. Here is what a few customers have to say:

“The NewFire Giving Framework has increased our giving by 20% every year for the last 6 years.”

“We came into this approach thinking it was a marketing meeting. We left with a whole new mindset on giving.”

Pros

Increased giving: Customers love to see their congregations engage in campaigns, capture church vision, and increase their giving.

Easy to use: Customers also like how easy the digital giving software is to use. Congregants can easily give from their phones.

Change in perspective: The New Fire Giving framework provides leaders with a new way to think and talk about giving. This, in turn, impacts the congregation's perspective on giving and generosity.

Cons

So far, customers are really satisfied with New Fire Giving. According to their website, New Fire Giving has consulted over 5,000 churches and provided a digital giving framework for more than 2,300. They also share that it is more than 42% more likely that a donor will set up recurring giving on a branded page. Customers are seeing the reality of these statistics and more through New Fire Giving’s coaching and digital software.

Finding the Right Church Software for Your Congregation

Keeping your congregation connected and engaged is important, but how do you know which software or tools are right for you?

Text In Church and New Fire Giving both offers easy, supportive, and mobile-friendly ways to increase engagement in your church. It is important, however, to invest in software and platforms that best support your congregation. As you review each company, consider your church’s budget, goals, and engagement needs.

For churches that have solid giving practices, but that struggle to stay connected, Text In Church could be the best solution. The texting and communication platform helps keep people connected and improve retention.

Increased church retention, however, doesn’t always mean increased giving. For churches that seek to improve church generosity, New Fire Giving could be the tool you need. You can improve church member engagement with software that keeps church members up to date on campaigns, events, and financial goals. The digital and coaching tools from New Fire Giving may be the best way for your church to boost involvement while also increasing support.

Which platform best fits your needs? Those who are looking for a way to stay connected with their congregations will find some great features from Text In Church. If you want to increase engagement, involvement, and donations, New Fire Giving is a great place to start.

church announcements

Church Announcements: The Complete Guide to Church Announcements

By | Resources

Announcements may not be the lifeblood of the church but if you want an informed and engaged congregation, someone has to give it much more thought than just another item on the to-do list. Here’s how to spruce up church announcements and get everyone listening.

Set Priority

Just because the service allots 10 minutes for the announcement doesn’t mean you use all of those time. People’s interest wane when you try to cram every activity that the church is up to into the announcement. So instead of informing the congregation about seven events, try to whittle it down to two, prioritizing major events that most of the congregation have to know about.

Provide a Clear Call to Action

Announcements are not just about providing information. Think about it. When you’re announcing an upcoming event in the church, you’re also compelling the congregation to join, volunteer, or tell their friends about it. That’s why every announcement should always end with a clear and riveting call to action. Give it a sense of urgency. People are more likely to respond when they know what they need to do.

Inspire and Inform

Inspiration is the best motivator. And people are inspired to take action when there’s an emotional connection. They don’t just have to know what’s good, they have to feel it’s good. This is why part of what makes a compelling announcement is casting the vision. Share why the church does these events. What are the church’s values? When those resonates deep with the people, you’ve made it simpler for them to commit and act.

Aside from talking about your whys, telling stories when appropriate is a great way to connect emotionally with the congregation. Stories stick way better than just giving the facts. So if Jesus used parables to communicate important truths about the Kingdom, you too can use stories to convey important information.

Use all Communication Channels

Aside from relaying the information during service, all your other communication channels should be synced with the same information. That means the church’s website, social media accounts, mobile app, and bulletin boards should have all the particulars. This way, the congregation can stay updated even when they missed one Sunday service.

Select the Right Person

Everyone has different giftings from the Lord. One may be excellent with admin tasks, while others might be great with music. As a pastor and leader, you need to know the strengths of your staff and assign suitable tasks to them. Likewise, with church announcements, you need to choose the right person to take that mic and relay important information in an engaging way. You can even have two people deliver an exciting dialogue, when appropriate, for a more engaging and not-your-usual approach.

Reinforce with Visuals

Studies confirm that people retain details better when you reinforce the information with visuals. You can use slides or videos for your announcements. You can even use the time before the service to show those slides and videos so there won’t be any idle time in the minutes leading up to the service for early birds.

Enlist the Help of Leaders

The best way to spread information is to cascade it to key people in the church, which happens to be the small group leaders. They’re the ones who meet and interact with members of the congregation. They add the human element to a standing invitation from the church. People can always ignore what’s said during the announcement; it’s way harder to say no to a personal invitation from a friend.

Get Creative in the Sermon

Most people who attend church put a high premium on sermons. It’s that one part of the service people wouldn’t miss. Pastors can creatively plug upcoming important events into their preaching as a reminder. Plan to preach on sharing the love of God to others? You can subtly mention that your upcoming outreach program is one of the best venues to do so.

Be Inclusive

While fostering deep and meaning relationships inside the church is always a good thing, there might be some pitfalls to avoid. For one, it can get too insider-focused that visitors feel like they’re outsiders. The same thing can happen with announcements. When communicating on the stage or pulpit, have the visitors in mind. Avoid church-speak, just convey the information using common everyday language. And as much as possible, announcements should be relevant to most in attendance, if not all. There are better ways to relay information that’s relevant only to a few church members.

Be Prepared

While spontaneity can be good sometimes, it doesn’t work well when you’re doing the announcement during the service. The goal is to get the community involved with church activities so it’s imperative that you relay complete and relevant information beforehand. The last thing you want is confusion, which can be a likely outcome if the one holding the microphone during a church announcement is not prepared.

It’s ideal to set aside some time before the service to go over the spiel and details. This way, you can spot and correct errors ahead of time.

Ask for Regular Feedback

Humility is truly a virtue especially when you’re leading a congregation. It’s also the one attitude that could help the church make positive incremental changes over time. Yes, even something that’s seemingly ordinary as announcements could be improved if the leadership will just take the time to ask for feedback from the right people.

First, you gauge if the people are responsive to the announcement. If yes, check what you did well. If not, brainstorm with the staff what the team could do to make the announcement more compelling. You can even ask trusted church members for their thoughts and ideas on how to improve. After all, they’re the one who’ll have to listen, watch, and sit through the entire thing.

Church announcements are often handled like an afterthought when it’s very important in forging a strong community. It’s a nice glimpse into what goes on beyond Sunday service for visitors. And it’s that bridge that leads to more involved members.

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