What Message Is Your Atmosphere Sending?

A Part of Multisite Monday

Whether you are contemplating a multisite strategy or already have ten locations, it’s important to consider what the atmosphere you are creating says about you. I think of atmosphere as the hardest working or (in some cases) the most underperforming volunteer you have. It’s either creating momentum or diminishing your effectiveness.

Atmosphere is the first and last thing parents notice as they are entering or exiting your facility. It sends a message, intended or not, about what’s important to you. Let me explain.

There was a season when launching the children’s ministry for Elevation Gaston in which we had not identified a campus kids director. Since I was launching the campus anyway, I stepped into that role for a few weeks. I will never forget standing near the door one morning, as families were exiting, and hearing, “Man, that toddler room stinks. They really need to change those kids’ diapers.” I had an irrational desire to chase down that dad and explain how each child’s diaper is changed at least once during every worship experience. That was probably the reason why the room stunk so badly to begin with, but because of a slight oversight on my part, we were judged as uncaring, inattentive, and unsanitary. You better believe the next week we implemented an air freshening system. We installed a scent machine just outside the baby and toddler rooms and assigned a volunteer to spray Febreze before, during, and following each worship experience. We also moved the changing table away from the door area and purchased a scent reducing diaper pale.

The smell of your rooms and hallways may seem inconsequential, but whether you like it or not, EVERY minute detail of EVERY aspect of EVERY area of your ministry will be noticed, considered, and judged by a parent. The question is will your atmosphere make a lasting impression or be found wanting? As you are reading this article, there may be aspects of your ministry that pop into your head. That’s great! The more aware you are of the shortfalls, the easier they are to rectify. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few steps to get you thinking at the right level.

START by listing adjectives you would like for parents to associate with your ministry. Here are some examples. You can create your own list.

Clean              Safe                 Effective

Bright             Fun                 Peaceful

Loving             Organized      Friendly

Efficient          Welcoming     Modern

THEN evaluate your current atmosphere. Identify the areas in which your current environments contradict one or more of the words you wrote down.

FINALLY, write out a few sentences that help to clarify atmospheric goals for your team and make an actionable plan to align your reality with your vision.

Here’s an example:

Each room should be neat, clean, and smell nice. There should be minimum furniture, but contain the necessary components to adequately care for the children or students we serve. The rooms should have a modern, minimalistic feel. Every area should be fresh and bright.

Once the vision is clear, the teams you lead can help you establish and maintain those minimum standards. Here are two examples, one permanent and one non-permanent, of what can happen when you clarify the vision and make a specific charge to your volunteers.

 

 

Still need help getting started? Ask yourself these questions as you begin to evaluate your atmosphere.

Can first time guests clearly identify kid or student check-in upon entering the building?

Is my directional signage clear and current?

Are my rooms neat and clutter free?

How do my rooms and hallways smell before, during, and after the worship service?

Is there age appropriate music in the hallways or classrooms during drop-off and pick-up?

Do I have a designated volunteer at each classroom or theater to greet families and assist during pick-up?

Do my volunteers convey fluster and frustration or energy and enthusiasm?

Am I conveying excellence with my commitment to detail?

Are my rooms sterilized? Do I have hand sanitizer at every door and check-in station? Are the rooms vacuumed and cleaned prior to and between each worship service?

Is my wellness policy easily understood and posted in a noticeable way?

Are my rooms well stocked with needed snacks, supplies, and teaching resources?

Is there security (paid or volunteer) present and easily visible?

Every week parents entrust us with their most valuable treasure, their child. There is nothing they wouldn’t do for them, no limit to their love. Keeping that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise they have high expectations of us. The fact remains, no matter how amazing the worship music, how relevant the sermon, or how friendly the volunteers, if a parent feels their child was unsafe, uncared for, or unengaged, they won’t be back. Your atmosphere sets the stage for successful interactions with parents. It leaves a lasting impression that can create hesitation or construct confidence.

For additional Multisite Monday articles, click HERE.

Jessica Bealer

 

EVALUATION…the Secret Sauce of Multisite Ministry

Part of Multisite Monday

In recent years, EVALUATION has become a buzzword in ministry. Growing up a preacher’s kid, I distinctly remember phrases like, “We’re not growing in number, but we’re growing in depth,” or “It doesn’t matter how many people show up if one person gives his or her life to Jesus, it’s worth it.” I also remember my dad shaking his head and saying, “No. If we can’t measure success, it’s time and money wasted.” I’m not speaking in absolutes. I’m sure there are actions you could take or ministries you could launch to further God’s kingdom that would be difficult to measure. However, I also know that defining victory increases your odds of success.

Family Ministry is one big puzzle made up of a thousand different pieces. It would be simple if we could look at our teams and say, “I trust you. Now go do a good job!” The problem is that success, if not defined, is subjective. Everyone will have a different take and those varying perspectives may not align with the purpose or vision of your ministry.

Policies, procedures, standards, and systems don’t handcuff your teams, they free them. They grant the authority necessary to meet expectations. They empower volunteers to identify solutions within the parameters you’ve set, and they clearly define boundaries. I call this the infrastructure of EVALUATION…the secret sauce, if you will. In a multisite model, a strong foundation is essential if you want excellence to translate from one location to another, but that requires a clear set of blueprints. Below you will find a list to help get you started.

Atmosphere

Room Ratios / Small Group Ratios

Toy Replacement / Standards

Signage Requirements / Standards

Large Group Quality Control (Run-through / Actors)

Minimum Standards (By Area)

 

Policy and Procedures

First Time Guest Welcome Procedure

First Time Guest Follow-Up Plan

Special Needs Family Procedures

Child Bathroom Policy

Diaper Changing Policy

Infant Feeding Procedures

Snack Restrictions / Policy

Check-In / Check-Out Procedures

Room Opening / Closing Procedures

Tear-down / Set-up Procedures

Incident Reporting System

Safety / Security Standards

Evacuation Plan

Active Shooter Policy

Curriculum Distribution Procedures

Transition(s) Plan (Small Group / Large Group)

Parent Paging System (During the Service)

 

Volunteers

Volunteer Communication / Feedback Plan

New Volunteer On-boarding Procedures

Volunteer Training / Coaching Plan

Volunteer Appreciation Plan

Volunteers’ Children Care Plan

Volunteer Dress Code

Supply Needs / Communication Procedures

Setting clear expectations for your teams allows for advancement and accountability. This list isn’t a catchall. As your ministry changes and expands, additional policies and procedures may be necessary. Your current systems and standards will most likely be null and void a year from now if you’re experiencing growth. If there’s a secret sauce to multisite ministry, it’s EVALUATION. Building the infrastructure in advance will ensure you’re ready for all God has planned for your ministry.

For additional articles on multisite strategy, click HERE.

Jess Bealer

The New Discovering Leadership Podcast

 

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What Is Your “Why”?

Orange Leaders Audioblog

At one point or another you’ve probably said, “I have the best job in the world!”—and in the moment you whole-heartedly meant it. You love what you do, or at least you’re in love with the idea of what you do. Investing in the next generation ensures the continuation of the gospel. That should be motivation enough, right? Unfortunately, it’s not. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have an emotional connection to your ministry. I am saying your calling is more than a vague and overarching purpose statement. Your “why” has to be specific to you. What keeps you up at night? What gets your heart racing? What singular topic occupies your thoughts and the majority of your conversations?

For me, it’s this…to continue reading click here.

TO LISTEN TO THIS VIA AUDIOBLOG, CLICK HERE.

Thanks for visiting FamilyMinistry.Church. I hope you find the content here helpful and inspiring. If you’d like to reach out to me for any reason, you can contact me through the site. Enter your information in the sidebar at the top of this page.

Jessica Bealer

13 Steps to a Successful Non-Permanent Launch

Part of Multisite Monday

Your church is growing and you’ve run out of space OR your church has plateaued and is looking for a new initiative to spur growth. Whatever the reason, your leadership team has decided to venture down the path of multisite. Most churches don’t have millions in reserve to build a new facility or retrofit an existing one. If that’s you…it’s time to consider a non-permanent strategy. Below you will find 13 steps to help you successfully launch a non-permanent (or portable) location.

1 – Establish a timeline.

As a staff or core team discuss and determine a tentative date on which you would like to launch. Ask yourselves, “What season will that be? How will the season affect our initial attendance? How does our current church calendar factor in?”

2 – Identify a location.

This seems like an obvious first step. You need somewhere to meet but not all buildings are created equal. Despite your hard work and greatest efforts a campus can succeed or fail because of unconsidered logistics. When deciding whether a location is suitable, consider these criteria:

  • Does our timeline match the date of occupancy?
  • How many people will the auditorium seat during a prime experience time slot?
  • Will the number of parking spaces accommodate the total number of seating? (Don’t forget to round up because of an overlap of attendees between services.)
  • How far away will the children’s area be from the adult auditorium?
  • Are there enough rooms for kids and students? Is the space safe and clean?
  • Can we adequately secure all kids rooms and hallways?
  • Is there additional space for on-campus meetings, special needs area, guest overflow, volunteer training, etc?
  • Is wi-fi available?
  • Will administration allow for onsite storage?
  • Can we use the location during the week or on special occasions?
  • Will we be allowed to make small permanent changes or upgrades?
  • Can we leave anything set up? If not, what’s the solution?
  • Will we need police or paid traffic direction?

3 – Determine marketing and community involvement.

Calculate how much you have to spend on marketing and decide how you’ll use that money. Choose community outreach partners and meet with the staff at those non-profit organizations. Make a support plan with these partners. Order door hangers or mail outs. Schedule neighborhood canvasing within a two-mile radius of the new location. Make a splash in the community.

4 – Put the call out.

Once you’ve determined an anticipated number of attendees during those first few weeks of launch, you’ll be able to calculate how many volunteers you need in each area. How do you find these people? Start with the multisite location closest to the area of town in which you are launching the new campus. Speak with the campus pastor. Ask to have onstage talking points inviting current volunteers and attendees to join the launch team. Once the initial team has been established, it’s important to determine where the holes are. Creating a Haves / Needs Document can be helpful when recruiting new people to the launch team. Encourage initial launch team members to invite friends, family, and coworkers to join the team.

5 – Meet with school / facility administrators.

Schedule a meeting with school or facility administrators at your new location. Have the meeting catered. Bring church swag to give away. Establishing a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship is key. If using a school, leave presents (gift baskets full of school supplies and candy) on all the teachers desks in the rooms you plan to use.

6 – Begin Launch Team meetings.

The number and frequency of launch team meetings, which should include all staff and volunteers assisting in any aspect of launch, will be determined by your timeline. Below is an ideal model:

          Six months out: monthly

          Two months out: biweekly

          One month out: weekly

          Week of: multiple run-throughs

7 – Establish a volunteer training or readying strategy.

Undoubtedly, you will need more volunteers than you are able to launch with. Many who attend for the first time during the early weeks of launch will want to plug in and get involved. Establish a quick training and transition plan to help these individuals swiftly move into empty positions.

8 – Order resources and supplies.

You need stuff! About a four to six weeks prior to launch, you need to order your resources. It will take up more space than you expect so make sure you have a box truck or storage unit to organize supplies. Label every box with the area or room it belongs. This will save time during your initial set-up.

9 – Schedule run-throughs.

Run-throughs help to identify gaps and highlight weak points. Schedule at least two or three full run-throughs, complete with set-up and tear-down. Encourage all volunteers to be present and share observed ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness. These run-throughs will also help to identify additional resources and supplies you may have overlooked initially.

10 – Initiate prayer initiative.

Prayer offers peace, perspective and focus. It also brings unity. Schedule a week of prayer or round-the-clock day of intercession. Have teams pray for specific aspects of launch each day or the names of those they plan to invite. Prayer is a great way to launch every new endeavor.

11 – Host final prep and logistical meeting.

With less than a week before launch, it’s time to finalize details. Everything needs to be considered and discussed, from parking strategies to the scent of the air. No detail is too small. Open a group chat or email chain that keeps staff members and key volunteer leaders informed.

12 – Launch.

Lay your clothes out the night before. Set the alarm early. Wake up in prayer. Calm your spirit. Decide to be positive no matter what. Walk in with a smile on your face. Call a final staff and volunteer rally to focus your teams’ efforts and clarify the vision of the day. Assign volunteers to take pictures and collect stories. You’ll need these for the next step.

13 – Celebrate!

At the end of the day when tear down is complete, host a dance party. Pass out party favors. Turn up the music. Reveal the launch numbers in an exciting way. Share the stories you collected and send your volunteers home with a sense of relief and accomplishment.

Stuck on any of these steps? I’d love the opportunity to meet with your team and help you work through and execute a successful launch season. You can contact me here on FamilyMinistry.Church. Input your information in the sidebar now.

To check out additional Multisite Monday articles, click here.

Jessica Bealer

 

Let’s Talk Multisite

Part of Multisite Monday

Last week on the Nick Blevins Podcast, I had the opportunity to talk all things multisite. We discussed a variety of topics, from initial launch steps to first-time guest strategy. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check it out.

To listen to the podcast, click HERE.

Join me again next Multisite Monday as I lay out a step-by-step process to assist you with future launches. For additional Multisite Monday articles, click here.

Jessica Bealer