3 Important Learnings from Bring Life (our 2017 fall campaign)

This year we produced Bring Life, a 7 week church-wide campaign at Canyon Ridge. We produced our own video content and also wrote the study guide and a 40 day devotional (we combined the two in a 160 page book).

It wasn’t the first campaign we’ve produced. We produced campaigns in 2012 and 2013 (and Canyon Ridge already had a couple under their belt prior to my arrival). In addition, I’ve produced campaigns at several churches prior to joining the team here.

It’s against that backdrop that this year’s learnings stand out. And what I learned may not seem significant, but I think 2017 will turn out to be the fork in the road I’ve been watching for.

2017 Learnings from Bring Life:

The most powerful learning has to do with two questions that were inserted into the rhythm of expected, usual suspect questions in the small group Bible study. I’ve been writing Bible studies for 20 years. It’s not the part of my role that I enjoy but I’m a student and I’ve learned a lot over the years.

This year we inserted a couple questions that were versions of Discovery Bible Study questions. I began learning about Discovery Bible Study when I met a former staff member from Canyon Ridge now serving in Asia. This style of Bible study is the essence of his strategy. And it has a fascinating wrinkle that when inserted into the kind of study I’m used to writing (i.e., different things happen).

The first question we added was simply the inclusion of an “I will” statement to be written at the end of each Bible study session.

Example from session one of Bring Life

Here are the last two questions from session one:

Q8: What will you do this week to begin to use your gifts, skills, interests and abilities at Canyon Ridge?

Don’t end your meeting without making a plan and commitment for how you will use your gifts and talents regularly with other believers.

Complete this sentence: To be a life-bringer at church, I will __________________________________________________________________

The second question we added was a check-in question each week that asked for participants to report in on how they did with their “I will” statement from the week before.

Example from session two of Bring Life

Here is the first question from session two:

Q1: Did you do what you committed to do last week? How did it go? Did you learn anything?

Other learnings include the following:

The importance of developing and providing digital versions of both video and print content. The number of group leaders and hosts picking up their materials already streaming video content as the norm was significant. While not a clear majority, it was noticeably increased over previous years,

In addition, there were many requests for a digital version of the study guide and devotional.

Although we did upload the video content to our RightNow Media account (so our groups and hosts could stream it, we also added the video segments and group study guide to a newly created page on the Canyon Ridge website. This addition made it easier for online campus participants around the world to access much of the content.

Keeping our messaging crisp is a never ending task during campaign season. We did a great job beginning weekend promotion of Bring Life back in June and July (primarily as mentions in weekend messages).

I allowed a lack of focus by not enforcing single message clarity beginning in August. As you know if you follow my church-wide campaign strategy, I encourage careful promotion of one strategic move each weekend beginning in August (i.e., the first three weekends focusing on recruiting HOSTs and the next three weekends focusing on recruiting small group connection signups).

This very big strategic mistakes led to smaller numbers than hoped for in both HOST signup and small group connection signups.

Further Reading:

10 Simple Steps to a Great Church-Wide Campaign

Top 10 Reasons Church-Wide Campaigns Miss the Mark

Behind the Scenes: Preparing for a Church-Wide Campaign

How to Maximize Your Church-Wide Campaign

 

THE LATEST ON CHURCH-WIDE CAMPAIGNS – 2017

Saddleback released the 40 Days of Purpose church-wide campaign in 2002.  Although they had previously launched internal spiritual growth campaigns, this one really was a just-add-water option.  Of course, in 2002 it really was just about the only option.

Today, there are lots of options and there are more all the time.  I’ve reviewed many of them and cataloged them here for your convenience.  How to choose?  I’d highly recommend my article, “How to Choose the Right Church-Wide Campaign.”

The Nearly Complete List of Church-Wide Campaigns (as of 10/23/17)

Note: This list is alphabetical.  In most cases, I’ve linked to my own review of the campaign.

What if you could start 10 times as many new groups-

New from Rick Warren and Saddleback: 40 Days of Prayer

Finally got a look at 40 Days of Prayer, the newest church-wide campaign from Rick Warren and Saddleback Church. I’ve been really looking forward to this one and I should tell you, I got more excited and enthused about this campaign’s potential as I worked my way through the contents.

Has there ever been a time when longtime church members and their neighbors would be more open to learning how to pray?

DVD-driven, 40 Days of Prayer is a 6 session study that accompanies a 6 week message series.  The national launch of the campaign was October 1st, 2017 (If you’re reading my review when I posted it, 40 Days of Prayer is running right now and you can still catch all of the messages online).  Like all of Saddleback’s campaigns, this one is the complete package and is a true church-wide campaign with material for the whole family.

DVD-driven, 40 Days of Prayer is anchored by 6 video sessions featuring the teaching of Rick Warren.

The DVD segments are classic Rick Warren.  He gives all six talks seated at a small table on a beautiful beachside patio in southern California.  The talks average 25-35 minutes long.  I’d say for almost anyone else, they’d be a little long, but for Rick Warren, they’re right on target.  Still have to say…he is the master of this style of communication. (And I need to add, it may be just me, but the videos are beautiful, with the Pacific Ocean in the background)

The 40 Days of Prayer study guide is designed to be an all-in-one keepsake for group members and includes a number of important features:

  • Weekend Sermon Notes: A place to capture the teaching from the weekend sermon.
  • Daily prayer journal: contains directions for daily devotions including scripture verses and prayer journal prompts.
  • Video Lesson Notes: Every session is DVD-driven. Use the Video Lesson Notes to capture fill-ins and insights.
  • Discovery Questions: Choose from a well-written set of discussion questions for deeper understanding of the teaching.
  • Key Verse: Every session has a key scripture verse for memorization.
  • Putting It Into Practice: Every session has application steps that put learning into practice.

The study guide also includes an answer key for all sessions, extended prayer journal space, and a robust appendix with help for hosts and leader resources.

The campaign starter kit includes many tools to help you customize the campaign specifically for your church. Includes 40DOP logos, powerpoint templates, and web banners.

Beginning in November, 2017, there will be a free downloadable 40 Days of Prayer sermon series taught by Pastor Rick Warren.

The 40 Days of Prayer campaign is fully loaded!  And I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more perfectly timed campaign. Has there ever been a time when longtime church members and their neighbors would be more open to learning how to pray?  I found myself thinking about when I’ll be using it and what it will mean to our congregation (even into the crowd and community with the right strategy), and I am really looking forward to this one!  I’m thinking it’s right on target!

Top 10 Reasons Church-Wide Campaigns Miss the Mark

Top 10 Reasons Church-Wide Campaigns Miss the Mark

While there is no question that a church-wide campaign is the most powerful strategy for launching a wave of new groups, there is quite a difference between the results of a well conceived, well planned and well executed campaign and anything less. See also, Ranking the Most Powerful Strategies for Launching New Groups.

Church-wide campaigns that are well conceived, well planned and well executed result in wide participation, higher follow-through, broader community interaction, and deeper values integration.

However, many church-wide campaigns aren’t home runs or even solid base hits.  Instead, they’re often more like a strikeout.

Here are my top 10 reasons church-wide campaigns miss the mark:

  1. Selecting a topic that doesn’t engage the crowd, from the hard end of the Easy/Hard continuum. Too often the topic of the campaign just isn’t something that unconnected people care about. Instead, it’s a topic that the usual suspects are fascinated by but is nowhere to be found on the radar of unconnected people. See also How to Choose the Right Church-Wide Campaign.
  2. Missing the strategic window of optimum launch dates, either too impatient to wait or too slow to gear up. The launch window can make or break the success of the campaign. Choosing the right window takes discipline and strategic savvy. See also, When Is the Best Time to Launch a Church-Wide Campaign.
  3. Failing to help your members build neighborhood or work relationships in advance of the campaign. A campaign on a topic that might interest unconnected people in the crowd or community depends on members actually knowing their neighbors and co-workers. See also, Build Crowd to Core Flow in Advance.
  4. Hand-selecting group leaders from the usual suspects (core and committed) fails to capitalize on the relationships of the congregation and crowd. It is almost always the case that the most connected people within your church are the least connected in their neighborhood and the least connected within the congregation are the most connected in the neighborhood. If you want to connect beyond the usual suspects, you must leverage the connections of the least connected people in your church. See also, Do You Know This Game-Changing Connection Secret?
  5. Failing to engage key opinion leaders who influence the congregation. Right after ensuring that your senior pastor and staff are all in on the campaign, it is essential to engage key opinion leaders who will influence the congregation. Without the buy-in of elders, deacons, ministry leaders and other key opinion leaders, many campaigns are doomed to failure, never really gathering the wide support they need to succeed.
  6. Identifying the campaign topic too late, missing the opportunity to find testimonies that recruit hosts or members. Next to your senior pastor’s influence, there is nothing like the testimony of a satisfied customer who has benefitted from group involvement in the past. (See also How to Develop Video or Live Testimony that Recruits Leaders and Members and Video that Recruits Hosts).
  7. Failing to use key marketing options to promote the campaign more broadly and engage wider participation. Bulletin, website, email, social media, and signage all play their part in promoting broadly to encourage wide participation. Since unconnected people are almost always infrequent attenders, missing this step leads to campaign disaster. See also, Promoting the Launch Series.
  8. Failing to dedicate the right number of weeks to promote the campaign. Unconnected people are almost always infrequent attenders. Unless you make the “host ask” two or three weeks in a row, you will miss out on many potential leaders (and their friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives). Unless you make the “join a group” ask two or three weeks in a row, you will miss out on connecting many unconnected people. See also, How to Make the Small Group Ask – The 2012 Version and Why You Must Make the Host Ask Several Weeks in a Row.
  9. Failing to choose a “next curriculum” for new groups and introduce the next small group material early enough to keep new groups energized and engaged. The next study must be “similar in kind” (DVD-driven and plug-and-play), It must also be introduced at the right time and in the right way in order to maintain momentum . See also, 5 Reasons Your New Groups Are Short-Lived (i.e., die before their time) and What’s Next? When and How to Promote the Next Curriculum.
  10. Allowing the Senior Pastor to delegate the role of vision caster to anyone else. The most influential person is 99% of all churches is the senior pastor. If you want the largest participation, you must leverage your senior pastor’s influence. See also, Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion Leads to a Church OF Groups and 5 Things Senior Pastors Need to Know about Small Group Ministry.

Need help with your church-wide campaign?

Schedule a diagnostic coaching call

Need a planning checkup? A second opinion on your time table? Sometimes you just need a pair of fresh eyes. Someone who brings a lot of experience and can quickly diagnose an issue or identify an unseen solution. Click here to find out how to schedule a telephone consultation that can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your campaign.

Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign

How to Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign is one of my most popular online mini-courses. Over 4 hours of step-by-step instruction coupled with a curated list of downloadable resources will enable you and your team to conceive, plan and execute a powerful campaign. You can find out more about this course right here.

Church-Wide Campaign Coaching

If you want to maximize the impact of your next church-wide campaign, why not take advantage of my experience?  After all, in the last decade I’ve…

  • Led many of the largest churches in America through the campaign process
  • Consulted with many of the fastest growing churches and led them through the campaign process
  • Provided coaching for thousands of 40 Days of Purpose churches while part of the Lifetogether team

Click here to find out more about my church-wide campaign coaching service.

Image by Andrew Lewin

FAQ: What’s the Best Way to Connect the Largest Number of Unconnected People?

What’s the Best Way to Connect the Largest Number of Unconnected People?

There are frequently asked questions…and then there are FREQUENTLY asked questions. This is one of the most frequent questions I am asked.

“What’s the best way to connect the largest number of unconnected people?”

Usually, the asker has done the math and realized that their percentage connected is dangerously low and that long before their current small group model, system or strategy will make any kind of significant dent, large numbers of unconnected people will have come and gone.

Usually, the asker has finally faced up to the fact that unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at their church again and is ready to make some changes.

Unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at their church againUnconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at their church again Click To Tweet

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Tony Robbins

Let’s get personal. Are you there yet?

Are you there yet? Have you finally arrived at the conclusion that your current small group model, system or strategy won’t actually make a significant dent in your percentage connected?

If that’s you, here’s how I answer the question, “What’s the best way to connect the largest number of unconnected people?”

What’s the Best Way to Connect the Largest Number of Unconnected People?

While there are a number of strategies that will connect unconnected people (and all of them involve prioritizing the launch of new groups), there is actually a way to rank them in terms of their potential. See also, Ranking the Most Powerful Strategies for Launching New Groups.

And there is one strategy that easily surpasses all others in terms of its ability to launch a wave of new groups and connect large numbers of unconnected people at a time.

While North Point’s GroupLink strategy and Saddleback’s Small Group Connection strategies both are excellent at launching new groups and connecting unconnected people, they fall well short of the potential of a well conceived, well planned and well executed church-wide campaign.

Here’s my answer:

The best way to connect the largest number of unconnected people is a well conceived, well planned and well executed church-wide campaign.

There are a few important points in that statement:

First, a well conceived church-wide campaign is very different than one grabbed off the shelf without much forethought or analysis. A well conceived campaign is thoughtfully chosen. It is selected for its topic and chosen with a type of person in mind. Careful consideration is given to who the church would like to connect or what specific next step they would like participants to take.

Second, a well planned campaign is designed to do more than connect unconnected people and launch new groups. In a well planned campaign, attention is paid to important details in advance. Details like, what will need to do to help the largest number of new groups continue to meet after the campaign is over and when does the campaign need to begin in order to maximize participation?

Third, a well executed campaign is an exercise in precision. Everything is scripted in advance and nothing is last-minute or ad lib. Careful attention is paid to timing and focus. Timelines are developed and religiously adhered to. Every detail is scrutinized in advance and evaluated afterward.

Does a church-wide campaign fit your needs this fall?

If you’ve realized that a church-wide campaign would finally help your church connect unconnected people and launch new groups, but you also know you’ll need help pulling it off, take a look at Launching a Church-Wide Campaign This Fall? This article contains a number of free resources and also information on two resources designed to help your church develop a well conceived, well planned and well executed church-wide campaign.

Further Reading:

Launching a Church-Wide Campaign This Fall?

Ranking the Most Powerful Strategies for Launching New Groups

What Percentage of Your Adults Are Actually Connected?

 

 

Behind the Scenes: Promote Your Church-Wide Campaign Early and Often

One of our biggest ahas in learning to maximize the reach and impact of a church-wide campaign is that you gain a major advantage by promoting early and often.

Although that may seem obvious (like, “good one Captain Obvious”), and you may think you’re promoting early enough and often enough, it’s very possible that just like us you need to rethink your timeline.

Here are four keys you might need to incorporate:

Think about the way major movies are promoted

Think about the way major movies are promoted. That’s right. If you think about how Batman or Star Wars is promoted, you’ll likely come away with an idea or two.

For example, movies like Star Wars and Batman are first promoted very early with a trailer. It might be as simple as a single slide, “The Dark Knight Rises. Coming Soon.”

But the trailer runs months (and often a year) early.

Use multiple methods of promoting the campaign

Use multiple methods of promoting the campaign. In addition to promoting inside your auditorium, use the weekend program, website, church-wide emails, invite cards, and social media.

What begins months earlier (we begin promoting our fall church-wide campaign in late spring) with a single slide in the preservice slide loop accelerates to become everywhere by the end of the summer.

Keep your small group leaders in the loop

Keep your existing small group leaders in the loop. In fact, bring these leaders into the loop early. A “leader briefing” in late spring will help your group leaders communicate with group members about plans for the fall.

The leader briefing can be as simple as 15 minutes between the 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. services. A little vision from your senior pastor, a handout with the important dates of the campaign, and a 2 or 3 minute excerpt from the DVD will go a long way in helping your leaders get on board early.

Promote every phase separately over multiple weekends

Promote every phase over multiple weekends. When you’re recruiting hosts (“If you have a couple friends you’d like to do the study with…”) be sure and set aside three weekends when you’re only recruiting hosts (and not members).

Three weekends enables you to make the host ask to as many infrequent attenders as possible. A single weekend approach ensures that you only reach a very narrow slice.

When you’re recruiting members to join a group, you’ll want to make that ask over several weekends too. “If you want to get everything possible out of the message series this fall, you need to be part of a six-week group that is using the study that goes along with the weekend message series.”

Keep promoting opportunities to join in after the series begins

Keep promoting opportunities to join in after the series begins. Keep in mind that your infrequent attenders may hear about your church-wide campaign in its very first weekend (or the second). If you want to engage as many unconnected people as possible, keep inviting participation even after the message series begins.

Further Reading:

Behind the Scenes: Developing a Timeline for Your Church-Wide Campaign

Behind the Scenes: Preparing for a Church-Wide Campaign

How to Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign (Take a minute to check out one of my most popular mini-courses)

Image by Henry Burrows

Launching a Church-Wide Campaign This Fall?

Launching a Church-Wide Campaign This Fall?

What’s your plan for the fall ministry season? Launching a church-wide campaign? I sure hope so! After all, it is the very best way to launch the largest number of new groups and connect the largest number of unconnected people.

There are several ways I can help you:

First, here’s a collection of some of my most popular articles on church-wide campaigns:

If you’re a learner, you can easily use the strategies, ideas and tips in these articles to launch a powerful campaign.

Second, take a look at How to Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign.

Take a look at How to Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign. I packed just about everything I know about church-wide campaigns in this very affordable mini-course.

If you sitting in on an expert tutorial helps you understand the ins-and-outs of strategy, this mini-course will be just the ticket. Click here to find out more about How to Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign.

Third, engage me to customize your church-wide campaign.

Every year I work with 2 to 5 churches that want my personal attention and customized coaching as they conceive, plan and execute their church-wide campaign.

You’re going to invest a lot of time and energy in your campaign. You’re going to spend precious budget money on your campaign. Why not take advantage of my expertise and maximize your return on investment?

Over the last 10 years I’ve led many of the fastest growing and largest churches in America through the campaign process.

There’s a reason I have several of the highest ranked pages when you search for church-wide campaign information.  I know what I’m talking about!  More importantly, I can help you plan and launch a powerful campaign that leverages my experience, your passion for your church, and the absolute latest in campaign strategies.

Click here to find out about my Church-Wide Campaign Coaching service.

Take a Look at Life.Church’s Open Network

I’ve pointed you to what Life.Church is doing in the past. Small group ministry ideas, church-wide campaigns and a number of Craig Groeschel’s books.

As I was scouting for church-wide campaign ideas, I remembered one I had heard about earlier this year from Craig Groeschel and Life.Church. Two or three minutes of poking around in LIfe.Church’s Open Network resource and I found it.

Divine Direction teaches how to seek God’s will for our lives and how He cares more about who we are than what we do. Depending on your church’s needs and interests, you can see this might be a good topic that would interest lots of people. Maybe less cross-cultural than some topics, but still very much a hot topic.

Based on Groeshel’s latest book, Divine Directions: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life, the church-wide campaign includes a robust set of FREE resources:

  • Promotional items: artwork, banner graphics, bulletin social media, mailer, coming soon videos and much more.
  • Series guide
  • Life Group discussion questions videos
  • Sermon transcripts
  • Sermon bumper
  • and lots more

Divine Direction is just one of many, many sermon series that Life.Church has presented over the last 20 years and many of them are available in this same way and they are all FREE.

If you’ve not checked out the Life.Church Open Network (or maybe it’s been awhile), I highly recommend spending some time there to see what is available. If you’ve not seen it in the past, you’ll have to create a login to be able to see it, but it is definitely worth doing. Lot’s of great ideas!

An Analysis of the Church-Wide Campaign-Driven Strategy

An Analysis of the Church-Wide Campaign-Driven Strategy

Unlike the Free Market system or the Sermon-Based system (both of which are also very commonly semester systems), the Church-Wide Campaign-Driven strategy is actually part of a system and not the whole shebang.

For example, at Canyon Ridge we use several different strategies designed to connect people to groups over the course of the year. This set of strategies used over the course of the year are all designed to identify new leaders. A single church-wide campaign (typically in the fall) anchors our annual small group strategy. See also, Overview: Here Are Our Four Strategies for Launching New Groups.

A church-wide campaign is not a new idea. Churches have been using church-wide campaigns for many years, primarily as a way to rally the whole church around a vision (often connected with a capital campaign and a building project).

A church-wide campaign, or a spiritual growth emphasis (as Rick Warren refers to them) can be very powerful and do much more than connect adults to groups. Saddleback calls them a spiritual growth emphasis because a well-conceived, well-planned and well-executed church-wide campaign will have a powerful impact on the spiritual vitality of an entire church (from core to crowd and even into the community).

Full Disclosure: I believe a well-conceived, well-planned, and well-executed is the very best way to identify the largest number of leaders, launch the largest number of new groups, and connect the largest number of unconnected people.

Common Distinctives:

Church-wide campaigns have a number of distinctive elements:

  • They are alignments between a sermon series and a small group study. That is, what is studied in small groups enhances and reinforces the weekend sermon series.
  • Many campaigns include other elements, such as a daily devotional (think 40 Days of Purpose and The Purpose Driven Life), memory verses, serving opportunities, etc.
  • While there are many off-the-shelf church-wide campaigns, it is more and more common for churches to develop their own (produced in-house or farmed out to a production company). See also, The Latest on Church-Wide Campaigns – 2016.
  • The adult small group study is commonly DVD-driven.
  • Many campaigns are developed to include the whole congregation (with materials for children and students, as well).
  • Most campaigns include an effort to challenge unconnected adults to join groups that are using the campaign study (where they can get everything possible out of the message series).
  • Well-executed campaigns are designed to launch new small groups (and identify new leaders).

Advantages of the church-wide campaign-driven strategy:

Incorporating an annual church-wide campaign into your overall church strategy has a number of advantages:

  • It can focus your church on one conversation (children, students and adults can focus on a single topic).
  • Well-executed campaigns launch waves of new groups and identify new leaders. In my opinion, it is the very best way to connect the largest number of unconnected people and launch the largest number of new groups.
  • Connecting large numbers of unconnected adults into groups can provide an important first step into community.
  • Well-conceived and well-executed campaigns leverage the influence of the most influential person in the church (the senior pastor) to encourage whole congregations to participate (i.e, attend all 6 weekend services, be part of a group that’s using the study that goes along with the message series, do the daily devotional, etc.).
  • Well-executed campaigns very effectively sustain a large percentage of the new groups launched, helping many unconnected people take first steps into community.

Disadvantages of the church-wide campaign-driven strategy:

  • The effectiveness of a church-wide campaign rests largely on the senior pastor’s ability and willingness to play the role of champion. The most effective campaigns leverage the influence of the most influential person in the church to encourage everyone to fully participate. There is no truly effective substitute. See also, Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion.
  • Choosing the right campaign can be a challenge. Since the topic determines who will say “yes” to leading a group and who will say “yes” to joining a group, choosing a topic that appeals broadly is an essential step. See also, Your Church-Wide Campaign Topic Determines Two Huge Outcomes.
  • Church-wide campaigns require full participation and buy-in from senior leadership (senior pastor, staff, elders, etc.). Without full participation and buy-in results in a less successful campaign.
  • Effective church-wide campaigns dominate the calendar for 2 to 3 months of the year. Recruiting new leaders and then launching new groups is a 6 to 8 weekend project. Series promotion and execution is typically an overlapping 6 to 8 weekends. See also, Behind the Scenes: Developing a Timeline for Your Church-Wide Campaign.
  • Truly effective campaigns are never one of several things being promoted. They are always the only thing being promoted. This aspect necessitates rethinking the way other ministries and programs are launched or promoted.

What do you think?  Have a question?  Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

The Very Best Way to Launch the Largest Number of New Groups

The Very Best Way to Launch the Largest Number of New Groups

I am regularly asked for ideas on the best ways to connect more people in groups. Having been working on the answer to this question for over 20 years, you might think I have a pat answer by now.

And you’d be right. I do have a pat answer.

A church-wide campaign is the best way to launch the largest number of new groups. A church-wide campaign is the best way to launch the largest number of new groups. Click To Tweet

A church-wide campaign is the best way to launch the largest number of new groups. And no other strategy even comes close.

But…it’s actually not quite that simple. It’s a little more complicated than that.

The correct answer to the question is that a well-conceived, well-planned, and well-executed church-wide campaign is the best way to launch the largest number of new groups.

*Check out my popular mini-course: How to Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign.

A well-conceived church-wide campaign

What do I mean by a well-conceived church-wide campaign? That’s a little easier to explain than to actually pull off.

A well-conceived church-wide campaign is specifically designed or chosen to do the one thing you really, really want to do.

Let’s start with an understanding of “the one thing you really, really want to do.”

First, a well-conceived church-wide campaign acknowledges from the outset specifically who you hope to connect.

Specifically. Laser targeted. Not broadly or generally. Not all-inclusive. Not wishfully thinking about connecting everyone.

Specifically.

Specifically means the exact kind of person you hope to connect.

Example #1: You might determine that the ideal church-wide campaign for fall 2017 is one that appeals to the community, crowd and outside edge of your congregation. If you choose that kind of person you’ll also choose a topic that will appeal to to them (and might not tickle the fancy of the already connected).

Example #2: You might determine that the ideal church-wide campaign for fall 2017 is one that appeals to the inside edge of the congregation, committed and core. If you choose that kind of person you’ll choose a topic that will appeal to them (and might not tickle the fancy of unconnected people).

Why would you do either? In determining in advance who you hope to connect, you’re acknowledging that you cannot please everyone and you’re landing on the specific topic that will help the demographic you choose take the step you hope they’ll take.

In Example #1 you’re choosing a topic that will appeal to the community, crowd and outside edge of your congregation in hopes that they’ll be taking a first step into connection that will lead to more frequent attendance and the next steps that help people begin to follow Jesus.

In Example #2 you’re choosing a topic that will appeal to the inside edge of the congregation, committed and core in hopes that they’ll take the next steps that lead to greater commitment to Christ and the practices that demonstrate true spiritual maturity (i.e., serving in a gift-based passion-driven ministry role, giving generously, being other-centered, etc.).

See also, How to Choose the Right Church-Wide Campaign and Does Your Topic Connect with Your True Customer?

Second, a well-conceived church-wide campaign might be designed and developed by you or it might be an off-the-shelf campaign.

It’s gotten easier and easier to develop your own campaign when you have the right in-house team or can hire the right people for the project.

At the same time, there is a wide selection of off-the-shelf campaigns that can work very well in most contexts. See also, The Latest on Church-Wide Campaigns – 2016 and 2017’s Top 5 Church-Wide Campaigns.

A well-planned church-wide campaign

A well-planned church-wide campaign begins with the end-in-mind and builds in tailored steps that lead directly to the preferred future.

Well-planned church-wide campaigns aren’t last minute, wild-haired ideas. There aren’t impromptu work-arounds or bull-headed do-it-anyway moments.

Well-planned church-wide campaigns are calculated, shrewd and uncompromising. Anything and everything that could alter the trajectory is eliminated or deemphasized.

Well-planned church-wide campaigns begin to play out many months in advance. September campaigns are set in motion in the late spring…at the latest. February campaigns are often in play in the late fall.

See also, Behind the Scenes: Developing a Timeline for Your Church-Wide Campaign.

A well-executed church-wide campaign

Well-executed campaigns are detail oriented to the extreme. They are designed and executed with precision and moment-by-moment vigilance.

Execution is about carrying out the plan…to an exactness that may not be customary in your congregation’s experience.

Details that are often shrugged off are evaluated real-time and course corrections are swift.

Communication with all players (staff, existing group leaders, weekend service personnel, congregation) is uncompromising and exactly as planned. To the letter.

For example, all announcements (verbal, bulletin, website, email, etc,) and sermon mentions are often scripted and care is given to specific wording designed to emphasize important elements.

Example #1: In the fall of 2015 we used Saddleback’s Transformed: How God Changes You as our campaign.  In place of some outdated verbiage, we inserted the following lines to recruit hosts (people who would launch their own group with their own friends):

“If you have a couple friends you’d like to do the Transformed study with, stop off at Groups Central after the service today and pick up a Transformed Starter Kit. We’ve included everything you need to do the study with a couple friends and we’ve priced it super affordably.”

You need to note a few things:

  1. The wording was very specific.
  2. We never referred to “starting a group.”
  3. We made it as friend-oriented as possible: “If you have a couple friends.”
  4. It was intended to seem easy to do.
  5. We never referred to the price, only “we’ve priced it super affordably.”

This script was used dozens of times over the 8 weeks leading up to the launch of the Transformed series. Any deviation was noted and corrected immediately after the service.

Example #2: An important element of execution in a church-wide campaign is the specific narrowing of focus during the 8 weeks leading up to the launch of the weekend series. Virtually nothing else of significance competed with Transformed in 2015. On the flip side, our 2016 campaign (which was much less successful in every way) our attention slipped and too many additional items made it onto the stage for promotion.

See also, What If Narrowing the Focus Is THE Missing Ingredient? and Behind the Scenes: Preparing for a Church-Wide Campaign.