A potluck is a great event that brings your community and your church together. Best of all, you can have one for just about any reason - maybe it's Pastor Appreciation Day at your church, or you're celebrating Memorial day - or you just feel like having a fun event that anyone can enjoy!
But potlucks don't just "happen". To host a successful potluck (and make sure you have enough food), you have to put in quite a bit of work - even though each attendee is bringing a dish of their own.
So if you've had trouble organizing potlucks in the past, or are simply looking for some great tips to make your church potluck even better, you're in the right place. Read on, and see our top tips for potluck organization!
1. Start Planning as Early as You Can
Church potlucks should usually be planned a month in advance, at least - that way, you'll be able to announce the potluck several times during church services, and make sure that everyone knows about the event.
Awareness is one of the biggest factors in the success of a church potluck. If nobody knows about it, nobody will bring any food! So you should also consider sending out an email to your congregation.
DialMyCalls is a great automated church phone tree to use when planning potlucks. You can create a list of everyone attending, and send out SMS and voice message reminders about the event - ensuring that they remember to attend and bring the dish they said they would bring.
2. Send out a Sign-Up Sheet
A sign-up sheet is a great way to make sure that you'll have plenty of attendees - and to learn what dishes they plan to bring.
Put a sign-up sheet out in the foyer of your church, and make sure to tell people to sign up, so that you'll be able to understand what kinds of dishes will be present, and how many people are attending.
You can also consider sending out a "digital" sign-up sheet. You can use the physical sheet to create a document in Excel or Google Sheets, listing who plans to attend, their number, and the dishes they plan to bring. You can update this sheet regularly based on the physical sheet, and send it out to people who have not yet signed up on the paper sheet.[click to continue...]
Mission trips are a fantastic way that your church can engage with the youth, and make a real difference in a community. Whether you're renovating old homes, volunteering at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen, or spreading the Word of God anywhere else, a summer mission trip can be truly life-changing for a teenager.
Youth groups love the opportunity to connect, bond, and fellowship with each other during a week-long missions trip. Friendships and relationships can deepen, and so does the spiritual connection with the Lord.
But if you're a newer youth pastor, or just getting started with summer missions trips, the whole process can be very intimidating. So here are some of our best tips for planning an effective summer missions trip for your youth group.
1. Start by Thinking About the Trip Date
You should start planning your trip 12-15 months in advance. Yes, seriously! You can certainly start planning a trip later than this, but the dates of your trip are very important.
You want to make sure that you choose trip dates that allow everyone to come on the trip, if they want - and because your youth group probably goes to a variety of different schools, this can be quite difficult.
You'll also have to work around summer family vacations. So start by announcing a prospective date well in advance - and then get feedback from youth group families, to learn if you should shift or adjust your trip date.[click to continue...]
DialMyCalls offers a church calling service that is used by thousands of religious organizations all across the United States and Canada. Pastors, churches and religious organizations rely on our service to send out a automated updates and notifications to an entire congregation at once. Churches utilize our service to send out community event reminders, weekly church updates, prayer requests, fundraiser notifications, and much more. Let's take a quick look at how First United Methodist Church of Unadilla NY utilizes DialMyCalls:
Why Did 1st UMC of Unadilla Need a Church Calling Service?
Connect with the community for special events. First United Methodist Church of Unadilla, NY needed a church notification system capable of contacting 350-450 contacts at once.
Why Did 1st UMC of Unadilla Choose DialMyCalls?
"We were looking for a change in services due to an increase in price with the current solution and DialMyCalls had a good price and we decided to give it a try."
What Features Do 1st UMC of Unadilla Utilize?
First United Methodist Church of Unadilla, NY utilizes our phone polling feature to ask their congregation members questions via automated phone call -- keyed in responses are recorded into detailed call reports.[click to continue...]
It can be hard for modern churches to stay engaged in their communities, especially as the culture surrounding our society continues to change. Too often, churches retreat into their own bubble - interacting only with other churches and their own congregations, and leaving the communities in which they're located totally out in the cold.
Church leaders have a responsibility - a duty! - to share themselves and the word of God with those around them. And in this article, we'll take a look at 7 simple ways to do so.
1. Community Events
Lots of churches have events that are hosted on their grounds for their congregations - events such as 4th of July parties and other celebrations - but these events shouldn't just be for church members. Next time your church is having a celebration like a cookout or a party, consider opening it up to the rest of the community.
Post signs around the church neighborhood and tack up posters to telephone poles and shop windows. Post about the church event on Facebook and "share" it with friends - do whatever it takes to get the word out.
The church doesn't have to push an agenda at these events. You're not trying to convert community members - you're simply looking to show them how God acts through the church, and be an example of his grace.
You'll be surprised at the community reactions you'll see when you do so - being honest, open, and allowing all to come to your events can create quite a bit of good will, and spur some folks into learning more about your church, and your beliefs.[click to continue...]
If you attend church on a regular basis, then you’ve probably noticed that many churches are modernizing their approach to worship and congregational gatherings. While most churches still hold physical worship services, many are also dabbling in online media, podcasts, and live streaming services. But what does this mean for the future?
Top 5 Types of Church Technology
When you think about church, technology probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But take a look around and you’ll see that technology is making major moves in this industry. And despite some friction and pushback from certain individuals and groups, it appears that the technological disruption is largely positive. Here are a few current tech trends for churches:
1) Online Media
In an age where a lot of small and local businesses have yet to fully realize the potential of online media, churches – by and large – are strategically allocating resources to this important area of visibility. This includes website development, social media, and video production.[click to continue...]
Whether you're a pastor, an administrator, or a devoted volunteer at your church, meetings can feel like a serious drain on your energy and time. When not properly planned, meetings can meander off in a million different directions, making it impossible for your group to focus on important issues that need to be resolved. Poor organization, poorly defined meeting goals, and a lack of meeting structure can cripple an organization's meetings, and houses of worship are no exception.
If you feel like your church meetings aren't really accomplishing anything except wasting your staff and your volunteers' time, it might be time to reassess how you go about planning and executing your church meetings. Maybe you're having trouble contacting everyone effectively, leading to important people accidentally missing critical meetings. Maybe you're never quite sure what to talk about, leading to poor focus and meetings that spread your subject matter too thin. Maybe your meetings last far too long, but when they end, no one feels like anything actually got done.
These helpful tips can help you make your church meetings more productive than ever, turning them from a drain on people's time into a truly valuable opportunity to plan and grow together as a community.
1) Plan Your Religious Meetings on a Regular Schedule
Are your church meetings happening haphazardly, without any real schedule that determines when and where you meet? Having your meetings on a regular, predetermined schedule makes it easier for participants to keep up with them, as well as making it easier to measure progress toward your goals. Whether your meetings are once a week or once a month, planning for predetermined dates and times can help ensure that everyone who needs to be there is available.
2) Plan an Agenda for Each Church Meeting
For each church meeting, you should have already planned what you're going to talk about. Many church groups create handouts with key points, which can be distributed at the meeting. Without a clear agenda, meetings are likely to veer off-track or last longer than anyone wanted them to. A carefully designed meeting agenda ensures that anything truly important is brought up and talked about. If you're planning a meeting to discuss an upcoming bake sale to raise money, you don't want half the meeting to revolve around recent problems with the church choir. Structured meetings get a lot more accomplished than meetings where everyone is left to their own devices.[click to continue...]
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