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Summer Activities to Bring Your Church Together

Summer Church Activities

In the summer, many church leaders and pastors find that attendance takes a quick dip in numbers as their congregates prefer to take a quick dip in the ocean. There is not much you can do to prevent families from wanting to take advantage of the summer heat, but as they say "if you can't beat them, join them". By getting out into the sun yourself, you have the chance to grow closer to your church members, continue spreading your message, and maybe even increase attendance in the future.

Give the Gift of Cool Refreshments

If you are lucky enough to have a body of water close to your community, like a river, lake or even the ocean, grab some sunblock and head there. One cool way to stand out and make your presence known is to hand out cold juice boxes and snacks to the kids and families. It's even okay to attach a small card that lets the parents know exactly who to thank for this kind gift. This not only gives you an opportunity to minister to your church members outside the church, you could also be passing out those snacks to families who have not yet found you.

Make Your Presence Known at the Farmer's Market

When the farmer's market or county fair comes to your town, make sure that your church is represented there. Reserve a booth and put together an activity that inspires members to participate. Use your church notification system to get ideas from your members and then encourage them to take part in the event by donating materials or their time. Booth ideas for churches can be simple bake sales or clothing drives, or you can organize kid's activities like ball tosses and balloon popping. Give away prizes and awards that are spiritual in nature to further drive your message home.

Hold Friendly Competitions With Local Organizations

Compete with another local religious or community organization. Softball games against members of the local temple or swim meets against the police force bring together large groups of people from all kinds of backgrounds. These are not only fun summer time activities, they help to build relationships among diverse groups of individuals and families.

Host Family Movie Nights

Summer nights are a great opportunity to showcase a family appropriate movie at your church. Make this a fundraising event by having the cost of admission be a canned food item or used clothing. Give out popcorn and drinks to make the experience more authentic, and then gather volunteers to hand out the proceeds to your members in need the next day. This can even be a weekly event, with the movie title sent to your church members by sending SMS text messages through your church notification system.

If the hot weather is driving your members out of mass, then let it bring you to them. This weather provides the perfect chance to bring your church message outdoors, and get to spend time with your community in a whole new way.



7 Tips on How to Host a Successful Event for Your Church

Church Event Tips

Churches are the center of the community, hosting numerous events throughout the year in order to bring people together. When you are called upon to host one of these events, you are given a lot of responsibility. Follow these tips to help make every event your church hosts a success.

Set Up a Monthly Calendar

A lot of time goes into planning events for your church, and the sooner you know what you have going on and when, the better. Use a large calendar and begin picking the dates for your various events so that you can begin to plan them as early as possible.

Know Your Budget

It can be very easy to lose track of how much you are spending when picking out decorations and choosing caterers. With each event that you have planned you should first budget how much the church can afford to spend. Once your event planners take over, they should then take that amount and allocate it to each portion to ensure that they do not exceed the budget.

Delegate Each Event

With as much as you already have on your busy schedule, planning and hosting church events may become burdensome. Choose key people in your church community who have the free time it takes and put them in charge. Be confident in their ability to make each event a great one, and only intervene when absolutely necessary.

Make Communicating Easy

You will want periodic updates on the progress of your church programs and parties, so ensure that the leaders of the planning are able to easily reach you. Put aside a set day of the week and time where you meet with them to discuss what has already been planned and what else needs to be accomplished.

Advertise Your Church Events

In order to make sure that your community shows up for these events, you have to ensure that they know about them. Allow the organizers to make postings in your weekly newsletter and on your website to reach as many people as possible. You can also give them access to your church notification system so that they can send mass messages to your congregation to let them know about your upcoming celebrations along with the details.

Be Creative With the Food

With most church events and activities, food is at the center. Be creative in your choices to entice your community to come out and celebrate. You could host themed dinners like Italian night or Chinese food, or forego the standard baked goods for dessert and set up a sundae making station.

Dress Up the Venue

Whether it is being held in the basement of your church or at a fancy restaurant, your church events should be personalized to suit the occasion. Your most creative church members should be able to add those extra details that will give your events a festive appeal.

Church events bring the community together in a way that is less restrained than the weekly services. When hosted correctly, new friendships will be formed and your congregation will walk away with a sense of fulfillment.



How to Start a Church From the Ground Up

Church Startup Tips

Starting a new church is a complex undertaking, but also a rewarding one. There are legal steps that need to be taken, location scouting, the actual building and then the recruitment of a congregation. Yet at the end of it all, you will feel a deep sense of accomplishment right down to your soul.

Surprisingly, the first thing you need to accomplish before anything is to establish a church name. This will be necessary in order to start the process of becoming legally and tax compliant. This is a multi-step process involving paperwork and filing with the proper authorities to ensure that your church is recognized as a legal institution, with the correct tax filing status. Unless you have first-hand knowledge of this process, it is a good idea to have an attorney, ideally one from your congregation take care of this aspect for you.

Choosing a Location For Your New Church

When scouting for a site for a new church, the principle of real estate where location is everything holds true. You want to build your church in an area that has a need for one, and is easily accessible for everyone. If possible, form a committee from your existing congregates and take any input they have on location to heart. These are the people who will be attending your services, and it is they who have the insight into knowing what is an attractive location for a church.

Factors to look at when choosing the location include:

  • Its cost
  • The size of the lot
  • Accessibility
  • Neighborhood

Before beginning the search for the perfect plot of land, go over this list with your committee, and make firm decisions regarding the outcome, to ensure that everyone knows what the requirements are.

Building Your New Church

Again with key members of your congregation, you are going to want to make the design and plans for your new church. Their input is invaluable, plus it helps in building a strong sense of community as well as a place of worship. A church should be aesthetically pleasing, but that should not be the focus of your building plans. Instead, focus on the functionality and the many needs it has to meet.

First consider the size of the community and the potential number of attendants to your services. Ensure that you have enough room for pews to accommodate them all. You might also need to design an area for the choir, or consider a second floor balcony where they can perform from if space is limited.

Think about activities your church sponsors. Will a basement be a good idea to serve as space for youth group and bible study meetings? There are a lot of items to consider, this is why you will want as much participation from church members as possible.

When your new church is complete, be sure that its grand opening as a place of worship for the entire community is a festive event. Have a picnic or carnival after the inaugural service where the entire community, regardless of denomination, is invited to attend. This not only will welcome you warmly to the area, it provides you an opportunity to hand out sign-up sheets. You can then use that information to help build your congregation through the use of automated church notifications, email and of course snail mail.

Be proud of accomplishing such a grand task, and allow your congregation to stand proud next to you. Church is not only about worship, but about building bridges between people to form a sense of community where every member feels secure and at home.



7 Tips to Give Children A Great Sunday School Experience

Sunday School Tips

There is more to being an inspiring Sunday School teacher than teaching bible verses. Your job is an important one and will pave the way for a new generation of worshipers to continue with your church's traditions and beliefs. To pull this off, follow these tips to keep your students interested and make your job easier.

Prepare Your Classes in Advance

Don't wait until Saturday night to start thinking about your Sunday morning class. Set aside a little time each day to make plans and find relevant materials. Your lessons will make more of an impact on the children when they are not rushed through at the last minute.

Avoid Passing the Buck

Plan as many interactive activities as you can. It is alright to schedule small breathing periods for yourself with a quick video or workbook activity, but the majority of the time your lessons should be focused on dialogues with your students where they are active participants.

Be a Positive Disciplinarian

It makes no difference where the setting is, when you get groups of children together, discipline issues are going to arise. Deal with them quickly, efficiently and with as much of a positive attitude as you can muster. If a problem persists you are within your rights to bring it to the pastor's and parent's attention.

Encourage Parent & Child Spiritual Conversations

To ensure that the parents know what their children are learning in your class, have your students get signatures on the finished pages of their workbooks. With luck, when the parents see what the children learned at Sunday School it will spark spiritual conversations in the home.

Keep the Parents Updated

Make sure that you have updated contact information for all of your student's parents and have them opt into a mass notification service such as DialMyCalls. This allows you to contact the parents as a group to notify them of upcoming special events or with a list of materials their children may need to bring to class. You can also contact parents individually with this type of service if you need to speak privately with them. Messages are sent to phones as either a recording of your voice or as an SMS text message.

Constructively Criticize Yourself

Be realistic with yourself about how the classes are going. Look at the children as they enter. Are they excited for class? How is your attendance level? If you are sure that you could be doing better, but unsure of how, ask other church members to sit in on a few of your Sunday School classes and give you an informal evaluation. Be open to accepting critiques and working on ways to improve your lessons and classes.

Delegate

There is no reason why responsibility should not be a subtle part of your teaching. Let your students help you as much as possible by collecting papers and projects, cleaning the room after the class and even keeping track of attendance. The more work you are able to assign to others, the more time you will have to focus on your main objectives of Sunday School teachings.

Sunday School is an enriching part of a young parishioners spiritual journey that should not be overlooked. Your role as an instructor is a critical one and you should be accepting all of the help being offered to you. This will allow you the time and energy you need to prepare valuable lesson plans that the children will take with them for life.



Church Growth Tips: Building a Bigger Congregation By Being Involved In The Community

Church Growth Tips

The quality of the message being given cannot be measured by the amount of people in the pews, but the sense of community that the church is offering can. It makes no difference what type of social interactions are being offered on the internet, people need others in order to thrive and your church is the perfect venue to nurture that growth. Take the time to grow your congregation and you will be helping them as well as your church.

Make a Great First Impression

Nobody likes that new kid in the class feeling. Assign the task to a regular member of your church to look out for newcomers at the door and make them feel welcome. A warm smile and handshake from a stranger will work wonders at making the new member feel at home. Have your welcome wagon set up to get the new members name and contact information and hand out a special package that is especially for newcomers. Include important church information inside the gift plus something unexpected like a mug with your church's name printed on the side.

As the pastor, you should be positioned at the exit at the close of each service. Here it is up to you to also offer a warm welcome, ask them about themselves and invite them to the next service.

Plan Open Events For the Whole Community

To build a rapport with the entire community and encourage them to attend your church you need to hold all inclusive events. Start a summer softball league or hold a holiday party where everyone is invited. In addition to posting these events in your weekly bulletin, use DialMyCalls to send the details to everyone in your congregation via phone call, text message or email. In this way members who may have missed a few services will still get the details.

Automated church calls allow you to record a personalized message and then have it sent to all of your contacts at the same time. DialMyCalls will help make this easy for you by storing your contacts and sending the message. You only need to login, add your contacts and record the message, DialMyCalls takes care of the rest. Relaying your church news in this way helps to ensure that even members who have strayed away know of your upcoming events.

Make sure to include that guests are welcome at the event to encourage your congregation members to invite friends from the community who may not yet be a member of your church. Promote it in a lively fashion with an emphasis on having fun and getting to meet new people.

Cater to the Kids

In order to encourage new families into your church you need to have an impressive children’s program in place. This starts with an on-site facility that is child friendly and safe. Remodel one of the rooms in your church or an area in the basement that is inviting for children. Organize events that will appeal to them or hold weekly youth group meetings. The children are the future of the community and investing in them now will benefit your church for years to come.

It isn't easy to pull people away from their active lives and get them to spend time in your church. You need to take the time to build relationships and show that you are invested in making a positive difference in people's lives. Once you start taking that active role, you will find that parishioners will begin to flock to you.



Rabbis Embrace Technology with Automated Synagogue Notifications

Automated Synagogue Notifications

Although Rabbi is the Hebrew word for teacher, his role is much more complex in the Jewish community. Besides leading Shabbat services and those on High Holy Day he is the officiator of major life events such as Bar and Bat Mizvahs, baby naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals. In addition to his role as the religious leader, he is also looked to as a community leader, and with that comes even more responsibility.

In order to be an effective leader, Rabbi’s have had to broaden their scope of abilities in order to meet the increasing demands of their roles. They have had to learn to speak publicly, read spread sheets, and organize fundraising campaigns all while keeping in touch with their congregation and running their synagogues day to day meetings and prayers.

Attempting to keep up with all of these additional duties can be difficult and time consuming, which is why many are turning to modern technology as a way to stay connected with their members and keep them updated on important synagogue events. You will find that many have turned to social media outlets to keep the community they are charged with abreast of current events. Broadcast messaging would help them even greater at staying in touch and keeping members up to date in a more personalized manner.

A mass notification service like DialMyCalls is easy for a Rabbi to incorporate into his busy life. All of his contacts are there, and can be organized into special groups. One list can be primarily his administrative staff, who can all be alerted at the same time if there is a sudden change in a meeting place or urgent help is needed with a member of the congregation. Synagogue members can also be included in the list of contacts. Fundraising information or other special events will be sent directly to their cell phones, which is where they are most easily reached.

With DialMyCalls, a Rabbi has three options for how his contacts receive his message. It can be sent via voice message, text message or email. With a voice message a Rabbi can record his own message to be sent or use the built-in text-to-speech tool on DialMyCalls which will convert typed text into a voice message. When sending out a phone call or text message, the option to send out those messages to the contacts email is also available. All of these methods are fast and convenient, helping to make the busy life of a modern Rabbi easier.

Besides events, automated synagogue notifications can be a way for a Rabbi to help spread good news throughout his congregation. He can inform members of a birth in the congregation or wedding and invite others to extend congratulations. This shows his synagogue that despite his busy schedule, their lives are still his primary concern.

Despite his growing list of responsibilities, a Rabbi’s main focus is always to service his community and provide for them whatever needs they may have. What better way to show this then by personalized messages that are sent straight to the congregation's phones.

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