Archive for the ‘Granger Community Church’ Category

Seasons

Posted: April 23, 2014 in Granger Community Church, Team

During my 12 years of staff ministry, I’ve held twice as many staff positions as actual careers. Since 2001, I’ve served as our technical director, media specialist, arts volunteer specialist, i-mag director, director of volunteer involvement, guest services director, and now…(drum roll)… I have the awesome privilege of launching and leading a ministry in a role we’re calling director of engagement.

What a privilege it will be to build new teams, structures and systems that will help connect anyone and everyone who desires, to take their next steps.

What excites me more than this honor is the fact that Granger Community Church has taken Goliath-like steps to ensure that opportunities are available for people to take steps of growth, connection and engagement. These opportunities will help shape disciples, strengthen relationships and activate people’s faith.

Tonight, we’ll introduce initiatives like groups, neighborhood advocates, classes, events, weekly onramps for growth and engagement practices or “way finding” proposals that could shape our future and assist in “closing the back door.”

We’ve revamped our data support systems to assist in this venture. We’ve poured in resources and hired additional staff to launch with success. We’ve restructured, re-tooled and re-visited what really matters.

It’s about making disciples. This principle is integrated through all our programming, offerings and plans for the future. It’s important. In fact, I remember reading that somewhere before. It seemed like it was in red letters.

So what will it take for this new venture to succeed? More than anything, I believe it’s a team with passion to see everyone connected and on a path of growth in their walks with Christ.

Our lead pastor has asked so many times, “Which way are your feet pointed?” and has said such profound statements as, “If you keep walking this direction [as he illustrates], you’ll end up over here.”

That next step is hard,” Dr. Beeson continues. “If it wasn’t, we’d already have taken it.” (On a side note, I love it when he lobs softballs like this right across the plate! It’s really not rocket science.)

Our hope in all of this is that we’ll make it easy for everyone to know the options that will assist in that walk or offer opportunities that will take some of the difficulty out of that step.

Perhaps your church has already activated such a ministry. If so, I would love to hear your successes, your best practices and your challenges. Email me at kvolheim@gccwired.com and let me know your thoughts.

Gift of Time

Posted: December 17, 2013 in Granger Community Church, Heart, Team

‘Tis the season when many make a conscious decision to “give above and beyond their normal giving” to assure our community knows that they matter to God.

Teams of volunteers (who are already engaged in ministry all year long) recognize the opportunity to offer more of their most precious gift — time — so that the most precious gift can be shared and experienced this season.

Volunteers not only recognized this chance, but are taking full advantage of the occasion by serving in a hundred different capacities year-round. They serve out of the love of changed hearts so that the experience of thousands and thousands will be enriched. They are part of presenting the hope of the world through this local Body.

Last week it struck me once again that there are just so many things that happen behind the scenes. If it weren’t for these amazing volunteers, these special touches just wouldn’t get done.photo blog test

Have you ever considered that during this season about 30,000 programs get stuffed? Ever take time to consider that someone placed in holders and prayed over candles for 10,000 guests?  Have you ever asked who gets here at 6:00 AM in close to zero temperature to clear the lots and sidewalks or who runs traffic for special events and weekends? Maybe you wonder just who is it that arranges for 200 gifts to be distributed to children in the inner city? Did you know that someone actually prepared meals for the artists who gave thousands of hours for the Christmas production? Yep, thousands of hours. Volunteers built the sets for the production…and volunteers will tear it down too. Or who even comes back to clean up the used candles and clean all the wax out? It’s sure not any of Santa’s helpers. 

People serve outrageously all year long. When one’s heart has been changed, you can’t help but give back. There are a bunch of things happening this season to take away obstacles for those who’ve been invited to hear about and receive that same gift of a changed heart. I’m grateful this season for those who’ve joined in the call.

Connectedness

Posted: September 19, 2013 in Encouragement, Granger Community Church, Team

After about a half dozen summer team gatherings, I’ve been reflecting on the bond that holds teams together.  If you thought that bond is Jesus- that would be the Christian thing to say-but I’m not sure it’s the correct answer for everyone.

What I’ve seen are teams gathering and sharing in community.  They’re having fun getting to know one another in a setting where they don’t have to look at their watches in order to hit their next mark. They’ve been taking boat rides together, eating, playing games, laughing and getting to know each other’s stories.

This might be shocking to you, but not all of our team members share the same love of Jesus that you or I might. They’ve been invited into a community of Christ followers who share that common bond; but for now, they’re just happy to be invited to something outside of their isolation and on to a team where they can help, where someone knows their name and will listen to their story.

They’re taking steps, we pray, that will lead them to this relationship with Christ that bonds many of us. For now, we’re celebrating that they’ve taken a step. The funny thing is that eventhe convinced” need this community to stay engaged.

I was reminded recently of a teaching that our Senior Pastor spoke on several years ago. Take a look and I’ll wrap this up:

So, are you making time for this connectivity to happen? Are you allowing those who serve in your ministries time where stories can be shared-where volunteers know they matter and their journey matters? Are we making room for the conversations that could lead to life change?

I’m paraphrasing from my Pastor but he said something like:

People join our teams because they value the task or they buy into the leader; they love working with you. You’re inspiring, encouraging, trustworthy, successful and fun. They join because they’re invited, but they stay because they’re valued as a person. Who they are matters and they know that because of the care, encouragement and community that is at the heart of every team.

I recently asked an uber volunteer when and why he decided to get involved at the extreme level he does. (I’m talking tons of hours a week serving and sharing Jesus with underprivileged kids.) Without a second of hesitation he shared that it was at a team gathering where his wife served. He wasn’t involved at all, but he said God spoke to him through the community he was witnessing.

Our teams need this. People need this. If it helps, look at it as ministry wrapped in koinónia

Greetings,

Looking back on 2012, I am left amazed beyond words at what God has done through the ministries of Granger Community Church. If there’s one thing I don’t want to get lost in all of this is that very little could happen without the collective efforts of well over 2,000 volunteers. Teams of volunteers led by hundreds of leaders across the body of this church have been instrumental in accomplishing what no one would have thought possible a very short time ago.

To just run effective weekend services (52 times a year) that offer incredible arts, awesome teaching, care for students and kids, guest services that consistently rock our visitors, technical arts that are second to none and all the support ministries that accompany every weekend service so that guests have the opportunity to take steps towards Christ is a monumental accomplishment on its own. Not only here on the Granger Campus, but volunteers who minister with the same diligence throughout the region, campus wide and around the world through hundreds of your ministries.

I’ll only refer you here: 2012 Volunteer Ministry for the partial list of what has been done through this collective Body for the cause of Christ in the last year. This is Granger, Indiana, friends. Although Granger has a post office, not much would be known about this place on the planet apart from the association of a church body that has changed so many lives. This visionary church, your church, would not even be known were it not for God working through His people, on Mission to impact thousands of church leaders and countless thousands of individuals — all impacted by the ministries you serve. Just amazing.

The privilege will continue in 2013. We’ll look back, God willing, and say much of the same. Not what “we have done” but rather, “look what God has done through His people.” Look again at the lives changed, look at the stories of God’s faithfulness through your impact in this last year. Re-visit these events and look through the videos on the new and expanded website here. Explore this new site and examine for yourself what happens every week.

Look at what God is doing as His people in Granger value core principles: Love, Steps, Truth, Impact and Team. These aren’t just slogans on our windows, rather a path to fulfill our 2016 Vision. These values, as they are applied to you, your teams and your ministries, will help us to help others take their next step towards Christ. It’s been an incredible year — it’s going to be an incredible year.

Thank you for your tireless efforts, for your intentionality to serve on mission. Thank you for giving time, for putting aside self for others. There is no better definition of Love than when one serves. Thank you for leading and for your impact — much of which you don’t even know about. This could not happen without God’s purposing through you.

Your staff is honored, your church is blessed, but more than anything, Christ is being made known at all of these touch points because of the ministry of His people — you.

Blessed,

Kim

We’ve just celebrated an amazing conference here at GCC called ReInnovate. Many, including myself, left with a lot of new tools in the box to reach others outside the box:) As always, there were arts that spoke to the heart, opened our eyes, and left attendees with ideas that will revitalize the true meaning of  “the church”.

I had the honor to catch up with some friends, meet some new ministry partners, and be reminded once again of what a privilege it is to be a part of this local effort to resource the body of Christ.

Today I want to share with you another tool that will go a long way in helping your leaders and volunteer teams grasp some of the best practices in guest services.  It’s a video training that Mark Waltz has made available. I’ve copied his post and summary here.

Often times, the barriers that keep guests from returning are the “first impressions” that we’ve not trained our teams to make. We’re just like you; in that, we want our guests to come back! We want them to hear the life-changing message of Christ. We want them taking next steps, growing and engaging their faith 24/7.

Mark won’t say it, but just like his books, there are no better tools available on the planet to help your teams rise beyond the expectations of any guest entering your facility. In this video production, you’ll find effective and practical training that will remove many of those obstacles standing in the way of achieving that goal. They’ll help you take these practices outside the walls of the building where you meet. In addition to providing specific training to your teams, there’s a special session for leaders that gets to the core of great volunteer leadership.

Invest in the commitment of resourcing your teams and leaders. You’ll find a snippet here…You’ll not regret it.

In case you’ve not heard, Granger Community Church is within weeks of completing the expansion of our newly developed Atrium space. In my 17 years with the ministry here, there has never been more happening at one time.  There’s a wave of excitement in every department while nearly every ministry team is experiencing, or soon to be experiencing, change. It’s just the New Normal…,and I like it!

Here’s a thought that came to mind recently as I considered all that’s in front of our Guest Services teams. Whenever a change of this magnitude happens, it’s a great time to cast vision for additional changes you’ve dreamed of or thought should have happened long ago or to just process with leaders about what’s effective and…well, what’s in need of tweaking.

This newly developed Atrium space, and all that goes with it, is but one part of the global change happening here at GCC. We’re laser-focused on what it takes to reach our communities for Christ. This Atrium space is part of the 2016 Vision, and it’s going to change the way our Guest Services teams interact. It will create opportunities we’ve not had before. There’s a sign posted in the construction “window” for our teams and guests to consider-it reads, in part:

Think about a comfortable and artistic place that’s open to the regional community during the week, not just for Granger church people or services. Everything will be designed as an invitation—from soft seating with conversations and mini-meetings in mind to inspirational retail, from quality food and beverages to good music. People will meet and friends can gather—no strings attached. Think of this campus as the building where the church gathers, not a place that is the church itself.

Bring friends who might not be willing to sit in the auditorium in a straight row, but would feel more comfortable sitting in a soft chair or at a cafe table with you while sipping a latte or eating a sandwich.

In addition to the change in physical space and logistics for our teams and guests, we’re examining ways to strengthen our teams as well. Here’s something we’re taking from our Elkhart Campus. Beginning sometime in August, all Guest Services team members, (normally 50 per service) will “huddle” before each day’s services before being sent to ministry points. It won’t be a long gathering, but I’m convinced it will bring unity and a better understanding of the big picture. It’s a time to cast vision, share best practices and experiences, encourage one another and most importantly, corporately seek God’s help and blessing on what’s about to happen.

Change is good, and when combined with an opportune time, it can be great.

Inside a four-week series entitled “Remix,” we took time to celebrate volunteerism at Granger Community Church.  There’s a ton of value added when we commend ministry efforts, cheer the accomplishments of our teams, remind people of the reasons we serve and, yes, cheer on the volunteers who make ministry happen.

Again this year, our Senior Pastor, Mark Beeson, handed out what he has termed Smooth Stone Awards. Based on the Old Testament story of David and Goliath, they are given out to heroes serving above and beyond in ministry. Mark does such an incredible job with these that I’ve included a clip from one of the services below.

Since “Remix” incorporated volunteerism, our leadership team thought it best to present these awards during the final week of the series. It was a great addition to the weekend message to celebrate volunteerism and recognize the vast scope of ministry within the body of this congregation.

Other elements of celebration included video testimonies from attendees and volunteers thanking other volunteers, a ministry or ministry team. What an amazing way to say thank you publicly and incorporate so many members of the body of Christ in the weekend celebration. You’ll find that video below, too.

Encouragement, testimonies and recognition of both the ministry and the people who serve in them are worth celebrating. It’s not the reason we do ministry nor is it even in the playbook. It’s a way of honoring both the people and the accomplishments that happen as darkness is pushed back and hope and light are given to a world in need.

So you might be asking yourself, “How many people took a next step and signed on the dotted line from the two weeks of Expo?” There’s still a lot to be done. Cards are still coming in and follow through will continue over the next few months.  Here’s what we do know: Over 735 people filled out a card.  Dozens have already served their first weekend and are experiencing “team” for the first time in a local church.

We’re seeing first-steps sightings across every part of the way we do church at GCC and hundreds more will join them in the coming weeks. Good things happen when people decide to do life together and when all is said and done, lives will change and people will be moved closer to Christ because of the selfless efforts of many.

Hopefully you’re more confident about trying an Expo at your church. Remember: Think it out and follow it through.

Enjoy the videos.

 

In my previous post, I developed the reasoning for what I believe to be the most effective way to utilize an expo. Take the time to develop the clear call for inviting people into ministry. In other words, wrap this expo around a series of messages that look at the benefits of volunteerism. Celebrate volunteerism, “show off” what gets accomplished in your church by volunteers and talk about the importance of using the gifts God gives us.  Below are a few more keys to help launch a successful expo.

Brief “ministry descriptions” prepared.

As I mentioned, we have six “big buckets” at Granger Community Church.  For instance, Guest Relations and Care is one of these six buckets. That bucket incorporates three sub-categories: Retail, Guest Services and Support. Each of those three sub categories has their own ministry teams.

We don’t want to overwhelm our guests with information, so there are only three pages of print distributed at the expo for Guest Relations and Care.  Since Guest Services is a sub-category, there is a one-page sheet of information to cover the six teams that we hope guests will consider – usher/greeters, kids check-in, traffic, bulletin assembly, campus guides, security and medical.

 Have “next step” opportunities in place.

Every guest who visits a booth, makes a decision in their seat or shows an interest online or throughout the days to come will be given a next step.  Every sub-category has a next step.  Depending on the ministry, our guests will be asked to attend an orientation where they will get a global view of the “big bucket” they’ve taken interest. This could be followed by a breakout where they might get some brief training and be scheduled for their first weekend event or opportunity.

Have an amazing follow through plan in place.

The bottom line:  Without follow through it will all come to a halt. Worse yet, you’ll loose credibility and the opportunity to connect with those whom God has prompted to get out of their seats. An entire post could be written regarding this step but I’m simply going to say this: It’s just good manors! Have well-defined “in-house” expectations and communication, then process ruthlessly how that follow through happens within your system … then follow through on the follow through!

Offer a second chance.

For a lot of people, a second week of expo will be just what’s needed to get it.  Perhaps they left the first week’s event considering it. Maybe God used that time to speak to them. Maybe they just missed the event all together! Too much work goes into these events to make it a one-shot deal. Things are already in place; give it a second chance!

 Add some service elements

Do you want to add value and capture the attention of guests you hope to engage in ministry with through your volunteer series?  Add some arts!  This will take some planning but when you add arts in conjunction with all the other expo planning, people get it.  They really do.  Below is a video that my boss and good friend, Mark Waltz hosted-and an amazing producer and friend, Ben Sanders, created. Enjoy 

This January, we’re planning a Ministry Expo at Granger Community Church.  That’s awesome for many reasons. January is a great time to introduce Jesus’ perspective on serving and offer opportunities for volunteering. It will allow many people to step outside of themselves and examine the benefits of being part of a team. A team that will add value to others and fill the voids created when we’ve yet to decide to engage in ministry for the cause of Christ. 

What kind of voids am I talking about? How about the gap between our giftedness and someone else’s needs? When we use our gifts to serve and help others, we’re on mission to change the world for Christ. Or what about the lack of “koinonia” in our lives? When we’re on mission with team members, we’re encouraged, challenged, strengthened and simply made to laugh right when we need it.

January is a great time to offer a fresh start – an additional perspective – on giving, one that includes the most precious commodity: time.

The challenge (read as opportunity) comes when our teams prepare for a four-week series that will honor, inform and engage would-be volunteers, one that will only work if our plans have been put in place by December. How does your December look?  I thought so.

For the next few posts, I’ll be taking you on the journey of Expo preparation.  I’ll skip past the Guest Relations-side of my job in keeping up with December’s activities while planning for an Expo so you’ll not send me sympathy cards.

Let’s start with giving you a broad picture of the series, a sequence that’s focused on volunteerism and volunteers. I believe wrapping an Expo is paramount. Rather than just lobbing an Expo out there and “hoping” for the best, we’re making it the center piece of a series of weekend services that take into account the teachings of scripture on serving, examine the benefits, celebrate the accomplishments and honor the current volunteers. Not effectively done on a single weekend.

We’re taking these four weeks and looking at all of this and more. Right in the middle of the series, we’ve set aside two weekends where the Expo happens. It will conclude every service at every campus.

Here at GCC, we have what we call “big buckets” of ministry. From an organizational viewpoint, they simply look something like this:

1. Arts (creative, performing, communication and technical)

2. Campus Support (grounds, maintenance, facility care)

3. Guest Relations & Care (guest services, retail services, care and support)

4. Kids and Students (yep, kids and students)

5. Mission (international,  “local” and inner city)

6. Technical and Skilled (IT, Admin, Finance)

The point is, there are only six “stations” our guests could visit during this Expo.  They’re right in the auditorium with banners hanging and lit for all to see. Our guests have printed materials in their weekend bulletin to look at. After a couple of weekend teachings about SHAPE, the importance of serving, etc., we’ll encourage them to only pick one or two possible interests as a first step.

In the coming posts, we’ll look at key factors to be managed in advance, during and after the event.  I hope it helps.

All of the following are key factors in a successful “VolunTOUR”. They all carry great weight and are randomly listed.

Tour Guides: We’ve discovered that it’s of great benefit if the guides have the “DNA” of the church built in them.  Not only is it helpful for them to have a great understanding of the mission, vision and values of your church but a broad understanding of the ministries you offer.  They need to communicate with ease, all of this without reading a script to your guests. They represent your church, your ministries and MVV’s-be wise.

Promotion: Like anything, it’s a good idea to start talking about this a few weeks in advance. Let your existing teams know that they can invite others to at least look at the opportunities available.  Promote it from the screens, the web, announcements or media. Build the buzz-people often want to know what’s available.

Timing: A well-timed Tour is critical. If it’s perceived as an “add on” to the service, it will get lost in the myriad of great things your communicating over the weekend or at the event. Wrap it around a series on serving or giving or relationship. If not wrapped in a series, talk about it as an addendum within the message. Communicate the opportunity with a serving media. A well thought out Tour is going to yield a great turnout.

Follow Through: Nothing is worse than having all your ducks in order and fail on the last step.  Our guests are waiting for the follow through.  It often may not seem that way when your emails are not answered or phone calls not returned, but when we do our part right, the Spirit will open doors down the road. Besides that, it’s just good manors!

Preparation: Having accurate information for your guides, printouts that reflect current dates, clipboards and pens that work are no brainers. Having tour guides scheduled and communications to team leaders along with a plan for follow through are not going to hurt you either. Have the promotions running well ahead of time and build the anticipation.

Other Factors: A couple of “mock tours” were helpful to our tour guides. It gave us an opportunity to talk through some of big picture things we wanted to communicate. Things like “it’s about relationship”, a chance to rehearse a two minute discourse on a SHAPE. It’s important to keep these tours to 20 minutes-we’re still working on that one. And finally, utilize these tours in smaller venues.  They need not be church wide events, as a matter of fact, in our smaller gatherings of 25 or more we’ve had a very positive response.