Tag: Improvement

When is the last time you did a ministry evaluation

This summer I’ve been in ministry evaluation mode!
In May we had a pretty significant leadership team retreat where church leadership put NextGen (even more specifically, Kids) in the cross hairs for focus. This is a really good thing. I committed to spend this summer evaluating every aspect of what we’re doing, where our weaknesses are and how we might turn those around. Here’s one of the biggest learnings I had.

Every year for the past 2-3 years, we have almost 1000 families visit Gateway for the very first time.

That’s amazing! In one of our leadership meetings, we talked about how we can attract more people to our church. I shared these numbers supported by years of check-in data and we quickly realized that we do not have an attraction issue, we have a retention issue. In the past 12 months, only 40% of our first time families came back for a second visit. Ouch! I was able to dive deeper and see that specific rooms have higher retention rates than others. This data tells me that we’re doing some things right in certain environments where we’re failing in others.

My investigation showed that it’s primarily our elementary (especially older elementary) where we’re losing the most visitors. With and average of 60% of our visitors not coming back for a second visit, our elementary percentage was even higher than this. Not good at all.

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Criticism is your friend

We all like a pat on the back, don’t we? When someone has something negative to say, most of us get an uneasy feeling in our gut. Upon hearing criticism, our thoughts immediately go to all the reasons why something is the way it is either because it is the truth or because we aren’t comfortable in the critical position. Out of a innate need for self-preservation, we avoid criticism like the plague. Most of us don’t willingly send out evaluations for personal reflection or invite people into a conversation beginning with, “What do I do that you hate?”

I think it’s really important for us to remember that criticism is our friend. We must not forget, we are biased individuals who are in love with ourselves and the way we do things. Criticism is just about the only honest way we’re going to get better and one of the best ways to utilize the amazing power of criticism is the systematize it. Send out a survey to first time visitors every Monday morning asking for feedback. Send an evaluation to families after events or classes like child dedication or baptism. Have leaders evaluate services/messages each week so your staff and planning team can know how to make improvements. I think its amazing how most of us continue to do the same things year after year without asking the question, “So, how are we doing?”

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Constantly refining

You will never arrive. It will never be perfect. Our programs and systems constantly need refining and tweaking. We did a major overhaul on our Child Dedication here at Gateway. What we’re doing now is amazing! This is...

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