Monday, December 13, 2010

What We are Evaluating

OFFERING TIMES. About six months ago we moved the time offering time from the end of service to the middle. (1) This move immediately solved a number of problems we were experiencing, and has been a great relief for those involved. Trust me, this simple move has affected a lot of people in a positive way. (2) It has neither hurt nor improved the amount of money received in the offering. All things remain consistent there. Generous people give no matter what. People lacking in generosity also remain true to type. (3) But the biggest downside to the new offering time is that we are getting FEWER REGISTRATION CARDS turned in each week from guests or those who have made commitments. This has been a huge concern for me.

As you have noticed, beginning in the December we moved the offering back to the end of the service (only for the month). This is an experiment to see if more registration/commitment cards will be turned in. So far, that is exactly what has happened. In fact, more cards were turned in yesterday than we have received in months. If this trend in confirmed, it is very likely we’ll move the offering time back to the end of service permanently.

THE VERDICT IS IN: OUR NURSERY NEEDS TO EXPAND! We’ve been looking at this for a long time and it’s over due. We have waited too long to make this move. There are some Sundays that the nursery is completely full of infants and toddlers together. Not a good mix. An overcrowded nursery feels less safe, plus it overwhelms the workers. It is also is a source of concern for young mothers who are reluctant to leave their babies. The result is that these babies and toddlers often end up in the adult service, creating a distraction, or the families never come back.

We’re going to pull the trigger on this matter. This Sunday the toddlers will be separated from the infants and placed in the next room down the hall. If this arrangement works well, we will make this a permanent move or until attendance patterns shift in another direction.

TWO SERVICES. We’re still looking at this. Here are the facts.

(1) I’m fully committed to two services as long as both are healthy and effective.

(2) We’ve been doing two services for 3 ½ years, and after studying all the data (attendance patterns, adding new members, financial giving, etc) we’ve not seen the results we expected. The first service continues to grow and has a lot of energy. The second service has reached a plateau and is not growing. It lacks the critical mass (in attendance) to gain the necessary momentum for growth. This effort has had a good, long run and it’s not gaining momentum. The limited results are disproportionate to the amount of effort and manpower we are investing. On the other hand, if the second service were to suddenly take off, we would run with it without even considering going back to one.

(3) If we go back to one service, it would (most likely) not be permanent. We would use the time to SCALE BACK and then REBUILD STRONGER. We would tighten up some sloppy procedures, restructure certain ministry areas, better train our workers, improve internal systems, and get things shipshape. Once we regained growth momentum again, we would consider going back to two services of necessity and in a much healither state. This could take six months, or two years. Who knows.

(4) This much we are certain of: we do not want to continue doing the same thing in 2011 that we did in 2010. It is time to make changes so we can see better results. We need to work smarter, not harder.

(5) The people this would affect the most are the department leaders in the age-level ministries area (nursery, pre-k, elementary) because they are not in the adult service. We have been discussing the matter with them, and, while it would be very challenging, they are willing to go this direction if it’s what we need to do.

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