next steps

One Simple Way to Find Stories In Your Church

As communicators we are always looking for great stories to help highlight the lives being changed in your audience. Real stories highlight show your audience that there are people just like them in your church. They “reward” people for living out their faith and they are far more compelling then statistics or generic stories you found online. But where do you find them? 

You just have to know how to ask. 

stories

1. Call to Action

Finding great stories starts with a call to action. At the conclusion to each sermon great communicators help their audience identify their next step. They help them apply what they’ve been teaching to the lives of their audience. If you’re really thinking ahead, you ask them to commit to taking that next step and to tell you that they are doing so. Many churches use some form of follow up card to have their audience indicate how they are going to put the lesson into action. 

2. Follow Up

If your audience has indicated they are taking a next step, follow up mid week with some additional tools or encouragement to follow through on their next step. 

3. Go Back and Ask

If you’ve been tracking those next steps, go back and ask the list of people who committed to take a specific next step how it went. Invite them to share their story. 

The stories are there, you just have to know who to ask. 

The stories are there, you just have to know who to ask.

Not only is sharing a community members story powerful, it’s rewarding, for you, your audience and your “sharer”. Look for opportunities to collect those stories. File them away (in Evernote) and look for the perfect opportunity to share them.  

Question of the day: What’s the "close to home" life change story you’ve yet to share with your audience? 

Why You Should Cancel Your Next Sunday Service

Last weekend we cancelled our services to take a step out into our community. After a three week series inspired by the "Art of Neighboring" in Denver, CO, we came together across all of our campuses to link arms and get our hands dirty serving our neighbors. We dubbed it "The Good Neighbor Project" and set out on projects all around our community. The question is, was it worth it?

GoodNeighborProject2014.jpg

There were risks involved, everything from financial (giving, project expenses) to the fear that our efforts would be a total flop (last year's work project only brought out a few dozen people). But regardless of the risk...it was worth it, and here's why -- it was tangible!

When we teach on Sundays, you and I are trying to inspire life change. We want people to take next steps in their faith. For some that just means coming back again next week, for others it's deciding they want to live a life lead by faith and for others it means taking action. Doing something different and becoming a new person. 

Whatever that next step is, it is incredibly important that we make that next step tangible. In fact, we need to make sure our next steps are clear, life changing and available. 

Clear - What exactly can your audience do in response to your teaching? 
Life changing - How do those next steps actually change anything? What impact will they have?
Available - It doesn't have to be easy, but it should be available if you really believe it will make a difference. 

So, take some time to look at your teaching calendar. Which series are coming up that could have a clearer next step? Is there something you can do to make those next steps more available? Consider following your next few series with a project, a seminar, or possibly a retreat. Either way, go all in and help your community take next step in their faith...and maybe even consider canceling next week's service.