Consensus Priority Objectives
We need a database that allows leadership (clergy; staff and lay parishioners) access to track members for the purpose of recruitment, retention, pastoral care, inclusion in small groups based on interests, utilization of skills and experience for committees, ad hoc groups and Vestry.
We need procedures that enable us to keep the information current and accessible with appropriate security and privacy controls.
We need to develop more intentional small groups to appeal to people at different places on our journeys in this faith community. Small groups based on interests, age, children’s age or people with no children are examples of how intentional we must be. We must encourage and enable people to join a small group and then nurture them in the group in order to retain members.
Our web site should be redesigned and updated to make it more attractive to visitors, especially to those who are searching for a potential church home, and to make the content more easily accessible.
We should utilize Facebook, Twitter and other social media more than we currently do, keeping information and communications current and interesting.
We must do a better job of identifying, training and nurturing parish leaders.
“Branding” is the shorthand way that people identify a company, a product, an organization. We need to develop our brand to create the perception and expectation that St. Matthew’s is different, a brand that makes us an inviting place to explore if one is searching for God.
We need a new logo that is consistently used throughout the church.
Our brand needs to reflect our Mission Statement and Affirming Principles.
Tithing and Finance:
Remove the veil from church finance. Improve communication and transparency regarding budget and goals.
Incorporate tithing into the culture of our parish.
The following are are the action plans of each of the four Moving Forward teams.
Communications Action Plan
An eye-catching site that is easy to navigate
Meet with current webmaster to coordinate any changes and determine whether additional help, either from inside the church or from an outside consultant, is needed
Create congregation committee to assess current web site design and make recommendations/plans for updating the look, the structure and functionality of the SMEC web site
Consistent social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and church blog that reaches members and the community at large
Identify a committee or task force to pull together all our social media efforts – Facebook, Twitter, and a church blog (to be established) – creating a consistent presence; use these media to communicate with the congregation as well as the broader community
A clear, consistent brand that represents the church on all communications (paper and electronic)
Develop a logo, and proceed to use it for church stationery, Sunday bulletins, web site, newsletters, etc. (The Communications committee believes at least one such logo exists and should be back “on the table” for consideration.)
Establish clear communication between staff and congregation regarding who manages various tasks within the church
Promote the development of lay-led committees with assigned staff liaison to oversee communications activities within the church
Signage and General Information
Clear signage directing members and guests around the facility
Easily identifiable calendar of current and upcoming events
General directional signs, especially in the Narthex and Saints Hall areas
(Staff is already working on this?)
Make better use of existing information, including wider distribution of the weekly calendar that is posted on the office window; possibly to include a wider adoption of the existing program calendar on Google, or other online calendar that would be publicly accessible
A clear system for keeping track of attendance and guests
Universally accessible records for staff and authorized church members
After consultation with the MF Membership Committee, support them in their decisions on these points
Membership Development Action Plan
Implementation should be led by team and incorporated by a committee of volunteers, 8-10 people.
Implementation should be achieved through a cooperative effort of the Membership Team and the Parish leadership/volunteers in each area.
Who are we as a church exists beyond the Sunday church attendance – make clear online. Develop and oversee a plan to “spread the word” about St. Matthew’s (ie., market our church to the larger Louisville community.
Social media outreach essential. Online communications should be shaped in order to “draw in” new people to St. Matthew’s.
Calendars of outreach opportunities on the web. A calendar of volunteer opportunities outside the church should be maintained on the web.
Church services at different locations/locales. Explore providing church services at locations and times outside the weekend “in church” services.
Personal contact through greeters and clergy
Defined, trained greeter /greeters at 8:00 am, 10:00 am and 5:00 pm
Training by staff, developed by staff, greeter leadership and membership team
Greeting before and after services that includes taking/directing visitors to coffee hour or Adult Ed classes.
Tour the church during a quarterly session with more in depth information
At each of these contacts, reiterate our Mission Statement
Revised Visitor’s packet
Current information (reviewed regularly for up to date information and relevance)
Materials available as pdf online to newcomers and newcomers are encouraged to visit online
Small, glossy business card with website information, specifically newcomer information.
Regularly Weekly scheduled info sessions
Clergy or greeter availability after church for ten minutes
Video that says “here’s what we are” and the greeter can lead Q&A
Nurturance and Retention
Membership team and staff address what small groups are needed, encourages their formation and suggest potential leaders. Use the Episcopal Church Foundation small group resources as an aid. Staff and leadership analysis of information on members.
Maintains continuity, channels newcomers into the small groups and tracks their participation. Learn members’ needs. Determine how to respond to those needs.
Track member participation.
Clergy (Staff) and an Incorporation committee periodically checks up on the new members (I think the checking up should be done by others and info relayed to Clergy)
Create teams/individuals who are mentors for the new members
Organize meet ups (introductions of those paired)and develops peer relationships
Discuss class opportunities on Sundays and other days
Define and establish away from church opportunities such as a study in a coffee shop or community party house, “talk to the clergy about anything” events at a pub or where ever. Events and places that the unchurched would not fear.
Shepherding system (Sections C i-ii can be adapted for current members, too
When: As soon as the vestry agrees. Those who agree to be part of leadership and the committee should prioritize what actions need to be initiated
- iPad/technology-collection devices, members and visitors input information easily at church (2-4 ipads, possibly donated or bought at a lower price on ebay)
- Defined roles for clergy regarding reaching out to new members using collected data.
- Age and position (single, parent, grandparent, etc.) recognized in the data.
- Lay people trained to use the data files that are created.
- Making connections for small groups based on data collected (geographical location, age, children’s ages/activities, volunteer interest expressed)
“Membership Maestro” to input new members.
- Training on Power Church or another data base and using it to its full capacity
- Thorough, easily accessible online directory of all church “members”.
- Cleaned up and simplified website. Pay a professional to get it modified, if necessary.
- Consistently investigate rules/tools from the National Episcopal Church
Why [Should be distilled into three to four keywords/mission of St. Matthew's that are made visible on website]:
- Relationship and Community
- Establish and maintain social justice
- Spiritual guidance
- Nurturance and retention
Stewardship Development Action Plan
WHAT: Form a nominations committee to present a slate of names for parish committees, including the stewardship committee. WHO: Leadership
Stewardship committee consists of pledge drive (annual giving) team, planned giving team, and representative(s) from finance committee. Pledge drive team should ideally consist of three people to serve for a three year commitment.
Offer Stewardship committee as service option for parish, especially those who do not get elected to Vestry.
Stagger membership for three years on stewardship committee.
Match donors with the same members of the committee so relationships can be formed.
WHAT: Formalize new member process (how-to)
Include pledge card in new member packet WHO: Staff
Follow up (clergy/lay roles TBD)
WHAT: Visual display of budget to parish WHO: Communications
Regular reporting, in bulletin and on website, of budget and actual status of parish income and expenses with charts and graphics
EFT (auto debit) information on back of pledge card to simplify process
Information on EFT in pews
WHAT: Tithing WHO: Parish
Have parishioners talk about why they pledge and/or tithe
Parishioners would ideally talk twice a year in church
Presentations on time, talent and treasure
Sunday of ministry fair
St. Matthew’s Day
Recommend Alabama Plan for parish
Continue to present this in front of the parish
Parish needs to know Vestry has agreed to move towards tithing
Timing and content of message regarding pledge/tithe are critical and may vary by individual, so difficult to formalize
WHAT: Member recognition and incorporation
Unsung hero WHO: Clergy and wardensbr /> i. Improve notification/recognition of volunteers, maybe in Spirit or e-newsletters
Continue recognition of new members on baptismal Sundays and other (e.g. All Saints Day) WHO: Clergy
Development Action Plan
Form a committee comprised of the Senior and Junior Wardens, Coordinator of Volunteers, Director of Christian Education, committee chairs and other interested persons that would focus on current practices of lay leadership recruitment and to keep these practices current and to project the future lay leadership needs of our parish. They should communicate openly and work together with the clergy, other staff and current lay leaders to define what works, what doesn’t and make recommendations accordingly. In addition, when vacancies occur in lay leadership, the committee would consult the database to discuss possible persons to fill volunteer positions. In addition, the committee will create and communicate to the church, expectations and accountability requirements for the various lay leadership roles within St. Matthews Episcopal Church.
Develop a lay leadership discernment process at the parish level to help members discover their gifts and alert both lay leadership and staff to the talents and interests of the congregation. This would be done with an online survey and a hard copy survey available to those without computers. Information gathered from surveys would be compiled and entered into a database by a volunteer lay committee that would be consulted when vacancies within lay leadership arise.
Form a volunteer lay committee (perhaps same as #2 above) that would focus on the development and updating of a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) type database. This database tracks what members actually get involved in and not what they say they will do. It follows their actions rather than their words. This would become a repository of information for all parishioners and have a flexible component that would assist in finding the right person for the right position. This database would serve across committees of the church.
Create an ad hoc task force of young adults who address, among themselves, what lay leadership in the church should be. Allow them to meet on their own terms, i.e. physical meetings, Skype or similar thereto. Create an “extended family group” crossing several age generations that act as a family who help and provide support to one-another. Perhaps they gather monthly to converse about a “topic” or participate in a family agreed upon activity.
Provide training at least once a year for all committee chairs, committee members, Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, lectors, chalice bearers and other lay leaders to meet with the clergy, staff, vestry, and seasoned committee leaders who will explain their roles in church leadership, general workings and the mission of the church. Expectations and accountability of each role within the church will be emphasized. This should help parishioners realize the importance of church lay leadership by the members.