Did you know WiredChurches hosts workshops twice a year, led by world-class leaders in a variety of fields? And did you know they are a quick, affordable way to strengthen and inspire entire teams of people in one day? And did you also know we have a fresh batch of them coming next month?

It’s true! Now you know. Here’s what we have coming up in April—click the thumbnails for more information on each one:

Learn how to make great first impressions with the guests (old and new)
who walk in the doors of your church.

Have your message be heard loud and clear in every deliverable—
through what people read, touch or click.

From birth through fifth grade, a healthy kids’ ministry can have an enormous
impact on the children and families in our communities.

Go behind the scenes with Granger’s creative and production arts teams
to experience a download of Granger’s creative process and structure.

The First Impressions, Communications and Kids’ Ministry Workshops are one-day events that run from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. on Fridays. The Arts All-Access is a Saturday workshop, from 10 a.m.–6:10 p.m. Lunch will be provided for all workshops. So come with your team on Friday and stay for Saturday’s All-Access event, which includes attending a Saturday evening service. All events are held on the Granger Community Church Campus at Granger Commons near South Bend, IN, just 90 miles east of Chicago and five miles east of the University of Notre Dame.

by Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections and MultiSite

Excellent guest service—whether in a local church, community non-profit, retail business or service industry—is really the compilation of lived-out best practices. Those benchmark behaviors that may be simple and common sense, but they are set as standards of practice by everyone in the organization.

Best practices can be produced in a board room.

  • Respond to questions within 48 hours.
  • Answer the phone before the fourth ring.
  • Do what you do with excellence.

It can happen: best practices can come from the board room. But not most of them.

Most best practices come about in the moment. A one-time occurrence implemented by one team member that gets discovered and, because of its impact on communicating value, is repeated as a norm throughout the entire team. That’s what happened with our guest services four-point report.

A couple years ago our volunteer usher leaders began to email each other following each weekend of services. By Monday afternoon an email was circulating, celebrating highlights and asking questions about how to solve a challenge that had popped up. The email created conversation that birthed an ongoing best-practice-making machine. The Four-Point Email was born. It’s this simple:

Continue reading on Mark’s blog...

Have you heard about our One-Day Workshops? These are intense and focused, interactive learning environments that your whole team can take advantage of. Get away for one day and join us at Granger Commons on Friday, April 25 to learn more about First Impressions, Communications and Kids’ Ministry. Then stay with your team for the Arts All-Access workshop on Saturday, April 26 where you’ll go behind the scenes and attend the Saturday night service.

by Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections & MultiSite

There’s a trend across the country among good, church-going people: Attending a weekend service at their local home church just once every two or three weeks. Seems like the new norm for many. As other church leaders across the country have observed, it’s particularly noticeable when those volunteering seem to attend only when they’re “scheduled” to serve.

I have thoughts on this behavior.

  • People are busy. And busier. Kids are in multiple sports leagues, some of them weekend traveling teams. After a 60-hour work week people are catching up on sleep, home projects, and recreation.    
  • Busyness – and all the activities within that busyness – emerge as apparent higher values than the value of being with the gathered Church in a church service.
  • We offer online church – on-demand. Regardless of the great reasons to offer an online experience, it certainly offers convenience in the busy schedules of people’s lives. They can benefit from the experience without driving, dressing or expending energy or time.
  • We’ve taught with clarity that “you’re the church where you are.” It doesn’t all happen in the “box” on the weekend. It seems people are learning to live that out... with an apparent effect on church attendance.

Some would insightfully argue: “So what’s the big deal? Church isn’t the box. And following Jesus isn’t about weekend service attendance.”

True. I agree with both observations. We ARE the Church; it’s not a building. And attending religious services doesn’t earn spiritual brownie points.

So why show up for “Church” at the box?

  • Edward T. Hall’s theory of proxemics has long demonstrated the need each of us has for relational spaces that are “public” in nature, as well as more personal, even intimate relationships. The weekend experience provides a God-designed public sense of community. Regardless of congregational size, this large group community draws us into belonging to something much bigger than we are.

Continue reading on Mark’s Blog...

I just received a question from Kyle—a friend who serves at a neighboring church in our area:

Do our greeters wear name tags or only those serving at our Guest Services center?

I've had dozens of conversations with churches asking a similar question, but much to my own surprise, I don't think I've addressed it in writing 'til now. Thanks for the prompt, Kyle! 

My amazing, inspiring bride, Laura

To Tag or Not to Tag

At Granger Community we want to remove all the barriers we can to build bridges that quickly connect people. Name tags are one small way we do that. In a quick list format, here's what we've learned and practice: 

  • Name tags on our guest services team members help guests recognize: "This is someone I can approach for help." That's everyone on every guest services team: traffic team, guest services center, greeters, ushers, children's check-in team, campus guides, cafe and bookstore team.
  • We don't ask guests to wear name tags. Some of them want to be anonymous. Remembering names is our job.
Continue reading on Mark Waltz's Blog...

Was this helpful? Want more great insight? Mark offers an interactive, contextualized coaching experience for Guest Experience & Connections leaders from all over the country. Interested? Get more information here. Apply here. Check out other coaching networks for your team here.

Click the graphic below to see the full postcard (at a size that's easier on the eyes):

Fall 2013 Coaching Postcard

Get more information, and register for a coaching experience that could change the trajectory of your ministry at


by Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections and MultiSite

I'm very excited about saying "YES"!

I've had several people ask me in workshops, email and Twitter if I'd consider coaching them - for more than a day or two. 

The answer is "YES"!

Again this fall I'm offering a four-month journey with leaders whose responsibilities are focused on connections, volunteer involvement, group relationships, and spiritual growth. If you are a senior pastor or a pastor/director responsible for adult connections or assimilation ministries - I'm inviting you to apply for this coaching journey.

This fourth network (since 2010) allows a journey different from a single day of training or a couple phone conversations. I love the partnership with churches and their teams who are willing and ready to push against the walls of comfort and convenience to take sacrificial steps to reach people for Christ. In fact, I'll be on the road some this fall doing just that - it's a real privilege! 

But this is different.

  • It will be intensely practical. Highly conversational. Interactive. And limited to 12 leaders.
  • We will study. We'll read. We will learn together. We'll explore your specific questions, issues and church dynamic.
  • We will get specific about cultivating culture, building teams, casting vision and designing environments for connecting, serving and growing.

It won't be terribly convenient (like traveling to northern Indiana). It will be worth it.

Don't think one coach - think 12 coaches. We'll do this together. I'm confident you'll be better from the experience. I'm certain you'll lead your church, your staff and your teams more effectively and serve your people and guests more thoroughly because of this coaching journey.

If you're wondering, here's what some folks have said from previous experiences: 

  • Granger's Connections Coaching Network wasn't exactly what I was expecting - it was so much better!  When you combine Mark Waltz's expertise and the collaboration of professionals from around the country, you have a recipe for fresh ideas, new innovations, and strategic thinking.  Every moment of every session delivers the "Wow!" experience.  If you want to take your ministry to the next level, this is the place to start! -- Danny Franks, Summit Church, Durham, NC
  • I’m in a great frame of mind about life and ministry. This has been a very good experience for me and there are measurable results already from things learned, discussed and read.– David Hinkle, Fellowship Bible Church, Topeka, KS
  • I’m afraid my words do not adequately express how thankful I am to have had this opportunity!! Thank you! The Connections Strategy Coaching Network is a great experience!  I would highly recommend it to anyone in a “Connections Ministry” role – in any size church, with any size staff. I have gained much wisdom from Mark Waltz, both from his expertise with “Connections” ministries, but also as a leader of leaders. I’ve learned so much from him through the ongoing Coaching model – so much more than I ever could from a short-term seminar. – Tina Watterson, Greenville Free Methodist Church, Greenville, IL

I've loved the new friendships and quick formation of "team across miles" in the former networks I've been privileged to lead. I'm praying God forms an incredible coaching network that will surprise all of us before the end of this year! Perhaps you'll be part of this next group. 

Get more information here. Apply here. Check out other coaching networks for your team here.

TOMORROW, April 12, you have an opportunity to match principles with real life examples. Curious how to gain…
  • a fresh perspective and some new ideas about how to craft communications so you can release the right response? (Less clutter. Less Noise. with Kem Meyer)
  • hands-on training that will empower paid and unpaid wow-makers to make great first impressions? (First Impressions with Mark Waltz)
  • insight into developing a kids' program that impacts the future of children and families in your community? (Kids' Ministry: From Leading to Legos with Ted Bryant)

Invest in this one-day learning retreat. You deserve some specific and practical encouragement. As a matter of fact, grab one or two teammates and bring them along to make the day even better. Kem, Mark and Ted will be here. And so will many others who have signed up to be here, too. Hope you can join us.

Get all the specifics and register now—it's not too late!

by Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections and MultiSite

This is an ink pen. Its base is wrapped with a hair tie. Can you see what's bound in the hair tie? Yes. That’s human hair. Hair that was held by the tie before it was wound around this pen. 

Convenient, I suppose. Finished with it in your hair, just wrap it around the pen you’re using until you need it in your hair again. To each his—or her—own. 

Unless the person using the hair tie is a restaurant server and she hands her pen to her customer to sign their bill. 

That customer was me. Convenient for her. Disgusting for me. I dropped—maybe I threw—the pen on the table and asked my wife Laura for hand sanitizer and a pen. Gross.

It’s easy to live in Convenience World. We don’t intend to impede on anyone else. We just don’t think

This was just a pen. But think about the conveniences we hang on to, maybe insist on, without thinking how it impacts someone else. Say—your church guest or your neighbor:

  • It’s convenient to park in the main lot closest to the door. You’re serving after all! And you must be on time (It would have been inconvenient to leave earlier). However that convenient parking spot could have been a guest’s easy-to-find spot.
  • It’s convenient to find my friends and catch up. But if that’s all I do, I miss the opportunity to welcome and engage someone new to our church.
  • It’s convenient to rush out of my neighborhood and just wave to my neighbors. But I may be missing relationship and a chance to communicate care with my time.
  • It’s convenient to ignore the turn signal on the car next to me and not slow down to let the driver in front of me. But it might be a small way to defer, to care, to be second.

How is your convenience creating a not-so-great experience for someone else?

Not everyone can see a hair on a pen and turn it into a great lesson about making your church better. Get more real-world, practical tips and improve the experience of all your guests, from the parking lot to the auditorium. Come to Mark’s First Impressions One-Day Workshop on April 12. You can also sign up for Kem Meyer’s Less Clutter. Less Noise. Workshop or the brand new Kids’ Ministry: From Leading to Legos Workshop with Ted Bryant. Register by March 12 to get the early bird discount for you and your team!