Care for your team.

Whether you’re a Senior Pastor or are leading facility care, you’re part of a team. Maybe you’re paid, maybe you’re a volunteer. Doesn’t matter. Find a way to intentionally care about your team. Those people you work with every day and think you know pretty well? Take one of them out to lunch. Ask one of them how their kids are doing, and really listen. Take time to share prayer requests. Send an encouraging email about something great you watched someone else do. It’s so easy to get caught up in the pace of the work that we’re all trying to do, that we miss the people God has put around us to care for and support. Sometimes your team needs you just as much as the audience you’re working so hard to reach.

Providing learning experiences for your team is another great way to learn and grow and invest in their ministry. It’s not too late, register and bring your team with you to a one-day workshop at Granger, happening May 18 & 19. With workshops geared for First Impressions, Creative & Communication Arts, Groups, Students and Kids Ministry, there’s something for everyone—no matter if they’re volunteer staff or paid staff.

by Teaching Pastor Jason Miller

A lot of us have worked hard to figure out how to use art to connect with the unchurched in our weekend services and we can point to lives that have been changed when God used that art to get past defenses, raise honest questions and speak powerfully into lives. Lately I’ve been stewing on the question of where we go from here. I think great art for our events is a great thing, especially when our events are part of the movement of the Kingdom of God. But what does art for the sake of the movement (as opposed to art for the sake of an event that is part of the movement) look like? A couple of brief thoughts:

  • People are drawn to a movement by its followers as much as its leader. People don’t emulate leaders. They emulate fellow followers. (See Paul’s line about following him as he follows Christ in 1 Corinthians 11.) If our art will serve the movement, it needs to elevate the stories of the movement’s followers. Old school testimony time might have more wisdom to it than we realize!
  • Movements are tied to places, times and people. They’re not static. They’re not floating in the clouds, like Platonic ideals that are detached from the blood and sweat of our everyday lives. And so art for the movement has to have a dynamic relationship with the place and time and people of the movement. It has to be responsive to the community and its needs. This is one of the reasons we’re pushing harder than ever to make original art a benchmark of our work at Granger. Original art can give a voice to the circumstances of the people right here in our neighborhood in a way that reproduced art cannot. If the incarnation is the moment when God wrapped Himself up in the circumstance of the people to whom He was sent, then original art is inherently incarnational.

What about you? Though there’s strength to be leveraged in the hegemony of popular culture, how do you think the Church can leverage art for the sake of a movement that is embedded in a certain place and time? What else needs to be true of our art if it will lend its full force to our mission? Check out an art installation Granger leveraged in a recent series called Before I Die... to capture and promote the heart of the topic being discussed on the weekend.

Bring your staff and volunteer leaders to the Creative & Communication Arts Workshop at Granger Thursday, May 19, to boost your impact with guests.Register by next Monday, April 18 to get the Early Bird rate of just $99 per person, or $89 for groups of 2–5, or $79 for groups of 6+. Attend both days ofworkshops (there’s a second day of additional workshops on Wednesday, May 18) and get a further discount: $20 off per day!

Find ways to feed your creative soul.

It might be taking an extra 15 minutes to sit in your car and read a devotional before you hop into work, or following a string of blogs written by leaders you admire or maybe going to a concert in town. For you, it might mean taking a nap. Listening to a favorite new song. Journaling. Whatever charges your batteries, creatively, you need to make some time for it in your work day. Ministry is a demanding, never-ending calling. Our work doesn’t end when we punch out for the day. We’re always on, always caring, always praying. Make it a priority to get a daily dose of inspirational voltage to keep your batteries charged.

If you’re looking for other ways to boost your impact, whether you’re on a church staff or a volunteer, come to a one-day workshop at Granger that focuses on your ministry area, happening May 18 & 19. We have workshops geared for First Impressions, Creative & Communication Arts, Groups, Students and Kids Ministry.

by Executive Pastor Mark Waltz

I learned the hard way. People need to be reminded.

Back in my student ministry days I thought that grown adults could remember meeting dates and times. After all, they get kids to soccer practice, keep doctor appointments, show up for work, and remember birthdays. All that is true. And maybe that is the point: It’s all true. There is a lot going on.

It’s happened to all of us. Weekend service. You’re ready. You’re on time. And someone else isn’t. You cripple through the service or services on a shoestring, hoping to not miss any critical elements or people as you attempt to provide a welcoming space for your guests. It happens. People aren’t always blowing off responsibility. Sometimes people just forget.

Here are some thoughts about serving as a full team:

  • Create a schedule. Put it on paper. Make sure everyone has it.
  • Make the schedule easy to remember. Build some pattern into it. Monthly. Biweekly. Find a rhythm.
  • Send reminders. Make phone calls. Send postcards. Tweet. Text. Email. And you must, you must, you must—not choose the easiest and preferred communication for yourself as the leader. Learn how everyone on your team is best connected. You’ll likely call some, text others, and email the rest.
  • Follow up when someone doesn’t show. This is a simple and opportune chance to care. You may discover they are facing difficulty, illness, or worse. Reach out. You made it past the weekend. That’s good. But it’s not all there is to the team.
  • Expect the schedule to be kept and followed. By planning it, printing it, reminding, following up you’ll communicate that people matter—the team matters. “We’re counting on you!”

Sunday is coming! Is your team?

Bring your staff and volunteer leaders to the First Impressions workshop at Granger, May 18, to boost your impact with guests. Register now to get the Early Bird rate of just $99 per person, or $89 for groups of 2–5, or $79 for groups of 6+. Attend both days of workshops (there’s a second day of additional workshops on Friday, May 19) and get a further discount: $20 off per day!

Stop using acronyms and nicknames wherever possible.

We all do it. It’s our insider lingo. “Hey Bob, how’s the WP coming for the 313 team?” The problem is anyone outside your team or inner circle is going to be clueless. Acronyms assume everybody knows, but the truth is most of them just don’t. So on the web and in print communications, as well as on the platform, the golden rule is to avoid using them whenever you can.

If your church name is Granger Community Church, for example, that might get pretty lengthy to keep repeating in body copy. As a good practice then, the first time it appears, use the full name and from there on out, use the abbreviation. But if you don’t give people the full name behind the acronym, they’ll be left in the dark! Find other helpful tips and ideas in the Communications Forms Bundle, a collection of all of Granger’s Communications team documentation.

Craft a user experience that eliminates barriers.

Whether you’re in charge of getting volunteers to sign up at your table for your ministry fair or taking baptism registration forms, whether you’re dealing with paper forms or online forms, the end goal is the same. And user experience is key. Make sure that when people sign up for stuff, what you have to offer is quick, clean and easy to read. Unnecessary extra steps or extra clutter in a sign-up process can cause frustration and do the very thing we don’t want to do—hinder people from taking their next step.

As a sample, take a look at the Communications Volunteer Sign-Up Form Granger uses to introduce people to first-time volunteer opportunities, as well as the volunteer section of

You’re probably just about ready for some sun. Have you considered Granger, Indiana, as your next vacation destination? Perhaps you’ve always longed to see the cornfields of Northern Indiana. No?

Hmm. How about considering Granger as a learning destination then? Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and 19, will be hosting a variety of workshops at Granger Community Church, just 90 miles east of Chicago.

It’s easy. Pick one of the following workshops to attend all day. Come for one day or stay for two. Your materials and lunch are included. The experience? It will be packed with real-life examples of what works and what doesn’t, with space for questions and interaction.

The cost? Right now it’s just $99 per person, per day. Or $89 for groups of 2–5, or $79 for groups of 6 or more. Attend both days of workshops and get a further discount: $20 off per day!

Wednesday, May 18

Thursday, May 19

  • Creative & Communication Arts: Learn about Granger’s process for planning, promoting and executing weekend series.
  • Groups: Facilitate a working strategy to keep people engaged and discipled.
  • Kids: Learn about environments, curriculum and utilizing volunteers to help kids meet Jesus.

Make brainstorming fun.

Sometimes our brains get a little tired of looking at the same four walls—especially if you feel like you’re just hitting your head against them, over and over. Take your team outside your normal comfort zone to brainstorm your next worship set or upcoming series. Head to a coffee shop. Go sit outside or take a walk. Ask to borrow a friend’s super-cool living room or man cave for an evening brainstorm session. Sometimes getting everyone on the same page and moving in a new direction is as simple as changing the scenery. Oh, and one more thing—provide brain food. That’s a must.

Want more ideas on building your team? Check out the Creative & Communication Arts workshop coming on Thursday, May 19. Register now and bring your staff along!