Create a Welcoming Environment In Your Church- Jeff Bogue

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2014_6_27_welcomeVisiting a church can be an intimidating experience for a newcomer. In this post, Pastor Jeff Bogue shares keys to communicating a friendly environment.

Leave the badges at home
Use greeters without name badges. Greeters with badges look like employees instead of friendly people. Only safety team members and children’s workers should have badges.

Have upbeat music playing
Silence is scary, and music fills in silence. Music also identifies whether you fit in this place. Think of heavy metal music playing in a candle store. It feels wrong. Play upbeat, even secular music, before and after services.

Offer coffee and refreshments for free
You would never ask a guest in your home to reimburse you for coffee. We should expect guests and treat them with the hospitality due them.

  • Give them the best parking.
  • Give them the best seats.
  • Act like they are there!

Post clear directional signs for key areas of your building

  • Restrooms
  • Parking
  • Entrances
  • Especially children’s ministry

Welcome “guests” not visitors
Guests are expected and appreciated. Visitors are only stopping by. “If you are our guest this weekend…” is a statement which can single people out.

Create a gift pack/mugging
When a guest comes for the first time, deliver a gift mug. Ours has the church logo and website on it. This is a personal touch. It’s one that does not expect an invitation to come into the house and visit. It is just a gift. If they want to talk, great; if not, at least they tend to feel seen and heard by the church.

Use connection cards
We put these in the program every week and collect them through the offering baskets. These cards include:

  • Contact info
  • Prayer requests
  • Commitments to Christ

Form a first impression team
Go for the win. Task this team to become more than greeters. This is a team of people who are always thinking about how to make someone’s entrance into the church easier.

Read more tips on becoming a welcoming church.

21-Day Prayer Challenge for Momentum 2014

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2014_6_20_mo_prayerMomentum 2014 focuses on the theme, Not a Fan, from Luke 9:23 – 24: Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

A follower of Jesus spends time in prayer with God because it is in that time that they find the foundation to be able to deny themselves and take up their cross.

Being a follower is a daily decision to die to self and live for Jesus’ glory.

Let this 21 Day Prayer Challenge serve as a foundation to do just that and to get ready to encounter God in big ways at Momentum 2014.

CE National Sponsored Workshops At Fellowshift Conference

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Coaching: The Key to Effective Ministry Within Your Church

Led by Ed Short – Saturday, July 19, 11:15 am – during FellowShift conference in Washington D.C.

Every great NFL team has an excellent coaching staff. The coach not only calls the plays, but continually invests time in training and encouraging the players to run the plays to the best of their abilities. The same is true of your church! Picture over 80% of your church attenders actively and joyfully serving on teams in ministries within the church and also impacting individuals within their spheres of influence. The key for this to happen is the practical coaching as described by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16.

In this workshop, you will be given practical thoughts and implementation keys to rally many to want to serve and be very effective at serving both inside the church and outside the church.

Growing Your Church: A Simple Ministry Process

Led by Ed Short and Mike Yoder – Friday, July 18, at 11:15 am during FellowShift conference in Washington D.C.

Ed Short and Mike Yoder will be leading this workshop at Fellowshift, the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Church‘s annual conference.

Do you find yourself looking for the “golden nugget” of ministry knowing that if you could find it, your church would explode? The truth is there aren’t any ministry “golden nuggets.” But within the pages of Scripture, we can see a clear strategy of ministry that Jesus used and that was further developed in the early church. The latest fads and ministry gimmicks will not give you the church growth you desire. In this workshop, you will be given a simple and effective strategy of ministry that you will be able to implement to see your ministry “make disciples who make disciples.”

Ed serves with CE National as a ministry consultant and coach. He meets with pastors and church leaders to help them develop effective, biblical strategies of ministry. Contact Ed at edshort@cenational.org to find out how he can personally help your ministry.

Mike is lead pastor of Polaris Grace, Columbus, Ohio.

Visit fellowshift.org for registration details on both of these seminars.

Art Bushen Has a New Grandson

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2014_6_27_artArt Bushen, building and grounds coordinator for CE National, is enjoying a new grandson.

Kohen Christopher Miller (pictured with his sister) was born June 24 to Art’s daughter Karis and her husband Mike Miller. Kohen weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and was 20 inches long.

10 Key Concepts to Attract (and Keep) Visitors in Your Church

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2014_6_2_welcomeInviting visitors to your church has tremendous value. Incorporating them into your church family is a challenge. Avoiding common pitfalls, and sharing from decades of experience, Pastors Jim Brown, Jeff Bogue, and Knute Larson, share keys for keeping visitors which should really be called guests. Read the full article at cenational.org/pastorpedia.

Capitalize on your strengths when it comes to planning big Sundays. We go all out for special events such as: Father’s Day (“DadFest”), Mother’s Day (“Momma Mania”), Easter (memorable message with creative altar response times), and Christmas (creative setting designs and foyer designs). We also plan large outreach events such as “Beast Feast” for men, “Hero Adventure” for moms and sons, Judgment House at Halloween, “Daddy-Daughter” Dances, and Married Couple Dances.

Be sure to include male input when it comes to your building design. Men should feel comfortable and welcome too. Many buildings are only designed to attract and appeal to women. Ask men in your congregation for feedback.

Create an environment where guests are the most important people, but don’t require them to state they are a guest. Never make a guest stand or raise his or her hand in a service. Encourage members to welcome guests before and after the service with warm handshakes and smiles.

Have good signage that helps people know where to go and how to get there. This is much like getting off an airplane when traveling. Create a place where they can go to ask questions if they need to.

Create a safe, clean, and protected place to drop off kids for children’s ministries. Plus, have an electronic notification system in place to notify parents if the child needs special attention. Keep your check-in station manned by friendly, loving people. Ask yourself if you would feel safe to drop off your child there.

Leaders of all groups and ministries know that their activity must also have a strategy for reaching new people, and a careful way to receive them. It is not just about the worship service, but rather greeting is a part of the DNA of the church.

“Get to know Grace” – this is a quarterly gathering after our services where lunch is served and pastors have time to share about ministries, vision, structure, history, and their own personal journeys of coming to the church. Conclude this time with pastors leading a tour of the building. Most people are not fully aware of the layout of the building or all the ministries offered. This is a laid back, full time spent with the pastors and leaders.

Create forums to allow people to jump in and serve quickly, such as outreach blitzes that involve the whole family. These activities allow new relationships to be developed and enable a bond to occur, thus connecting a new family to the church.

Create a central contact person to answer questions about how the church functions and how one can join. Be careful of those who want to drive their own agenda and are bent on bringing it to your church. Don’t ever fall into the trap of letting the fear of losing “big givers” shape the direction of your church. It’s God’s church.

Be you. Ask Jesus to give you an individual, great vision for your church. No one, absolutely no one, thinks about the church as much, and as often, as you do. No one spends as much time praying about the church as you do. Beg God to help you lead His church well.

Two CE National Celebrations This Summer

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There are two CE Celebrations this summer and you are invited! The first is the CE National luncheon at the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches “Fellowshift” conference in Washington DC, July 18. Tickets are needed for this event and are available through fellowshift.org.

The second is the CE National Corporation Meeting which will be held over breakfast on Saturday, July 26, at Wheaton College in conjunction with Momentum Youth Conference. If you are interested in attending this event, please contact Judy at

Antioch School Partners Forums

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antiochA Partners Forum will be held for current Antioch School programs in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches during Fellowshift Vision Conference July 17 from 2-3:30 p.m. Please contact Steve Galegor (sgalegor@gmail.com) to let him know of your interest in attending.  If you will be at Momentum Youth Conference and currently have an Antioch School program or are interested in a Partners Forum there, again, please contact Steve.

The Antioch School allows development for emerging and established leaders in the context of their own churches and within their own church networks. Programs focus on character, ministry skills, and biblical knowledge through a curriculum based on doing biblical theology in culture. This is an innovative, degree-granting school, with a truly church-based, theological education. You may also contact Steve Galegor, Jr. at sgalegor@gmail.com as he is providing support for the Antioch School within the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.

Pray for Momentum 2014

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2014_6_20_mo_prayerMomentum2014 is right around the corner and our office is busy putting together the details for what we believe will be a phenomenal week! It’s important that we bathe the week of Momentum in prayer and so we ask that you join us in asking God to move powerfully in the lives of our students and youth staff. Below are specific areas we’d ask for you to pray over for Momentum 2014.

  • Unity and wisdom for our staff as we finish plans for the week, sessions, options, etc
  • Safety for groups as they travel to Wheaton, Illinois
  • That God would be preparing students’ hearts for a week of deeply experiencing Him
  • That God would be preparing homes for when students return after conference
  • Lasting effect: that the “momentum” wouldn’t stop after leaving conference.
  • Pray for youth pastors, the preparations that lead up to the week and during the week as they shepherd students and experience Momentum themselves
  • Speakers – their preparation, content, and time on stage to be impacting, provoking, inspiring and God glorifying
  • God would receive all the glory
  • For God to be preparing hearts ahead of us in the people we will encounter in Wheaton and Chicago during outreach

Operation Barnabas International Begins June 26

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OBI 2013 Ministering in the Philippines

OBI 2013 Ministering in the Philippines

OBI students will gather at the Grace Church of Orange, Calif., on June 26 for a brief orientation followed by 20 days traveling to and serving in the Philippines with field staff Dan and Tori Beaver.

Jade Landis, who has participated on both OB and OBI as a leader and student, will be the administrative leader for the group. You can see the names of the OBI team members and their sending churches. If you would like to follow their travels, sign up to receive the email updates.

CE National Sponsored Workshops At Fellowshift Conference

Posted in: Uncategorized

Coaching: The Key to Effective Ministry Within Your Church

Led by Ed Short – Saturday, July 19, 11:15 am – during FellowShift conference in Washington D.C.

Every great NFL team has an excellent coaching staff. The coach not only calls the plays, but continually invests time in training and encouraging the players to run the plays to the best of their abilities. The same is true of your church! Picture over 80% of your church attenders actively and joyfully serving on teams in ministries within the church and also impacting individuals within their spheres of influence. The key for this to happen is the practical coaching as described by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16.

In this workshop, you will be given practical thoughts and implementation keys to rally many to want to serve and be very effective at serving both inside the church and outside the church.

Growing Your Church: A Simple Ministry Process

Led by Ed Short and Mike Yoder – Friday, July 18, at 11:15 am during FellowShift conference in Washington D.C.

Ed Short and Mike Yoder will be leading this workshop at Fellowshift, the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Church‘s annual conference.

Do you find yourself looking for the “golden nugget” of ministry knowing that if you could find it, your church would explode? The truth is there aren’t any ministry “golden nuggets.” But within the pages of Scripture, we can see a clear strategy of ministry that Jesus used and that was further developed in the early church. The latest fads and ministry gimmicks will not give you the church growth you desire. In this workshop, you will be given a simple and effective strategy of ministry that you will be able to implement to see your ministry “make disciples who make disciples.”

Ed serves with CE National as a ministry consultant and coach. He meets with pastors and church leaders to help them develop effective, biblical strategies of ministry. Contact Ed at edshort@cenational.org to find out how he can personally help your ministry.

Mike is lead pastor of Polaris Grace, Columbus, Ohio.

Visit fellowshift.org for registration details on both of these seminars.

Two CE National Celebrations This Summer

Posted in: Uncategorized

There are two CE Celebrations this summer and you are invited! The first is the CE National luncheon at the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches “Fellowshift” conference in Washington DC, July 18. Tickets are needed for this event and are available through fellowshift.org.

The second is the CE National Corporation Meeting which will be held over breakfast on Saturday, July 26, at Wheaton College in conjunction with Momentum Youth Conference. If you are interested in attending this event, please contact Judy at judy@cenational.org.

Receiving New People Into the Church – Pastorpedia

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2014_6_2_welcomeA simple way to critique a church:

  • Do new people come?
  • How are they received?
  • How are they assimilated to the family?

Each area needs honest answers and wise strategy. For sure!

This month we address these questions, knowing the issue of relationships of our people with the unchurched is most important and central. Relationship, relationship, relationship! But read on!

Download the June issue of Pastorpedia.

Pastorpedia is produced monthly by three experienced pastors: Jeff Bogue, of Grace Church, in several locations in the Bath-Norton-Medina areas of Ohio; Jim Brown, of Grace Community Church in Goshen, Indiana, a church known for its strong growth, family and men’s ministries, and community response teams; and Knute Larson, a coach of pastors, who previously led The Chapel in Akron for 26 years. Pastorpedia is brought to you by CE National.

OnTrack Devotions are a Valuable Tool

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2014_6_13_ontrackPilgrimage Educational Resources has partnered with CE National to promote OnTrack Devotions. OTD is a daily devotional tool available in monthly booklet format designed to build the skill and discipline of effective daily Bible Study. Each month includes both prayer list and commitment pages designed to add context to personal Bible study and to facilitate small group accountability.

Watch Ben Wilhite, director of Pilgrimage Educational Resources, talk about OnTrack Devotions during Momentum 2013. Visit www.cenational.org/otd

Urban Hope Couple Weds

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2014_6_13_loganJessicaLogin Conley and Jessica Holt (pictured) were married in Hughesville, Maryland, June 7.  During the ceremony Logan shared his testimony and even gave a chance for guests to respond to the gospel.
Jessica’s Father, Bill Holt, and brother Jason, led the ceremony. Jessica’s father also had the privilege of pronouncing the couple husband and wife and giving Logan permission to kiss Jessica for the first time.

Logan and Jessica will be returning to Urban Hope where Jessica has a job teaching 4th grade at Olney Christian School and Logan continues to serve as an associate staff member overseeing youth and facilities at Urban Hope.