We’re happy to welcome Olivia O’Connor to the TrainedUp blog. Olivia is the Director of Teams and Development at Charlotte Assembly of God in Charlotte, Michigan.
The church staff and I constantly found ourselves in a never-ending cycle of asking the SAME people to serve, over and over again. It seemed like we had the same five people serving — it just wasn’t working.
We knew that we needed to rebuild our culture of serving. I had this dream in my heart for serving to be EXCITING and something to look forward to, rather than feeling like a chore. Since we believe serving is key to creating engagement in our church, we figured it was time to give it some limelight and launched our very first #ServeSunday.
Constructing A Starting Point
We knew that simply tacking an announcement on to the end of the service wouldn’t work for us. Instead, we dedicated the entire service towards creating an experience that was memorable, full of vision, and included simple calls to action. We filtered every aspect of our #ServeSunday experience through our two objectives:
- Recruit people to sign up to serve.
- Create momentum going forward.
The sermon on serving taught our people WHY we serve and encouraged them to sign up for a team (recruitment) and Facebook check-in’s at the #ServeSunday photo booth added excitement for the day (momentum).
To keep people engaged with our themed Sunday, each of our volunteer teams had their own booth outside where people could learn more about that team. Each team was responsible for creating their own booths and the creativity of each booth made serving look fun! Plus, the friendly competition between teams to outshine each other added another exciting element to the day.
Each booth had:
- A few team members to answer questions, hand out goodies, and talk about how to get involved in serving.
- A simple way to receive information. Some booths had a sign up sheet, others an iPad, and others got really creative with a bucket to place cards saying yes to serving.
- A handout that provided the next step of completing training in our church’s TrainedUp account.
- A creative element to give away. Our usher team cooked bacon on an outdoor griddle that was a huge hit!
Simplicity was key in creating a process that made serving a great experience from start to finish. That’s why I kept TrainedUp at the core of everything that we did. Historically, new team members would have to wait for the next team meeting, or carve out another day in their week to train – YIKES! This was far from an exciting process.
Contrast that with our #ServeSunday, where each team member running a booth explained that TrainedUp was the ticket to joining their team. Handing out a card with barcodes saved a step in the onboarding process. Instead of emailing them more information during the week (with the potential of it getting lost in their inbox) we sent them out the doors with everything they needed to know. The slower the process, the faster you’re losing momentum!
The Follow Up Process
I gave my team leaders 2 weeks or less to follow up with our new recruits; there was no way I was letting anyone slip through the cracks. The next step was to begin building real relationships with our new team members and continuing to point them to TrainedUp.
The process that we used was simple. We called/emailed to say hello and ask how their TrainedUp experience was going. Once they completed training, we scheduled them for their first serve Sunday. Once they started serving they received an exclusive gift that was only available to those who serve.
A few months before #ServeSunday I recognized that there was a lack of celebration when we added new team members. It’s a powerful thing when someone decides to step out of their comfort zone, sacrifices their time (and sometimes even sleep) to begin serving. I wanted to make the first day someone serves memorable.
So, on #ServeSunday the exclusive “I Serve” water bottles made their debut. Since you can only receive one if you join a team, they have become a hot commodity. As simple as a water bottle is, it has become a great incentive to complete training, while also adding value and appreciation to our newest team members.
A Better Way
Our #ServeSunday was an overwhelming success with 40+ people joining our teams. There was energy, joy, and real excitement for serving- it no longer felt like a chore. Since then, we’ve continued to add new team members every single week. Thanks to TrainedUp, it now only takes days to move people through our onboarding process, rather than weeks, or even months. I’m so glad the pressure of training 40+ people no longer falls on me, and I’m more confident than ever knowing I’ve set my team members up for success by providing a great resource through TrainedUp.