Why Bring Greg Atkinson, the Church Secret Shopper, to Your Church This Year?

Greg Atkinson is the bestselling author of Secrets of a Secret Shopper and The Hospitality Handbook for Volunteers – and is a speaker, coach, and consultant who has worked with churches of all sizes, including some of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the country. Greg has also consulted with numerous businesses and nonprofits, including Josh McDowell Ministries.

Greg has produced worship services for three mega-churches and been a pastor – serving the local church for the last 20-plus years. He has also produced large conferences including Leadership Network’s Conference and Catalyst Dallas.

Greg has a unique ability to see things that you miss due to his “fresh eyes” and experience in knowing what to look for that makes a difference to guests visiting your church.

Whether your church is historic and traditional like Menlo Park Presbyterian in California and First Baptist Dallas, or modern and rocking like New Life Church in Colorado Springs and Bayside Church in Sacramento (where Lincoln Brewster leads worship) – Greg will make sure your church is doing things with excellence and an eye towards hospitality.

Greg is available to come to your church over the weekend this year and give you a detailed and lengthy report of his finding and action items to do to help your church go to the next level. Greg goes over the entire report with your church’s leadership team, takes questions and points you in the right direction. If you’re serious about reaching the unchurched and making your church guest-friendly, contact Greg.

Here’s what some amazing leaders said after hiring Greg to work with their church:

“Greg’s ministry provided a really valuable perspective on our weekend experiences as a church. His heart for the Kingdom and passion to see every church reach its maximum potential is a gift to those of us who care deeply about seeing our churches thrive.” – John Ortberg, Senior Pastor, Menlo Church, Menlo Park, CA

“Greg came into Grace Community Church and gave us a top to bottom look at who we are as a church to the people we are most trying to reach. He is thorough and detailed in his report but tries hard to be helpful, explaining his findings in a context that fits with the church culture. He knows that culture well because he knows churches, people and he does his homework. This is money well spent!” – Ron Edmondson, Former Co-Pastor, Grace Community Church, Clarksville, TN, CEO of Leadership Network

Greg Atkinson is smart, detailed, thorough and saw things that we would never notice. His feedback was invaluable and we are making several strategic changes as a result of his visit. We will use him again. I encourage to you do the same. In a word – he’s the best.” – Ray Johnston, Senior Pastor, Bayside Church, Sacramento, CA

“Visitors to your church are more often than not people who don’t know Jesus and are looking for an excuse to not come back. Greg’s evaluation of your church helps you dig into where you can significantly improve a guest’s first time experience. He makes you think and leaves no rock unturned. Probably the best money we’ve spent all year long.” – Ashley Wooldridge, Senior Pastor, Christ’s Church of the Valley, Peoria, AZ

“I highly recommend Greg as a “Secret Shopper” for your church. He helped us see things we had missed and confirmed what we were already working toward. His insight will help your church feel like a home.” – Brady Boyd, Senior Pastor, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO

“Greg has a great ability to see and assess ministry detail. His work in many churches brings considerable experience and insight to your staff team. Greg’s church Secret Shopper process offered us a fresh set of eyes to help us take excellence to the next level. Very helpful!”– Dan Reiland, Executive Pastor, 12Stone Church, Lawrenceville, GA

“Greg was able to bring things to our leadership team’s attention in areas that we had missed. His perspective and ideas have helped us develop new strategies to help us grow and reach more people. As we take the ideas for improvement and implement them we look forward to seeing more people come to connect with God, grow and learn to live generously.” – Steve Smothermon Sr., Senior Pastor, Legacy Church, Albuquerque NM

“Greg brought a fresh perspective to our campus and offered a frank assessment of where we were honoring our guests and where we might need improvement. It’s easy for us to miss the obvious when we experience it week in and week out. But Greg knew what to look for and where to find it! His input has shaped a key area of our strategic development.” – Danny Carroll, Senior Pastor, Water of Life Community Church, Fontana, CA

“It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day operations of the church and not see some of the glaring issues you may have in your church. Greg has the unique ability to look at the church from a “first-time guest” perspective and communicate with you that experience. His insights were invaluable.” – Scott Wilson, Lead Pastor, The Oaks Fellowship, Red Oak, Texas

“Greg provided detailed and thorough feedback regarding his experiences before, during, and after his visit to First Baptist Dallas. He helped confirm some things we already knew or suspected, and brought others to our attention for the first time. Greg will help you make sure you are doing everything possible to reach as many as possible for Jesus Christ.” – Ben Lovvorn, Executive Pastor of Operations, First Baptist Dallas

“Greg’s approach is thorough and holistic. From the conversations before the visit to the detailed report following, you can tell Greg knows what he is doing and that he cares deeply for the local church. Our weekend services benefited a great deal from his critical feedback and observations.”– Ted Vaughn, Chief Creative Officer, The Rock Church, San Diego, CA

“You want your church to Thrive? If so, pay attention to the little things. They add up to a big impact! Greg can help your church become more effective in just one visit!” – Dr. John Jackson, Executive Director, Thriving Churches International, Executive Pastor, Bayside Church

“Greg Atkinson helped us look at our weekend services with fresh eyes. His feedback was intelligent, balanced, and helpful.” – Steve Stroope, Lead Pastor, Lake Pointe Church, Rockwall, Texas

To inquire about more information and get the process started, fill out Greg’s brief intake form here.

* Happy New Year!

Now that Easter is Over

Now that Easter is behind you, it’s time to take your Guest Services to a whole new level. Let’s create, build, and reinforce a culture of hospitality.

Join us in 2 weeks for the May 7-9 First Impressions Conference. You’ll learn from the leading voices and churches in the area of first impressions and guest services. This year’s theme is The Hospitality Culture.

Since you read my blog and I know you care about this, we’ve created a special discount code just for you. Use promo code GIFT and you’ll save 10% on your All Access Pass registration.

With the All Access Pass, you can watch the conference at any time on-demand. Yes, you can watch it LIVE, but if you and/or your team can’t view it live, you can watch it later – for as long as you want – with lifetime access.

Use promo code GIFT to save 10% and go here to learn more and register. You don’t want to miss out on this training and inspiration. Our team has worked crazy hard and we’ve put a lot of heart and soul, blood, sweat, and tears into this.

PLEASE NOTE: This conference is all ONLINE. There is no travel involved. You can sign up today and watch it in two weeks. No hotel. No flight. No rental car. Watch it at home, at the office, at your church, alone, or with your team.

It will truly be monumental in the life of your ministry. Join us!

– https://firstimpressionsconference.com/

How to Reach More First Time Visitors for Your Church

Are you a pastor or church leader with a full schedule and only limited hours in the week? If so, are you struggling to find ways to reach more first-time visitors with the limited time you have?

Being a pastor isn’t just preparing for Sunday’s message every week but the scope goes much more beyond that. And on top of all of that, you must find a way to reach more visitors and to spread the message of Christ.

There just isn’t enough hours in the week for everything a pastor must do.

And with that, I am so excited to invite you to the Church Hacks Summit to Reach More First Time Visitors!

They’ve assembled 25 of the world’s leading church first impressions, guest services, and marketing experts to teach you their secrets on how to reach more first-time visitors and grow your church.

I’m honored to kick off the Summit with the opening talk on why hospitality matters. I’ll be making the Biblical case for why you should take this area of ministry seriously.

This is going to be a free online event (no travel) for equipping your church with proven systems and strategies to connect with new first time visitors in your community! We’ll show you how your church can be a magnet for first-time visitors without being gimmicky, breaking the bank, or setting unrealistic expectations.

And the best part of the Church Hacks Summit is that it is 100% absolutely free! If this is something you’re interested in, just click this link and register today! And if you know somebody that would benefit from this Summit, make sure to let them know.

Have You Heard of Tithe.ly?

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I’d love to introduce you to my newest sponsor: Tithe.ly. Tithe.ly was one of the first giving apps allowed into the Apple app store in 2013. Giving via a mobile device was born out of both a need and opportunity they saw when they first saw what Apple did with the iPhone and the coming app economy.

Before Dean Sweetman co-founded tithe.ly, he had been a church planter and overseer of churches for 30 years. This put him in a unique position to know exactly what churches needed to help with several 21st-century problems concerning steady and consistent income to fulfill the mission of the church.

Problem Number One:

Church members are not coming as often to services as they used to. And as any pastor knows, if members are not in church then they are most probably not giving. It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that they don’t have the opportunity. Simple recurring giving set up in seconds solves this.

Problem Number Two:

Most people under 35 don’t carry cash or checks anymore.

They use debit/credit cards for just about everything. Most millennials don’t even know what a routing number is and where to find it on a checkbook if they even have one. Giving anywhere, anytime with a phone was the easy answer.

This and other obstacles for people giving to the church they love is to provide a simple app that lives on a device they virtually never let out of their sight, their smart phone.

Fast forward five years, Dean has retired from full-time ministry and is the CEO of tithe.ly one of the fastest growing FaithTech companies in the world. They now serve thousands of churches in three countries and plan on adding another 30+ countries in the first quarter of 2017.

They have a product suite that includes everything a church needs to move away from cash and check donations and facilitate digital giving, via text, free app, custom designed church apps, full back office support and a few more exciting additions they are announcing very soon.

At tithe.ly, they love what they do. They talk to pastors and church leaders every day about getting them the tools to increase giving so they can focus on serving their church and fulfilling the great commission of preaching the gospel to a desperate and fearful world whose only hope is Jesus.

I’m proud to partner with these guys. Please check them out here.

*** Go here for more on tithing in the bible.

Mix it Up this Christmas Going Old School – Lessons and Carols

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I’m continuing with the Christmas theme this week and throwing resources your way. I’ve got a great resource for you pastors and worship leaders. I compiled a Lessons and Carols service that you can use with ease. Just follow the script and have a complete service put together for you. You can download it HERE for just 99 cents.

Ever think about shaking things up? Doing Christmas totally different this year? Think again. Many years ago our church staff, driven by my idea, decided to go totally contemporary at our three Christmas Eve services. I was tired of the “traditional” Christmas service and thought we should rock out this year and do new arrangements of Christmas carols, led by our full band. It looked great on paper. What happened that night broke my heart…

As a worship pastor, my heart’s desire was to see people, young and old, connect with God during our corporate worship. I don’t care about being cool or slick; I want Christ to be honored and hearts to be changed. Please know that our band did “rock out.” We played our hearts out and played well. Quality was not the issue — you could have recorded us and played it on the radio. What broke my heart was the spirit in the room and the looks on the faces in the congregation.

As I was leading the songs and looking out at the people, it hit me as loud and clear as could be: this is not what people want on Christmas Eve. We are pretty contemporary and edgy 51 weeks out of the year, but on Christmas, people really want to sing traditional carols in a classic setting. I noticed a lot of family that had come in town for the holiday. Grandpa and Grandma “so and so”, Uncle and Aunt “so and so”, Cousin “so and so” that hadn’t been to church in 20 years; these are the people that I was looking out at.

The next year I decided we would do a very traditional “Lessons and Carols” service. I looked at examples from all over and then put together our own service. It was a total success. From young children singing with their parents to parents singing beside the Grandparents, everyone participated and the looks on the faces and spirit in the room was totally different — in a good way! I was so amazed at the response and how much people enjoyed the service (which can be done on a Sunday morning or night, not just Christmas Eve) that I wanted to pass on our service for you to use as a launching pad. Please take this sample “Lessons and Carols” service and make it your own.

If you’ve done the modern Christmas thing for several years (like we did last year with glow sticks instead of candles), try this to mix things up and allow your congregation and the children of your church to experience an old-fashioned Christmas worship experience.

Thanks and happy holidays!

Have You Heard of CMG?

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We use CMG or Church Motion Graphics at our church. I met the owner Jeff via social media and then in-person while speaking at a conference up in his neck of the wood (Canada). I got him connected with our worship pastor, Matt Rector. This is Matt’s review of their resources:

If you work for a church on a tight budget, like me, I am sure you have run into this dilemma more than once.  I reached a point where I wore out my motion background library.  I felt like I was gonna tear my eyeballs out if I had to see the same stale loops again.  So where do I turn?  I could reach to a pay-per-download service.  I could go with a free resource that is a total grab-bag.  Or I could go with a brand new service I learned about earlier this summer when I traveled to speak at a conference in Canada.

The resource I speak of is called Church Motion Graphics.  I was wondering through the exhibitor hall and ran into a guy named Jeff McIntosh.  Behind him, I saw a screen leaping to life with slick, colorful, and diverse graphics.  I was quite impressed by what I saw, so I began to ask about CMG and what Jeff’s service was all about.  Jeff explained to me that he was a designer who wanted to create an easy, affordable, high quality worship media service that anyone could use for a cheap monthly rate.  As I looked at his demo reel, I was thinking “for something this nice, you’ve gotta be charging $20-$30 per month at least.  That’s not so affordable in my book.”

Then Jeff hits me with the jaw-dropper… his service costs $10/month!  I was pretty surprised.  After our conversation ended and we got back home, I decided to give this service a try.  Here’s what I got…

  • an email link on the first of each month with directions to download the newest set of media.  That’s right… new media every month, not just a subscription to a library!
  • each month’s package includes several really cool motion backgrounds (for August 2013, I got 9 awesome backs), available in 720p or 1080p in either PC or MAC compatible formats.
  • among these backgrounds, you get some title graphics slides that match this month’s theme… things like “welcome”, “events”, even seasonal messages.  In the August 2013 pack I got four title/message backs and 2 special videos exalting the many names of God.

So now, I know you are asking… “Matt, for $10 a month, how good can this stuff be?”  Let me tell you, for the most part this media is excellent.  They range from bright, fun, and energetic to slower, subtle, and more worshipful.  Jeff is trying a lot of different ideas out and every once in a while I will come across something that doesn’t blow me away.  However, I totally applaud him for trying out new things.

We have been using CMG for three months, and it has truly been a great experience.  Our visual experience gets a facelift every month!  I look forward to that email so I can see what new goodies I get to play with. It’s like Christmas comes the first of each month, just with less births of the Savior and more presents.

The icing on the cake is the additional free resources available through the site.  Jeff has a great blog with lots of tips regarding the implementation of media in worship experiences.  In fact, he is about to release an e-book called the Worship Media Handbook.  I have great confidence using this resource because Jeff has tons of experience in this field and is willing to answer any question or solve any issue that may arise.

So, after checking out this service and product, I can’t encourage you strongly enough!  Check out Church Motion Graphics! They have a great website with some great examples of their work.  They have other packages besides the $10/month if you are interested in the back catalog of media.  Overall, they are a great team and a really cool resource for any church that is trying to make every dollar count.

Deep and Wide Team Discussion

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I’ve mentioned before that I’ve read Andy Stanley’s new book Deep and Wide. I may not have mentioned that I’m taking our entire Leadership Team at my campus through it. We have met and discussed the book on our staff retreat earlier this year, but starting next week, we’ll go chapter by chapter through the book. I found this great resource HERE – it’s a team discussion guide for the book. I encourage you to get the book, read, use the discussion guide and process through it with your team. I’m pretty sure it will be extremely fruitful.

Don’t Miss Out on Catalyst Atlanta

Catalyst Known - October 2-4, 2013 Atlanta, Georgia
CATALYST CONFERENCE
OCTOBER 2-4, 2013 / ATLANTA, GEORGIA
Exclusive Offer for Bloggers!
You are invited to attend the Catalyst Conference on October 2-4, 2013 in Atlanta. A one-of-a-kind gathering for leaders like you!
Catalyst is more than a conference – its a movement founded in the hearts of Next Generation Leaders who are impacting their world. Join us for a three-day leadership encounter filled with powerful teaching, dynamic voices, awe-inspiring worship, unmatched creativity, and impactful stories of the Gospel story being lived out.
Register online using rate code BLOG or by phone at 888.334.6569.
Visit the Catalyst site for more details and information. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Have You Heard of CREATIONSWAP?

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Recently I came across a resource website called CREATIONSWAP. I forwarded it on to my worship pastor and didn’t think much more about it. I went into his office one day as he was working on our pre and post-service slides (they’re really sharp) and he was using the free graphics and artwork on this website. He said it was a tremendous resource and he highly recommended it. So, I thought I share it with you if you haven’t heard of it. Check them out!

Brand New Resource! The Free Ninja Archive!

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From my friend, Bob Franquiz:

Dear Pastor,

I’m so excited to introduce this free resource that we’ve been working on for a
while.

It’s called the Ninja Archive.

What is it?

It’s essentially a vault of great leadership, outreach and preaching content that will help you and your church.

There’s mp3 messages, mp4 videos, pdf ebooks, Photoshop Illustrator files and book reviews of some of my latest reading.

We’ve even added our Double your Leaders Conference to the Ninja Archive for you to watch at your convenience.

We have tons of content that we’re going to keep adding to the archive.

Here’s the best part: it’s totally free.

To get free access to the Ninja Archive, simply go to www.ninjaarchive.com and sign up for free access to the site.

We believe in the local church and we want to provide helpful resources that help churches grow.

That’s why we exist.

The Ninja Archive is here to serve you.

I hope you’ll take advantage of it and let some other Pastors know about it so they can enjoy the free resources as well.

See you inside the vault…

Blessings,

Bob

Bob Franquiz
Senior Pastor
Calvary Fellowship
www.calvarywired.com