Invite-Welcome-Connect Ideas

One of the off-shoots of brainstorming is that some very funny ideas get proposed.

Here is the big list of Invite-Welcome-Connect ideas generated by various brain-storming sessions in late 2018.

IDEAS PRIORITIZED

The vestry and an adult-ed group prioritized some of the many ideas generated. These are ideas that can and should be put in place in the next 6-12 months.

INVITE IDEAS PRIORITIZED

What can we accomplish in the next 6-12 months?
• Colorful take-away “Moo” cards that visitors to events at SsAM can take away with them, cards members can hand to visitors to take away with them. In addition to a colorful photo or graphic, these cards would have basic contact info printed on them, including the address of this website.
• Hand out information at concerts.
• At all events, have something special to hand out.
• Have a sign-in sheets at events.
• Use photos of altar and congregation to publicize SsAM.
• Get to know the shop-owners and local residents in our neighborhood; that is, do basic local demographics.
• Use social media more effectively including podcasts, Facebook and Instagram. Have a strong spiritual message, something short but catchy.
• Survey new members. Ask them what attracted them to SsAM and how we can build on the “attraction”. Also ask why they continue to stay at SsAM.
• Continue “Ashes To Go”. Go out on the streets on Ash Wednesday and offer ashes to passersby. SsAM has been doing this for years. Click here to read more about Ashes To Go.
• Start a “Laundry Love” program where we occasionally take over a laundromat to offer free laundry services for the homeless and others. Click here to read an NPR article from 2014 about Laundry Love.
• Celebrate people’s efforts with recognition.
• Offer informal church services at an outside venue.

WELCOME IDEAS PRIORITIZED

What can we accomplish in the next 6-12 months?
• A tag line: “We Are The Soul Of The City!”
• Welcome! Ask Me! name tags
• Clean up the bathrooms
• Monthly newcomers luncheon
• Weekly invitation to stay after service to get any questions answered
• R U New ambassadors each Sunday to connect with new visitors
• Be focused. Say Hi to all
• Lectern Greeting: Speed up, use mic, sound happy!
• Coffee Hour needs more structure in which newcomers feel welcome
• We are poor and dirty and don’t care! Paint! Hire a decorator! Make Plan! Execute what we can afford!
• Car magnets create pride
• Tours of building
• Reconstitute Greeters Program
• Train ushers and greeters with Invite-Welcome-Connect in mind
• Sit with newcomers at coffee hour
• Make coffee hour more welcoming to newcomers

CONNECT IDEAS PRIORITIZED

What can we accomplish in the next 6-12 months?
• Connect first thing each Sunday before service starts
• Expand our social media efforts. Get more youth involved.
• Use nametags faithfully
• Greeters before and after 8:00 a.m. service
• Newcomer Liaison Ministry where old-timers connect to newcomers once a month for a year
• Beer On Tap pub ministry
• Hire a social media strategist
• Get Mystery Worshippers who, like mystery shoppers, visit and then make detailed reports
• Focus on outreach to Millinials; adapt our services to reach the Millinials
• Find out from new members what has kept them at SsAM

IDEAS NOT YET PRIORITIZED

INVITE IDEAS NOT YET PRIORITIZED — FROM 2018 VESTRY RETREAT AND DECEMBER ADULT ED

• Every event needs to have have church connect to newcomers
• Physically inviting building
• Campaign to get members to invite others personally. Track and train “Inviters”.
• Tools for parishioners to make inviting easier
• Is there a city-wide “Welcome Wagon” that can include SsAM?
• Small cards to hand out at Fun Fest
• Welcome letters to neighborhood
• Brochures to hotels, local businesses, etc.
• Personalize SsAM messages for events; e.g. Moo Cards
• Talk to families with young kids and ask how would their kids like to be involved in the church
• Supper groups to meet new people
• Visit a mega-church to see what they do to attract attendees
• Celebrate with music and dance
• Host a women’s event
• Annual recognition event
• SsAM Winter Jazz Jam
• Discount Coupons to local businesses
• Email blast to members for them to personalize and forward to their friends, inviting them to SsAM
• Go door-to-door like a political candidate
• Display photos of significant church celebrations
• Offer congregation pins they can wear with Episcopal emblem or SsAM logo or…
• Hope on the Streets program
• Mobile Loaves and Fishes
• Postcards in restaurants, shops, apartment buildings, hotels
• Community Fun Fest

INVITE IDEAS FROM 20 OCTOBER CONFERENCE NOT YET PRIORITIZED
• Business card or postcard on website to print at home
• Brochures at local hotels
• Prayer Walk around neighborhood
• Community organ concerts
• Use Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn
• Business cards with service times given to all members to hand out
• Reach out to mid-town residences
• Be more than a venue
• What is our brand?
• Good Friday walk
• Car magnet
• Friendly community
• Laundry night
• Coffee hour Facebook video
• Sarbucks meetings
• “Soul of the City” tag line
• Formation class about Episcopal Church and our traditions
• Facebook Sunday service
• Smart phone app with SsAM brand
• Community meetings at SsAM for local civic association
• Liaison to city government
• Combine forces with Trinity/Old Swede’s and Emmanuel Highlands. Find leadership and keep in contact.
• Welcome committee, ambassadors, pair extroverts and introverts
• Communicate what we are already doing with intentionality using unified media teams
• Welcome postcards with SsAM brand
• Embed videos in website
• Videos of how parishioners first came to SsAM and why they have stayed
• Take coffee to our new neighbors
• Mess church
• Review mission to City of Wilmington, healing service, 5-mile radius, “beat the bounds”, procession, parade, blessing, make more of Good Friday
• City Hall meetings
• Need to know what organizations and leadership positions our members already are already involved in
• Service on the Riverfront
• Frig magnet with photo of church, website, address, phone: “Draw you to our church”
• T-shirts with QR code on back
• Advertisement Coffee mugs, fabric shopping bags, car magnets
• Facebook Live welcome video
• Car decal with just QR code
• Potluck dinners with discussions: Saints, Sinners & Skeptics
• Specified people assigned to welcome visitors
• Rolls of nametags; nametags in pews
• Manual or booklet that shows what ministries the church is involved in such as Planned Parenthood, Christina Cultural Arts Center, Network
• Delaware
• “Walking The Word” slogan
• Spanish-speaking church
• Who We Are posters with Pacem in Terris, Delaware Futures, Racial Justice Coalition, Delaware Middle East
• People with welcome cards at all events
• Encourage members to go to city council meetings
• Ask Me! buttons for ushers and others
• Do You Know? meetings with congregation
• Community financial workshops
• Postcards with photos of pipe organ, windows, congregation, Carnival Sunday
• Merton Musings, Study of Paul
• Welcome pins for ushers and/or greeters “Ask Me!”

WELCOME IDEAS NOT YET PRIORITIZED — FROM 2018 VESTRY RETREAT AND DECEMBER ADULT ED

• Invest in SsAM Branding of mugs, bags, pens to be given to visitors and sold to congregation. “We are the Soul of the City” tag line.
• Signs upstairs to guide visitors to Sunday School
• What is our brand?
• Kids Kove
• YYF coloring pages for children: welcome to SsAM, comics, season themed drawings along with baggies with four crayons
• Dedicated area for newcomers, table that says “Welcome”. Where?
• Banners at entrance. Rainbow = welcome signs to guide people up steps
• Small monthly calendar card with services, events, music, and highlighted items from bulletin
• Re-visit Coffee House to be more welcoming.
• Have greeters wear roses to identify themselves
• Welcome people quietly as entering or chatty when entering
• Have ushers really greet people
• Revitalize Ambassadors
• Have Vestry greeting include request for visitors to fill out card
• More coordination on HOW folks are welcomed with follow-up
• Information station with a flow chart of ministries
• Follow-up Teams who call, email, and text
• Encourage all members to come early and stay late to welcome visitors
• Revise pew cards to include lines for requests, prayers, information
• Train our sextons on what we need done
• Invest in proper name tags and replace lanyards
• Early front door greeters; i.e. Danny
• 3-minute follow-up to with contact card filled out of name and phone
• Monthly outing for everyone — seek out new folks!
• Each group/committee delegates a person to approach new folks about said group
• Get congregation to become more involved in the system already in place
• Tear-off nametags for everybody so most visitors don’t feel singled out
• Invite visitors to next event
• Have greeter spaces at both doors
• Have parishioner “sponsors” give out gifts or goodie bags to newcomers
• Don’t limit the availability of church to Sundays.
• Wear name tags, not for us, but for the strangers in our midst
• Are you new to SsAM? You are new to me!
• Easy access to Welcome Bags
• Greeters at all doors
• Welcome signage at all doors
• Fridge magnets
• How Can We Help postcards
• Greet pew-mates
• Attractive signage

WELCOME IDEAS NOT YET PRIORITIZED — FROM 20 OCTOBER CONFERENCE

• We like to see Fr. David out in front of the church, vested and welcoming.
• Have members of the New Member Ministry (or anyone from our church) visit other churches to see what kind of welcome ministry (or lack of
• welcome) they experience and find out what it felt like and what would have helped.
• Get Welcome Packets prepared like those for All Souls.
• Assign members of the vestry to call new members as well.
• Handwritten note from rector to visitors.
• Communication.
• Develop Welcome Team and staff connection to connect.
• Process Map for Best Welcome Practices.
• Sign-up Genius for coffee and healthy food.
• Parking Lot Greeter.
• Welcome Team: say “Hi”, take to coffee, visit/call/text
• Process Map (flow map).
• What does the Welcome Team do?
• Greeters need to be on same page.
• “Ask Me!” shirts / nametags.
• Who is on the Welcome Team?
• Guest parking.
• Kids bags for the young children.

CONNECT IDEAS NOT YET PRIORITIZED — FROM 2018 VESTRY RETREAT AND DECEMBER ADULT ED

• Hire staff to take on Facebook recoding of service and expand to Instagram and Snapchat
• Hire someone in charge of new members with a plan of engagement
• Find or hire someone who is tech savvy to use Servant Keeper database
• Create a SsAM app for smart phones and tablets
• Have a plan for high schoolers to use their community service hours at SsAM
• Host EfM
• YYF activity prayer shawl
• We miss you letters to members not seen in awhile
• Use Servant Keeper database to inventory talents of the congregation
• Make our committees more visible thru website and other media
• Support existing members
• Intergenerational meetings for all ages and stages
• Volunteer team of newcomer trackers with intentional, methodical follow-up
• Clergy/lay visitors to newcomers homes
• Zip Code teams
• Annual or bi-annual visits to all members in their homes by clergy, vestry and/or visitor team.
• Reduce burn-out of folks doing too much
• Photo directory on smart phones
• Newcomer dinners
• Volunteer recognition dinners
• Group dinners with a new twist. Meet for six weeks at SsAM and get table assignment as you enter.
• Congregational training in church in terms of how to be more welcoming to strangers in comfortable and natural ways
• Find the naturally outgoing people to be greeters/welcomers
• Update photo directory
• Balance liturgical styles in terms of music, language.
• Regular pot-luck schedule with music at church
• Connect inside with established group with nametag.
• Messy Church!
• Encourage people to introduce themselves to those sitting nearby on Sundays

CONNECT IDEAS NOT YET PRIORITIZED — FROM 20 OCTOBER CONFERENCE

• Have a retreat for all ministries.
• Let each group present at announcements.
• Process map (flow diagram).
• Groom your replacement.
• A church is a community, not a building.
• Retreat for the ministries with the vestry.
• Leadership development.
• Transparency and flow between ministries.
• Vestry represents all at SsAM.
• Ministry contact information.