Let me first state that over the past few years I decided to not use numbers, but percentages when talking or writing about PLACE in my church or when referring to other churches because sometimes when numbers are used some people are automatically turned off because they can’t relate to the numbers. So, I use percentages because the principles of implementing PLACE are true whether your church runs 30 or 3,000 or whatever.
Several years ago I spent an entire summer rewriting the PLACE Implementation Guide that I first wrote in 1999. I reflected on all that I had seen where PLACE had been done extremely well and where it had not been implemented effectively. I came away with four steps that MUST be done to implement PLACE effectively. The four steps are:
1. Determine Your PLACEment Purpose
5. Communicate Your PLACEment Purpose
6. Execute Your PLACEment Purpose
7. Evaluate Your PLACEment Purpose
After going on staff at my church last year I have come to passionately believe in the four steps even more than when I wrote them because we are implementing them week after week after week. I started to make “Determine”, “Communicate”, “Execute”, and “Evaluate” end in “ing” because you have to continually be implementing these four steps.
While you don’t have to implement the exact same ideas that I am about to share you MUST find ways to make the four Implementation Steps continually being exercised. Below are some ways we are implementing them at our church.
Determine Your PLACEment Purpose
We decided we wanted our staff, leadership, members and guests to hear regularly and often our discipleship process which desires to help those who attend our church to go from being an attender to a member to engaged and involved.
Founder & President of PLACE Ministries
Communicate Your PLACEment Purpose
So often when churches begin using PLACE it starts off with lots of exposure and gets lots of visibility from the senior pastor down. Then after time it becomes the ministry of whoever is in charge of implementing PLACE and not a way of intentionally involving people in ministry through the PLACE process. And the outcome becomes very little engagement by the entire church with PLACE. I could go on and on about what we are doing to continually communicate PLACE at our church but I will share only a few ideas. First, we have recruited a team that EVERY week provides information and answer questions before and after our worship services about our involvement process (which PLACE is part of) outside our worship center. And yes they even sign people up each week to attend upcoming PLACE sessions.
Secondly, I meet almost every week one-on-one with my senior pastor and share with him what is happening with PLACE and other areas I am involved in with my role as Pastor of Discipleship. I share ideas with him, get his input and advice on what I am trying to implement and importantly I share with him success stories of how PLACE is impacting those within our congregation. Recently I told him about a new member who went through PLACE in the late spring and was in her home country of Peru where she was taking about 25 people through PLACE in Spanish. And I fairly often send him an email about comments I am hearing from those who are going through PLACE.
Thirdly, we are beginning to create a process to regularly report to our staff ALL that is going on with PLACE including where people who experience PLACE are getting involved in our church serving. Again, we are doing much more to communicate our purpose but I will move to step 3 – Execute Your PLACEment Purpose.
Execute Your PLACEment Purpose
Because we are seeing such a huge increase at my church in those going through PLACE we are having to recruit, recruit and recruit more team members to be involved in every phase of PLACE from promoting to teaching to coaching to administrative responsibilities. Honestly, the biggest challenge I am having in executing PLACE at my church is not recruiting, but adequately training those we are recruiting and continually keeping them updated and motivated as they serve on our PLACE team. There is SO MUCH I could say here but I need to wrap up this article before it is too long.
Evaluate Your PLACEment Purpose
This final step is one that sadly is often not even acknowledged much less implemented with PLACE. After six months of regularly promoting PLACE and having several opportunities for our church to experience PLACE we have evaluated some areas that we are not pleased with in our results. One, is we have evaluated we need to offer PLACE in many different settings not predominately on Sunday mornings which was our strategy at the beginning of the year. We also have realized that we need to be more intentional in engaging certain ages within our church to experience PLACE. Also, I am realizing the tendency for PLACE to be “Jay’s thing” at our church which is not good. So, I am asking my senior pastor if he and different staff members will come in at the beginning of each PLACE session and give a 5-7 minute testimony of the element we are looking at whether personality or spiritual gifts or the other three elements. Again, we are making several adjustments based on evaluating the effectiveness of PLACE and yes we will continue to evaluate our PLACEment Purpose.
In closing I don’t believe next year we will increase the percentage of those experiencing PLACE like we are this year because honestly while PLACE never died at my church it was somewhat on life support the last few years. But, I do believe next year we will increase even the number who attend PLACE this year. And you can increase those experiencing PLACE at your church if you will incorporate the four Implementation Steps I have highlighted in this article.
If I or any of our team can help you with ideas or you want to run questions or thoughts by us please don’t hesitate to contact me or one of our team members.
Serving Him Together,
If you attend my church you hear this phrase often and in many different ways from many different people including Jeff Jackson, our senior pastor. Once a month I am given five minutes to recognize new members who have joined our church. We call this God’s Gifts to First Redeemer. In the video below notice how I connect our purpose with the upcoming PLACE Experience we were offering the next week.