Stewards of Our Strengths at the 54th Annual ICSC Conference

Posted on July 25, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

When my parish first began its stewardship journey, it was not uncommon to have conversations that began like this: “I understand the need to be a good steward of my time. Each of us only has so many hours in a day, and we never know when our life will end. I ‘get’ that we need to be stewards of our treasure.

StewardshipEven though I always feel I need more money, I can learn to separate my wants from my needs. But stewards of our talents? What are our talents? What does it mean to be a steward of talent?” For many years, we searched for ways to help people become aware of and grow as stewards of their talents. That is one of the many reasons why we were so excited when we discovered StrengthsFinder .

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5 Ways to Create a More Welcoming Parish

Posted on July 22, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

 

My wife and I have an area of our church where we like to sit with our two boys. We are not the people who have our “pew” but do have our section. Sound familiar?

For the past few months, our pastor’s homilies have centered on the theme of welcoming. One that stuck with me was called “pew hospitality” and the idea that parishioners should move to the center of their pews so others didn’t have to climb over them to get to their seats.

Since that Sunday, I have always moved the middle of the pew. It’s a simple idea, but can have a real impact on how visitors view your church.

 Create a More Welcoming Parish

 

 

 

 

 

NumberOneLeave the first few rows of parking open for guests

Ask parishioners to arrive a little early and park further away.

If someone hasn’t attended church for a while, they are more likely to leave if they can’t find somewhere to park.

 

NumberTwoRemove the doorstops
Ask a few parishioners on your hospitality committee to welcome your guests and hold the door for them when they enter the church. This creates a more personal, inviting experience for everyone.

For more tips on building a vibrant church greeter ministry, click here.

 

NumberThreeAsk families to be greeters

A parent and child can be a terrific greeting team, keeping it fun and lighthearted, while serving in a ministry together.

 

 

NumberFourInclude a note about welcoming children and babies into Mass
Let visitors and parishioners know that their babies and children are welcome at Mass. Last weekend, there were two babies in our pew and it brought smiles to people’s faces as they made sounds during Mass.

 

 

NumberFiveAsk people for feedback

Once you’ve taken some initial steps to become a more welcoming parish, ask some members of your family or friends who don’t attend your church to visit and give you their honest feedback. Take it to heart and make improvements when necessary.

 

Bring Your Bulletin to Life with Color

Posted on July 7, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently took advantage of the latest print technology offered by LPi and upgraded its entire bulletin to full color, transforming it into a beautiful, vibrant communications tool for the parish.

First, you need to know that LPi did not create this awesome bulletin transformation—the parish did. But you will never believe who on the parish staff created this engaging new design. It was Joe Kallenberger, Director of Administrative Services for the church.

Joe started with a strong overall color palette and organized their content into different color blocks. With the use of such vibrant colors, the white space stands out in greater contrast and improves the visual flow for the reader.

Here are a few changes that make this bulletin really stand out:

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Making Second Collections Easier

Posted on July 1, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Sometimes it’s the Diocese. Sometimes it’s a mission parish that you support in another country. Sometimes it’s a local ministry.

Whatever the cause happens to be, Catholic churches have a variety of second collections where the basket comes around again. And your parishioners often need to write two checks and bring two envelopes that week.

Not the easiest way to handle second collections.

Image 2When LPi created our online giving tool WeShare, we made a commitment to our parish customers to build the easiest, most robust, and best online giving program available for the Catholic Church.

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Stewards Among Us

Posted on June 20, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Inspiring Discipleship One Story at a Time

Take a moment to think back to the days when you weren’t so engaged in parish life. Remember how it felt to show up for Sunday Mass without knowing a soul or feeling any connection to your parish?

Now recall the specific instance when you were invited to join in a particular parish ministry or group. Why did you say yes?

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Bring Your Bulletin To Life With Color

Posted on June 15, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently took advantage of the latest print technology offered by LPi and upgraded its entire bulletin to full color, transforming it into a beautiful, vibrant communications tool for the parish.

First, you need to know that LPi did not create this awesome bulletin transformation—the parish did. But you will never believe who on the parish staff created this engaging new design. It was Joe Kallenberger, Director of Administrative Services for the church. Joe started with a strong overall color palette and organized their content into different color blocks. With the use of such vibrant colors, the white space stands out in greater contrast and improves the visual flow for the reader.

We love that Our Lady of Lourdes uses its weekly bulletin less for dates and times and more for communicating the good news of Jesus Christ. To see the parish’s most recent color bulletins online visit its website at www.ololmke.org.

Here Are A Few Changes That Make This Bulletin Really Stand Out
Original Bulletin

The limited color palette makes it difficult to highlight the most important content, even with an effective use of white space.

 

Click here to download this article as a PDF

5 Tips for Spiritual Spring Cleaning

Posted on April 29, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Spring is a time to start fresh after months of cold weather and short days. And with spring comes the annual ritual of spring-cleaning our homes from top to bottom in order to start anew.

But while we spend so many tireless hours making sure our physical homes are in order, what are we doing about our spiritual homes? Spiritual spring-cleaning is a way for us to deepen our relationship with God, grow our faith, and connect with our church community.

Here are 5 tips to help you put your spiritual house in order this spring:

 

Step One: Renew Your Mind – Take Out the Trash

RenewMany of us struggle with negative thoughts, sinful behaviors, and animosity towards our fellow man. Cleaning out this area of our lives can be the most difficult, but also the most rewarding.

As negative thoughts flood in, make an effort to replace them with positive thoughts, prayers, or Scripture passages that speak against them.

As we are tempted to be dragged into sin, ask God for the strength to resist and be willing to say “no” to people in your life that are enabling your sin. And if you do sin, do not allow it to overwhelm you or distract you from Jesus. Simply give it over to Him and start over.

And as we feel animosity towards our fellow man, remember Jesus’ call for us to love one another as ourselves. One of the best ways I’ve found to deal with this struggle is to pray for the person right in the moment—if I am continually praying for God to bless someone and to encourage them, I often find that my negative feelings start to fade away over time.

Step Two: Forgive those who have wronged you

ForgiveUnforgiveness and bitterness can completely weigh us down, overwhelm us, and prevent us from living a strong spiritual life. Jesus went so far as to say that if you are at church offering a gift to God and remember someone you need to forgive, that you are to leave the church and be reconciled to them.

Forgiveness is an extremely difficult thing to do, but it is also an extremely Christian thing to do, as we worship a Savior who forgave even those who put him to death, and who forgives us our sins and shortcomings. So keep Christ in your mind and let go because harboring that bitterness is only hurting you.

Pray for the person who has wronged you. Forgive them directly in person or over the phone if it safe to do so, remembering that you are releasing yourself and connecting to God by doing as He would do.

 

Step Three: Dust off your Bible

BibleThe Gospel of John tells us that Jesus is the Word of God, so what better place to encounter Him than in the pages of Scripture?

If you don’t regularly read your Bible, don’t allow guilt to stand in the way of getting started. Set small goals (like reading through the Gospel of John) and make new goals as you go along. Even if you can only spend a few minutes a day reading, God can redeem that time and use it to grow your faith

If you do read your Bible regularly already, set a goal to read a few more minutes a day or to read through the entire New Testament by the end of summer. Be intentional about what you read and always seek out new insights as God speaks to you through the Word.

 

Step Four: Connect with the Mass

MassThe Mass is the center of all things, bringing the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ into the present moment, connecting us with the eternal every single week. Many of us miss out on the beauty and holiness of the Mass and the depper meaning behind the structure, prayers, rituals, and readings.

Make an effort this spring to connect with the beauties of the Mass, whether through participating in an RCIA class, through books and resources, or by sitting down with a priest or deacon and ask them to share.

This is one step that I promise will help you have an entirely new appreciation for the Mass and will open your spiritual eyes to how God works through every moment.

 

Step Five: Let prayer cleanse you

PrayerThe idea that we can come before the throne of God in prayer is beyond incredible. Establishing a healthy prayer life can transform our lives and keep us spiritually fresh throughout the year.

One of the keys to incorporating prayer into your daily life is to start small, setting aside a few minutes each day where you can be alone with God. Over time you can then build on that foundation.

Prayer can also be done anywhere—during your morning commute, with family and friends, while taking walks, etc. Another great place to pray is right in the house of God, so consider arriving for Mass a few minutes early each week and spending those moments in communion with God.
 

Use Color to Organize Content & Engage More Readers

Posted on April 13, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

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Meet St. Bernard Parish in Wauwatosa, WI. Over the last year we worked with its business manager to rebrand the parish, creating a new logo,website, and Facebook banner. So now it is time to redesign the bulletin. So now it is time to redesign the bulletin.

Chris Meyer became the business manager at St. Bernard’s just a year ago. Having just moved to Wisconsin from Oregon in the same position, she was eager to make some changes in order to help reinvigorate the parish. After creating new brand identity, she set out to update all the parish communications. When we got to the bulletin she was determined to upgrade it to full color throughout the publication. St. Bernard’s is a small parish with limited resources but she felt strongly that the small expense to add color would help achieve her goals.

  • Applied new graphic banner inspired by a statue of St. Bernard in front of the parish.
  • Used newly created color palette.
  • Used cover art from Art & Media Portal’s new Vibrant Series.

Bright colors were used to organize content and make it easier for readers to find their info quickly. The bright reds, blue, greens, and yellows in the new color palette gave us an excellent range of color to work with. The new content structure allowed us to break up a lot of information into bite-sized chunks. Now, formerly long strings of information are found easily in their respective sections and set apart within the page.

  • Carries the new parish brandinginside to reinforce message.
  • Strong graphic treatment for calendar.
  • Organizes dates and helps parishes know where to find weekly events.
    • Inspirational graphics add reader appeal as well as integrate thoughtful messages into the bulletin. (Search “Inspirational” in Art & Media Portal to find inspirational quotes for all your communications.)
      • Formerly long strings of information are found easily and set apart on the page.
      • Bright colors were used to organize content and make it easier for readers to find their info quickly.
      • Flexibility was kept a priority, knowing a variety of information comes in all shapes, sizes, and priorities, and may change from week to week.
      • Original Bulletin

        Without the use of color, it was difficult for the parish to organize and highlight the week’s most important content.

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