Wednesday Memo

Hi Five Oakers,

I have a few things I want to share with you.

#1 - Get a recap of the service with highlights of our prayers, readings and songs here.

#2 – Here are your comments from the Communication Cards:

  • Tim, you helped me so much with your stories relating to today’s scripture. I feel this was one of your best sermons that I heard from you. Thank you. 
  • Good job Tim! 
  • We should do more dramas! 
  • Ice Breaker question actually let’s me talk with less people. [I’m not sure if you think this is good or bad. If you think this is bad, take our advice: don’t use the icebreaker question. It’s only an option, not a requirement. But if you talk to one person and move beyond a simple “good morning,” that’s exactly what we need to do as a church. See #6 below.]
  • The music was too loud today. 
  • Suggestion for an occasional change during “response time”. Instead of singing music, have readers reading scripture passages that might fit the message and theme of the service. Background music could be used too. Could be individual reading, choral reading and climax with congregational reading – maybe transitions into sung verses. [Thanks for the ideas!]

#3 - Some Impact news (makes me so proud of you all):

  • Five Oaks sent $1000 to Salem Church in Staten Island, where Keith Miraldi serves, and another $1,000 to our denomination’s relief efforts in NY.
  • We collected 438 Thanksgiving bags for hungry families throughout the metro! That’s the most we’ve ever done.
  • The Women’s Ministry small groups took a week off from study to assemble 125 care packages for women and kids that will need the services of the Tubman Family Center in the upcoming months. It was a huge influx of packages for that ministry.

#4 - We have 71% of our adults in small groups (i.e., small group participants as a percentage of our average attendance in October)! That’s an increase over against the last couple of years, and it’s a great number compared to other churches. We are hoping to increase that, and more groups is a key. More groups means more leaders. Are you ready to explore leading a small group? Let me know.

#5 - The audio version of A Praying Life is on sale here for $7.49.

#6 - I want you to notice something. Thom Rainer has done more research on churches than just about anyone out there. He recently published an article on the top eight things people positively hate when first visiting a church. Look at seven of the eight that led mystery guests to describe the visit as horrible and say they would never return:

1. I was asked to introduce myself in the worship service.

2. I had to walk fifty yards in the rain. “No one offered me an umbrella. Apparently the members got there early so they could get the best parking spaces in the inclement weather.”

3. The preschool area was dirty and not secure.

4. Everyone talked in code.

5. Someone told me I was sitting where their family sits.

7. The preacher screamed the whole time.

8. They had a business meeting during the worship service.

I don't see us doing most of these...ever! Actually, speaking in code can be a problem sometimes. But here’s the one that we fail on sometimes according to the cards we get from first-time guests.

6. No one spoke to me.

Most people hate that. Here’s the good news. That comment has been rare lately. Actually, I can’t think of one such comment in weeks.

Here’s the gist of what I shared at the congregational meeting: Whether or not you use the icebreaker question in the service doesn’t matter. What does matter is connecting with more than an obligatory “good morning.” And after you connect in the greeting time with a first-time guest or someone who’s new to Five Oaks, re-connect as soon as the service is over. Ask them if they’ve been to 10-Minute Connect or offer to answer any questions they might have about the church. Do this even if it’s their third or fourth time. They may have been sitting by another guest or by a Five Oaker who didn’t reach out on previous visits. It’s so important because so many of these guests are people exploring faith or looking for a church to grow in. Thanks for all you've been doing to make sure no one falls through the cracks over the last few months! You've been doing great.

#7 - The Women’s Ministry Christmas event is on December 3: "The Centerpiece of Christmas: Preparing your heart and home." For more information or to register go here.

#8 - If you're like me, you overate a bit over Thanksgiving. A couple college students from Norway joined our meal. They ate a lot, but they were in great shape. Partly because they're college soccer players. But they explained that most people in Norway are thin like them. Their explanation? Not many fast-food joints. I would add quick foods that are high in calories. I'm sure there are more reasons. But it's not too early to start thinking about New Year's resolutions. So if you want to get a healthy perspective on living and eating, as well as some support in starting new habits, check out our First Place for Health small group by emailing

I missed you last week since we were in Louisville for Thanksgiving. I can't wait for the weekend to see all of you.

Blessing to you! Pastor Henry