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Making Changes to 3 Seemingly Small Areas Can Actually Make Your Service More Compelling

Many churches “throw away” moments every week due to tradition, habits or just poor service planning. 

Time is one of the most important commodities for people who attend your church. I even heard Craig Greoschel recently say that his time is so valuable to him that he did an analysis on the number of steps he took each morning before even starting his day and developed a plan to make his morning routine even more efficient!

As we continue focusing on how to enhance weekend church services, it’s important to take a look at some areas that may not be quite as compelling as we think they are.

Making changes to the following 3 areas can save time and add some margin back into your services:

1. Wearing Out The Welcome.

It is really easy to get repetitive in the system you use for welcoming guests at the beginning of services. Why? Because at some point this opportunity was well thought-out and scripted. But just because something worked yesterday doesn’t mean it is still the most effective strategy today.

For some churches, this means taking a serious look at the methods used to welcome guests. Maybe high-fiving the person beside you, telling people to give hugs to those around them or encouraging everyone to greet three new people they have never met before isn’t the best strategy to use every single week.

Just because something worked yesterday doesn’t mean it is still the most effective strategy today. Click To Tweet

This is also important to keep in mind for multisite churches as well.

Calling out every single campus each week during the greeting time is a nice personal touch to make them feel included, but when churches grow to multiple campuses it can take an enormous amount of time and sometimes even seem awkward to always greet multiple locations individually. Sometimes it’s better to choose one or two campuses and really share something specific to them rather than sharing the same thing every week.

Then, there is the way we all love to welcome guests—we have them stand up, raise their hands, fill out cards, text information and even scan screens with QR readers. 

Eventually, if nothing ever changes with the welcome script, it will become boring and inauthentic. 

If nothing ever changes with the welcome script, it will become boring and inauthentic. Click To Tweet

Song, welcome, song, song, offering, song, sermon. 

Song, welcome, song, song, offering, song, sermon becomes the expectation. Week after week. The order never changes—what’s even worse is the fact that every host repeats sentence after sentence verbatim. 

By the time everyone is welcomed, guests are acknowledged, campuses and streams are shouted out to, verses are read, inspiring quotes are shared, and people are seated…  

valuable moments have already been wasted.

TOTAL TIME OF THROW-AWAY MOMENTS = 10-15 minutes

2. Offering Moments or Marathons?

Who loves the sermon before the sermon? You can call it whatever you want to… the sermon stretch, the warmup, the inspiration and encouragement people need in case the upcoming second message doesn’t stick.

Let’s be honest—many times the person who is leading the “giving moment” is the youth pastor, associate pastor or someone who feels a call on their life to preach.

But… they also never get the opportunity.

So in their 5-minute time slot, they pick a verse about giving, expand on the verse and challenge people to take next steps. There is nothing like packing an inspiring 30-minute sermon into a 5-minute giving moment. 

When we don’t regularly practice pruning in our service planning, eventually the lack of focus will impact the overall vision Click To Tweet

We also certainly can’t forget the announcements before the offering! If something isn’t announced from the stage then people may not attend! These announcements are a BIG DEAL. People may miss the next big event so there HAS to be a slide included with the announcement. It doesn’t matter how big or small the event is, people have to know it is happening, why they need to come and the urgency to bring a friend with them.

Churches have also realized that we live in a visual world so having a video with an inspiring story during the giving moment is mandatory for a good offering. Videos are good, but full documentaries are even better. Maybe it’s true, the longer the video the better the offering. Before long, churches will be showing full length motion pictures.

Ok, I’m being sarcastic, but can you see my point?

If not intentional, offering times can go too long. 

TOTAL TIME OF THROW-AWAY MOMENTS = ESTIMATING 10-35** minutes

**Time varies widely, based on whether or not announcements are limited to 10 minutes or less, and whether or not videos are limited to 7 minutes or less.

3. It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later.

Saying goodbye is never fun. Particularly when there are still a few minutes left to hit another big announcement. Remember, the people may have forgotten the other 10 that were shared 30 minutes ago, so as they are leaving it’s important to drive home the importance of the next event.

The goodbye is also the perfect chance to sing one (or two) more songs, or cover that last point that was missed in the sermon because there just wasn’t enough time to get it in.

TOTAL TIME OF THROW-AWAY MOMENTS = 4 to 6 minutes

I get it. We need to make people feel welcome. We have to make announcements and set up the giving moment. Services need to be closed out. I just think sometimes we may try a little too hard. Maybe it’s not as difficult as we sometimes make it. 

When planning compelling services, remember that saying yes to one thing always means saying no to something else. Michael Hyatt says, “Even if we hate saying no, we’re unknowingly saying no all the time – every time we say yes.

When planning compelling services, remember that saying yes to one thing always means saying no to something else Click To Tweet

Tony always talks about the importance of pruning. When we don’t regularly practice pruning in our service planning, eventually the lack of focus will impact the overall vision.

It’s easy to try to cover so much ground in our services that we experience mediocre results instead of pooling our energy and efforts together to create an amazing experience.

It’s easy to try to cover so much ground in our services that we experience mediocre results instead of pooling our energy and efforts together to create an amazing experience. Click To Tweet

Always start your service planning by defining the win. What next step do you want people to take? What do you need to say no to?

Multisite churches should also consider what this looks like at each campus. Are these moments very similar at each location? Are the people on stage communicating or truly connecting people with the overall vision?

For some practical tips on moving weekend services from predictable to remarkable, check out Episode 134 of The Unstuck Church Podcast.

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