Have you heard the classic debate about weekend worship services? People in ministry like to argue about whether the Church is “all about the weekend” or not. If you are new to the discussion, there are some churches that put all their eggs in the “worship service basket.” The weekend worship service in many ways becomes the mission of that church. If the service gets bigger and better, the mission is considered successful.
There are other churches, however, that believe the weekend worship service for both adults and other generations is only a part of the mission. An important part for sure, but only one part of the whole. I am in the second camp. I believe the mission we have been given by Jesus is to make fully trained disciples, and the weekend worship service plays a big part in making that happen.
Regardless of how you see the role of the weekend worship service, I think we all agree that a great weekend worship experience does not automatically happen. You need a plan. If you are hoping the weekend worship service will turn out amazing, just remember, hope is not a plan. You need to have a plan for how you are going to make the weekend worship service a great experience and a critical part of your strategy to ultimately make fully trained disciples.
Let me take a minute and walk you through the key elements of planning a great weekend service. These elements apply to both adults, youth, and children, depending on how you structure the worship services.
First, plan your welcome! People start to form opinions about your church the moment they drive on your church campus. That being true, you want to make a good first impression in the parking lot. Some churches have first-time guests turn on their flashers, some have guest parking, and most have a welcome center with plenty of signage pointing to its location.
Secondly, plan your experiences! Experiences refers to the elements of the service. Whether adults, children, or students, the experience ought to be a place where Jesus is lifted up and His Word is taught. The scriptures tell us that whenever Jesus showed up in a crowd, people were amazed and astonished. The same result happens today when Jesus is lifted up. Make sure your weekend service points people to Jesus whether your service is contemporary or traditional.
Third, plan your follow-up! I believe it is a mistake to create a worship experience that lifts up Jesus but does not provide people a way to respond to Him at the end of that experience. Follow-up is critical. A good follow-up plan begins in the service by offering attendees a chance to act on what they have heard and it continues by giving them an opportunity to connect after they go home. Give people a “next step” opportunity and stay connected to them as long as they need follow up.
Fourth, plan your environments! Planning your environments means making the campus and building as nice, clean, and welcoming as possible. I’ve been in many a church building that looks more like a bargain basement filled with clutter than an inviting room where people want to connect. Create a checklist of your campus and buildings that can be regularly reviewed to be sure restrooms are clean and broken things are fixed.
Impact Discipleship Ministries exists to help people and churches make disciples and planning a good weekend is part of that process. Contact us if you want help improving your church’s weekend service in this process or just need a set of fresh eyes to help you see how you are doing.