Churches are often stuck because of their systems and structures. Many churches cannot grow because they have maximized their building’s capacity and they lack the financial resources to expand. Eight common fears cause them to fixate on building a bigger building instead of adding multiple services.
1. The fear of losing the unity of the church
It is true that everyone will not be able to worship together at the same time with multiple services but this has more to do with the comfort of friendship and the familiar than church unity. Unity is driven by consistent teaching, clear vision, a strong culture and the Holy Spirit.
2. The fear of not having enough volunteers
It is proven that moving to multiple services actually makes it easier to find volunteers. With additional services, people now have additional choices. Volunteers now have the option of attending a service and serving in another. Having only one service forces people to choose between attending the worship service or volunteering in a ministry.
3. The fear of overworking the pastor
In many churches, the pastor is responsible for preparing messages for Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday Bible studies. This workload leaves pastors with little time to lead. Eliminating some of these teaching responsibilities gives pastors additional time to focus on leadership and the weekend services. It is much easier for a pastor to teach the same message multiple times on the weekend than to prepare three different talks each week.
4. The fear of deciding what to do with Sunday morning programs (i.e. Sunday School)
Understanding that your primary objective is to connect people in an environment that is centered on God’s Word will give you many different options. If you have the parking capacity, it is possible to run discipleship programs concurrently with the worship services. If this is not the case, you can have it before, after, or in between services. Another option would be to offer Sunday School for children and students and have Bible studies another time for adults during the week. Many churches have transitioned to weekly small groups.
5. The fear of determining whether or not the style of worship music should be blended, the same or different in each service
Some well-known and successful churches have chosen to have multiple worship venues using niche styles such as rock and roll, contemporary worship, country, and unplugged. What keeps these services unified is ensuring that the same message is preached in all of them. Others approach music as a unifying factor and choose to keep all of the services the same style. Generally speaking, blended worship styles are confusing and don’t make anyone happy. Whatever route you choose to take, allow the decision to be driven by vision and the culture you want to create.
6. The fear of past failures
If you’ve unsuccessfully tried multiple worship services before then answer two important questions. First, “Why didn’t it work the first time?” And second, “What can we do differently this time?”
7. The fear of losing people
You will probably lose people if you make this move but you will also lose people if you don’t. Churches always lose people, fortunately you can help decide who leaves and stays by the leadership decisions that are made. The real issue is, “Do you want to build a culture focused on insiders or outsiders?” Having one service limits who can be part of your church (capacity issue) and it also limits the impact that your church can have in the community.
8. The fear of not knowing when to start a multiple service
It is better to add two completely new times instead of simply adding another option to what you already offer. This strategy forces everyone to choose a new service time and creates an “all-in” mentality. Also keep in mind that optimum times for worship services in America seem to be between 4:30pm – 6:00pm on Saturday evenings and 9:00am – noon on Sundays. You will also want to pick a strategic time of the year when your church experiences natural momentum to launch the service. Many churches experience momentum at the start of the school year in the fall or in January when everyone is back after Christmas-break.
This article originally appeared as a guest post I wrote last year for TonyMorganLive
Posted in Leadership