It's Sunday afternoon, or night, or Monday morning; and you are relaxing. The weekend services (or gatherings, or whatever you call them) are over, and you finally feel like you can breathe and sit down again without having a million things flying through your head.
Until ... oh yeah ... you realize that next Sunday is only six days away.
I remember this feeling.
To be honest, I sometimes still have it.
Sometimes it was made even worse by the fact that I was leading week to week with no long-term plan or system for review and improvement.
Fortunately, I was blessed with a lead pastor who used to be a worship leader himself. He and I have been on an interesting journey as we have, with God's help, revitalized the worship ministry of a dying church.
Along that journey, we have always had a system for reviewing and planning our weekend services.
It has evolved, and each stage has had its pros and cons.
I have narrowed down all the changes we made to three (3) main levels, and I'd like to lay them out for you in three posts.
These will be very practical in nature, and I'm hoping you can easily find where your current system falls and then quickly implement some of the things listed here.
Worship Review Level 2: The Nitty Gritty
This level is where things start to get serious.
At our church, we have always operated according to this rule: Function as a church at the level above where you currently are.
This basically means that if you are a church of 200, function as a church of 500; and if you’re a church of 500, function as a church of 750-1,000.
This next-level functioning happens mostly behind the scenes. And one of the simple ways you can do this in your worship ministry is to have your tech and worship teams assist in the weekend review process.
I call this level the "Nitty Gritty" because of how detailed the review process gets here.
This level involves three primary components:
1. A more structured and exclusive review process,
2. More points of analysis, and
3. More people giving you input on these elements.
1. The Process
When we made the weekend worship review meeting more exclusive, we eliminated everyone from the meeting who did not have a direct say into what we were doing. You now should have only a few people attending these meetings. I included this list in the last post, but I’ll repeat it here.
Lead Pastor (maybe)
Operations Director (maybe)
Audio and Visual team leads
These 4-6 people should meet on Monday (or Sunday night, if that’s how you want to roll) and go over notes they have taken from the weekend worship services (or gatherings).
While I’ll get to the notes that are taken in just a minute, I want to nail down some best practices for these meetings.
- Everyone takes notes
- Use a solid and visible structure that you rarely stray from
- Start with the positive
- Review your mission and vision
- Stay humble and use this time to grow
If you do these things, these meetings will advance your worship ministry very quickly, and you and your congregation will see an obvious improvement.
2. The Points
Just as important as how the run the meeting is what you analyze. In Level 1, the “Firing Squad,” the focus was very broad and primarily looked at what went wrong. We used the RIGHT, WRONG, MISSING, and CONFUSING template.
In Level 2, the “Nitty Gritty,” you look at the specific components of your weekend worship service. Each church’s components may look different, but I think the way my church did it will be easily translatable to any church.
This component focuses on the overall feel of the room. This includes chair placement, safety, security, and the lobby layout. It may also include aesthetics like temperature, decor, etc.
This area is pretty self explanatory. If there were any issues with the sound, the lighting, or the media, you list them here. We found that, at first, this was where we spent the most time. As your tech systems and teams grow, though, you will see fewer mistakes and things to fix here.
Again, not too difficult to understand. This applies only to the quality of the worship music. It doesn’t apply to the mixing of the band - that would go under the previous area. This is just an evaluation of the worship team/band/choir.
This component is interesting. Whether or not you include it depends on your lead pastor’s/communicator’s skin-thickness.
My pastor loves feedback, both positive and negative, and he is always looking to grow in his communication skills.
I know that every pastor doesn’t feel this way, so tread carefully and try to keep an open dialogue with them so you know if you’re going too far. (More on the importance of your relationship with your lead pastor in another blog post to come soon.)
In each of these areas, you want to be sure that you highlight positives as well as negatives.
We did this by starting these meetings with “High 5’s” - 5 things that went awesome during the weekend.
Write them down. Record them for the future so you can look back and see more than just what you did wrong.
3. The People
The key to this system working is asking everyone involved to contribute to these 4 areas. You'd be surprise the things that you miss and your volunteers have to point out to you.
Also, when they feel like they are being heard without having to complain, your volunteers will feel more ownership of their specific area and will serve with a greater sense of purpose and zeal.
However, you don't want to overwhelm them with a long and drawn-out form that takes more than 5 minutes to complete. You want it to be simple, precise, and to the point.
We accomplished this by using a Likert Scale: a 1 - 5 analysis of each specific area with 1 being awful and 5 being amazing. You can include your own words for what you want to analyze.
I do recommend asking for a reason if the rating is a 3 or below. We just handed out a half sheet of card stock or paper to each worship, tech, and production team member (as well as the people in the meeting) right after the last worship service concluded. Everyone returned their completed form to the production manager, who inputted all that info into an Excel spreadsheet (or Google Sheet) for future reference and ease of analysis in the meeting.
I’ve included the form we used FREE for you to download below, so if you want, you can get started right away.
Using this format for our 2nd level of weekend worship review moved our worship ministry forward very quickly, and we heard very good feedback from everyone who saw what we were doing. Our church has between 300-400 attendees each weekend, and yet we function like a church of between 500-750.
And it shows.
Because we pay attention to details, we rarely make the same mistake twice.
You may think this is too “Nitty Gritty,” but I believe God expects excellence from us.
And as I’ve been saying to my volunteers and teammates for years, one definition of excellence is doing the best you can with what you’ve been given.
I think one of the best ways of doing that is expecting the best out of each person involved and then inspecting what happened over the weekend so that each week the experience gets better and better.
Stay positive, be humble, and this system will expand and improve your worship ministry exponentially.