The word, "culture", has been defined as a "way of life" for a particular group of people.
Your church currently has a culture. You might not like it, but it's there.
It has developed over years (or months, if it's a new church) because of big or little decisions, programs, and people that have come and gone.
Setting your church's worship services up for maximum engagement across multiple generations is not easy, but there are 3 steps you can take to accomplish it week after week
My church has gone through a pastoral succession, major financial overhaul (coming out of bankruptcy), sudden change of venue (our main building sprinklers burst and flooded the building), and major rebranding and revitalization (we changed the name and website just before Easter), all within five years. And God is blessing, and we are seeing souls saved and lives changed.
Trust me when I say that, with some intentionality and specifically thought-out steps, you can turn around your church's culture for the better, and it will happen through your weekend services.
I believe it is possible by following 3 practical steps.
Step 1: Conviction
This is the "why" of your ministry. Without this, the rest will take care of itself with little to no control from you. It is the "roots" of all else that you do.
Included in your conviction should be mission and vision statements, maybe some core values or characteristics.
A great place to start is your church's convictions. And I don't mean the statement of beliefs. I mean what your church's mission is. Its vision.
If your church doesn't already have these things nailed down, then schedule a meeting with your lead pastor and see if you can't get the ball rolling.
If your church already has these things as part of its culture, then just tweak them to serve your purposes.
For example, my church's mission statement is "To lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ," and my worship ministry's mission statement is "To enable people to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ by leading them in musical expressions of worship with your voice, instrument, or both while giving God all the glory in your own all-out, uncompromised worship of God.
See how we took the mission statement of the church and made it more specific?
A piece of advice - don't do this alone. While the initial steps might include just you, be sure to include others in your ministry, and definitely include your lead pastor before you finalize anything.
I'm a firm believer that the lead pastor and the worship leader are co-owners of how weekend services go. I also believe that these two should meet often (weekly). Talking about your church's/ministry's conviction would be a great place to start.
While the mission statement is your "why," your vision statement is your ultimate end-goal. My church's vision statement is "To have the members, attenders, and guests of City United Church be fully engaged in their Worship of God at weekend gatherings and other special events, both on-campus and online, by providing a place for every person in every gathering (service) to encounter God."
We might never even come close to accomplishing this, but it is what we are striving for. It is our big goal. And it will take big faith and hard work to accomplish. It is also never done.
Can you see how without working these things out you would be hard-pressed to change your culture? They are the foundation for everything you are trying to accomplish with your worship ministry.
Before you go, let me give you 3 things to think about as you work through this first step:
1. This starts with you, worship leader. You are ultimately responsible for how your worship services go and what they accomplish, so take the initiative. Think long and hard about this, and spend much time in prayer over it. If you don't care, no one will.
2. Team up with your lead pastor. Make him a part of this. Get inside his head, and let him get inside yours. Pray together, study Scripture together, and develop a plan together for what you want your Sundays to look like. And please, please, please don't ever even come close to letting it look like the two of you are at odds on stage. Be united in purpose and zeal for what God has given the two of you to do together.
3. Share this with your teams. This step kind of leads into the next blog post, but it bears mentioning. All these things you are going to be working through will accomplish very little if they become secret, privileged information. Tell the people serving on your teams, let them in on the convictions you have worked through and laid out, and just watch how those teams and the people in them will shift their thinking. Watch and see how things will change for the better.
Oh, and anything important that you want your teams to remember needs to be revisited at least every 21 days. I read that somewhere (can't remember where), and it's stuck with me. We are forgetful people, and we could all use a reminder every once in a while to refresh why on earth we are doing all of this.
Conviction. It's the first practical step toward changing your church's worship culture. Step 2 to follow in the next blog post.