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 2: Constructs
This is the "how" of your ministry. Once your conviction (mission and vision) has been set, this is your next step.
If you haven't read the first blog post on this topic, go here first.
While step one is rather focused and specific, this step is very broad. It will include a lot of different elements that range from how you help people park their cars to how your stage is set up.
Although I do believe that every aspect of your Sunday (or weekend) service is critical to your church's culture, I'm going to focus this post on the worship and tech ministries.
If you remember from the first post, I said that your conviction should rarely, if ever, change. Your constructs, however, can change often.
In fact, they should. Because technology is always changing, and new songs are always being written, and your church is always going thru a new season, your constructs should always be in a state of evolution.
You do have to start somewhere, though. And make a long-term plan that details where you'd like to end up down the road.
Some examples of constructs:
- Worship team audition process
- Tech team onboarding process
- Tech hardware and software plans
- Worship music planning
- Music team gear and processes
These are just some things that you should be intentionally planning.
I believe, however, that some of the most important constructs you can spend your time on include the following:
- Job Descriptions
- Worship Service Review
This is a great place to start. Make a list of all the positions you currently have in your worship services. Then write up a job description for each.
Try to make them all uniform. Also, include the people currently serving in these positions in the process. They know what they are currently doing. Then you can tweak what they give you to make it closer to what you need it to be.
This process might also help you realize where your holes are and where you need to change what people are currently doing. Since you've set up your conviction, you probably have a pretty good idea where you are lacking.
You might even have roles that need to be eliminated.
Once your job descriptions are done and approved by any leadership you need to include (also very important), then you can distribute them. I recommend doing this all at once in a special meeting. That way people can ask questions and understand how their roles work together.
Moving forward, these job descriptions will be a vital part of your onboarding process.
Once your teams have their job descriptions, the next step is to tell them how you want them to perform their roles week to week.
The reason I have two words for this step is that, depending on the position, a procedure or a checklist may be necessary.
For instance, a worship team member or greeting team member might have a list of procedures to follow, while a sound tech or lyrics operator might have a checklist to follow.
These are easy things to write up. They also make your expectations of your teams very transparent.
Some may say that doing this makes the church too much like a business. I, however, believe that if we don't do our best with what we have and strive for excellence in all things, we are not taking our corporate worship of God as a church at the weekend as seriously as we should.
If you would like some examples of what we use at City United Church, you can email me on the contact page.
Worship Service Review
This is probably the most important construct you can put in place. Because I feel so strongly about this, I will be writing a series of blog posts very soon on this specific topic.
However, because I don't want to leave you guessing, I will tell you that a great place to start is to get together all the people who have leadership roles in your weekend service. In this meeting (which is best on Monday mornings) you can start reviewing the Sunday service by asking the following questions:
- What was RIGHT? (KEEP)
- What was WRONG? (FIX)
- What was MISSING? (IMPLEMENT)
- What was CONFUSING? (CLARIFY)
- What was HARMFUL? (STOP)
Just meeting and talking about these thing to make action items so that you don't make the same mistakes week after week will revolutionize your services.
There are more advanced things you can do, but I will save them for future blog posts (so stay tuned).
In closing, don't forget that constructs can and should change often as technology changes and your church goes through different seasons. The best advice on this I've ever heard is to marry the conviction and date the constructs. Your commitment is to your mission and vision. Your constructs just help you accomplish those.
Constructs: part two of revitalizing your church's worship culture. Part 3 coming soon.