- Jim Townsley
- Aug 16, 2009
The most visible function of a new church is the church service. The first impression of your church service will influence visitors as to whether or not they return. A newcomer's expectations may vary widely. People often are seeking a church experience that fits their desires. Often their idea of a good church may differ from God's viewpoint of a good church. No one is looking for a service that is run haphazardly, that is boring, or that is offensive. No fundamental preacher should succumb to the progressive movement's methods of praise leaders and rock bands, but there are some simple and practical things that can enhance your efforts to win the lost and build a church. Every visitor should sense that your church is alive and strong.
1. Clean the building .
There is no excuse for the building to be dirty. The place where you meet will probably be rented so make the best arrangements possible to clean the night before or in the case of a school they will make sure the building is clean before you arrive.
2. Arrive early.
Usually the pastor should arrive about an hour before the service begins. Rushing in at the last minute will cause the preacher to be unprepared for the day. Everything should be set up and the pastor waiting on the arrival of the people.
3. Set up for church.
In most cases the set up must be done immediately before the service begins. Most church planters are surprised at the amount of work to get everything set up for the service. Chairs must be placed in evenly spaced rows, song books should be placed on the chairs all facing the same way, and the PA system must be set up and in working order. In addition, the rental facility should be made to look as much as possible like a regular church. Possibly drapes could be used and a welcome table could be placed at the entrance. Also, books and information about the church should be placed on the table in an organized fashion. The nursery should be clean and safe. The nursery will need many personal items to care for the babies and toddlers. All special items will need to be set up and taken down every Sunday. In order that the set up runs smoothly men will need to be trained to do this so that the pastor can concentrate on meeting the people as they arrive.
4. Plan the music.
Music should be played ten minutes prior to the service. The prelude should set a good spiritual tone for the service; it tells people something good is about to happen.
5. Start on time.
A church with one hundred attendees that starts a service five minutes late has wasted five hundred minutes. Any service that starts late will end later than intended. Families with small children will become anxious to get their children home and if the time becomes consistently late they may stop attending. Starting late misses the opportunity to teach members to be on time. There will always be those who come late no matter when you start, why not start on time?
6. Greet members and visitors.
Before and after every service the pastor and his wife, if she is not playing the piano, should greet every member and especially every visitor. A warm friendly smile and a word of encouragement will help prepare the attitude of those attending the service.
7. Fire up the song leader.
The church planter may find himself leading the singing, but whoever leads the singing should encourage the people to sing out and unto the Lord. The song leader is a key to the service being upbeat and positive. Learning to move his hands to direct the congregation and to teach the people to follow his lead are both important. A boring song leader will produce a boring service. Choose familiar and upbeat songs for the first part of the service and the last songs should be preparing people for the preaching.
8. Organize the service.
Every service should have a printed order that is given to every participant including the head usher and special music. The service should not be too formal, but it should not be disorganized either. Every part of the service should planned and work together without time gaps.
9. Open in prayer.
The pastor need not do everything. Having different men pray to start the service gets men involved. On Sunday morning an individual could be asked to read a small portion of Scripture and lead in the opening prayer.
10. Sing some hymns.
The old songs are still the songs that give the clear message of redemption rather than provide entertainment. The first song should be upbeat and familiar and each of the following songs should gradually point to the message.
11. Make the announcements.
Announcements should not be long, but they should be clear and challenging. No one comes to church to hear the announcements, but they are necessary to inform people of the up-coming events.
12. Sing a chorus.
Choosing a chorus of the month will get people singing to the Lord. Using a chorus for a hand shaking time is a common practice of many churches.
13. Take the offering.
The traditional way to take the offering is to pass the plates and encourage people to give unto the Lord. The ushers should be trained in how to properly take the offering and special music should be played or sung while the ushers do their job.
14. Provide special music.
Special music should be screened by the pastor, especially in the early development of the church. Every pastor should develop a philosophy of church music and teach that philosophy to his members. Written guidelines will prove to be helpful to any newcomers to the music program.
15. Preach the Bible.
People can be entertained by stories, but the job of the preacher is to know and preach the Bible. Every sermon should be like a Bible conference. When people leave the service they should feel that they have heard from the Lord through the Word of God.
16. Give an invitation.
Preaching should be geared toward a decision. Liberal churches do not give invitations because they do not expect any decisions. Train the members of the church to expect an invitation at every service and encourage believers to respond when the invitation is given.
17. Recognize those making decisions.
18. End with a chorus.
19. Take everything down.
20. Shake hands with the people as they leave the service.
21. Go home, eat, and take a quick nap and then return to church again to repeat the same process again.