Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


The First Service

  • Jim Townsley
  • Sep 27, 2017
When it’s time to hold your first service, remember there can only be one “First Service.” Everything you have done in the previous months has led up to this special day and you will want to do everything in your power to make this day a success. The community will form its first impressions of this new church based upon this special day. First impressions are lasting, therefore do your best to impress your community. Visitors are obviously looking for something in their life or they wouldn’t be there, so give them an experience of real Christianity.
Work hard to take care of every detail. You will need helpers even if they help only this first day. Designate ushers from people you have met and know that are coming or volunteers from a supporting church. Designate helpers to set up the auditorium and make the auditorium look as much like a church as possible. Set the chairs up in equal rows and make sure they are straight as an arrow. Hymnbooks should be placed on each seat all facing the same way. The pulpit should be in a place high enough where the preacher can be easily seen even from the back row. The sound system should be set up early, tested for sound and clarity. Make an order of service and distribute it to every person that will participate in the service. 
Signs should be placed inside and out directing people to the place of the service. Provide a nursery and find someone other than your wife to attend to it for the first service. Special music should be a part of the first service that reflects the type of music that the church will use. If you are unable to provide it ask a neighboring church to help with special music for this first service. The pastor must designate others to help with the set-up and details of the service so that he and his wife are available to greet and meet people as they arrive and immediately after the service is over. 
Print a bulletin and make sure it is well done and informative. Print visitor cards and get each visitor to fill one out. Materials for new converts should be available along with a church brochure and don’t forget to have commitment cards ready to fill out if people make decisions at the invitation. Make the song service lively and preach an evangelistic message followed by an invitation. The service should be an uplifting experience.
This should be a special day and the preacher and his family should be dressed in their best attire. The pastor’s wife should have a corsage. Designate someone to take pictures which will provide many fond memories for the future. Ask dignitaries from the community to attend, such as the mayor or council chairman. Contact the local news media to come and report on the opening service. The local paper and perhaps even the local television may give you free coverage. 
Put yourself in the shoes of a visitor and imagine you are visiting your church for the first time. What would they expect from their visit? I’m sure everyone would want the church to be friendly and welcoming. They will expect the church to be clean and safe. Much prayer should be offered up to God asking Him to bless this special day. The most important aspect of the first service is for God’s presence to be evident. People will be asking themselves if this church is a place where they attend regularly and some will ask if this church is a place where they can bring their family. 
The first service is only one service and many more will follow, but there will only be one first service so make it a great one!