For the pastor and the church, I can’t overemphasize the importance of a great Sunday service. For most people in the world who decide to give the church one more shot, they will do so on Sunday morning. This means every Sunday there are potential congregants sitting out there giving the church one more shot through your church! That’s an opportunity. Frankly, the reason most churches are not growing is because they are not prepared for that family’s tough inspection. They are not turned on to your church yet. They are not convinced in their faith. They do not see with spiritual eyes. Consider the following verse closely:
1 Sam 16:7 (NKJV) “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Yes, God looks at the heart but I don’t think we pay enough attention to the first part of that verse, as it relates to our worship services. “Man (and woman) look at the outward appearance.” This means that new families who’ve been disconnected from the church judge by what they see, not by what they discern spiritually!
So what do people VALUE with their eyes and ears?
Beauty and Beautiful sounds, Quality, Excellence, Professionalism, Brevity, Relatability, Relevancy, Practicality, Hospitality, Laughter, Vulnerability, Passion, & Hope, to name a few!
What’s missing in many worship services I see? Most of those! Pastor, simply put, your worship service must get better! With all of this in mind here are a list of specific ways our worship service can get better:
The stage and the walls or background surrounding the stage should be beautiful. It should include modern architecture, trim, and technology. If it doesn’t this is one of the most important investments we could make. We never get a second shot to make a great first impression. Our stage communicates what we value and our commitment to excellence, from the outset.
THE PEOPLE ON STAGE
Remember, people judge by the outward appearance? Do the people you are putting on stage represent excellence and professionalism? Can they sing (or speak) very well? Do they connect well with the crowd from the stage? Do they look sharp and dress sharp? We reach who we are, not who we want to reach, so the people we place on stage must represent who we are trying to reach!
The sound should be awesome. When people complain about the sound, it’s usually a sound “mix” issue, not a decibel issue. We need a newer, better sound system and a professional or (someone we trained like one) to run the sound. If we don’t have it, we should prioritize getting it!
THE VIDEO and LIGHT(S)
Frankly, most people don’t have highly trained ears, but they have highly trained eyes! People are conditioned from birth to make snap judgments based on what they see! Light and Video matters even more than sound! Is everything HD? I have seen a lot of bad video in churches. Yes, this costs money but our worship service is the most important hour of the week? To do this well, we’ll need to invest more than we think. We need professional input and engineers in this process!
When Jesus came to the world, He was teaching out of the same book as the Pharisees, and yet thousands of people began to leave teaching of the Pharisees and flock to Jesus’ sermons! Why?
“...because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. Matthew 7:29 (NIV).
Most of Jesus’ sermons were passionate but they were also short and sweet. There is no such thing as a bad short sermon! How do we preach shorter sermons? More preparation. We need to rant and ramble less. We stick to the matter at hand. We must land the plane on time. The people in your church will get more excited about inviting their friends if the message is passionate, relevant, inspiring, and leaves them wanting more! Final note: The word “Gospel” means GOOD NEWS. You are not preaching the Gospel if it doesn’t begin and end with GOOD NEWS!
THE CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT
The leader’s most important responsibility is to be a culture arhitect. We don’t live off the energy of others. We don’t live off the energy in the room. We build the energy we need to build. I watch some worship services, and well...I SEE DEAD PEOPLE! There’s no ENERGY. There’s no enthusiasm. It’s not exciting. It’s not fun! Don’t get me wrong: church is not here to simply entertain, but remember, we have one hour (or not much more than that, please) to engage disconnected people and inspire them to give Jesus and the church another shot! We must bring great passion, energy, urgency, and enthusiasm to the stage! Above all, even a casual observer should be able to tell that God is this place…in His people!
Pastor, your worship services must get better. Prioritize your time and your resources to take this experience to the next level. This is the best investment you can make! Get a little better every six months. We can’t presume on growth, but we can PREPARE for growth. Get prepared. One of these days, jesus will look down from Heaven and say: “Now they’re ready. Now I can send disconnected people to them and they will steward them well.” Eternity is at stake, here. So go, pastor...make your worship service better! By the way, we would love to help!