Launching an Additional Sunday Service
For a pastor, hardly anything is as exciting as seeing people fill the chairs on Sunday morning. Pastors and leaders love it when people have to look for a seat. While leaders get excited, guests don't, especially when they are looking a place where they can sit together as a family. When seating capacity consistently hits around seventy to eighty percent each week, something needs to be done. Usually there are three options:
1) Expand the current building
2) Start a new campus
3) Add an additional service
Out of the three, adding a new service makes most sense, as it would take less time and money. However, that doesn't mean it should take less planning. There is a lot of value in having more than one Sunday gathering each week. In addition to utilizing your current space and facilities, it can create energy, momentum and gives people options.
I have worked with churches who have done a superb job adding an additional service, while others not so much. The latter group are those who believed if they created a new service time with a band and a sermon, people would show up and everything would be wonderful. As with anything in ministry (or in life for that matter), poor planning brings poor results.
Launching an additional service at your church should be done by looking through the lens of launching a brand new church. Although the mission, vision, church name, etc are the same, adding a new service is, in fact, creating space for new people to find Jesus. Which is, what church planters do. Here are some best practices for adding an additional worship service.
- Build a strong communication strategy and timeline for the congregation Create language that is tied to mission instead of logistics. The motive for a new service should be about reaching people who aren’t following Jesus, instead of space and facilities. When people are focused on mission, the “why” become more important than the “what." When this happens support and commitment increases.
- Use a strategic calendar to plan the launch of the additional service. Make sure the timing is right. Choosing a big day (Easter, Christmas, New Year, etc) to launch the new service is helpful for two reasons. 1) It gives you the opportunity to build a promotion strategy that will enhance both the big day and the new service time. 2) It creates a “crowd” at both services, which makes it feel successful to people who attend for the first time.
Leadership & Launch Teams
- Create launch teams from your current congregation to serve at the additional service, with the stipulation that they train and raise up their replacement. This is a great opportunity for your current leaders to develop new leaders. Offering a six or eight week new service commitment can help people take a step to serve in that capacity. In many cases, people will choose to attend the additional service even after their commitment has ended.
- Make sure everything is carbon copy. Ministry services and opportunities should be offered at both services. It is also important to celebrate the God stories at both services. For example, if people are baptized in the early service, it should be celebrated in the second service. This keeps the church celebrating together. When there is a lack of carbon copy, one service usually becomes the struggling service.
Check out other resources at The Unstuck Group.