It is a great feeling seeing new guests walk through the doors of your church, but it is an even better feeling when you see them come back! We are breaking down effective ways to get your 1st time visitors to come back because retention is the only way to grow! Part 1 we broke down the importance of 1st Impressions and you can check that post out here. Then in Part 2 we looked at the immense value of an effective Kids ministry. Today we are going to look inside the worship experience as we look at Worship and Transitions that create an inviting yet powerful Sunday experience.
A powerful Sunday service is intentional not accidental. What I mean is that God truly blesses preparation and it is in being a steward of your opportunities that we see God move in powerful ways. Some churches argue that being organized and prepared takes away the authenticity of your worship experience and I see things very differently. I truly believe that when we honor God by giving our absolute best and working diligently to be stewards of the gifts He has given us that God actually moves in greater ways in our services. So when you plan, prepare, rehearse, and deliver out of your spiritual gifts in a way that honors God and the people of your Church you will find that response from God is like the response He gave the Servant with 5 talents “well done my good and faithful servant”.
So lets look at 6 ways to create a powerful worship experience for guests and members.
1. Begin with a Countdown
EVERY service must start on time no matter what! “Well Mike there is not that many people here yet so we are just going to wait until more show up”…. Ummm no! They show up late because they know you start late. It is unfair to a first time visitor that is there on time for you to start late because you are waiting for your regular attenders to get there. What you are saying by doing this is that the members are more important than the guests, that running late is acceptable, and that your church is unorganized.
Start every service with a countdown that begins 5 minutes before the service is supposed to start. We like to take advantage of this time and actually have created a 5 minute promo video for our church that is just B-roll of the city, our Sunday services, our Kids ministry, Baptisms, and our people hanging out. It is a wonderful way to give a first time guest a preview of your church experience before you ever begin.
2. Start with energy.
Kick your worship service off with a high energy song. This is the best way to get people pumped, get the morning blood flowing, and is a better environment to walk into as people start filing into your worship service. I think that church should be passionate, fun, and have a lot of energy and the way you start really impacts the way you finish. Now the problem many churches have is they are not able to pull off a fast song effectively and mainly it is because they don’t have enough musician to make the song sound full. Luckily we live in a day and age where technology helps us out a great deal and that is through worship tracks. Go on www.multitracks.com to find the songs you want to do and you can fill in the holes with tracks to give you a full sound and tons of energy. Some people are scared to run tracks because they think the technology is too much for them, but you can even run your tracks from a iPad through an aux cable. Also don’t feel insecure about using tracks because very few worship teams have enough musicians to pull off everything you hear in a record so most fill in gaps with the worship tracks.
3. Build into Intimacy.
Worship needs to be worshipful and there is nothing like the sound of a whole church singing to our God in unity. Your song selection is very important and you need to pick songs that are congregational which means they are easy to sing along to. So some great tips to figure a good song is first are the lyrics powerful do they get you pumped up and encouraged. Secondly, does the song stay in your head after you hear it? A great melody helps you sing along as you are hearing it and also the song stays with you throughout the day.
4. Share your heart.
You need to have moments where you have people on stage speak from their hearts and express what God is doing in their lives or what a particular song means to them. True authenticity is found when we are being open and real. We personally have this take place in a few areas of our services. Usually someone on the worship team will speak in between the 2nd and third song and then at the end of the set we will have another speaker come up and do a spiritual moment and close in prayer. We are not just singing songs we are engaging God and by integrating sharing with singing it really enhances that experience!
5. Welcome Guests.
After the spiritual moment the speaker needs to go directly into the welcome. We always welcome the first time guests (not pointing them out individually), we introduce ourselves, share our vision, highlight our worship guides and connection cards, and explain what is happening next in the service. From there we go into a 2 minute countdown before the pastor speaks the message. This gives time for people to get settled in their seats and for guests to fill out the connection cards.
6. Leave room for the Holy Spirit.
Though we plan our services very specifically we are also very sensitive to the Holy Spirit and leave room in our service that if we feel led we can go back into a song or share something more. Sunday services are all about people hearing, feeling, and experiencing God and sometimes we don’t know how or when that will happen so build into your services flexibility. Not every service will need that time, but it is great to have it there when you do. Don’t get in the way of God!
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, leave a comment I would love to hear from you!