You want to launch a second worship service, and you know that is easier said than done.
You can feel the need.
You can see the potential.
You’re ready for the new responsibilities.
But you also know about the:
- Internal challenges
- Work involved
- Tension with leadership
- Uncertainty among church members
- Need for new volunteers
Don’t let perceived (or real) hurdles discourage you. If you sense the need for potentially adding a new worship service, then prayerfully move forward.
In this post, I’m going to share some helpful guidelines and tips, including:
- 2 reasons to add a new worship service
- 5 common mistakes to avoid when launching a new worship service
- How to launch a new worship service
Let’s dig in!
2 reasons to add a new worship service
As a church leader, it’s essential to learn how to work with people.
From your church’s leadership (elders, deacons, board) to volunteers to church members, there are a variety of relationships you have to learn to navigate well.
Working with people is especially essential if you’re launching a new ministry, ending a ministry, or initiating a significant cultural shift in your church, such as adding a new worship service.
Before making any sweeping changes, there’s one question you must answer:
Why should we (the church) add an additional worship service?
The answer to this question will not only help you nail down the practical details. But the answer will also guide you in casting a vision your church can see and embrace.
Not only do you need to know why you want to add an additional service. But your church’s leadership and church members need to know why too. They have to feel the tension in making the decision.
Let’s take a look at two big reasons why many churches add a second worship service:
1. It provides an opportunity to reach more people.
2. It empowers additional volunteers.
An additional worship service is one opportunity to reach more people with the gospel. There are two reasons why this is the case.
First, people in your community who have not committed their lives to Jesus are not committed to prioritizing life in your church—yet. This isn’t because they’re “bad” people. This has everything to do with the fact that they have not experienced new life in Christ, and they don’t have the desire or interest to rearrange their lives around going to church.
You’re probably thinking:
What does this have to do with adding an extra worship service?
In short—a lot.
In general, when you have one worship service, you are limiting (some) people from being able to participate. For some individuals and families, your worship service may be too early or too late. What is more, if there’s a conflict with the time of your worship service, then many people will feel inclined to pass on visiting your church.
However, if you offer more than one worship service, you can place your church in a position to reach more people. This is one big way you can help potential visitors overcome hurdles in attending your worship service.
Another significant reason your church should consider adding a second worship service is for empowering additional volunteers.
Depending on how many church members you have and the volunteer opportunities you provide, launching an additional worship service will naturally offer more volunteer opportunities. From children’s ministry to greeters and ushers, your volunteer needs will increase.
At first, empowering more volunteers may feel overwhelming.
Before you grab a paper bag to keep from hyperventilating, take a moment. This can be a good thing.
As God leads your church to reach more people in the community, he will also call your church community to participate in his work by volunteering. This is why it’s essential to cast a vision and focus on reaching more people—not on the additional work you will need to do.
Alright, I know you’re ready to move forward.
There are a few landmines to watch out for.
5 common mistakes to avoid when launching a new worship service
The thought of adding another service can sound promising.
Your church is experiencing positive momentum.
You’re reaching new people in the community.
You have led new people to join community groups.
You see the potential of adding another worship service, and you feel compelled to plow forward in faith. Before rushing forward with your head down, there are five mistakes you should identify and avoid:
1. Rushing the process
2. Not planning
3. Not preparing your leaders or volunteers
4. Creating “different” churches
5. Lack of promotion
Let’s take a look at these.
#1 – Rushing the process
I’ve already alluded to the first mistake: rushing the process.
This is an easy mistake to make—especially if your seating capacity is already bursting at the seams. But it’s never a good idea to rush anything. In the words of Solomon, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (Prov 19:2).
As we’ll see below, adding a new service is not only a logistical decision—e.g., what time, how many volunteers. It will also be a significant cultural shift for your church. Making this move too fast could be detrimental for your church, which leads me to the next big mistake churches make.
#2 – Not planning
When you add another worship service, there are a ton of moving parts involved. From identifying the motivation to getting the support of your church’s leadership and members, to then figuring out all of the details, you have your work cut out for you.
Pastor, hear me loud and clear here:
You should not manage this process alone.
There are way too many details for you to manage.
Depending on your church’s situation, delegate this responsibility to a staff member or volunteer who can oversee all of the moving parts.
Besides, as a pastor, you should focus on preaching and teaching, providing pastoral counsel, and casting a vision for your church.
#3 – Not preparing your leaders and volunteers
Another mistake churches make when adding a worship service is not preparing their leadership, staff, and volunteers for the new challenges.
When you launch a second or third service, you will place new leadership burdens on your team, and they must be prepared, coached, or mentored. If anything, be sure to provide yourself with accountability.
It will take time and experience in facing new challenges before you know what to expect and how to handle the new hurdles.
#4 – Creating “two” (or more) churches
There’s one big challenge you’ll face when adding more worship services:
How can you make it one church with many services?
Think about it like this.
When you add a new service, people in your church will start to divide between the different options, and this trend will continue the more services you add. When this happens, people will naturally cross paths less, and, unless you’re purposeful in building community between your multiple services, then your church members can feel like they’re involved in different churches—not just different worship services.
Be prepared to respond to these questions and plan on making purposeful strides toward making your church feel like one.
#5 – Lack of promotion
Adding an additional service isn’t like the Field of Dreams.
Adding it to your schedule doesn’t mean people will automatically come. In fact, you should expect to see a bunch of empty seats if you don’t promote it well.
As with starting anything new, you have to tell your church members over, and over, and over again. From church bulletins and direct mail to emails and social media updates, get ready to talk about your plans—a lot.
How to launch a new worship service
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
Below are seven tactical things you need to keep in mind when adding a new service.
Treat these tactics like guiding principles you can use to help you think through the details of launching a new worship service.
#1 – Get a vision
Casting vision isn’t a one and done thing.
To cast a compelling vision for your church, you first have to receive direction from the Lord, and then you have to get to work.
Here are the steps involved:
- Get clarity
- Make it memorable
- Encourage participation
- Promote it
The first step you need to take is to get clarity.
As I pointed out above, you have to answer this question:
Why should your church add a worship service?
When you think about the answer to this question, take the time not only to clarify why you believe the Lord is leading your church to make this change. But take the time to start thinking through the objections you’ll hear. This way, as you move toward promoting this change, you’ll be prepared to address objections from within your church.
The second step you want to take is to make it memorable.
Sharing logistics, details, and a new service from the pulpit isn’t exciting. Create a slogan your church members can sink their teeth into and remember.
Don’t worry about crafting something snazzy like you’re a Madison Avenue ad man or woman. Instead, focus on creating something that’s clear, concise (one sentence or just a few words), and compelling.
When casting a vision, you want to encourage participation.
For example, if your motivation is to reach more people in your community, remind your church that God is calling them to participate in his work by building relationships with people, being hospitable, and inviting people to join the worship service.
Adding a new service isn’t something you can do alone.
This is something your entire church needs to embrace.
Finally, after you have these three points nailed down, you’re ready to create a communication plan.
Here are some big items to keep in mind:
- Social media
- Direct mail
- Word of mouth
- PowerPoint SlideShare
In your promotions, don’t just start the week before.
Instead, plan on talking about this for at least 4–6 weeks ahead of time. What is more, keep in mind the timing. For example, if you plan on promoting a new service during the summer, it may take longer since many of your church members will not be in attendance every week.
#2 – Get buy-in from your leadership
Making big decisions isn’t easy, and you can’t make them alone.
When you want to make a significant shift in the church you serve, it’s essential to get buy-in from your leadership.
You may believe that a change is necessary. But your church’s leadership may not “see” the vision or feel the need to support adding a new worship service.
As you work to get buy-in, be sure to share the “why” behind the “what.”
Lead them to feel the pain point you identified earlier.
Cast a vision for them to rally behind.
What is more, take your time during this process.
You don’t want to rush forward unless you have the support of your church’s leadership.
#3 – Be mindful of your church's culture
For better or worse, your church has a culture.
It’s why and what you do.
It’s your values, beliefs, attitude, purpose, habits, behavior, norms, tone, and more.
As you prepare to add a new service, you need to take stock of your church’s culture.
Unless adding a second worship service has been a part of your church’s culture, it will be more challenging than you think to make the change. The unknown will make people nervous, and other church members will circle the wagons and protect the way things used to be.
As a church leader, no one will know your church culture and members better than you.
In preparing to change, identify what you believe will be the common rebuttals, and be prepared to respond. What is more, be ready to listen. Like, really listen. You will learn a ton about your plans and the people you serve along the way.
One last thing about this point.
There are two types of people you want to identify:
1. Early adopters
2. Late adopters
After clearing things with your church’s leadership, connect with the early adopters in your church. Share the vision, and invite them to participate in serving as ambassadors. Having people outside of your leadership circle to share the excitement will go a long way in creating momentum within your church community.
As for late adopters, you want to know who this group is within your church, walk alongside them during this change, and encourage and challenge them to accept how God is leading your church into the future.
#4 – Set a time
Here’s one common refrain when adding a service:
There’s more to adding a worship service than adding a new time slot on Sunday.
For example, as you think through the timing (when your new service begins and ends), it’s best to take into consideration the entire day. In other words, you may need two new times for both of your worship services—instead of simply adding a new service at a new time.
Here’s one benefit:
When you require every church member to make a change, it will lead everyone to adapt to the new service, which tends to lead to better participation across the board.
#5 – Create community
How do you create community when your church adds a new service?
There’s no silver bullet to this question.
Some churches have found that providing time and space in-between services can help people connect before or after a worship service. Other churches give a Bible study in-between services, whereas others decide to move these studies to a different time and day. Still, other churches emphasize leading people into small groups to create community during the week.
Whatever choice you make, be sure to foster community, and lead your church members and first-time guests to take a next step in getting further involved.
#6 – Be ready to preach (a lot)
Adding an additional service isn’t a cake walk.
You’re now adding another preaching time to your schedule.
This might not sound like a lot on the surface.
Here’s what you need to know:
According to some experts, preaching for 30 minutes is comparable to working an 8-hour workday.
Since preaching is physically taxing, it will take a toll on your body and mental well-being. So, if you start to preach more often every week, then you should prepare to preach less throughout the year.
If you haven’t already, create a plan to have guest preachers fill in the pulpit for you throughout the year. By making a plan now to take a break in the future, you’ll be able to recharge later and you’ll have something to look forward to.
#7 – Go big or go home
It’s not every day you add a new worship service.
Make it big!
Start a new sermon series.
Throw a party.
Invite some food trucks to dish out some treats.
Follow your promotion plan above, and empower your congregation to invite their family, friends, and neighbors.
Basically, you want to pull out all the stops for this launch.
Over to you
There you have it.
Easy, right? 😉
Don’t feel like you need to go about making such a big change alone.