You have been given about 1 hour each week during your worship experience to counter the 167 hours that our world is bombarding your community with. It’s your own David and Goliath story – happening each weekend inside your local church. Sure, you might have been able to encourage a percentage of your church community to get involved in a mid-week experience or volunteer some time in a ministry environment. But at the end of the day, you’ve been given 1 hour to lead your community closer to Jesus.
This realization caused me to ask myself these questions:
Am I using this time wisely?
Am I wasting time?
Am I maximizing every minute?
Am I honoring the time my community has entrusted to me (our team)?
Am I allowing time for people to respond – to interact – to reflect?
As I continued to work this through in my mind, I remembered the importance of making the most out of every minute. Every moment. Every opportunity within that allotted time. And although our minimal 1 hour looks more like five stones and a sling compared to the other 167, I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit meets us in the gap to help create the dynamic blow.
So how do we accomplish this?
What’s the answer? Flow.
Flow is the uninterrupted expression of unified elements leading to a single purpose or response.
Nothing distracts a congregation more than a clogged flow. Nothing makes a first-time guest more uncomfortable than a choppy experience. It’s like flying through 1 hour of turbulence for a first-time flyer. They aren’t relaxed. They don’t feel safe. They aren’t enjoying the in-flight movie or breathtaking views. They’re simply holding on. Uncomfortable. Waiting to get to the end of it.
Is this the type of response we want to illicit?
In my experience, flow can be created and sustained in any church or service-type by adopting and practicing three simple principles.
1. Unified Vision
In your planning meetings, ask your lead pastor, “What one thing do you want our community to walk away knowing? What’s the take-away? The so-what?” The answer to that question becomes the guiding light for everything else that enters the service. That becomes the measure with which you critique and evaluate your success as a team.
Did you hit the mark?
Did you throw the stone in the right direction?
I know you can probably related to this. I have been a worship leader in a church where I was responsible for my part and the lead pastor was responsible for his part. We didn’t talk throughout the week. I didn’t ask him what he was speaking on. There was no communication. No preparation. No unified vision.
Sure, there were weeks that our individual parts converged into a seemingly unified experience, but those moments were sparse. The service had three distinct sections: Worship. Welcome. Message. And no one knew what the other was doing.
And like you, I knew there had to be a better way.
Intentional communication is always a good place to start.
2. Proper Preparation
Too often, when pastors say “we just rely on the Holy Spirit”, they really mean that they are going to “wing it” and hope God shows up. And by God’s grace, He does. Most of the time. Because He cares about His church.
But what could happen if we actually put some pre-meditation into our weekend worship services?
It’s interesting that in David’s story, he didn’t “wing it” with Saul’s armor and sword. He used the weapon he had practiced with. He knew the weight of the rocks he would need. He felt the leather straps within his grip before. He knew the right time to release the stone. He was prepared.
I have learned:
- God actually has a plan for our church and community.
- The Holy Spirit is able to speak to you months in advance.
- The natural always proceeds the supernatural.
- When we’ve done all we can do, God’s takes it from there.
- Be flexible with last minute, inspirational nudges.
My creative team is working hard at becoming better in this area. We don’t have it all figured out. But we are committed to the process.
The process doesn’t get us to our goal. The process is the goal.
As you discover, define, and deploy a unified process in planning and building your weekend services, and you will begin to see the outcome flow produces.
I doubt we were the only ones, but our first weekend experience used to be our run-through. We did band practice and sound check, but we really had no idea how all the elements would actually fit together. We had ideas. We had a plan. We had thought it out. But we didn’t really know because we really hadn’t fully prepared.
Again, I reflect back on the story of David and his experiences with the lion and the bear. These experiences weren’t coincidence. They were divine moments set apart for David to gain confidence and experience. They were opportunities for him to build trust in himself, his tools, and his God.
So now I ask you the questions I asked myself:
Are you using your time wisely?
Are you wasting time?
Are you make the most of every minute?
Are you honoring the time your community has entrusted to you?
Are you offering your best so the Holy Spirit can meet you in the gap?