One day I showed up to the gym after work for a normal workout. While I was changing I realized I’d left my gym shoes and socks at home. All I had were the Clark boots and blue-and-white striped socks I’d been wearing all day.
With all the ego that only a 39-year-old father of two can have, I pressed on with my workout. I was officially “that guy.” Gym clothes with Clark boots and dress socks.
My fitness attire was on point.
My workout that day was fine, but it wasn’t all that it could have been. There was something missing.
Church services can function the same way. We all know that each service needs the standard elements: worship music, inspired preaching and opportunities for people to give. However, there are additional things that can take a service from good to great.
Below are four areas you need to pay attention to in your worship services.
1. Smooth Transitions
This may be the thing that requires the most work for your team. You can have quality worship music, killer video content and a moving message; yet rob them all of effectiveness with bad transitions. The last 10 percent of excellence in a worship service comes in the transitions.
You need to consider the lighting as people are walking off and on stage. Does it continue the ambiance or do I see musicians fumbling around with instruments? At the end of a sermon do you really need the keyboard player performing funeral home music or can you wait and play music with energy? Should a worship leader end a powerful set by saying an emotionless, “You may be seated,” or should they allow that moment to breathe? Does the person doing announcements have the communication skills to transition a very felt moment into what’s next in just one sentence? Transitions always happen; good transitions always happen on purpose.
2. Offering at the End
We receive our offering at the end of our worship service. Churches who don’t are shortsighted. From a financial standpoint, people give more at the end rather than in the middle. Why? Because you’ve given God room to touch their lives and they may contribute financially in response to that.
Another key here is to receive your first-time guest cards during the offering. By this point you’ve given a guest the entire service to fill it out. If they were hesitant to give you their information when the service started, you’ve had time to build trust with them by the end. Moving the offering to the end of our service resulted in an increase in giving, guest cards and overall connection to our church. Worship services serve people connecting to your church, not vice versa.
3. Relational Connections for Those Who Receive Christ
Churches can automate now more than ever. Giving, follow-up, connections and more can be accomplished via digital platforms. While I support and utilize all of those things, you need to focus on a relational connection for at least one area on Sundays. My church is working toward doing this with individuals who receive Christ.
At the end of our service, during our offering time, we always communicate to anyone who prayed to receive Christ to text the phrase “IHAVEDECIDED” to a number on the screen. They will receive an automated response with several instructions. The top of the list will direct them to go to the front of our auditorium when service is dismissed. There, a team of trained volunteers will engage this person in a one-on-one conversation about their conversion experience. While we can’t offer personal connection around every area, we can offer it around one.
4. Digital Giving Options
Around 50 to 60 percent of my church’s income is collected digitally. Not using this platform means you are missing dollars. We use online giving, kiosk giving and text-to-give. For all of our digital giving we use a company called SecureGive.
While all of these platforms are crucial, at least offer one. People do not carry cash or checks anymore; a kiosk in your lobby allows that person to donate and communicates to a younger audience that you understand their world.
A hidden gem of the digital generosity platform is what we call Scheduled Giving. Each May, we reintroduce the equivalent of automated bill pay. People simply sign up to have their donations automatically drafted from their accounts. If you’re worried about that seeming unspiritual, get over it. Faithfulness is spiritual; feelings are not. Make it as easy as possible for people to be faithful—don’t rob your church of needed resources in the name of how something feels.
Hone in on these four elements over the next several months and watch your worship experiences go from good to great.
Kevin Lloyd is the executive pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia. This article was originally posted on Lloyd’s blog, LeadBravely.org.