by Rich Birch: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” – Jesus (Luke 10:2)
It is a fact that doing one service every Sunday is easier than doing two. There are a lot of complexities involved in duplicating your ministry and eking out how to execute across multiple services in a day. However, prevailing churches make a conscience choice to offer multiple services every Sunday to their community. Why?
One of the common traits of growing churches is that they all have at least two services on a Sunday if not many more. It is so common that it makes it easy to overlook that one of the dividing lines between churches which make an impact and which don’t is the number of services they offer on a weekend. Typically, churches with a greater impact have multiple services while churches on the decline have just one.
Why is this the case? Below are five reasons why prevailing churches choose to have multiple services every weekend. If your church hasn’t made the jump, these are some of the reasons you should!
Attend One | Serve One // At the core of all the churches which make an impact are thriving volunteer leaders fired up to make an impact in their city. Prevailing church leaders constantly look for ways to inculcate more people into service rather than trying to figure out how to do a service with as few people as possible. When you have multiple services on a Sunday morning, it gives your volunteers the opportunity to attend both the services as well as serve during another time slot. This removes a major barrier that people have to volunteer at a church with only a single service on a Sunday morning. It also has a reverse effect by communicating to volunteers that they are valued as a member of the church.
Multiplication Instinct // Healthy things grow and multiply. Multiplying your services in the same location is a step towards further multiplication down the road. Some church leaders resist adding new services because they feel overwhelmed with the task of finding new volunteers. However, recruiting and training new team members are at the core of what a church should do in order to make an impact in their community. Of course it’s not easy, but it is healthy and necessary for the life of the church by motivating a group of people to be committed to the life of the church. By not adding more services on a Sunday morning, one is limiting the opportunities for people in your church to join in the life of the church. When services are not added to the church, there is a decline in the growth opportunities for those attending the church!
An Honest Reason // Can we keep it real for a second? We all say that every service we do is done with excellence and care. However, typically the first service on any given weekend has a few kinks to be worked out. This applies to your church as well as the largest “brand name churches” in the country. I attended the first service of a “super mega large church” recently and it was obvious that the band’s lead singer did not know the lyrics to the opening song. Having multiple services gives you the opportunity to work out some of the kinks before guests arrive for later services. In an ideal world, these problems are solved in the rehearsal itself but sometimes they are not. There is something about the intensity of the guests actually being in the room which gives us a heightened sense of clarity about how the services should roll out. Having only one service every Sunday results in a service which is not 100% perfect. I wish that wasn’t true … but it is.
More Options // People’s lives are complex and difficult, therefore, it is not possible for everyone to attend the singular service at a certain time in your church. If the timings are moved around even by an hour, more people in the community might be available to be a part of the good things happening in the church. By sticking with only one service time, you are adding a limitation on the time people can connect with your church. In an era of “on demand” everything, it appears to be a total disconnect to not offer more options for those willing to connect with your church. I have seen this work successfully when a church adds new service times and they grow as they open up new times for people which they can actually attend.
It’s Not About Us // When you listen carefully to what we say when we stay with just one service in our churches it usually is about some form of selfishness. We’re smart enough to not articulate it in those terms plainly but when you carefully try to understand what the people who want to stay with one service mean is that they would rather not put in the extra time, effort and energy into making a second (or third!) service a reality. This is a dead end for your church and your leadership. God wants to bless those churches which aren’t inward focused. Pushing through the pain of multiplication is at the core of expressing to people that it is all about the people we’re trying to connect with. The aim of adding an additional service is to reach new people rather than keep the people who are already with us. The essence is selfless and I believe that’s a part of what God uses in the community in order to draw more people towards Him!