The Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 181
Being part of a growing church is a lot of fun. For many in ministry, this isn’t your experience. But by God’s grace, as your church pursues revitalization, you’ll have to deal with growing pains. One of the most common hurdles as churches begin to grow is how to transition from one to two services. If your church has outgrown its capacity for a single service, it may be time to start considering the possibility of moving to two worship services. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why this transition can be beneficial for your church, as well as key factors involved in making the move.
However, transitioning to two services isn’t something to take lightly. It requires careful planning, communication, and a willingness to adapt to change. In this article, we’ll outline critical issues involved in making the transition, including how to determine the right timing and logistics, as well as how to prepare the congregation for the change.
If you’re a pastor or church leader who is considering the move to two services, this article will provide valuable insights into how and why to do so. We’ll also address common challenges that may arise during the transition and offer strategies for overcoming them. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the benefits of moving to two worship services and the steps involved in making it happen. So, let’s get started!
Subscribe below to never miss an episode.
Don’t Do It If You Don’t Have To
When considering whether to move to two services, it’s important to first ask yourself if it’s truly necessary. While having two services can offer a range of benefits, such as accommodating a growing congregation and offering more scheduling options, it’s not a decision that should be made lightly. Here are some things to keep in mind:
First and foremost, moving to two services requires a significant amount of work. You’ll need to coordinate with your staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders to ensure that everything runs smoothly. There are also logistical considerations to take into account, such as scheduling, worship service format, and ensuring that there’s enough parking and seating available.
In addition to being a lot of work, moving to two services requires a lot of manpower. You’ll need more volunteers to help with things like greeting visitors, ushering people to their seats, and staffing the children’s ministry. This can be a significant strain on your resources, particularly if your church is already short-staffed.
Another factor to consider is that you’re likely to receive complaints from members of your congregation. Some people may prefer the existing service time and format, while others may be resistant to change. It’s important to have a plan in place to address these concerns and ensure that everyone feels heard.
Finally, it’s worth noting that moving to two services can put a strain on your staff and volunteers, potentially leading to burnout. It’s important to ensure that everyone is well-supported and has the resources they need to succeed.
Moving to two services is not a decision to be taken lightly. Before making the move, it’s important to carefully consider the workload, manpower requirements, potential complaints, and the impact on your staff and volunteers. Only move forward with the transition if it’s truly necessary and feasible.
Timing is Everything
When considering whether to move to two services, it’s important to take timing into account. Here are some key considerations:
Many assume that “the 80% Rule” is immutable. This is the idea that you should start planning for a second service when your sanctuary is at 80% capacity. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this guideline is not a hard and fast rule, and it’s not always the best metric to use. Instead, it’s important to consider other factors, such as whether your church is experiencing significant growth or momentum. If you’re experiencing growth and momentum, you may want to consider other options for creating capacity, such as switching from pews to chairs or adding additional services to your current schedule.
When you’ve determined that moving to two services is the best option, it’s important to choose a natural break in the church calendar. This could be right after a new school year begins in August or September, or during Christmastime, when many churches have higher than average attendance. Choosing a natural break will give your congregation time to adjust to the change and ensure that everyone is on board.
When deciding when to schedule the two services, there are several options to consider. One option is to have two services on Sunday with groups or classes during both hours. This is a popular option for churches that have a strong small group or Sunday school program and need the whole of their facility to accommodate the number of groups and classes. Another option is to have two services with a Sunday school or small group hour in-between. This can be a good option for churches that have a large number of families with young children, and for those that want to maintain a sense of unity through “mixing” the first and second service crowds through community life ministries. A third option is to have an odd time second service, such as on a Saturday night or Sunday evening. This can be a good option for churches that have a large number of commuters or people with busy schedules.
It’s important to consider what time will be most optimal for guests, and what services or programs will be offered during each time slot. For example, if you have a strong children’s ministry program, you may want to schedule your services at a time when families are most likely to attend. Don’t plan on offering your most guest-friendly ministries (like full children’s programming) during the less guest-friendly service time.
Consider Volunteer Needs
Moving to two services can be a significant change for a church, and it requires a lot of manpower. That’s why evaluating volunteer needs is crucial. While it won’t require doubling your team, you’ll need to increase it by about 1.5 times. Therefore, having a plan in place to recruit and train new volunteers is critical.
It’s essential to have about 75% of your new volunteer needs recruited before making the switch to two services. If you aren’t close to this metric, consider pushing back the change. Launching this correctly is critical to the long-term success of the two-service model.
Another consideration when evaluating volunteer needs is ensuring a proper rotation. Be sure to recruit enough volunteers to allow for at least a one week on/one week off model. This approach will help ensure that volunteers don’t get burnt out from serving every week.
The serve one service/attend one service model may sound appealing, but it can be challenging to implement. Asking families with kids to be on-site for 2 or 3 hours every single week can be a tough commitment for everyone except the most committed members. If this is your volunteer model, it may be challenging to maintain and could signal to potential volunteers that serving at your church is a life sentence. Therefore, it’s important to consider other volunteer models that will work better for your church.
Questions About Unity
Maintaining unity is a major concern when transitioning from one service to two services. It’s common for members to raise questions and objections about maintaining the close-knit family feel of the church. However, these objections are often irrational and can be addressed with intentional efforts to create a sense of unity.
One common objection is the fear of not knowing everyone anymore. The truth is that as churches grow beyond about 120 people, it becomes difficult for anyone to know everyone. Instead of focusing on knowing everyone, the goal should be to ensure that everyone is known and feels connected to the church community. As a Great Commission church, our focus should be on sharing the Gospel of Jesus with the world, not on maintaining a small, close-knit community.
Another concern is that the church won’t feel like one church with two services. This is a valid concern, but it’s important to ask why this would be the case. By creating opportunities for intentional interaction, such as a few church-wide events each year, members can get to know each other across services and feel like they are part of one larger community. Sharing themes, resources, and experiences can also help create social and cultural cohesion across services.
Effective communication is also vital for maintaining unity during the transition. Church leaders must clearly communicate expectations, vision, and direction to the congregation. This can help alleviate fears and concerns and help members feel like they are a part of the decision-making process. By addressing concerns and proactively creating opportunities for unity, churches can successfully transition from one service to two services without sacrificing community and unity.
Should We Do The Same Service Twice or Two Different Types?
When considering moving to two services, a question that often arises is whether the two services should be identical or different. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It ultimately depends on the specific goals of the church and its congregation.
If the primary concern is lack of space, offering two identical services can help alleviate overcrowding issues. By having the same service twice, you can share resources such as worship teams, creative assets, etc. This also makes it easier for volunteers.
However, if the goal is to reach two different cultures or demographics within the community, it may be necessary to offer two different service types. For example, one service could be more contemporary and geared towards younger congregants, while the other could be more traditional and appeal to an older demographic.
It’s important to note that offering two different service types can be more challenging to execute. It requires more resources, including separate worship teams, sound equipment, and even different preaching styles. It’s crucial that the church has the leadership and manpower to execute both services with excellence and authenticity.
Ultimately, the decision between offering two identical services or two different types of services depends on the specific goals of the church and its congregation. Regardless of which option is chosen, it’s important to do it well and with intentionality to effectively reach and serve the church community.
In conclusion, moving from one service to two services is a significant decision for any church. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution and requires careful consideration of a number of factors. We’ve outlined five key factors to consider before making the switch. Before making the move, it’s important to evaluate the need, timing, volunteer needs, unity concerns, and service type. By taking these factors into account, church leaders can ensure a smooth transition and continued growth for their congregation.
While moving to two services can be a challenging and complex process, doing it with excellence and authenticity can provide the opportunity to reach new people and expand the impact of the church. By taking these factors into account, churches can make the switch to two services with confidence and intentionality.
BONUS: Watch this episode on YouTube.
Scott Ball is the Vice President and a Lead Guide with The Malphurs Group. He lives in East Tennessee with his wife and two children. (Email Scott).