Worship is so much more than music. Our entire communal worship experience begins before we sing our first note and it continues after the last note is played. While all of life is to be lived in worship to God, our worship service specifically includes many elements that can enhance our entire experience.
While most of this blog will deal with musical elements of the common worship experience in our churches, everything either enhances or detracts from the overall experience. We need to consider these other elements.
Here are some general principles on elements in the worship service. Please use these thoughts as a catalyst as you consider how you can enhance your entire worship experience.
There are many who shut down anything that sounds like a “church growth” or “mega-church” model. First of all, without me coming across as too strong, I want to remind the anti-mega-church group that people in the mega-church are our brothers and sisters and they are being reached in a form that you are not meeting. Please celebrate all forms that God is using whether you would choose the model or not. Secondly, these are not “church growth” or “mega-church” models. They are simply people principles. Whatever group or model of church you are called to minister in, just scale the concepts appropriately.
Okay – let’s talk about welcoming people to your church . . .
Welcoming Guests and Members:
Consider the Wal-Mart experience. One of the reasons why they have been such a success is that they know how to make it easy to shop at their stores. They are at major intersections, they have huge parking lots (they even invite people in RVs to overnight in their parking lots), massive signage, huge stores, wide selection, excellent branding, and hosts that greet you at the door, pass you a shopping cart and try to let tell you where to find what you’re looking for so that you’re happy to come back. While I wouldn’t want to adopt everything from Wal-Mart for any church, you still can’t argue with their success in attracting people.
On the other hand, many of our churches are out of the way, have terrible parking, you can barely find a sign, the entryways are too small, they have limited selection, weak ‘branding’ and the hosts, if anything only place a bulletin in your hands and make you find your own seat.
As much as you may be focused on the musical part of the worship service, it is important to consider how many hurdles visitors may have to jump in order to finally get to their seat for worship. I would suggest that you consider looking at the other areas that affect the worship service in order to make the entire experience one that is welcoming.
You may want to consider training your hosts (ushers) to truly welcome people into the worship experience.
Consider asking an unchurched person to visit your church incognito and to critique you on areas such as signage, facilities, and friendliness. You may be surprised at the result. Don’t perceive this as failure; see this as an opportunity to grow. While you’re at it, feel great that you will be one of the few churches that will be willing to face the facts for the sake of mission.