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 of 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 of these need the standard things: worship music, inspired preaching and opportunities for people to give. There are additional things we need to pay attention to that can take a service from good to great.
Below are four areas you need to pay attention to this week in your worship services.
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 playing 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 skill to transition a very felt moment into what’s next in just one sentence? Transitions always happen; good transitions always happen on purpose.
Offering at the End
We receive our offering at the end of our worship service. Churches who don’t are short sighted. 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 service started, you’ve had time to build trust with them by the end. Moving offering to the end of our service resulted in giving, guest cards and overall connections to the church increasing exponentially. Worship services serve people connecting to your church, not vice versa.
Relational Connections for Those Who Receive Christ
Churches can automate 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 will 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.
Digital Giving Options
Fifty to sixty 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 the 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 re-introduce 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. By not offering scheduled giving I would guess you have people miss their tithe at least twice a year. So you are leading them to be unfaithful, robbing your church of needed resources and doing that in the name of how something feels. Don’t fall victim to that.
Hone in on these four elements over the next several months and watch your worship experiences go from “something’s missing” to “something extra.”
This article originally appeared here.