Monday Morning Quarterback: Evaluate and Improve your Worship Service
Every Monday morning after a game, NFL football players watch films from the previous Sunday to determine what they can do better next week. We should be even more concerned about what happens in our worship services each Sunday. The NFL is just playing a game. We aren't.
Growing churches are always asking the question: "How can we do it better?"
They are ruthless in evaluating their own services and ministries. Evaluation is the key to excellence. You must continually examine every part of your service and assess its effectiveness.
At Saddleback, we've developed three tools to aid in evaluation: the First Impression card, the Welcome card, and a Worship Evaluation sheet.
All three provide us with valuable feedback. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. It is the secret of continuous improvement, something the Japanese call "Kaizen"
The First Impression card gives us feedback from first-time visitors. It helps us see the service from their perspective.
The Welcome card gives us feedback from our regular attenders and members. We receive a steady flow of suggestions and tips from those in the Crowd.
The Worship Evaluation sheet gives us feedback from our own staff members. It includes an evaluation for everything from parking to bulletins to refreshment tables to the music and message.
In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul concludes his instructions on seeker-sensitive services by saying "But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." (1 Cor. 14:40)
I believe this verse implies that planning, evaluating, and improving our services is a proper thing to do. Both the worship of God and the evangelizing of people deserve our best effort.
Seeker-sensitive services are hard work! It takes enormous amounts of energy, creativity, commitment, time, money, and preparation to pull off a service for seekers week after week. Why bother? Why go to all this trouble trying to bridge the cultural gap between the church and the unchurched? Because, like Paul, we do it all, "for Jesus' sake." (2 Cor. 4:5)
You must know why you do what you do or else you'll be defeated by discouragement.
I remember one particular Sunday morning a number of years ago. We were setting up the high school for the weekend services and about half of our set-up crew had not shown up, for one reason or another. As I was carrying nursery equipment from a trailer to one of the classrooms across the campus, I remember feeling overwhelmed with a sense of discouragement.
Satan began to throw darts of self-pity at me: Why should you have to do all this set up and take down while all other pastors have to do is just show up? They just walk into their own building. Most pastors don't have to mess with setting up and taking down every week but you've had to do this for years!
As I was beginning to enjoy my pity party, the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "Hey Rick, who are you doing this for anyway?" I stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the high school parking lot, began to cry, and reminded myself: I do this for Jesus' sake. It is nothing compared to what he's done for me.
"In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord Christ." Col. 3:23-24 (NCV)
This article is used by permission from Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for those in ministry. www.pastors.com.