Three Sundays ago, we changed up our Sunday morning format and I wanted to take a moment to walk through it and give a little insight into it.
First, I’ll list the basic order of elements to our service and then I’ll give some thoughts.
Sundays 10 AM
- (Actually 9:55 am) Countdown video
- Opening video on the theme of the day.
- Welcome with time to greet others
- Video themed to message
- Music with prayer opportunity
Of course, there will be changes from time to time, but this is where we start each week. I didn’t put our time targets in place, however, this new format is designed for the Music at the end to start at 11:05.
There really isn’t anything too radical in this change and other churches have and are using a very similar format. For us, this is a decent change from what we had been doing.
One thing we don’t want to do is get locked into something to the point that the form becomes greater than the purpose. Methods, forms, formats, and styles change, but we do not change the message of hope and lifechange that comes from Jesus. Our purpose of knowing Christ and making Him known is the constant in our decision making processes.
This is our format for now.
We have a good diversity of people who attend on Sunday mornings with differing ideas and preferences when it comes to some of what we do in church. This current format comes from conversations with some of these as well as feedback we received from guests. A couple of “why” thoughts behind this change:
- Quite honestly, we had too many preliminaries before the message and were hearing that it took too long to get to the message. This played out as people arrived later and later in the service over time leaving our band starting with just a few people in the room. We have shortened the time before the message so that it will start about 15 minutes into the service.
- The first set of music will be no more than 2 songs that are more upbeat and help get us in the right frame of mind for the message.
- The music at the end of the service will be more worshipful/contemplative in style and tone to allow for people to pray and reflect allowing God to speak to them. We will also have people available to meet with those who wish to receive prayer during this time. By pushing this time to the end of the service it affords more flexibility in the prayer and response time. It also allows those who desire a longer time of music and singing in worship to have that without being rushed by the next element in our service schedule. Those who don’t connect as well with music can slip out without being a distraction.
- Our goal is to provide a meaningful experience for each person that attends so that they can connect with God and His message with as few detractors as possible.
There is no “perfect” format that will reach everyone and we know that some will not connect with our way of doing things. However, this seems to be working well for us for the first few weeks that we have used it as it allows for those who want more music as well as those who want less and we can keep the focus on God’s Word and what He is doing in people’s lives.
This, of course, is just a nutshell account of what has been behind our change in format that we are going to use for the time being.
If you have experienced one of our new format services, feel free to leave your thoughts below in the comments. If you have any questions, feel free to post those as well.