By: Ryan Lowe
Most of us know Las Vegas has some of the best signage you will ever see, and the city knows how to push its agenda. Ed Young, Jr. explains it like this, “Vegas has nothing to say but they know how to say it, yet the church has every thing to say but so often we don’t know how to say it.”
I love the church, not just our church, but every church that promotes a relationship with Christ. I
believe wholeheartedly that we have the most important job on the planet – sharing the news of JESUS. At Christ Church, there was a place we arrived that totally changed our way of thinking about our weekend services. So, we landed on a couple things that we look at while getting ready for every service.
PREPARE – “Stop Winging It”
We stopped winging it. Winging it is possibly one of the church’s biggest downfalls, and far too many times we do just that. All the way from the person welcoming, to the offering guy, to the preacher, there’s little to no fore thought in to what is going to be said or done. We have become professionals at winging it.
So at Christ Church, we have made a huge effort in being prepared, not for our sake, but for the Gospel’s sake and our guests’ sake. I’m not going to try and convince you that there aren’t things thrown together at the last minute, but being consistently unprepared screams volumes to your weekend attendees that you don’t value their time or the Gospel. Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you
are preparing to fail.” The Church doesn’t have the option to fail. So what we do, and it’s the easiest thing we can do for our weekend service, is to TALK ABOUT IT. We talk through the Sunday schedule.When we started “talking about it”, our presentation level grew dramatically.
GET CREATIVE – “Not Just Weird”
Creative people have given creative people a bad name. Creativity is more than wearing funny hats, being tatted up, or having some crazy haircut. Being creative is a NORMAL way of life. It is simply our ability to make something new and the ability to perceive things in new ways. The church should be on the forefront of creativity. The most creative venue out there should be the local church. Unfortunately, there are a few that somehow take the Bible, the most exciting book, and make it stale, almost lifeless. If your service is unattractive to people, don’t blame God, because God is not boring. One of the things that I tell my teams is that ruts are NO GOOD, whether it’s a bad rut or a good rut. Ruts are predictable. The church should be consistently unpredictable because the higher the predictability, the lower the crowd participation and engagement. Most of us (the Church) are predictable. We all lean towards predictability but we have to be consistently inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, we should be consistent in our theology, consistent in rightly dividing the Word, but inconsistent in our approaches.
At Christ Church we have a creative meeting everyTuesday about future weekends, and talk about how we can make things a little different. Here are a few ways you can shake things up:
1. Change your welcomes.
We change our welcome almost weekly. It may be that a Pastor opens the service and starts service with a prayer, or it may be that video announcements welcome the crowd that day. We have found several layouts that we like, and essentially just rotate them around.
2. Change your worship format.
We have a format that we follow every Sunday, but our Pastor has given us the freedom to do what we like within those segments. Our format is worship, offering, and then preaching. But in each of the first two we are able to mix things up: utilize scripture readings, fellowship time, special musical components, and video elements; there are endless possibilities.
3. Make before and after church fun.
My wife, Lindsey, plays a big part of our creative team and coordinates all of our ‘before’ and ‘after’ service events which create a huge buzz around campus. On any given Sunday, guests and members might arrive to service and find a live band playing in the lobby, or fire pits ready for roasting marshmallows. She tries to stick with a few major events throughout every year such as “Back to School”, “Porch Party”, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. Creating a great atmosphere before and after service will
provide you with an opportunity to engage with people. It sounds like a lot of work, because it is. Creativity is like a muscle; working it only makes it stronger. To consistently be creative in our services, we make time to be creative. If you don’t create on purpose, you will never create by
accident. It’s a practice – a habit that you have to develop. I also believe having other people involved is a huge plus, even the people who you may not deem “creative”. You never know what piece of the puzzle they may offer to allow your church to present the Gospel the best way it can.
Christ Church maybe in a different position where we have larger teams and a larger budget than some, but here’s an eye opener, LARGER DOESN’T ALWAYS EQUAL BETTER. Size affords us some awesome opportunities but it also presents us with some disadvantages too. We can’t be as relational or intimate in our creative approach as a smaller church can be. So recognize your strengths and play off those instead of dwelling on what you don’t have, and you will go a lot further. Together, let’s present the Gospel of Christ to our communities the best we can.
Ryan is on the pastoral staff of Christ Church in West Monroe, LA, and is deeply passionate about the ministry of the local church. In his current role as Creative Director, he oversees the production of services and is also a part of the speaking team. Leading the creative department, he works closely with the media team, worship department and Pastor Tom to ensure that each element of ministry is working cohesively. Ryan is married to Lindsey and they have two children, Willa Rae and Guy.