So you want to be more effective at communicating truth this year? You desire to creative compelling environments and worship experiences where people connect with God? Are you tired of the same old last minute ideas? Worn out from standing in the room on weekends wondering how things could be different if you just had a little more time to nail it down?
Well… perhaps there is some resolve you can make with your team to change that in 2016.
Here’s 5 Quick Resolves for 2016:
Consistent Creative Gatherings: Pick a day. Pick a time. Pick a location. Prepare ahead for the gathering. Set it in stone. No, really, deep in concrete. Let your team know that it is a priority and treat it as such. You determine the best time, but we have found the middle of the week to work well. Remember – this is not a logistics meeting, it is about collaborating, planning, dreaming, and wrestling with ideas. Very little actual execution should happen here. That’s for another gathering with the team that owns these elements. This gathering is mine for the moments that God is inspiring within you.
And then each week protect that gathering. Try it for 3 months. 60 minutes minimum, 2 hours maximum. If you’re leading the meeting, come prepared with clear themes and important information on each of the upcoming weekends. And then…create. Let the ideas fly.
Discover the Last 10% : Sometimes we can get lost looking for the big idea or the huge moment. Those are great, but we have found some of our most powerful, poignant moments are just simple enhancements or additions. One of our regular disciplines is to pour over the run sheet for our worship experience and look for where that last 10% can be added. For example, is there a visual additional/enhancement you can make to a worship tune you have sung multiple times? Is there a stage arrangement for a song that can focus the congregation more or signal a change in mood?
Pay attention. Don’t miss those moments. In the hecticness, be aware of these opportunities. Those small shifts can be that last “10%” that takes an ordinary moment and connects it with
Force Your Way Forward : Wherever and whenever your consistent creative gatherings are happening, drive the conversations 4-6 weeks out. And you will have to drive it there. This is not something that will happen naturally. Trust me. You will sit down and have every good intention to get there, but the urgency of what’s next will steer and steal your conversations from the future to the pressing present. 60 minutes later you will walk away wondering what happened.
Each week in our gatherings we are committed to touching on the future. Nothing has to be locked in, in fact, most of the time it isn’t. But as we lay in random ideas we know they are going to continue to be tweaked and changed so it breeds excellence and genuine impact. If you are spending all your time spinning your wheels about the present, resolve to aggressively force the conversation down the road.
Regain Some Perspective: It happens every weekend. You have a call time (show up) for your production team and a volunteer comes rolling in a few minutes late and looking pretty worn out. You’re irritated, but somehow force a smile as they shuffle to their assigned position for the day so we can make OUR worship experience happen.
What you probably don’t know is that same guy pulled a 10 hr shift the day before. He rolled into his house around 7 pm, perhaps played with his kids for a few minutes, then had a late dinner with his wife, before dozing off on the couch while watching the late SportsCenter. So when his alarm went off at 6:15 am because he had hit “Accept” on Planning Center four weeks prior, he may have been less than enthused. That’s why he’s a few minutes late and crushing a massive coffee to wake up.
It’s OK. Get over it. Before you make that speech about this being MORE important than anything they have done all week…check yourself. Maybe instead of a speech, the best thing you can do at that moment is saunter over to where they are, have a quiet conversation about their week, ask them how they are doing, and affirm them like crazy for being there. And then make a mental note to send them a personal thank you this week with a small gift card enclosed.
It is possible to have High Expectation and Low Aggravation. Your team has lived with these ideas for weeks, crafted the service and thought through every detail. It will take a few moments at least for your key volunteers to get up to speed. Don’t expect them to grab a hold of the big vision for that service immediately. Trust that as it plays out, during your run through or as the first service actually happens, they will embrace it.
Before You Create, Critique: Part of the creative process is to always pause and re-visit previous elements, transitions, flow and any other parts of your worship experience. As we press towards, what’s next it can be dangerous to avoid what’s passed. It will be important for this to be an open conversation laced with honesty and covered with grace. This is where the sensitivity of your team or at least individuals on your team can rise to the surface. Don’t let that stop you. It is only through a brutal, thorough evaluation of what you are doing that things can rise to the next level. In conversations with the majority of churches, they tend to evaluate their weekend services from more of a positive perspective than is reality. Their inability to speak candidly about their elements and the execution of them will limit future growth and impact. Perhaps as the new year begins, take some time to evaluate.
One of the best ways to do this is a tool called the Four Helpfuls. Pretty basic. Pretty powerful. Four questions:
- What is right that needs to be amplified?
- What is wrong that needs to be fixed?
- What is missing that needs to be added?
- What is confused that needs to be clarified?
Once you have populated those answers (and this should take some time), identify the low-hanging fruit. These are basic items that don’t need more discussion, but just need an owner because they can be fixed immediately. From there, evaluate the deeper issues and create a plan to begin to tackle them.
When was the last time you evaluated your weekend services?
What is your greatest fear about asking these questions?
Is evaluation a regular routine in your creative process?How can 2016 look different for your team in this area?