One of the most frequent questions I get relates to choosing service times. Here’s a list to help you work through some of the key decision factors to consider as you’re evaluating adjusting your service times.
- Get to critical mass. This is going to depend largely on the seating capacity of your sanctuary or auditorium. In many instances, at least half the seats need to be filled for the room to have energy and engagement. Less than that and people are wondering, “Why aren’t people showing up?” Reduce the number of services, remove seats, or use pipe and drape to shrink the room if you don’t have critical mass.
- When you are consistently more than 80 percent full in all your services, it’s time to add services. I understand that you have more seats to fill, but my family of six will likely have a very difficult time finding six seats together. And, especially if we are guests, we’ll assume you don’t have space for us.
- Shift people first before you start adding services. The shift begins with being more intentional about seating people prior to services with well-trained, friendly greeters and ushers. Then, as one service consistently bumps over 80 percent full, you need to routinely (at least monthly) encourage people to attend the services that have more seats available.
- Move to multiple service as soon as you have the opportunity. This move will save you millions of dollars on facility space in the long run. Additionally, you create opportunities for people to attend a service and serve a service. With only one service, it’s very challenging to build essential volunteer teams for children’s ministry and guest services.
- Move Sunday School classes so they don’t compete with service times. Don’t eliminate the Bible studies and Sunday School classes, just move them to another night during the week. If you don’t, there will always be an unnecessary competition for space and volunteers. Growing churches maximize the use of their space and volunteers for reaching new people on Sunday morning. After all, that’s when new people are most likely to attend a service.