Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing – part 2

Build Creative Teams

Build Creative Teams

As I pointed out in part one of “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing,” weekend services are where your vision comes to life, team efforts are seen, are catalysts to life change, and the a weekend service is usually a visitor’s first impression of the church.  Creativity is often the missing piece in making predictable weekend services memorable, inspirational and impactful.  I know this can seem like a huge overwhelming task…


Some of the benefits of creative teams are they:

a) Make you better than you are
b) Keep you from getting in a rut
c) Reduce stress
d) Reduce your work load
e) Multiply your talent base
f) Give you greater buy in
g) Expand your knowledge of the audience

Two teams you can build to help keep your services creative are:

Team #1 – Teaching Team

Purpose:  To create the monthly themes for each weekend series and the
outlines for each week’s service.  They assist in providing illustrations,
examples, scriptural insight and creativity.

Participants:  Lead Pastor, few key staff/leaders – size of team can vary from 3-5

Step 1 – Mapping out the year

·3-4 months prior to the coming new year the team will meet for prayer and discussion on monthly themes for the following year.
·There will be several meetings before the themes are finally decided
·Various themes become staples for the following year.  (Family Month, Spiritual Emphasis, Vision, etc…)
·The goal is not to create working titles, but general themes.

Step 2 – Mapping out the month

·The Teaching Team meets once a month, to create series titles.  (including titles for overall series and weekend titles)
·The Team works approximately 2 months in advance (this is necessary to help programming team in creating elements for the service)
·These meetings include the Programming Director and the Graphics Director (this allows them to gain insight for the series which helps the Programming Director prepare and the Graphics Director for branding)

Step 3 – Mapping out the weekend

·The Teaching Team meets approximately 10-12 days prior to the weekend services
·The meetings last approximately 2 hours and are held weekly
·The purpose of these meetings are to create the actual outline of the weekend service.
·The team provides scriptural insight, creative illustrations for the message, quotes, examples or anything that will enhance the message for the person communicating that weekend.

Team # 2 – Programming Team

Purpose:  The purpose of the Programming Team is to create and design the elements of the services.  Their responsibility is to enhance the overall experience that the audience has when attending a weekend service.

Size of group:  6-10 (take caution in making it too big)

Programming Team process:

·The Programming Director takes notes from the “Mapping out the Month” meeting and distributes them to the Programming Team.
·Individuals from the Programming Team are asked to come with 2-3 ideas for the services based on the themes.
·The Programming Team will meet 6 weeks prior to the start of the new series for the purpose of creativity.
·Ideas from the teams will include:  special songs, staging, branding, videos, dramas, life change videos, life change moments, and illustrations
·A white board is used a lot in these meetings.  The 4-5 week series is divided on the board and the ideas are placed in each week as they are presented.
·After all ideas are given, the team begins to narrow down the best ideas.
·Assignments are given out and the Program Director follows up with each person as the weekends approach to assure completion of the assignment

Programming sub/review team:
·Smaller group of the programming team meets each week.
·Team reviews the elements and services from the week prior
·Programming director reviews plans for the upcoming 2-3 weeks to assure we are on schedule for the upcoming services.

Pre and Post service process:
·Programming Director meets with those involved in service (sound, lighting, stage hands, worship team, drama team, anyone speaking from the platform)
·Meeting lasts 5-7 minutes
·Purpose of the meeting is to review plans for the service that is about to happen to make sure all bases are covered.
·This meeting happens before the first weekend service
·Immediately following the first service of the weekend 4-6 people (Tech Director, Program Director, Drama Director, Stage Hand Director and anyone speaking from the microphone) meet to review the service and make any last minute changes for the upcoming services.

With minor adjustments, these teams can work for any size church. While some of the specifics may change the principle will remain the same. Here’s how:

a)Find the most creative people you can (it’s ok if 1-2 of them don’t go to your  church)
b)Be flexible with the schedule (nights, mornings, weekends)
c)Be prepared (don’t waste their time)
d)Let the directors have ownership
e)Get the system in place (difficult up front, but will make life easier)
f)Start somewhere…but start
g)Have a lot of fun

Finally, you must remove your excuses. Excuses such as, “adding creative elements is too expensive.”  “There are not enough creative people around me.” “I/we don’t have enough time.”  I don’t work that far in advance.”  “The facilities we are in won’t work for creativity.”  Make a commitment to look for solutions to challenges and not give in to them. The ability to connect with your audience and have greater impact is too important to let these or any other excuses stand in the way of  having creative, inspirational services.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

“Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.”
— George Kneller


About Chris Sonksen

Chris Sonksen is the founder and Lead Pastor of South Hills Church and has an exceptional ability to inspire both secular and non-secular audiences. Under his leadership, South Hills has experienced phenomenal growth and in just a few short years has grown from a handful of people to nearly 3000 in attendance today. Today South Hills has become a thriving, multi-service and multi-site church. Chris has a magnetic, captivating and humorous style for motivating and inspiring all audiences. As a motivational speaker, he has spoken both nationally and internationally in companies such as Verizon, Securitas and Home Depot, and there is no doubt that by applying his teachings, his audience will improve the quality of their lives! Chris is the author of two books In Search of Higher Ground and Handshake. Chris is the founder of Celera Church Strategy Group an organization with an unwavering commitment to excellence in all things, with the goal to “raise the national average of church attendance,” by equipping church leaders with resources and coaching. Chris brings high-energy focus and a passion for vision and leadership to encourage and equip the local Church. Chris is a native Californian, born in Long Beach and currently resides in Corona with his wife, Laura and their two children, Grace and Aidan.

Posted on October 13, 2009, in church growth, Developing Healthy Churches, Team, weekend services and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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