6 Tips For Church Leaders Planning For Sunday


Sunday comes around every week, and no one is more aware of this fact than the Senior Pastor and the Programming or Production team. The best services and weekend experiences are planned intentionally with a goal in mind to create an inviting worship environment where people can experience God. Visitors and attendees will know if you're unprepared because it will feel unsettled. Sunday is not the day for an urgent rush or fire drill.

Whatever your role as a church leader - senior pastor, creative arts director, worship leader or technical director - you can foster an excellent weekend experience through collaboration and the establishment of a weekly planning rhythm.

When I served as the Executive Producer for Willowcreek Community Church, I experienced the challenge of coordinating the many moving pieces of a Sunday experience. I've shared a few suggestions below to help your team's planning process.

1. Establish a weekend service lifecycle. When and where do you see your services begin to take shape? How many weeks does it take to plan an excellent weekend experience? Create a work flow chart showing weekly and monthly progress. Revise the work flow chart regularly as you adjust your service to your attendees' needs.

2. Utilize tools in the process or create needed ones. Do you use Planning Center Online or other web-based programs to communicate plans or schedule volunteers? Have you considered an Excel spreadsheet or Word document to archive the best ideas from your brainstorming meetings for future use? Do all your team members have easy access to a Dropbox or other file sharing system? The more centralized you make your team's planning, the less mistakes are made because everyone is on the same page.

3. Remain flexible and adaptable within the process. Once you begin to establish a regular service planning rhythm, avoid being too rigid with deadlines and tasks. Adaptability is crucial to the growth process as you keep your ear to the ground on what is and isn't working in your services.

4. Encourage each other along the way. Keep an open door for your colleagues. Remember everyone is managing a lot of details both professionally and personally. Allow grace for one another throughout the day. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 is a helpful verse to memorize as a team, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…”

5. Evaluate frequently. When something is working well, don't forget to celebrate! When a person or process is not, don’t fret about it. Evaluate the what’s and why’s with the person or team involved and make necessary changes for next week so that everyone (including volunteers) is honored in the process.

6. Begin with the end in mind.  Our job as church leaders is to be good stewards of our resources as we create an environment where people can encounter God. Once you have planned and prayed over the service, step back and observe what God is doing during worship. God is responsible for the turning of hearts towards His purposes. Don't let the details hinder you from rejoicing about what He is doing in the hearts of your church. Philippians 2:13 “…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

I hope you'll see how intentional planning not only honors the creative process but also brings out the best in each other.

What additional tips do you have for church leaders as they plan for Sunday?