I’ve led two churches to add a second service, both successfully. Based on my experience here’s what I shared with him…
1. I cast vision about going to two services constantly for one year before launching them, so much that everyone got sick of me talking about it. By the time we actually did it, going to two services from one was assumed. “WHEN we go to two services,” they heard me say all the time. So when we actually were ready to launch it was incredibly easy to sell. All I did was announce the date.
2. I talked about how it would be OKAY to not see everyone because they went to another service because of all the new people that would come, and how caring for lost and hurting people is what disciples do.
3. I immediately blocked off chairs in the back and farthest sides so that the drop in “look and feel” for the lower attendance in one or both would be compensated for by what we call around here “virtual capacity.” Virtual capacity is the idea that no matter how small the crowd, seats are blocked off to allow for a “full” feeling regardless of the actual attendance. Plan well for momentum loss in the existing service. I tell the Senior Pastors I coach that this will be one of their biggest hurdles.
4. Make sure you recruit a TON of children’s ministry volunteers to staff the services, more than you need.
5. You’ll have to create more specialized set-up crews and tear-down crews because the early attenders won’t want to stay later. That’s a good thing. Creates more spots.
6. Make sure you have addressed the financial issue of where does the money go between services (Jonathan is meeting in rented facilities). Where is it held? Our Executive Pastor Kevin Stone kept the money in his pants for a while there until we had a better solution. 🙂
7. Do a ton of marketing and hold special events to attract new people (or create buzz) once a month for the first 3-4 months AFTER you launch the service. You want to maintain the momentum post-launch. Last thing you want to do is go up, then go backwards and have to go back to one service.
8. DON’T advertise a 30-minute coffee time between services and promote that as one of the added benefits (ex. “Yes you won’t see Suzy at first service but you can have coffee together in between.”). That’s because you will soon add a third service about a year afterward and all those people you promised would have time together now have services that end on the dime at 55 minutes per service and have 20 minutes turn around between each. We do 9, 10:15 and 11:30am. 55 minute services. 20 minutes between each. Before 9am is too early here to have a service. After 12 noon for us is too late. The principle here is to always think through the step after your next step. Great leaders always think in increments of two steps, not one.
9. Finally, four weeks before the launch do something out of the norm for your church that creates buzz. Before we launched our second service we put two incredibly funny guys in a massive tent outside our movie theater and had them greet people as they came in, every week, for four weeks. Camping gear and the whole thing. We shared a whole story about these guys, who, as the storyline went, wanted to be the first ones in line for the second service we were starting, like people would a day before a big general admission concert. When the day we started our second service, people cheered as we brought them in at the start…they were high fiving people…crowd going nuts…it was a lot of fun.
Are you thinking about adding a second service? Have you added one? Questions or advice?