Monday, October 23, 2006


One of the more critical junctions in the growth of a CTK Worship Center is the move from offering one weekly worship service, to two. Multiple services are a critical strategy for growth.

Why Multiple Services?

1. Multiple services create an opportunity for DISTRIBUTED growth. This is a principle we use in small group ministry. The fastest way for a church to grow by 10% a year is to break the church into groups of 10 and have every small group reach out to one new person this next year. In other words, by distributing the responsibility for outreach on a micro scale, instead of macro scale, it gets more people involved in the mission and is much more attainable. In the same way, by having three services, if each service reaches out to 10 new people this year, the church will grow by 30, and yet 10 new people is really very attainable for each of the services.

2. Multiple services means giving the people who already want to attend more OPTIONS so they can. I have been amazed that when we start a new service people tell me, "Now I can come back, because it's earlier (or later, etc.)." I know, it seems crazy, but it's true. Some people are early risers; some are not. Their schedules vary from weekend to weekend. By having options you are able to "catch" people who otherwise wouldn't have come at all on a particular weekend (they can now come earlier than they usually do if they have something planned that day; or later than they usually do if they choose to sleep in).

3. Multiple services put more people in the MINISTRY - and this is good. More people in the ministry means more ownership and involvement and commitment. In some cases we have also found it easier to recruit for kids ministry when they can attend one service and then serve at the other. Many times we've found that starting a new service was the excuse we needed to recruit more people ("We're going to need more ushers, greeters, kids workers, etc. if we are going to have two services.")

4. Multiple Services are an expression of FAITH. The time to start new services is before you really need them. Usually I've tried to start new services when we had the leadership (worship, kids, teaching, etc.) to execute it, rather than the people to attend it. I think in terms of creating capacity, and then letting God do the work of bringing in the people (its our job to cast the nets and God's job to fill the nets with the fish). If 100 is a reasonably full capacity for a facility, then with two services you can accommodate 200, but with three services you could handle 300 if the Lord brought them. What we've generally found is that when we step out in faith the Lord responds with growth (If we build it, they come.) Typically we've seen significant growth in overall attendance as we add more services. Perhaps a rule of thumb might be 80% capacity becomes 50% capacity twice (2x) when one service becomes two. In other words, if 80 people are meeting in an auditorium that seats 100, by going to two services they might have two services of 50 (including new people who come; old timers who come back, etc.). So the church immediately grows by 20% and now is positioned to grow rapidly to 200 without anyone feeling more crowded than they were prior to the "split." You do lose the thrill of having 80 people packed into the room each service; but you are giving that up for the ultimate thrill of reaching out to more people and growing Christ's kingdom.

5. Multiple services provide more OPPORTUNITIES to reach lost people. When fishing, you try to get as many lines into the water as possible. I see the enemy continually providing more opportunities for people (more bars, more casinos, more porn sites, etc.). More opportunities translate into more chances to reach more people. I think we want to create as porous an environment as possible.

6. Multiple services BREAKS the "one big happy family" mentality. You know you've got this mentality going when you hear comments like, "But I'm not going to know everyone," or "We're just starting to feel like we know ever body." These comments have always scared me. I see this mentality as a huge limiting factor that has paralyzed the traditional church. Once you make a commitment that you want everyone to be able to know everyone you have now sealed your fate to be a small church. There is simply no way you can be a church that reaches of people, and still feel like you know everyone. For this reason I am anxious to see a Worship Center get to a second service, and even more anxious to get to a third, in order to deal a death blow to this expectation.

7. Multiple services is one of the best ways to LEVERAGE existing resources (more bang for the buck). You already have the building heated up, the coffee brewed, the worship team plugged in, the message prepared....why not allow them to share their ministry a second time, to a second group of people?

8. Multiple services create a BUZZ in the community. Since most churches don't do it, it has been a way for CTK to differentiate itself. It definitely exaggerates our intention to reach out. I find even non-churched people respect it. Everyone knows it's more work to have more services, so it sends a message that this church is willing to do what's necessary to reach people.

9. Multiple services gives you more STORIES to tell. One of the blessings for the pastor of a multi-service church is to tell the story of what is happening: "We had 25 people here Saturday night, 40 at the 9 AM service, and 55 at the 10:30....that means we reached 120 people this weekend! We could have never done that with one, or even two services."

10. Multiple services help to CHURN the environment, as it keeps people from getting too comfortable. I want to insert a certain amount of change just to keep people from settling in to the status quo. New services and times help to keep the church from "setting up" like concrete.

Why Not Multiple Services?

I don’t have a lot of reasons to give you to not have multiple services. But people in your ministry will come up with some, I’m sure. People tend to want to settle, instead of go forward. This is an excellent time for leaders to lead. If you as a the leader are convinced that it is time to add a service, I would pick a date on the calendar on which you will begin this new service. I would then start to inform key leaders and others of the decision and timeline.

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