Ok, I hope you’ve had a chance to calm down after that last post. Again, I really don’t want to amp your stress, but a bit of stress now will have you buckets of stress the weak before Easter. That’s why I’m back with some more questions for you.
This time, though, I’d like to talk you about your teams: first impressions, children’s, tech, worship. It doesn’t take volunteers to make a good church work: it’s takes multiple teams of volunteers.
And before you comment, I know that a lot of you are church tech lay leaders or volunteers, and that most of you have no authority or place in this other teams. That’s ok. Sometimes, I think that church tech teams should be, in some ways, like the church “resource and research” team, sharing helpful bits they find online. Or maybe I’m wrong. Either way, here were go.
1. Does your parking lot team have proper signage to indicate where guests should park? Pretty simple thing, but you’d be surprised of the the impact. Also, ask able-bodied lay people if they wouldn’t mind parking in the back or further from the entrance, leaving room for the elderly, families with lots of kids, and/or guests.
2. Have ushers/hosts been made aware of any service order or other changes? For example, we don’t have Sunday School on Easter. We have two adult services with concurrent children’s services and an Easter Egg Hunt in the middle. That’s a huge schedule change that our hosts have to know about. Plus, our services are also shortened, and the ushers have to both close the sanctuary doors, take the offering, and then open the doors, helping to avoid a traffic jam between our two services. That’s a lot to handle compare to a regular week, and they need to know how much time they’ll have between each thing.
3. Donuts. We supply donuts and coffee each week, including Easter, when we order double. Do we have extra donuts when we do this? Maybe, but I’d rather blow an extra $10 on donuts in order to make a good first impression. When you don’t have enough of donuts or anything else, you’re basically telling your guests that you didn’t put forth the effort to think ahead.
1. How are your kids workers going to handle the crowds? Child check-in is mix between a circus and a cattle drive on regular day, so on Easter, it’s going to be chaos. Make sure that you’ve got a simple method for checking kids in, and I’d also suggest taking a long, hard look at your traffic is supposed to flow. You might do well to have two or three extra workers there just to take guests and their kids into the children’s area after check-in so that they can show the guests around and get the back into the main part of the building without adding to the congestion. Of course, then, you’ll also want to think about how you’ll have parents pick their kids back up.
2. What’s Plan B in case the service goes long? As I said before, we have an Easter Egg Hunt between our services. This really forces our services to be tight and on time. You may not have such a luxury, so your children’s team may want to have a backup plan, perhaps an Easter-theme video, a game, etc. that they can use to fill any extra time.
1. When is the tech run-through? I’m not talking about band practice. I’m talking when your whole team gets together to run through the service, practicing lighting cues, testing out any new media to verify if it looks good on the screen/sounds good in the house mix, etc. Too many churches fail to do this on a regular basis, which is risky. On Easter, not doing a run through is insane.
2. Have you established an arrival time? Church techs are some of the most ubiquitous volunteers. They’re performance has a crucial impact on so many other teams. For example, the band can’t do a sound check until the tech team is in place. In our church, our foyer is empty and lifeless until the tech team gets our TVs running and the music playing. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your tech team has a clearly announced start time.
Worship & Prayer Teams
1. When is practice? I’m hoping that your worship team is already practicing, especially if they’re going to be doing any specials or new songs. If your list is filled with some old favorites, then you could probably wait a week or two longer, but I still wouldn’t wait till Good Friday.
2. Who’s bringing breakfast? Because we have two services and our worship team plays both, they have to be at the church by 7AM, and they don’t leave until 11:45AM. That’s why, ever since we started doing two services, breakfast has been provided. In the past, it’s been provided by our worship leader, but it’s such a vital part of the day that we need to be careful not to depend too heavily on his generosity. Of course, it’s just a good rule in general that if your volunteers will be at your building for the long of time and you need them there that early, providing breakfast can only help to entice them to be on time.
3. How are you going to conduct your altar response? Lead pastors, please decide ahead of time if and how you’re going to do your altar time. If you don’t have the time for a traditional altar call, then let your prayer team know. If you’re going to modify it for time, so that those who want prayer head off to a side room where the prayer team is waiting, make sure you prep that ahead of time. If you want to do a regular altar call but are aware of some “prayer warriors” who can’t seem to let Jesus get off the line in less than ten minutes, you might want to address that.
1. Have you reassessed your schedules? If you’re doing two services, you’ll certainly want two full teams for most of these areas, and even if you’re only having one service, you’ll surely need extra help on every team to deal with extra people.
2. When did you last go over your crisis/safety plan with your volunteers? This isn’t the time to update these plans, but it certainly is a good moment to go over them. Remember: if something’s going to come up one Sunday a year, you can be it will happen on an already stressful day. Save yourself the trouble–and when it comes to crisis planning, it could be a lot of trouble!–and make sure that everyone’s had the chance to go back over these important documents.
3. Are you prepared to express your appreciation to your volunteers for all their hard work? This may be something that each team leader determines for themselves, as they know their volunteers best. However, the subject needs to be brought up so that it doesn’t get neglected entirely.
Ok, friends, let’s call it there. I’ve got one more bit of preparatory advice for you, so stay tuned!