7 Principles for Launching Multiple Worship Venues, Campuses and Times

Today’s guest post comes to us from Dr. Bob Whitesel for BiblicalLeadership.com. Bob is a long-time friend, fellow church growth enthusiast and frequent speaker at our pastor conferences. 

For 20-plus years I’ve seen that offering culturally different worship encounters can help connect more cultures in a community to God. But, adding a new worship encounter has its caveats.

Here is my short list that I use to help clients see the basics of multiple worship encounters.

First, there are two equally important goals.

GOAL 1:  The first goal is the Great Commission to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Thus, getting new attendees into small groups where they can grow along with others is a major objective.

GOAL 2: The second goal of a new worship service is to create a culturally relevant worship encounter. It is not a performance, nor a time to create mini-celebrities. It is a time to foster an encounter with God.

Everything should revolve around these two goals. If it does, then here is the short list of things you must do to create a new worship encounter for an existing church.

Here are the key principles for starting a new service:

1.  The people who design a new worship encounter should demonstrate that they are missionaries to that culture, or that they are from the culture you are reaching out to.

2.  Ensure you can financially sustain a new service for 18 months before you launch it.

3. Make sure you have duplicate leadership too (start training them now, telling them that soon we will launch a new service and they will lead it).

4.  Pick a venue that will be at around 35 percent full with your projected attendance.

5.  Have small groups (Sunday school, etc.) ready before or after all worship encounters.

6.  Keep the worship encounters to 50 minutes total (with 15-20 minutes between services) if you can.

7.  Also, make sure your overall attendance is at least 100 before you start a new service.

  • Then ask 50 people to agree to come to the new service for one year (make a covenant to do this, usually written).
  • At the end of that time, they must either recruit someone to take their place or re-up for another year. The idea is to create the minimum number of attendees necessary for worship to break out in a larger gathering: usually 35-plus people.
  • Thus, with 50 committed, you will usually have 35 in attendance and your new service can grow.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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