So here you are – you able to take a breath after you have been, for weeks, designing, developing and solidifying your Easter* service to get the most compelling worship, message and having all the after-service activities lined up.
(*Easter or Resurrection – I know there are some who are tweaking about the usage of Easter…this argument goes way beyond me…we are still working for the King and Kingdom…on with the show…)
I am hoping there is a follow-up or post-mortem to your services where you will ask the different people on your staff ask “what could we have done better/different/more awesome?!”
To be successful in this endeavor, you really have to want to know some answers in order to improve on this particular service or any service that comes up where you have this much exposure to people who aren’t a part of your regular crowd.
I have a couple of question to ask…are you ready?
First, did you set realistic goals that you can actually measure? Its hard to know how well things went, right? I had this conversation with this guy at a coffee shop and he was saying that he lives his life by the ten commandments (he wasn’t a believer, but he was trying to convince me that he was better than okay.) I asked him living by the ten commandments is a great start…and when it came down to it, he really didn’t know more than two of the ten. You will probably agree with me that its going to be hard to live by the ten commandments when you don’t know them. Similarly, its going to be difficult to measure success when you don’t have goals set for that particular weekend.
What are you going to measure?
Second, Do you have a culture where constructive criticism is okay? I used to work for a church where the senior pastor kind of bragged about not ever have any type of theological arguments or differences with any of the staff. It was only because he never wanted to have those conversations…all the while saying some things that would make some bible students say, “hmmm…” Why do we do this to ourselves? In the business world, there is a constant evaluation of messaging, marketing and other types of metric to determine success and believe me in those board and conference rooms there is a dissection of all those variables to know what works and what doesn’t. This is not so much a pattern of shame in order to throw someone under the bus, but rather a continual pursuit of excellence – shouldn’t we in the church do more of the same in pursuing excellence in our services, Easter especially?
Here is what I am saying – celebrate the great things. Don’t put so much emphasis on the weaknesses. Find the areas where you can grow – find a way to measure this area and make it better.
Here is what I am not saying – I am not saying that this is a call for allowing a negative environment to grow from this experience – this helps no one.
Finally, please hear my sincerity in this: do you really care about changing? The worst thing a creative or someone who wants to see the excellence in their organization is something like, “…thats how we have always done it.” Want to kill enthusiasm and drive away volunteers…thats how you do it.
No, I am not advocating for bbq-ing your favorite sacred cows as far as tradition is concerned – we have seen how some traditions continue because of the emotional response and compelling gravity they have towards our audience. And some even evolve into taking on a life of their own and become an ongoing ministry that has great support throughout the organization.
But, there are some traditions that continue regardless of how effective or not they really are. Thats the point I am making here and I believe a sincere look at some of those things and have those difficult conversations about it.
We talk a lot about being relevant in our community, but if we aren’t changing and adjusting some things in the way do ‘church’ – whats the point of relevancy at all? I am referring to how we do church, not theology or doctrine, got it? Awesome.
What a great opportunity to see people visiting our churches, turning from visitors to members, and from members to disciples. We have that privilege. Why wouldn’t we take advantage of using every creative way of doing just that to tell God’s story.
My prayer for you is that you will allow creative freedom and expression to override some of the barriers that may exist in seeing one more enter the gates with thanksgiving.