How much time do you spend thinking about the atmosphere of your service? What do I mean by atmosphere? Atmosphere is the feeling you get when you walk into or up to a gathering. You know, when all “the youths” say, “The vibe is on fleek.” That’s atmosphere.
Whether you know it or not, your service (before, during, and after) has an atmosphere attached to it. The question is:
Did you spent intentional time on it or did it just happen? If it just happened, do you even like it? Does it fit with you are trying to do? Does it fit with the values you have for your ministry?
If your answer is “yes”, that is awesome, keep doing what you are doing.
But, if you are not intentional and you want the culture/feel/atmosphere to change, it can happen.
Not being intentional with the look and feel or your entire night is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you can begin to change the culture or have a little say of what it can be, wouldn’t you want to do it? Depending what the over all goal of your night is, it will change how you approach the look and feel of your service.
For us, Wednesday nights are for our students to bring their non-churched friends too. We value that this could be a place where un-churched kids would actually want to be at. A year ago, our atmosphere felt like a zombie scene from The Walking Dead. When you walked up to service, students just waited for service to start, they walked in, sat down, barely participated in worship, talked through the message and left. After a year of working really hard on the atmosphere, when you walk up on our patio, the place is bumping. There is excitement the moment you get dropped off. Music is playing. Our cafe is open. We have games and chances to have some fun. We don’t let students into the room until service starts, we gather everyone in the foyer for a countdown before they walk in to create the excitement. When they walk in the band is covering a popular song and students are singing and dancing as they come in to find a seat. We value fun, so we play crazy crowd games. We value authentic worship and creativity, so our worship leader does an amazing and creative job leading students in worship. We value relevant but challenging Biblical messages, something that is engaging to the non-believer and challenging to the believer. Over time,with intentionality, the atmosphere is electric and we are starting to see the students see it too and they are comfortable bringing new people because it is now a place they actually want to be.
A first time student will most likely come back if they actually want to be there and enjoyed the atmosphere when they walk up. First impressions are still important.
But it didn’t just happen. Our team and volunteers sat down and figured out our values and then made sure our look, feel, atmosphere of the entire night matched our values. We focused for a good year on how to improve it and make it better. When we put just as much effort into the atmosphere of our services as we do anything else, it can provide a space for a student who normally would be be closed off to the Gospel open their eyes and heart to it because they actually enjoyed the atmosphere of the church.
Here is what I don’t want you to hear:
Make everything based on how students feel so they feel as if something happened.
Be intentional with your services, every aspect of it, to create space for the Holy Spirit to move so they KNOW the experience they have that night is a real, powerful, authentic experience with God.
How are you intentional with your space/look/feel of your services (before, during, after)?