In my last post we talked about some big questions and concepts in regards to how we should be thinking about programming to keep pushing us forward in excellence. In our last meeting we broke it down even more in specifics in regards to the “actual service” and what to be thinking through to make our student experiences better and better.
We talked through the times in which for us would be 6:30pm-730pm.
So here is what a smooth service is all about:
It’s all about transitions. Do you think through them?
  • One of the most important things in regards to a smooth service is transitions and I feel like most o the time we just wing our way through them. When we think about them, walk through them, it takes away clunky and distracting pieces so students can experience it better.
  • A good transition is never thought about but a bad transition is always noticed. Think about it. When it’s good, no one says a word. But when its awkward, everyone feels it.
  • Important transitions to think through:
    • Walk in to welcome
    • Announcements into game
    • Game into worship/message
    • Message to set up groups
It’s all about atmosphere:
  • What does your service FEEL like. Believe it or not it makes a difference. Have you ever stopped to “sit in” your service and think about how the room feels as you are going through service? I don’t want you to misunderstand what I am saying in this. I am not saying we need to buy new things and have the state of the art stuff. Just sitting in service and being intentional about how it feels for those involved can make a huge difference. I think it’s just something many youth pastors are not intentional with.
  • Couple of big things that make a huge difference:
    • When someone is on stage music is playing. There should be no dead air. (Click HERE for our playlist)
    • With announcements make sure no lyric music playing. It’s distracting when you are talking but a bop comes on behind you and the kids start singing instead of listening to you (not that has happened to me at all before ha!)
It’s all about visual:
  • This generation is super visual. Screens are a part of their everyday life so we need to make sure we are using it to make our experience better.
  • Walk in to begin service – music playing (click HERE for our playlist) and a countdown on the screen gets people in, lower lights, countdown on the screen lets people know when it’s beginning and allows you to start service not from a cold start because everyone knows it’s starting when it hits zero.
  • If you are talking about it it needs to be on the screen. Are you announcing something? Make sure you have a slide up when you are talking it. Are you reading something from Scripture? Put it up on the screen. Take away anything that would prevent students from missing something.
  • What does the room feel like? Do you need move the room around to make it feel better? Make it feel smaller? Bigger? It’s amazing how when we rearrange the room to fit what we are doing how much it makes a difference.
It’s all about going from good to great:
  • The main thing about making your service excellent is really thinking through the little things that would make it go from go to great. What are the things you can add to service to make it better? It’s in the small details.
  • Do you create momentum when you walk in?
    • Music amd countdown
  • The game
    • Music choice
    • The right people on stage. Not everyone who wants to be on stage should be on stage. It can make a or break a moment if you don’t have the right people.
    • Using the lights to enhance the experience (if you have them).
      • When playing a game use red for wrong answers and green for right. Add “ding ding” or “BUZZ” sound effects from the computer for answers.
    • Did you think through the flow of the game? Did you walk through all aspects of it or do you wing it? the first time we play it should not be when the room is full of students.

It’s all about the dismissal:

      • Do you set your students up well to go into groups?
      • Do you cast the vision of why groups are a big deal?
      • Do new students know where to go? Do you address them?
      • Do you have something on the screen as a reference to where people go?
      • We need to make sure we set up our students and leaders well to go into groups because if we come out of a message with a quick, “Alright that was a good message right? Ok, go to groups” or you come out of a serious message with high energy and fun worship song, it can take them out of reflection of the message they just heard. We need to be able to hand off from one moment to another to best set up our youth for great discussions.

This is something we have been working through with our own teams and I thought it could help other think through there programming as well. Let me know what else you would add.