Because Other Churches Do...

Photo courtesy of Medill News21

Photo courtesy of Medill News21

Recently I received an email that is not at all atypical. A reader was wanting to add a position to their weekend team and wondered if I could provide them any help with a position description. The key phrase in this query was, “as I’ve seen other churches do…” That sent my mind in all sorts of directions. And as often happens, it’s going to come out as a post. 

Know the Why Before You Add People

Spoiler alert, “Because other churches do it” is not an acceptable answer. The position in question was a weekend service producer. Honestly, I’m not much help there because while we did have that position at Coast Hills, we got rid of it. Twice. Ostensibly, the position was supposed to help keep rehearsal on track, watch for transition trouble, keep the stage clean and lead the pre-service walk through. Afterwards, they would run the debrief and see to any changes.

In reality, most of us on the team were already really good at keeping the rehearsal moving, and as we did the same basic service every week, there were no transitions to watch. Any of the staff could (and did) lead the pre- and post-service meetings, and there were rarely any changes. So the position was largely a figurehead, and the people doing it just ended up being frustrated. 

Now, I’m not against service producers; we just didn’t need one. Some churches do. But if you can’t articulate what tasks need to be done that aren’t getting done—and would be accomplished by this new person—don’t add a person. If you have some general ideas bus need help organizing them, by all means, ask others for similar job descriptions. But if you have no idea what the person would do, think long and hard before you start asking someone to give up their weekend to sit around and watch rehearsal. 

Not All Churches Are The Same

This is a big one for me. I hear from so many people who want to do things the way the church at that last super-groovy conference did it. For example, I’m heading out to Seeds next month, and while I love the guys at COTM, they have very different production and staffing needs than most churches. It doesn’t make them better; it makes them different. Not all churches need to staff and produce like COTM. Or Northpoint. Or Saddleback. Or whoever the hot church of the month is. 

Sure, you can learn from them, steal ideas and modify them to suit your organization. But don’t think that because the big church has a given weekend position that you also need it in order to be successful. In fact, that’s one of the things I love about the guys at COTM. They’ll say at Seeds, “This is just what we do. It doesn’t mean you should do it, too. In fact, you maybe shouldn’t.” Two years ago, Whitney George said, “People are always coming here asking us how we do things. That’s the wrong question. They need to ask why we do things. That is much more beneficial to you.” 

Always ask the why questions first. Why do we need this new position? Why should we consider changing this to that? Why does Super Mega Church do this, and what can we learn from it? Once those questions are clearly articulated, you’re in a much better position to ask for help with specifics. 

So, to answer the original question, can I help with details on a weekend service producer? Not really. In the context of the churches I’ve been a part of, it was an unnecessary position and I lobbied for cutting it years before we did. But, that’s just me…

Roland

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