On Easter Sunday our church launched a seven week pilot version of two worship services. The church has a history of having multiple services to reach more people in the community but prior to my arrival the church had been on a slow decline.
The launch of a second service took place on Easter but it was birthed in dream well before that. Staring in October I had been praying bold prayers for God to help us to reach more people. Our staff had been praying for God to give us a God sized goal to help more people find and follow Jesus.
On January 21, 2018 we called a special church meeting. Our staff took different parts of the vision and talked about the great opportunity we have to reach more people in Ventura County. Then on Easter Sunday we launched the pilot version.
The idea of a pilot version came from my new friend Mike Hickerson. Mike leads a fantastic church in Ventura. I told him I wanted to go to two services and he suggested doing it from Easter to Mother’s Day to give it a try (Thanks Mike for pushing me to live by faith). We gave it a shot and here are seven lessons we learned:
1. We have an invite cultureWhen you read the Gospel of Matthew and John, you will see early on that the one of the first thing the disciples did was find someone and tell that person about Jesus. Our church was a pillar in the community and had an invite culture. For a number of years this wasn’t the case, but God is refereeing that in us! Great job Coastline! Keep up the invite culture.
2. Our people love to serveDuring our meeting in January we asked our church to serve and they blew our mind! We had over 70 people fill out a card to serve. Now that sounds cool, but guess what? They served! We connected those people into service opportunities. One of the best ways to feel alive is to serve others.
3. We have some kinks to work out to make this lastMy deep hope was to keep two services going. The truth is, we have some kinks to work out. We need to figure out how to make this more sustainable and that is what our summer break is for. Sometimes we need to slow down to speed back up again.
4. We have gaps in our systemWe realized that our volunteers systems are far from perfect. They are good, but good is the enemy of great. These gaps means that things get dropped or that crevices are created and are hard to cross. We are detailing out these gaps and working on improving them to help more people find and follow Jesus.
5. Guests love CoastlineWe meet so many great guests here at Coastline. We don’t call people a visitor because a visitor isn’t really welcomed at your home (think about the person who was trying to sell something and stopped by right as you sat down for dinner). We have guests, invited guests!
6. We need to engage more people outside of the weekend serviceSunday morning is cool, but it’s not 1960. People don’t just come to church. We want to engage people in our community so that they will long to be in a Biblical community.
7. This was a successOne of the things we have to know (I’m talking to our church) is that this was a success. It was a huge success! God moved in great ways in these seven-weeks and He will continue to move in our church. Part of it being a success means we are going back to two services in the fall.
Going to two services was always an experiment. In my heart, I longed for us to stay at two services. In my head, it makes sense to move to our summer worship service time to prepare our church for two services in the fall.
The next time you want to try something new at your church just call it a pilot version. This pilot version was always an experiment. We tried something new and learned at least seven things. In reality we learned a lot more, we just didn’t think you wanted to read the list of 23 things.
Here are some final thoughts:
We went in with the expectation to learn
We are willing to make small and large changes to reach people for Jesus
In our second service we came close to hitting the 80% rule (this means we are close to needing two services)
Starting August 26 we are going to two identical worship services and we hope that you will be our guest!