Ask yourself this question: Do you run your Sunday corporate meeting through the lens that unbelievers or visitors may be in the meeting? If you are then you should be effective in reaching them with the Gospel. If you invite an unbeliever or new person to Church and you start 15 minutes late, worship for an hour, the meeting is run poorly, and there is general disorganization in the house – will they want to return? Will existing believers in your meeting want to invite their friends again or to another meeting? We do NOT aim for a perfect entertainment session, but we certainly want to be intentional in creating an experience that visitors encounter life in the worship, truth in the bible, love through the people and in general walk away thinking “these guys are serious about what they do” (this is the mission of Jesus that we take seriously). For a visitor this should happen from the first impression when they drive onto the property. We should be very serious about the mission of Jesus. The mission of Jesus is not about our comfort or our leaders comfort, but rather it’s about us being inconvenienced, us being challenged to becoming more effective communicators, us becoming better at engaging kids in worship, us becoming less that He become more. This involves change, and change is never comfortable.
Acts 2:42: …the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, the Holy Spirit broke out, miracles happened, 3000 people got saved. The apostles preached here in large, corporate meetings, not in the small, home group setting. We want people to get saved in both small groups and large gatherings, but they happen in different ways. During a large group meeting on a Sunday you can’t be a friend of 300 people. If “fellowship” during a large group meeting on a Sunday is your primary goal then it is self-destructive. Our goal should be to see the Kingdom of Jesus advance. Jesus built community in homes, but also in the miracles by involving guys on His team who experienced it first hand. Our methods are different for a large group meeting (Sunday Re-Fuel) versus small group (mid-week or KickStart or X-Celerate). A study of 21 hunter gatherer communities (ex eskimos, aborigines) found that all of these communities had an average number of people of 148 people. They all shared an equal size. If we just want to build community on a Sunday we will hit a brick wall. The hardest barriers to break through are 45 or 150 people. Growth means change. People find this hard. No longer access to the lead guy. We move from being a decathlete (doing everything yourself) to Golf (you take a few people along with you while you doing it to show them the ropes), to basketball (now need a captain with a team of players) to grid-iron football (multiple captains, multiple coaches but play as one team). Younger people (born after 1965) are more comfortable with bigger communities (malls, schools…)
Small groups: expression of community, nurturing leadership, discipline, love, sharing, devotion to fellowship, Jesus at the centre of the meal time
Large groups: breaking in moments (Acts 2:42), Mission, Gospel, Unsaved, 1st commandment
As leaders we need to find the balance between intentional Sundays and gauging where your teams/people are at.
Intentional / Purposeful Sunday Uptown Meetings:
A new teaching series (curriculum) will be completed and available for all leaders 2-weeks before the new series commences. Therefore every Uptown leader should have the new series (hard copy) in their hands 2 weeks beforehand to begin preparation (Site Captains to ensure their leaders get them).
All sites should have a roster for involvement which looks at least 3-months into the future. All leaders (story tellers, MC’s, technical guys, worship, mascots, train driver, runners etc etc) should know when they are on and what they should be doing at least 3-months in advance.
All leaders should go into a Thursday planning meeting already having read through the series, story, memory verse and arrive at a planning meeting already with ideas and thoughts. A leader should not arrive at a planning meeting unprepared (1-hour plan).
A Sunday meeting at Uptown begins 2 weeks before the actual Sunday!
A. Thursday Planning meetings (10 days before the Sunday)
I. This meeting ideally should happen on a Thursday evening
II. This purpose of this meeting is 2-fold: Purpose and Fellowship. You can be intentional with both: 1 hour plan and 30 minute pray, share, break bread, testimonies etc.
III. It is to plan aspects of the Sunday in 10 days’ time, but can also be used to recap any last minute stuff for this Sunday (3-days time), (no more than 20% of the meeting should be devoted to this Sunday).
IV. The entire team brainstorm ideas and thoughts for the specific Sunday
V. How can we be creative with the memory verse (rap, pictures, chant with actions, visuals, props…)?
VI. Is there a script for the story? Can we modify it, add value to it (sound effects, audience, play with the stage)? Can I use any of the “transformational teaching techniques” of Aaron Reynolds (or others)?
VII. Specific roles and responsibilities need to be assigned to individuals. Ensure that they fully understand what is expected of them (don’t assume they know what to do or how to do it)
VIII. E-mail the Uptown assistant (Mike Griffin: firstname.lastname@example.org) or (0833204496) with the things that you need for your Sunday (props, clothing, stuff to be purchased etc). This is the service we offer to help your Sunday meeting rock. Please use it. We can either arrange drop off at your site (East, South, West, Grace) or inform you for collection (North, Highgate). If you are requiring electronic media like sound effects or images it is best if you find what you need first and then e-mail the Uptown Assistant to load onto your Sunday computer for your Sunday meeting.
IX. All media will be loaded and tested onto your site computer by the Thursday directly before the Sunday meeting (a run-sheet will also be drawn up to facilitate the smooth running of your meeting) (eventually thurs will also include a complete run through of all media components).
X. Scripts for stories are to be memorized and individuals fully prepared for the following Thursday evening dry-run
XI. Discuss any specific announcements that need to be made and ensure the MC is prepared (verbal or video announcements). For example Make YOU Famous in the North etc.
B. Thursday Story Dry-Runs (3 days before the Sunday)
I. Every Thursday evening (6-7 pm) at Uptown South (Throne Zone)
II. For all storytellers from all sites
III. This is a full, live rehearsal of the story by each site representative. Full use should be made of dress-up, clothing, props etc (don’t half bake a story-make it count)
IV. Each person will be evaluated and will evaluate the other storytellers using the Aaron Reynolds evaluation techniques (movement, moments, application)
V. This is not a voluntary session. Every storyteller from each site (zone) doing the story on the Sunday should attend and participate
VI. Each person needs to be fully prepared as if it were a live, Sunday story (words memorized, media ready, props, audience [can use fellow storytellers for this])
VII. All site computers will be ready at this meeting (will discuss responsibilities for these Mac books etc at a later stage)
VIII. Whilst the dry run is happening for the storyteller the rest of the team would be having a planning meeting to discuss the Sunday in 10 days’ time or doing a quick recap for this Sunday, or they could be off (if your site has more than one team responsible for Sunday meetings)
IX. The media and sound person from each site should be present so that they are on the same page with any media, lighting and sound specifics for their meeting. This then prevents the mad rush on a Sunday trying to get everything place (we want to move away from that pre-service chaos as it not cool)
C. The Sunday (think visitor)
I. First impressions: Mascots full of life, creating a cool vibe and atmosphere. Parents and Kids see them and think “that must be where the kids go” Times for Mascots:
Time to be in place (40 minutes)
Mascots could even mingle into Uptown for a short while.
II. Signage in place (30 minutes before the hour)
III. Registration teams in place (30 minutes before the hour). These guys should be more focussed on being friendly, smiley face, welcoming, full of life rather than focussed on ticking a name (although this is important). We want them to come back! Create a vibe here (music, runners welcoming)
i. Yellow tags = child arrives without an adult (should be grade 6 or 7 most often)
ii. Red tags = parent/adult signs in child and gets a corresponding number
iii. Green tag = child staying for 2 services (usually a child of an adult who is serving in a 2nd meeting
iv. Only when corresponding red tag number is provided will a child be released (never bend this rule, even if it’s a well-known child as other parents are watching). Yellow tag children can see their own way out (no sign in done therefore no adult tag required)
v. Always ensure parent contact details are correct on database (email, cell). Also ensure the children’s details are correct (age, grade, birthdate, M/F).
IV. For leaders the meeting starts at 15 minutes before the hour (see point VII below)
V. If leaders want coffee then they should come 30 minutes before the hour and have a cuppa and muffin beforehand. At stations by 15 minutes before.
VI. Leaders take to their small group leader stations, runner positions and/or sound desk/computer 15 minutes before the meeting starts (think: Visitors usually arrive early!)
VII. All meetings start in small groups and this is called KickStart. Leaders are ready and waiting for the kids to arrive. This is not a goof around time for kids (running around, kicking balls, it’s a time of focus, feedback, connect between kids and leaders. Quiet background music should now be playing not live band doing actions.
VIII. Depending on your site there should be runners on your team. These leaders are not existing small group leaders but separate leaders perhaps part of the registration team. They are responsible for taking kids to their small groups. You may need 1 person inside and 1 outside to “ferry” kids to the right place in turns. You may want a runner inside to ensure kids are at their stations and haven’t escaped and running around inside or outside. These runners double up as a Safety role (preventing kids escaping). This is very important. There is nothing worse than a visitor having no idea where he/she should be! The runner should be well trained and invite the parent to come along so they get the run down too as they do a quick walk-in. They should be happy, smiley people (not grumpy types). They could also help facilitate the process of parents collecting kids (tags, happy face saying see you next week Jonny etc) (like Theatre in South).
IX. A countdown (5-minute, 2-minute, or 1-minute) should be shown on screen that starts off the large group meeting at (ALWAYS start on or before 10 minutes past, not later than)
X. The leading of Sunday meetings need some attention. How to change gears between ice-breaker into announcements, between announcements and worship, between worship and story etc. Our meetings need to become more seamless and less start/stop, engage/disengage. I will give this some attention in the very near future.
XI. Backing tracks are now becoming standard practise. Dancers/Action teams are meeting in the South for practises. If your site can’t make that venue/time then please ensure all dancers/actions people on stage follow the new dress code (Kim Crawford) and the correct actions (actions need to be standardized not haphazard for each site). Actions need to be well rehearsed not 30 minute before practise. Leaders should be fully, 100% committed to doing all the actions (you’re modelling regardless of what you’re doing therefore model well).