4 Frameworks with 20 Questions for a Weekend Worship Review

Regular evaluation of your weekend services should be a normal pattern for your leadership team. For us it happens during a Monday morning meeting were we look at what happened the day before and we also settle on the services for the coming weekend. This is an important system that we have in place because it allows us to stay on the same page and helps us catch quality improvements at an early stage. If there is a tough Sunday we know that we’re going to be taking time on Monday to talk it through. Regular service review also keeps us focused on improving the experience for our guests … we want to honor God by bringing our best to the table for them!

Here are four different approaches to worship review and evaluation. As the needs of your church and leadership shift you’ll need to move around from one type of evaluation to another. Find one that seems to fit the needs of your church and make it happen!

  • Autopsy Method // This approach attempts to diagnose what exactly happened during the service so everyone can understand it clearly. This can be particularly helpful when you are looking to address a number of issues that need to change. This approach requires a high level of trust among the team because it can naturally focuses on the negative of what took place.
    • Good // The team lists the things that went well during the service … it’s sometimes helpful to walk through the service order to make sure you are commenting on a wide variety of items.
    • Bad // Let’s get the junk out on the table! Remember to clearly articulate the problem with what happened and avoid attacking people.
    • Missing // Where in the service did we miss something that would have made it a better experience? In my experience this is the least used category but can often provide some stunning insights into where our services should go in the future.
    • Confusing // What happened during the service that didn’t make sense? How can we simplify an ask for the future? Did the language of a musical worship leader muddy up what we were attempting to communicate?
  • Future Focused // This method attempts to extract learning from a service to apply to the future. This approach can be particularly helpful when you are coaching new teams of leaders because it helps translate what did happened into what should happen in the future.
    • Keep // What happened yesterday that we want to repeat again and again? What are the positives that we can see doing in future services?
    • Stop // What happened that we want to make sure never happens again? What actions took away from what we were doing through the service?
    • Start // What did we miss doing that could have made the service even better? What should we add into these experiences in the future to take them to the next level?
  • Process Oriented // This approach attempts to focus on the systems behind services. These questions attempt to get at the “why behind the whats”. Because these questions don’t just focus on actions it requires a team that has been working together for a while.
    • Victories // Where were we “winning” during the service? The goal of this section is for the team to articulate what was happening in the lives of the people they were serving … not the actions taken during the service. This focuses the team on the impact the ministry is having in the lives of people.
    • Metrics // Balancing out the stories of individual life change … the metrics section is attempting to capture the overarching story of what is happening in the life of the church. The goal here is to move beyond just “numbers and noses” to metrics that articulate the spiritual dynamics of the church. (% of people moving into groups, % of first time guests attending)
    • Stucks // In this section each ministry area articulates areas that they are stuck in achieving their growth or development. Using the service as an illustration … the teams talk about the areas they need assistance or resources to get “unstuck.”
  • Appreciative Inquiry // This approach attempts to focus the leadership only on what was positive about the experience. Over the last year I’ve become more acquainted with this school of thought in change management and I see it’s deep value for us in church leadership. Here are some potential questions you could ask using this approach.
    • What made the service an exciting experience?  What gave it energy?
    • What moments during the service where the best we could offer to Jesus and our guests?
    • What was it about each team member that made it great? How did you uniquely contribute? How did you see God use other people?
    • What is the common mission or purpose that united everyone on the leadership during the service?  How can this continue to be nurtured?
    • In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of your services that you can recall that best illustrates this spirit of “being the best? How can we build on that?

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Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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