Your People Don’t Want You To Grow

When I go to a restaurant, I don’t want my server to be slammed with tables. It prevents me from getting refills. But the restaurant owner, wants every table in the house filled, with a waiting list to boot.

When I hire a consultant, I don’t want him to have 35 other clients. It means I miss out on personal attention. The consultant, however, wants a packed calendar because it leads to a bigger paycheck.

Customers don’t want their favorite business to grow because it means less personal attention – less of what attracted them in the first place. Yet most business owners want to expand, often choosing to focus on who is NOT a customer. It’s an unresolved, never ending tension.

You can brag about how many clients you have. For some, that’s social proof. For others, it’s a sign that you’re too busy for them.

It’s true for churches, too.

Do you realize that most people in church don’t WANT their church to grow. It means more hassle in the parking lot, less personal attention given to their kids, and more difficulty finding a seat.

Church leaders like crowded services – most church attenders hate them. Leaders like crowded parking lots – anyone driving a car hates them. Pastors like crowds of people in the congregation – most people avoid crowds.

But there are very few churches whose members are clamoring for the next capital campaign and building expansion.

Because growth is an inconvenience.

Launch Another Service

If you only have one church service and you’re out of space, don’t build a building.  Add a second service.

Why You Should Start a Second Service

1. It’s good stewardship. Don’t go spend money on expansion until you are having as many services as you can in your current facility. We do four services on Sunday morning, and though it wears me out, I can rest the next day. I’m not spending money on bigger facilities only to use them 2 hours a week.

2. It’s better for your volunteers. People say they don’t want multiple service because it’s hard on volunteers. Umm…just the opposite is true. When you have two services, your volunteers can serve one and work one. You can also do away with administering volunteer rotations.

3. It gives people options. People that don’t go to church like options. People in general like options, which is why restaurants serve different things and they make 734 kinds of toothpaste. Some people like an earlier service; some people like to sleep in. Some people would rather go on Saturday night. Give people options, don’t make them cater to your preferences.

4. It forces you to a tighter schedule, and that’s probably a good thing. I’ve rarely heard people wish for longer sermons and longer services, so when you have to schedule things a little tighter, it really does help.

5. It’s not 100% more work, but it can make a 100% difference. You’re already writing a sermon and the band is already rehearsing the songs, so why not maximize your preparation?

When Should You Start Another Service

1. Before you think you need it. Yes, you can do this too soon, but in 90% of churches, a second service would help you be more healthy.

2. When school starts, in January, or just after Easter. Choose a strategic time of the year to launch your new service.

How Do You Start Another Service

1. Drip the vision to your leaders before you drop the announcement on your congregation. Ask key volunteers to go where needed, and let them know why it matters. Don’t just leave it up to sign ups to see where everyone will shake out. Divide on purpose.

2. Six weeks before you make the move, preach an entire message on volunteering and sign up a bunch of brand new volunteers. Preach on a passage like Acts 6 and ask people to make a commitment to serve somewhere. Take the next six weeks to get them the training they need and assign them to an apprentice.

3. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Launching another is a big deal, so make sure you carve out plenty of time to communicate to the congregation. Don’t mix this in with three other big events.

4. Adjust the starting time for everyone. When you introduce a second service, ask everyone to make a switch. If you have one 11am service, don’t add a second service at 9am. Instead, opt for a 10:00 and an 11:30 service. Or go for 9:15 and 10:45. When everyone has to make a new choice, you’ll even out the audience a little bit and keep from people from an unhealthy ownership mentality.

What’s your experience with multiple services?  What have you learned?  Leave a comment and share with the community.