The right route will help you get from one place to the next. One of worst things you can experience along the way is an unplanned detour which leaves you lost and confused. If you’re not careful, your services can sometimes leave people wondering, “Where did we just go?” Here are 6 elements to consider that will help your service guests and attendees not take a wrong detour.

D – Distractions

One of the challenging things to identify in your services is distractions. The longer you are a part of an organization and the more time you spend attending any given church event, the less likely you can see the things that are a distraction. Distractions can occur in two categories: controllable and uncontrollable. Uncontrollable distractions are just that, uncontrollable. These may include a crying baby, a sudden power outage during a storm, or a fainting attendee. In these times, the best thing you can do is to pray for God help and do what you can to mitigate or minister through the distraction. While uncontrollable distractions can be frustrating, most of our services struggle with controllable distractions. A controllable distraction might be an out-of-date invite to a past event on the screen, a structure that limits visibility, an out of tune guitar, or a popping microphone. These types of distractions, while sometimes small, can add up to an unpleasant, distracting experience for guests and attendees which can affect your ability to minister to them. By limiting the number of controllable distractions, you will help attendees focus on the most important parts of your service. Don’t forget the salvation of someone in your service may be at stake!

E – Environment

Your physical meeting environment is one of the most important parts of your service. We may have heard it said, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” Your service environment is a key part of making a positive first impression for guests and a lasting impression for attendees. Important factors to your service environment can include temperature, cleanliness, organization, color/style, and decor. Unfortunately, church buildings can easily become a disjointed mess of style, color, and décor over time. Additionally, the changing nature of ministry can sometimes leave an organizational residue of old papers, cards, and other materials that can add to an unclean and uncomfortable environment especially for guests. It is a good practice to pay close attention to the details, so that you can help craft a fertile environment for attendees to hear the Word of God.

T – Time

Time is the one thing that seems to be in short supply for many people today. A crowded and over-committed schedule dominates the lives of many people. The time you have allocated for your service needs to be properly resourced or you may find that essential elements of your services are going undone or not being recognized as essential at all. We have all been to services where more time was given to non-essential elements and not enough time was given to the most important things. By taking time to plan out your service elements, you are demonstrating what your church should value and answering the important question of “What are we gathering to do?” An overcrowded or unplanned service schedule is a great way to leave attendees wondering what reason they should have to come back.

O – Organizational Flow

How things are presented is often just as important as when they are presented. The organizational flow of your service elements can help or hinder your attendees’ experience in your service. As you craft your service elements, make sure to pay attention to things that affect attendees’ participation (i.e. standing/sitting, audio/video presentations, welcome/dismissal). Services that flow free of awkward or conflicting expectations for attendees help to create an experience one wants to repeat.

U – Unity

A unified service is a powerful way to help the message of your service to land deep in the hearts of attendees and guests. While choosing elements, allotting time, and organizing them go a long way, one key factor is their unity. A collection of disjointed themes, media, and participating elements can leave your guest and attendees spiraling needlessly in multiple directions or missing your message entirely. When crafting your service consider your choice of songs, your Scripture message, your yearly/monthly theme, and even any special elements that will be included. Creating a unified message for the service through joining these elements together can help create a memorable and life-changing experience for your attendees.

R – Relevance

Proverbs 25:11 says “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in picture of silver.” The apt timing of relevant pics and songs during your service times helps make an impact in your guests and attendees. An important task of any leader is to discern the needs of the people you minister to and help to facilitate the necessary ministry that meets those needs. When crafting your services, it is a good practice to plan ahead and to take into account the specific spiritual, emotional, and even physical needs of your guests and attendees. Connecting with your attendees and guests through apt timing of relevant content and worship experiences can help create an unforgettable worship experience.

It is Christ who grows His Church and we can be thankful, like Paul, to be counted worthy to minister to His bride each week. Doing all that we can to help those who attend our services to focus, engage, and join the mission of your church can help people stay on the right route of reaching the lost and making disciples as they go.