10 Non-Negotiables of a Church Service


March 28, 2024
5 min read

The end goal is for people to have an encounter with Jesus.


Since the beginning, church was God’s idea. It’s always been His heart and plan for believers to gather together, be in community, worship, and share the gospel. Church is not limited to a location or the four walls of an auditorium. In fact, the church isn’t a building at all — it’s all about people. The church is made up of the body of believers. 

If we go to the Bible, we find an account of the early church in the book of Acts. For a breakdown of what a healthy church looks like based on Acts 2, check out this article

It’s no secret that church in 2024 looks pretty different from the early church. As the world has modernized and technology has advanced, we now have more information than ever at our fingertips. What does it look like to share the message of a lifetime in this cultural context? How do we create a space that welcomes people no matter where they are on the faith journey? 

As VOUS has grown, developed, and matured as a church over the last eight years, we’ve nailed down 10 things our church services must be. These non-negotiables keep us grounded and centered on the vision ahead.

1. Intentional 

Intentionality is key. Each service is planned and every moment is examined. The flow and content are well thought out and each moment has specific goals in mind. Intentionality opens the door to consider what feeling should be evoked, what we hope people will understand, and what action we want to prompt them to take.

2. Prepared

If we fail to plan, we plan to fail. We like to say that we don’t practice on people. Sunday service with a packed auditorium shouldn't be the first time we try something new. We plan services every week with programming meetings, content checks, and run-throughs to work out any kinks and make sure every team is set up for a win. On Monday after services, we SWOT — we review the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of Sunday to make any necessary adjustments for the next week. 

3. Dynamic

Dynamic is defined as “characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful.” The more dynamic the service, the more engaged we hope people might be. Sometimes this looks like incorporating programming elements that are outside of the normal play. Other times it might be adjusting the lights and music to shift the atmosphere. Whatever it is, the end goal is always to engage and equip guests.

4. Consistent

Greatness doesn’t come from making one great play, it comes from making the great play over and over again. Consistency is one of the markers of a great service. Find what works for your team and your community, then make it your routine. 

5. Creative

God is creative, and because we are made in His image, so are we. Thoughts manifest in ideas and images and we should push both in service. Our design team creates a SZN look that we use for a few months at a time. The team also creates a look for each collection of talks to visually elevate the Sunday experience for guests.

6. Fun

Church is something to be enjoyed, not endured. Psalm 16:11 says “You will make known to me the way of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Joy is one of God’s promises to us. While service should balance both lighthearted moments and more reverent moments, it’s okay to have fun in church.

7. Life-giving

The world is a constant source of discouragement and despair. Church should be a safe harbor, a lighthouse, a place to be in God’s presence with others. When people come to church, they should leave feeling better than how they came. 

8. Powerful

The truth is that God can do anything. Literally anything. Our responsibility is to carry this truth in mind and steward our services in a way that makes space for Him to move. We should have full expectation that not only is God able to do anything, He will

9. Punctual

God is never late, and we shouldn’t be either. Punctuality and preparation go hand in hand. Punctuality in service builds trust, shows respect, and puts excellence on display. 

10. Jesus

When it comes down to it, Jesus is everything. He is first and center of all things, all plans, all priorities. The root of a church service has nothing to do with lights, sound, and the right atmosphere. While all of that is good and has its place, the end goal is for people to have an encounter with Jesus. He’s the one who saves souls, transforms lives, and sets people free. When it comes to a church service, it's about His name, always.

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