In part one, I encouraged getting your calendar structured around preparation for Sunday. I got to share with you the VOUS Monday – Wednesday meeting schedule in detail.
As a reminder, here’s the overview of the entire planning week at VOUS:
· Meeting Monday
· Tackle Tuesday
· Wrap Up Wednesday
· Think a Lot Thursday
· Free Friday
· Semi-slow Saturday
· Slam Sunday
This second part covers the latter half of the week. This is when we at VOUS start moving our communications from internal to external, getting all our servant leaders in the loop of decisions and updates made for Sunday.
Wrap Up Wednesday (cont’d)
Since at VOUS Church we are staff led and servant leader ran, we like to empower appropriately across all our teams. That means we believe servant leaders[, the volunteers of our church,] do not just show up on Sunday to do a task, but to lead.
As a staff, we set our servant leaders for success by ensuring the first time they see the Sunday plan is not on Sunday. Communicating logistics and service information to servant leaders ahead of Sunday is extremely important. It gives an opportunity for feedback and correcting any blind spots.
TIP: People buy in when they can weigh in. Give your servant leaders that opportunity.
Service Flow Email
Almost immediately after our Weekend Meeting on Wednesdays we send out a Service Flow Email that goes to lead pastors, staff, MCs, and team leaders of production, host, and guest relations. The email has the Planning Center Online (PCO) plan clearly laid out. We also include helpful reminders of what print material will be available to guests on seats, information that MCs and teams appreciate. With multiple locations, the Service Flow Email is adjusted to reflect each location’s technicalities and is sent out to the respective location teams.
TIP: It is good practice to get email receipts but use the BCC option when sending emails to large groups. That way inboxes are not flooded with reply-all confirmation emails.
Content Check Meeting
With all the preparation that goes into a Sunday, the last thing we would want is for anything to go wrong. Especially items we can catch with simple review. So, we’ve built into our Wednesday afternoon routine the Content Check Meeting.
What is the purpose?
To check all content being visually displayed on a given Sunday with the goal of catching any errors or missing items. Everyone should leave this meeting feeling that Sunday will be great.
Key worship, creative, and production personnel attend.
What is discussed?
A mock setup is created with all equipment that will be used to display content on Sunday. That’s everything from our Ableton Tracks Rig to ProPresenter and Resolume computers. The idea is to set up as if it’s Sunday and run through the full service.
The PCO plan for Sunday is pulled up and, starting from when doors open, we review exactly what will be playing on screens line by line. All graphics, videos, lyrics, etc. are displayed from the computer they will be launched from on any given Sunday for each location. We use SMPTE timecode so that our Tracks Rig is good to go as we check all lyrics and assigned offsets.
Any required changes are noted on our Content Checklist sheet. The sheet is created in collaboration with our Production and Creative Departments to list items due for Sunday and their status. We give until Thursday EOD to make appropriate changes caught in Content Check.
A sample checklist is below:
Think A Lot Thursday
On Thursdays we do a lot of thinking. Making sure the details have been checked off, taking no portion of Sunday for granted, and equipping leaders to do their best. But if all goes well Monday through Wednesday, that really gives us room to dream bigger than Sunday and think of ideas for the future.
To help in the success of our Thursdays we give staff and servant leaders something to think about heading into their weekend.
MC Language Email
Since both staff and servant leaders can MC services, we wanted to make it so that they’d all use the same language on stage no matter the location. That’s because we value creating a cohesive experience for guests at VOUS, with every service and location resembling one another in practically every aspect.
Helping with our goal for cohesion is our MC Language Email. Sent out on Thursday afternoon to every MC scheduled for Sunday, the email includes talking points for every announcement. Logistics and messages are laid out clearly so MCs don’t get lost in the moment. It acts as a script and has some helpful reminders. Here is a sample below:
As an MC you are expected to:
· Be present at Run Through at your respective block
· iTech AM Block (9AM)
· iTech PM Block (4PM)
· JDD (10AM)
· Sit the service you are MCing
Some helpful reminders for us are below:
1. It's a privilege: Never take it lightly that you get to share with our church.
2. Be prepared: The more time you prepare off the platform the better you will be on the platform.
3. Honor your time: Each section has a time limit. Don't go over.
4. Know your place: Be honoring. Compliment the audience and love on our church.
5. Be Yourself: Remove any prideful pressure. Who you are is perfect. Have fun.
6. [There should be something here, maybe “Share a resource:” or something]Submit your Offering Scripture (if applicable) by Friday night.
Team Rally Voice Memo
The final team communication we’ve created is the Team Rally Voice Memo. But first, let me explain Team Rally.
On Sundays, we have a 6-minute rally moment before our morning and evening service blocks. Servant leaders gather to be informed about upcoming events, encouraged, fired up, and prayed over before service. That’s it, Team Rally. What makes Team Rally great is that it serves as a training ground for up and coming MCs for our main services.
Since most of our team is aware of upcoming events, thanks to our multi-channel communications, Team Rally gives us a chance to tell the pastoral “whys” around each of our announcements. Why attending Crew is important, why we believe serving our city will change it, why generosity is our privilege, etc.
Our Production Coordinator sends a voice memo each Thursday to all Team Rally MCs with reminders and pastoral soundbites.
Free Friday + Semi-Slow Saturday
The weekend for staff is on Fridays and Saturdays. It is the time to rest from work, engage in community, and recharge in creative ways.
On Saturdays there is some flexibility to make quick adjustments for Sunday. Also, our monthly community outreaches, I Love My City, are typically held on a Semi-Slow Saturday. But we like to guard the time off as much as possible, always balancing out the calendar.
Sunday is here! We’ve made it to the day of the week where “you can belong before you believe” our consistent opportunity to invite folks to simply just keep coming back to weekly.
The Sunday Debrief/SWOT
One of our staff values is to “Make it Better.” The “it” is whatever we each are responsible for. We all take it upon ourselves to reach our corporate standard of excellence.
A tough question everyone should ask themselves to test their own standards against that of the organization is “What am I doing personally to help us improve organizationally?”
I like to tell myself that my role, no matter the job description, is to make VOUS better. I won’t do tomorrow what I can do today. And I choose to put my full weight down.
Anything worth doing is worth evaluating and after every Sunday we take time to evaluate. All staff members and team members complete a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats or SWOT analysis and post it on a Basecamp message board. It gets the emotion out of the way and makes all feedback useful. That way we can quickly imitate, innovate, evaluate and repeat.
Insight as to what a SWOT analysis looks like, can be found below:
All SWOTs are reviewed on Mondays, feedbacking into our weekly cycle.
We’ve found this planning calendar extraordinarily helpful in making Sundays go off without too many hitches and hope you will too. You may find a few elements do not work for your church and that’s OK! Test some items out, it’s all worth a try. With just a few tweaks to make it your own, you will find that a similar calendar will have your team gaining clarity in their processes and attaching vision to their deliverables.
If you have any comments or questions, we would love to hear from you. Click on the chat button below.
Thanks for taking the time to read about our road to Sunday. VOUS loves you!