There are a lot of changes in ministry, but there's one thing we can count on every week—Sunday is coming. Are you ready for it?
Sunday is the biggest day of the week for a church. Yet, oftentimes the preparation doesn’t match the vision attached to the day. As a church leader, if you constantly feel under pressure and behind schedule, stuck doing the same activities hoping for different results, it may be hard to envision a change.
But it is possible to find relief through systematized preparation and automated outcomes. With the proper strategy in place, you can walk into a Sunday feeling confident in your plan and your team.
The road to Sunday requires both intentionality and clarity. And a planned calendar is a huge help. It clears away the fog and gives you a visible path forward.
Have you often found yourself programming for Sunday services on Thursdays? With last-minute surprises eating through your time of rest? Well, consider that no more. This article will challenge you to take a fresh look at your calendar.
The VOUS Week
Here’s how we get ready for a Sunday at VOUS. It all hinges on a clearly defined week.
- Meeting Monday
- Tackle Tuesday
- Wrap Up Wednesday
- Think a Lot Thursday
- Free Friday
- Semi-slow Saturday
- Slam Sunday
You probably can gather from the titles assigned for each day of the week what we jump into daily. Now, for the details.
Meeting Monday is exactly what it sounds like—a day full of meetings. We waste no time, looking weeks and months ahead to plan appropriately. Meetings include, but not limited to, Department Huddles, Directors Meeting, Staff Meeting, Programming Meeting, and Department Check-ins.
The main meeting we'll focus on here is the Programming Meeting. It is an hour-long meeting where our team of pastors, staff, and key servant leaders gather to discuss upcoming services, events, and creative projects—anything and everything that needs to be accomplished or announced on a Sunday.
As with any effective meeting, there is a set agenda to help keep everyone on topic and within the time limit. The agenda is created and shared in our #programming channel on Slack, our digital communication platform. It is open for review and feedback from all departments participating.
The Programming Meeting
What is the purpose?
To bring clarity and accountability to each department on the plan for upcoming weekend services and events. It acts as the bridge between leadership, creative, production, and worship, ensuring everyone is on the same page and project updates are clearly communicated.
Our pastors, general manager, and key staff from our creative, production, and worship departments. We are intentional in having a diverse group of participants.
What is discussed?
The expectation is for all participants to be prepared with any known updates, fleshed-out ideas, and populated Planning Center Online (PCO) plans.
Each meeting opens up with the agenda overview and then to-do recap from previous meetings. These to-do’s are reviewed via our programming project on Basecamp, a project management software we utilize for communications and deliverable tracking. We then pull up PCO plans for the upcoming weeks and review them together in detail. Line by line. Updates around creative deliverables are given at this time, along with adjustments to plan, as needed. A sample PCO plan can be found below.
After each plan is reviewed, we review the corresponding week’s worship roster, print material, and listed items in our pre-roll video. All items are shown below.
We keep a record of new ideas that may come up during the meeting by creating to-do's throughout. Any new deliverables are reviewed at the meeting's end. Within our to-do's we create sub-groupings based on departments.
Tip: A real to-do has a date and a name attached to it!
Note: On the first Monday of every month we have our Large Programming Meeting. This meeting will include participants listed above, along with our location directors and additional staff as a whole. We take time to go through creative ideas for larger events and services that include but are not limited to Christmas, Easter, and upcoming talk collections.
The agenda gets modified slightly for these talks to take place. We then decide which creative direction we would like to go in for the month and assign deliverables. For example, worship songs that have to do with the upcoming messaging are proposed and selected at this time.
Tuesday is plainly the day we make an effort to execute as much of the to-do's we've assigned on Monday. It's a day to give our collaborators a heads-up on whatever role they may need to play in joining in the vision.
Wrap Up Wednesday
Each Wednesday at noon all deliverables for the weekend are due. Everything from lyric videos and service plans to team rosters are submitted during the “Weekend Meeting.” The agenda is created and shared within our #staff Slack channel each Wednesday morning for review and feedback from all participating departments. The meeting typically runs from 30 to 45 minutes.
The Weekend Meeting
What is the purpose?
To make sure everyone on staff knows what is planned for the weekend and confirmation that all deliverable timelines have been met. In theory, someone from our VOUS Kids department should be able to tell parents if it’s Communion Sunday or not. Since the meeting is strictly for information sharing, we encourage phones and laptops to be put away in favor of pens and notepads. There is a pause for questions after each item on the agenda is covered.
Our pastors, general manager, and key members from all VOUS Departments. Creative, Operations, Production, Worship, and Kids Departments are all properly represented.
What is discussed?
Starting with, you guessed it, an agenda overview, we then dive into a review of all upcoming events, service plans for our main auditorium spaces and VOUS Kids spaces. We then go through our staff assignments for the weekend.
We offer clarity to the entire staff by answering all questions revolving responsibilities. Since we are a mobile church with two locations we take to talk through logistics as well.
To close the meeting we do a deliverable recap for all items that were due Wednesday at noon. These are pulled up via Basecamp and we go through to-do’s in their department groupings. The expectation is that there is little to nothing to review as most items are completed. We use the end of this meeting to reiterate any pertinent items that are unique to the upcoming weekend.
Half Way There
Monday through Wednesday, done! Stay tuned for part two, where we get into the rest of the week.
I hope you are inspired, even now, to place non-negotiable meetings, deliverables, and goals throughout the week so that your game plan is in a better place come the weekend. It's not that we have it all figured out at VOUS, but we're ready to give you a bit of what we've picked up along the way.
Thanks for joining us on the journey.