There’s always more to do for a worship service than there are time and hands to complete the tasks! By making a few adjustments to the way your team works, your church office can reduce friction and confusion and increase efficiency.
1. Develop Written Procedures and Stick to Them
Get the entire worship-planning team on board to write procedures for what needs to be done each week. Having written procedures will clarify your team’s regular tasks and make it easier to onboard new staff and volunteers.
The procedures should have step-by-step directions for the who, what, when, where, why, and how of all the regular worship-planning tasks. For example, a procedure for doing the final read-through of the bulletin could include this information:
- Who: Senior pastor
- What: Final read-through of bulletin
- When: Complete by 10 a.m. every Thursday
- Where: Word-processor document provided by the church secretary
- Why: To ensure consistency with Lutheran Service Book, check for any errors, and ensure doctrinal soundness
- How: Turn on track changes to mark any edits, and create comments for larger changes or questions. Send edited file back to secretary, who will accept all changes and print the bulletin.
Review your written procedures regularly to make sure they stay up to date.
2. Communicate Clearly about Irregular Tasks
Your written procedures should cover regular responsibilities, but don’t forget about the one-off tasks that don’t fit into the weekly process. For example, say that adult Bible study usually just needs printouts and pencils, but one week the pastor wants to show a short video. The communications team is usually responsible for setting up technology, but adult Bible study is usually something the pastor handles entirely on his own. If the pastor thinks setting up the projector and screen is the communications team’s job, and the communications team thinks it’s the pastor’s job, chances are that nobody will do it!
It’s essential to communicate about irregular tasks. Avoid assuming that a team member will know to complete an out-of-the-ordinary task—they won’t know they need to do it unless they are asked! Making sure everyone knows exactly what they need to do makes sure no tasks slip through the cracks. It also makes sure the same task isn’t completed by two people, so you save time and ensure consistency.
3. Invest in the Tools You Need to Complete Tasks Easily
There are countless planning and communication tools available online you can adapt to support worship planning. Look for an online chatting system so you can speed up internal communication and cut down on emails. One that has a good search tool and file-sharing abilities is a plus. Some tools to consider are Slack, Skype for Business, and Google Drive and Hangouts. Additionally, an online task-management system can give you digital to-do lists and allow team members to track projects. You can use the system to create and assign tasks with due dates so nothing gets forgotten. Some tools your church office could look into are Asana, Wrike, Trello, and Todoist.
For the creation of bulletins, consider using Lutheran Service Builder. This program contains all the materials in Lutheran Service Book to help you plan services, create custom bulletin interiors, export presentations, and conform with copyright requirements. You can use Lutheran Service Builder to plan and compile your worship materials in one spot and get your entire team on the same page. Here’s how:
- Every 3 or 6 months: Get all services on the calendar. Choose the Divine Service setting, Scripture readings, hymns, and any additional rites for each service.
- 1–2 weeks before each service: Use the bulletin- and presentation-planning modes to fill in the details for each service. For example, choose between “Gloria in Excelsis” and “This Is the Feast” and between the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, and select the format of the presentation.
- A few days before each service: Export the bulletin to a word-processing software to make any final edits, track your changes, proofread, and print the bulletin. Export the presentation to project it during the service.
We hope these tips help your team communicate, get into a rhythm, and make worship planning smoother and easier!