Church Worship Service Evaluation

Church Service Evaluation

As I reviewed this video on church service evaluation, I wondered how many pastors ‘really’ evaluate their services. Do we solicit the feedback from our teams such as: assistant pastors, lay ministers, elders and deacons? When was the last time we solicited feedback from members of the congregation evaluating their worship experience?

From my readings and listening to testimonies of pastors of large churches, evaluations are par for the course as they are always looking  for ways to improve the worship experience, mostly because they have a lot riding on their Sunday morning successes.

In addition to making sure Spiritual needs are met, some tangible needs must be met too such as making payroll, paying the mortgage payments, as well meeting other expenses.

If needs are not met, people stop coming; if they stop coming, contributions decrease; if contributions decrease ministry is adversely affected. Not that smaller churches don’t have similar concerns and issues, but the truth is the larger the church, the more at stake.  This is why large churches continue to evaluate their services.

What is the harm in not soliciting the feedback from others?

There is a tendency for us to operate in a vacuum and format programming based only on our own opinions and views. In spite of what many of us think, the view is different  from the PULPIT to the PEWS and  from the PEWS to the PULPIT.  A pastor friend of mind said it best, “The GREATEST room is the room for improvement.

Here’s an example: Our choir was once singing a song and we thought it was ‘the bomb.’  The music was ‘hittin and stickin like Popeye’s chickin!’ We were so excited and energized as we sang. Everyone enjoyed singing the song. The congregation was clapping and seemed to be engaged.

When we got home, my daughter told me that they were responding to the music because they could not hear what we were singing. She said that the band ‘WAS OFF THE HOOK!’ meaning they were great.  She also added that every now in then they were able to hear the lyrics but that the choir sounded off-key.

One of the widows during a Bible study said the music was much too loud and that she could not hear the choir. To my surprise several others agreed with her.  So it was clear that we did not meet our intended goal as the ones really engaged with praise during this times was the choir.

5-Minute After Service Debriefing.

Soliciting constructive criticism or receiving positive feedback will enable us to improve that which needs improving and repeat that which caused us to receive a favorable response.

Receiving feedback could be something as simple as a 5-minute ‘after service’ debriefing with those you trust. If we are truly about advancing the kingdom, we need to always be willing to listen to others.  In the above example, the feedback was given to our musicians.  They made some technical adjustments and now not only can the choir hear themselves when they sing, but the congregation can hear them too.

2 FREE Evaluation Tools

I have two free downloads of sample evaluation forms to assist you in receiving valuable feedback concerning your worship services. One sample form is called, “Worship Service Evaluation Form and the other is entitled, “5 Elements That My Church Service Should Have Every Sunday.

Remember this one thing, if we don’t know it’s broke, we can’t fix it and

if we don’t know it’s great, we can’t repeat it.

 

Do you know of any local churches who regularly evaluate their services?

Do you evaluate your services?

 

4 Reasons People Turned Off from Church

Boring-church-service

One of the treasured books I have on my shelf is called, “10 of Today’s Most Innovative Churches” by Elmer L. Towns. This is an old book, but some of its content is still applicable today.

Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church made the list of the top 10 most innovative churches.  In the 70’s  Hybels had the second largest church in America with 14,000 members.

Hybel recalls before starting his church how he and several volunteers canvassed the neighborhood to find out why people were not interested in attending church and why OVERALL attendance across the mainline denominations were plummeting.

It is interesting to note that their findings in the 70’s are very similar to today’s findings.  The top four reasons include the following:

  1. Always asking for money
  2. Services are boring
  3. Church irrelevant to ‘real’ life
  4. Pastors make them feel ignorant and guilty

So what did Hybel and his team do with this information?

Ask for money.  At first Hybels did not even collect an offering, people would just place donations in a basket in back of the church. As his church grew it became necessary logistically to officially collect an offering. Although regular attendees were encouraged to tithe, visitors were not expected to contribute and were encouraged to just sit back and enjoy.

Services are boring. Hybels structured his services to accommodate the fast paced, multimedia generation.  He did this by creative programming using music, video or dramatization and biblical message in a language that people could relate to.

Church irrelevant to ‘real’ life. People often believe that the Bible is out of date.  Hybel set out to make sure that everyone of his sermons touches ‘everyday life’ proving that God’s Word is relevant.

Pastors make them feel ignorant and guilty. After hearing several people admit this, Hybels made a point to never talk down to people or to make them feel guilty in order to get them to take action.

As I recall reading about Hybels start in ministry, I must admit that we have the same issues today almost 40 years later. We live in a faster paced society which is dominated by visual technology whether it is television, cell phones, iPads, netbooks, Facebook or Twitter.  We have lots of distractions and lots of choices.

It’s really baffling that the average church is offering the same audio programming to a culture that is so visual. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round whole.

I believe if we took the time to invest in creative programming, we would attract more people to our churches.  Doing this would reduce the time we would have to stand in church asking for money.  Nothing’s worse than always asking for money when the services and programming are predictable and where people can’t ‘see’ where there donations are making a difference.

And yet we continue to ask why we can’t keep the seats filled.

Do you believe these reasons are still the top reasons why people still aren’t coming out to our churches?

Churches Not Growing are Dying

church empty pews

We need to explore why our pews are empty and resolve to ‘FIX’ the problem.

I was in the nail shop and sat next to a woman probably in her late 60’s who was finishing up.  She had her hands in the dryer.

We greeted each other and began our small talk.  She asked politely, “Where do you go to church?”

For African Americans headquarters is usually the church.  So in our culture, this question is ‘commonly’ asked.

I answered her.  She then asked me how many members we had.  I told her about 300 members. She leaned back on her chair saying, “Whew, that’s a ‘big’ church.”

I never really saw my church as a big church especially since on Sundays it wasn’t uncommon to have a few empty pews.  I told her that we had two services.  Her body language was such that I thought we were hot stuff.

I was merely trying to suggest that it took two services to get to 300 people.  I figured I would take the pressure off me and ask her about her church.  She told me the name of her church, her pastor and added proudly that she was born, raised there and had been there all of her life.

Familiar with the area, I asked her how close was she to the popular XYZ church.  She told me that they were right across the street from ‘that’ mega church.

I couldn’t resist, so I asked her how many members did her church have.  She replied, “Uh, 100 or so.” Because of her body language and tone I believe 100 was a stretch from reality.

Then it came, unsolicited, I may add, “Our pastor knows all of us by name.”

I went to a workshop once where a pastor of a mega church stated that if your church is not growing conversely it is dying.  No church wants to be known as a dying church, but sadly many churches across America are dying.

What does this suggest?  The answer is that many of our churches are not doing a good job of evangelizing.  Many of us are simply not inviting people to church.  As pastors, for the sake of the Kingdom, we need to ‘bite the bullet’ and explore this dilemma, but many of us are afraid of what it will uncover.

A district superintendent visited one of the churches he was responsible for tricycle-236108overseeing.  He noticed that most of the people in attendance were in their sixties and seventies.  He asked his pastor why there was not even one young person in church when on his way to church he passed a playground filled with kids and stepped over a tricycle on the way into his church.  The pastor had no response.

The truth is that many church aren’t interested in growing their congregations.  They are happy with status quo and with their pastor knowing their names as if that were some real badge of honor.

THE ‘G’ WORD. I am sad to say that even in our church although evangelism is a very high priority, we have been silenced when it comes to publicizing the ‘G’ word.  “G” stands for ‘Growth.’

Growth makes the masses scared.  It suggests loss of intimacy, a loss of control , a loss of identity or even the possibility of being lost in the crowd. So what is the answer? How do you manage this dilemma?

A church can not survive the test of time on membership in their sixties. Soon, if not already,  the church will be funded by pensions, social security and disability checks. The duration may last longer for the church that is paid off and in somewhat good repair.  However, let’s not forget we have to pay the pastor along with his or her benefits.

We all must come to terms with the fact that our churches are either growing or dying. We need to do an assessment and ask the question, ‘why aren’t we growing and then resolve to put measures in place to attract others to our churches.

Why do you believe many of our churches are dying?