It is not often that I blog about the internal workings of my church; but today I just can’t help myself. Yesterday we had our February “Big Day.” No, our Big Day had nothing to do with the Super Bowl. Instead, it is about us taking a little extra effort to invite our friends, make sure we all show up, and give a little more attention than normal to our church. The best analogy is that we treat Big Day Sundays like when people are having company over–we make sure everything is cleaned up, we try to cook a yummy meal, and we might even use real plates instead of paper ones. It is a concept we learned from Nelson Searcy, primarily in his book Ignite. Searcy is a church planter in New York and Florida and is a recognized leader on church growth and health. Nelson writes books, but they all only have one word titles. Nelson is an endless and tireless self promoter, but on some things he is right on the money. This is one of them. Nelson’s real gift is simplifying church into basic systems of concepts that work in our culture today. Back in the olden days we would have simply called Big Day “High Attendance Sunday.” Following Searcy’s strategy, we try to have one in February, one in the summer, and one in October plus the automatic Big Days of Easter (April 8 this year) and Christmas.
We’ve been doing this now for a year. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of our first Big Day. This year’s Big Day launched a three-week sermon series called Project 68; three sermons based on Micah 6:8.
Here is what we learned.
1. Our church can logistically pull off three worship services. For the first time ever, we held three worship services on campus yesterday. We’ve had variations of this in the past, but never three back to back to back on the same site. The staff (okay, it was me) was nervous about whether we could pull off all the ushering, the sound, the video and computer work, the greeters and the refreshments for three services. Not only did we pull it off, I personally think we excelled at it.
2. It is possible to have a meaningful, content rich worship service with exactly a one hour time limit. We’ve gotten very comfortable taking 70 minutes for our usual format, which is good, but the necessity of getting everything in exactly one hour proved to be a good discipline for us to eliminate that which did not serve the goal(s). I don’t think anyone would dare say they were cheated in content.
3. I learned that the 9:00 worship time was surprisingly popular among a younger demographic. I expected mostly middle-aged Babyboomers but what we got was mostly younger Gen-xers with small children or teens. I’m trying to figure out what that might mean. It could just be a “Super Bowl party is later thing so let’s get this over with” but there might be more to it. I’ll need more data sampling.
4. When there is only a 15 minute turn-around between services, being 1.5 minutes late matters. The second service was 1.5 minutes late, and this caused a cascade of events that led to us starting 2 minutes late in the third service. Fortunately, we recovered that 2 minutes and ended up finishing right on time at 12:30.
All in all–way to go team First Baptist! In many ways this was a rehearsal for Easter and possible future implementation and I think we did a great job. I can’t wait till April 8!