I have been involved with the planning of church services for the majority of my adult life.
There is one thing that has made much of the difference between OK services and truly excellent ones – and, believe it or not, it’s a meeting… No, not a planning meeting, a creative meeting, or a production meeting – an evaluation meeting. That’s right – the thing that made many of the services better happened AFTER the fact.
Everything in our culture pushes us to push aside what’s past and move on to the next thing. However, having the discussion about what happened helps establish direction – you chart the course, see how things went, and then make course corrections – or even decide to chart a new course.
The tendency – especially by senior leaders – is to focus on what went wrong. This is usually done in the name of efficiency (ex. “I don’t have time to focus on anything except the things we need to fix”). However, endlessly hammering on minor details that didn’t go exactly right can be highly demoralizing – both to yourself and your team. Plus, if you expect perfection, you’re setting up your worship services as an idol – a thing with value in and of themselves – rather than something done by and for the people of God.
To keep things in balance, I have used a system that we called “Yeas and Heys.” As in “Yea, that went great,” and “Hey, that could’ve gone better.” Each person in the meeting gets one of each (ONE, not a laundry list). This helps the focus to be on excellence, which is doing the best you can with what you have (not a halfway job, but the actual best you can). Take notes and track the “yeas” and “heys” over time. If you have the same “hey” over and over, that’s a legitimate problem to be address, rather than a simple error made by fallible humans (or fallible gear). If you have the same “yea” repeatedly, it’s time to celebrate – you’ve built a win into your culture!