The weekend is over and you may be exhausted. The last thing you want to do on Monday morning is evaluate the worship services with a critical eye to improve. After all, in only 7 days you have to do it all over again and there is so much work to do to get ready. But evaluation the smart thing to do. It’s the only way to stay fresh, be sharp, remain relevant and get better at what you do. It is how you reach more people. It is what makes your congregation proud to invite their friends, and ultimately it makes your work more fun.

The point is not to be overly hard on yourself or on the team. If this meeting results in discouragement or lowers morale the focus is off base. The only purpose is to get better as a team. That requires honest conversation and hard work, but this can be done in an encouraging and developmental way.

Before I offer a series of questions to help you conduct a weekly evaluation, let me share a couple ideas.

Three or four times a year it’s a good idea to conduct a focus group made up of different age and stage people in your church. Include new people! Don’t make this complicated. Just gather 4-5 people in a group, serve coffee and donuts and ask a few questions for about 20 minutes immediately after a service. That’s it. You can build a set of about 7 questions, appropriately geared to the group. It’s too often that only the pastor, staff and worship team do the evaluating and it’s difficult for them to have the perspective of those who attend the service. Keep in mind you are not inviting this group to “vote” on what you do, you are merely asking for their opinions based on your questions.

Another good idea is to visit other churches just a little larger than your church and learn from what they are doing. The point isn’t to copy them, although there’s nothing wrong with that, the goal is to gain new ideas. If possible, make advance plans to take one or more of their worship and arts team to lunch. Ask good questions and I predict you will love what you learn as well as make some new friends!

The title of the previous Pastor’s Coach article was “Worship – Make Room For The Mystery.” The focus was on God’s presence and power in the worship service. This article concentrates on the more mechanical side of the experience, evaluation and improvement.

On a scale of 1 – 7 (1=poor and 7=great) rate each question with open candor and a willingness to improve. The point isn’t so much the numbers you assign. The primary purpose is to facilitate a productive conversation.

  • Was the parking lot clean, clear and ready?  Was the parking team prepared, well trained and fully staffed with volunteers? Did they get the cars in and out as smoothly and quickly as possible?
  • Was the nursery staffed with volunteers and ready to receive babies in a safe and comforting environment?
  • Were the usher and greeter teams ready, on time, organized and have all needed handouts such as the bulletin?
  • Were the first time guests greeted warmly and invited to interact with each other? Is this practice kept fresh or has it become routine?
  • Did the announcements help or hinder the worship service? Did they lift or kill the energy in the room? How many minutes did the announcements last? Did it go too long?
  • Was the offering and offertory well prepared and well executed? Did the music add to the overall worship experience? Did the ushers receive the offering in such a way as not to distract from the worship in the moment?
  • If communion or baptism was conducted, was it well prepared and handled smoothly? How did it add to the overall worship experience? Was there brief but sufficient explanation so the congregation understood each sacrament?
  • Overall, was the worship well planned and delivered with spiritual vitality and passion? Did it sound great and feel inspiring? What improvements could have been made?
  • Specifically, were the singers and musicians prepared, rehearsed and ready? Did they demonstrate joy and freedom that would inspire and encourage worshipers?
  • Was there a good flow of communication between teams? (tech, worship, ushers, pastor etc.) Did everyone seem to be on the same page?
  • Could you sense specific moments where God’s presence seemed to be unusually present? When were they? What was happening?
  • Were the people engaged in the sermon? How do you know?
  • Was the main point of the sermon clear? How could the sermon have been better?
  • Did the overall service have a smooth flow to it? Did it start on time? Did it end on time? Does that matter at your church? Why or why not?
  • In what way did the tech team enhance the experience of the service through lights, sound, cameras etc.? What improvements could be made? If new equipment is needed are you saving money toward the purchase?
  • If there was use of video how did it enhance the service? How were people engaged, inspired, or entertained in a way that ultimately helped them move closer to God in hearing the message?
  • Was there an effective “altar call” or some point of challenge for commitment or change? Was there a challenge to a practical biblical application? How do you know it worked?
  • Would the people want to invite guests next week as a result of what they experienced this week?
  • Overall, what did we learn? What are we proud of? Who do special thanks go to? How can we be better next week?

This entire process can be done in about an hour. You don’t have to answer every question every time. Break it down in categories, perhaps in four groups of questions and tackle one group of questions a week. Whatever method or however you would like to do this, you will be well served by the results.