When young pastors get dreams of church planting in their heads, the dream almost always entails them standing up before large crowds. To this end, almost all church plants rush too quickly to the weekly worship service and many die upon this hill. Below is my ‘count the cost’ moment. Weekly large gatherings can be the lifeblood of a community or its death. In my experience, here is what is needed for a relatively simple weekly worship service:
- 40 people
- Without this, when the wind blows the wrong way, you will have 18 people in worship, half of whom are in the band. It will be deflating, not uplifting.
- A preacher/liturgist (10-40 hours/week)
- Coordinate and prepare liturgy each week (1 to 3 hours/week)
- Sermon (5-25 hours/week)
- Need a backup preacher for vacations, sick days, etc.
- Regular preaching creates an expectation that you are available for hangouts, crisis counseling, hospital visits, new people, etc. (5-10 hours/week)
- Lead musician (5-7 hours/week)
- Prep, set up, power point slides, leading, and tear down.
- Recruit musicians and coordinate practice.
- Need a backup musician for vacations, sick days, etc.
- Childcare Coordinator (5-7 hours/week)
- Recruit and train volunteers.
- Acquire and maintain background checks for all volunteers.
- Create or acquire content for kids’ classes.
- Meet up with struggling teachers.
- Team of childcare volunteers/Sunday school teachers.
- A minimum of 2 per week needed. (At least a dozen people).
- Rental Coordinator
- To manage the relationship with the landlord and deliver rent on time.
- Setup and cleanup crew.
- Food and snacks crew.
- Tech person.
- For microphones, projectors, and all things tech.
All this before discipleship and mission are ever engaged. And this is the heart of the problem. The weekly worship service begins to consume the time and energy of the young church plant, which prevents it from growing, either internally or externally.
Likewise, since you are a young church plant, half your volunteers will quit or flake out. Many an energetic young preacher has been worn down by setting up the chairs, making the coffee, and then having the projector break 5 minutes before the service.
There are ways to simplify a gathering and get around a few of these (i.e, don’t have kids), but they won’t just take care of themselves because you believe God has given you a vision. Weekly worship can be great. But count the cost.