There are a few days a year that cause immense stress and incredible joy for pastors. Those days are the big holidays that coincide with the largest attendance days of the year: Easter, Christmas, and Mother’s Day. Each of these days can bring incredible highs and incredible lows for pastors. Today we’re going to give you some tools to help you prepare for these high attendance Sundays, both practically and spiritually.
Cast Your Burden On The Lord
For pastors, it can be difficult to balance the need to get everything done with the realization that God is in control. While we certainly cannot simply sit around and pray that everything miraculously gets done, we are called to cast our burdens on the Lord. Your daily devotional times are of infinite more worth than checking one more thing off of your to-do list.
I know you’re probably rolling your eyes a little at that last paragraph. You’re a pastor; you know all the verses about trusting in the Lord, after all. But, the reality is, sometimes, as pastors, we need to hear the hard truths and let them really resonate with us. So, lets go over that again. This time in caveman language:
You busy. God faithful. Trust in God.
Talk With Your Team
If you’re stressed about a big Sunday, so is your team. But, because you’re their boss and their pastor, they’re a little less likely to share that they’re struggling. This is why it is so key that you cast your own burden on the Lord. In order to lead your team effectively, you need to model what it means to trust God even in stressful times. Here are some practical things you can do to help your team.
Ask about their walk with the Lord
Don’t forget to ask your team about their own walk with the Lord. In order to effectively reach people with the Gospel, your team needs to be in fellowship with Jesus. If they’re struggling, suggest a few resources to help get them back on track. When their walk with the Lord is going well, they’ll be more effective in ministry.
Ask about their concerns
Each of your staff members and key volunteers are likely to have concerns about their area or the overall plan for a particular high attendance Sunday. Give your team a safe space to express their concerns. Don’t assume that your team will bring their concerns to you naturally. They’ll need a little help in order to feel like they can be fully open.
Some may just need a little encouragement, and others may bring up something that needs your attention or should be reconsidered. Making sure your team feels heard and that they have someone who has their back is a key to effective ministry. Your team members will leave the meeting feeling energized and ready to climb Mt. Everest.
Ask what they need help with
Let’s face it, your team has limits. I know, that’s not the advice you were looking for, but it’s true. Now, this doesn’t mean that you add something else to your plate. Instead, this is an opportunity to coach your team members on how to share their responsibilities with their key volunteers. Or you may find that a certain team member is worried about things that are not something they should be worried about or something that can wait until after the high attendance Sunday to finish. Listen intently and help them find a solution that empowers them, doesn’t add more to your plate, and helps them delegate to their team of volunteers.
Identify who you can delegate some tasks to
High attendance Sundays are a great opportunity to help you level up your team. Some people on your team have huge potential beyond their current ministry role. These big weekends only happen a few times per year, but give you the opportunity to stretch your team by getting them to help with things that they would not normally do.
Now, this should not be over done. You can’t delegate all the things on your plate, nor should you delegate to someone who is already overwhelmed. This is an opportunity to identify those who are already excelling and to show them that you’ve noticed their hard work. Make sure that you explain why you’re giving them additional tasks. Something like this will help them get excited about the task:
“Hey John, I know that you’ve been working extremely hard and I’m so proud of all the great work that you’ve been doing here at First Church. As we approach Easter, I want to have you help me with some things that you wouldn’t normally do because I want to help you level up as a leader. Does that sound good?”
Solidify Your Follow Up Process
Don’t forget to think about what happens after the big day! Your church is likely to have a ton of first time guests on these days. Do you have a solid plan in place on how to follow up? Notice that I said solid. If you haven’t updated or looked at the follow up process in the past year, it is time to revisit it.
You’ll want to make it easy for someone to give you their information on a connection card. Don’t ask for 37 different things; just grab the basics. Grab their name, email address, and whether or not they have kids. The last part is crucial. We’re all about simplicity here at ServeHQ, but we’re also about sending people the most relevant information. Knowing whether or not the person has kids lets you tailor the follow up experience based on the visitor.
You need to have a solid process in place for what happens with this information. Ideally you’ll have a dedicated staff or volunteer team member who handles the follow up. Make sure the first follow up happens two to three days after the church service to give people time to process the visit. This first follow up should be a personal welcome from an individual. Ask an open ended question about their experience. Don’t just bombard them with additional information.
After the first follow up, you’ll be able to tailor the rest of the process based on a few things. First, did they respond to the email? If so, make sure you acknowledge their experience in your follow up. Did they have kids? If so, send them information about kids ministry. If not, make sure to leave that part off. People don’t need information that is not relevant to them.
Recruit And Train Additional Volunteers
Here’s our last piece of advice leading up to a high attendance Sunday. Don’t stretch your volunteers too thin. These are the days where you need to put your best foot forward as a church in order to make an impact on guests. Stressed out volunteers who don’t know what they’re doing or who are doing too many things is not the ideal impression.
If you find that you need additional volunteers, we’ve got a huge list of 21 volunteer recruiting ideas that you can try. Don’t wait until the last minute to recruit new volunteers. Chances are those volunteers will do more harm than good if their first time serving is on a busy Sunday and they have not had training.
For training, make sure you brush up on the basics. At ServeHQ, we’ve got a library of over 700 videos that you can use to train your team members. We’re even made some of them available for free here or you can get access to all 700+ videos by creating a TrainedUp account. The great news is by using TrainedUp, you don’t have to schedule another meeting and add something else to your plate. You can simply send over the videos and get notified when team members complete the training.
Don’t Worry Too Much
I know we already touched on this in the first point, but it is worth saying again. Don’t worry too much about what is going to happen. A mistake will get made. Something will be forgotten. Enjoy the day and celebrate what God is doing at your church!