The purpose of this operating procedure is to establish, document, and communicate the process for planning and designing weekend services at YOUR CHURCH.
The service planning and design process should be used by paid staff and ministry area volunteers as needed for understanding of and participation in planning and design of weekend services at YOUR CHURCH. This process does not include detailed instructions service production, execution of weekend services, or specific training/qualification for band, technical arts, or other staff/volunteers involved in the execution of weekend services.
As with all procedures and other documentation contained in the Management System, it is the responsibility of all department leaders to ensure the details of this process are known and followed by all YOUR CHURCH paid staff and ministry area volunteers. The primary responsibility for this process rests with the teaching team leader and Arts Pastor.
(1) Update and Maintain Sermon Schedule
(1.1) The teaching team meets regularly to ensure a minimum of 26 weeks of sermon series types/genres are planned out and listed in the sermon schedule.
(1.2) If necessary the teaching team leader plans and conducts idea brainstorming meetings to generate sermon series type/genre and service programming ideas.
(1.3) Brainstorming meeting participants can include staff/volunteers representing different areas of YOUR CHURCH and/or having some perspective on the needs/interests of the target group.
(1.4) Creative input is documented and made available via Planning Center Online.
(1.5) The sermon schedule is a Word document maintained and updated by the teaching team leader, attached to the Sunday Morning Worship folder in Planning Center Online.
(2) Produce Sermon Series Packages
(2.1) At least 12 weeks ahead of the planned service, the teaching team collaborates to create a sermon series package.
(2.2) The sermon series package includes a series title, promotional summary, sermon topics, the big idea, the big step, scripture reference(s), and any creative input the teaching team develops while producing the sermon series package.
(2.3) The sermon series package is a Word document that, once completed, is made accessible to the service design team and the rest of the organization via Planning Center Online.
(3) Plan and Create Weekend Services
(3.1) Eight weeks ahead of the service, the service design team meets to brainstorm ideas that best support the big idea as documented in the sermon series package.
(3.2) In most cases, much of the service content is developed in collaboration with the teaching team. The service design team should work from ideas suggested by the teaching team to create the most creative and inspiring presentation of the big idea as documented in the sermon series package.
(3.3) The scheduled teacher –as the primary communicator– for a particular weekend should be significantly involved in the development and approval of programming content for the service.
(3.4) The Arts Pastor is responsible for producing and executing the service according to the big idea as communicated by the teaching team and scheduled teacher for a particular weekend.
(3.5) The service design team should complete idea generation and produce a formal “planning center plan” for review with the teaching team. The plan should include service order, proposed music, video ideas in the form of storyboards, dance or drama ideas, descriptions of stage and other props, and descriptions of other proposed service elements.
(3.6) Seven weeks before the service, the Arts Pastor meets with the teaching team to review the planning center plan for additional creative input and formal approval prior to moving to the production phase.
(3.7) If the planning center plan is not approved for any reason, the service design team makes the recommended changes or otherwise resolves the issues/concerns before again presenting the plan to the teaching team.
(3.8) Once the planning center plan is approved by the teaching team, it is considered “firm” and production can begin. Due to the amount of time, effort, and expense required to produce a service (advertising, slide and other graphics, video production, band and technical arts rehearsals, etc.) only minor changes may be made –only if absolutely necessary as determined by the scheduled teacher– after the teaching team has approved the planning center plan.
(4) Produce Weekend Services
(4.1) Six weeks before the service, following approval of the planning center plan, the arts department begins production of the service.
(4.2) Production begins with the completion of the planning center plan as the guide for all elements of the service. Once the planning center plan is completed and made available via Planning Center Online it is used as a guide for production of the service.
(4.3) The details of producing a service are beyond the scope of this operating procedure, but generally include creation of the following:
– Digital music
– Song arrangements
– Pro Presenter media
– Feature videos
– Countdown videos
– Camera angles/positions
– Sound effects
– Drama scripts
– Dance choreography
– Lighting system programming
– Stage and other prop ideas/concepts (sketches, descriptions)
(4.4) All media associated with the service should be uploaded to the planning center plan. The planning center plan serves as the distribution means for everyone involved in producing the service and serves as the media archive following completion of the service.
(4.5) Production of service content should include ministry team members as necessary.
(4.6) Team member preparation for the service (video shoots and editing, band/drama/dance rehearsals, stage and other prop construction, lighting, etc.) should begin as soon as is practical following approval of the planning center plan.
(4.7) As elements of the service are produced, they are posted to planning center, allowing the teaching team and the rest of the organization to review and comment. Comments should be captured in the notes sections of the planning center plan and if necessary edits/adjustments should be made to resolve issues.
(5) Conduct Teaching Team Informal Runthrough
(5.1) The week of the planned service, an informal runthrough meeting is conducted with the teaching team.
(5.2) During the informal runthrough meeting a “walk through” of the service is conducted including all transitions and the playing of all media for the service (lyrics and other media, digital music, video, etc.).
(5.3) The planning center plan should be updated as necessary to accurately reflect changes or other edits made during the runthrough.
(5.4) Every effort should be made by the teaching team and production staff to identify anything that needs to be changed, added, or cut about the service by the end of the informal runthrough meeting.
(6) Complete Sermon Outline and Sermon Slides
(6.1) The week of the planned service, the scheduled teacher completes the final draft of the sermon outline.
(6.2) The scheduled teacher and production assistant work together to finalize sermon slides.
(6.3) The final sermon slides should be completed prior to the start of the runthrough conducted on the Thursday before the service to ensure they can be proofed and changed if necessary.
(6.4) Once complete, the final sermon outline is posted to planning center.
(7) Conduct Runthrough Meeting
(7.1) On the Thursday morning prior to the service, a runthrough meeting is conducted in the auditorium tech booth.
(7.2) The purpose of the runthrough meeting is to go through the planned service element by element to ensure everyone understands everything about the service and that everything is ready for the coming Sunday morning.
(7.3) During the runthrough meeting every effort should be made to create the environment planned for the actual Sunday morning service. This includes the audio, video, and lighting specifics for the service and the playing of scheduled song recordings as needed to ensure everyone is on the same page about all aspects of the service.
(7.4) Except in the event of very unusual circumstances, no changes should be made to the service or any element of the service during the runthrough meeting. If for any reason changes are deemed necessary, the final decision rests with the scheduled teacher for that service.
(8) Execute Weekend Services
(8.1) On Sunday morning the production assistant ensures everything is ready for execution of the service.
(8.2) During the rehearsal the production assistant coordinates with the worship leader/Arts Pastor to ensure everything is ready for the service.
(8.3) During the execution of the service, the production assistant is on hand in the tech booth to observe, coordinate, and resolve any production-related issues as they occur.
(8.4) Immediately following the completion of the 1st service, a “bullpen” meeting is held to discuss the details of the service and improvements that might need to be made prior to the 2nd service.
(8.5) Attendance of the bullpen meeting should be limited to the Arts Pastor/worship leader, senior pastor/scheduled teacher, production assistant, teaching team leader, Executive Pastor, and other members of the teaching team.
(8.6) Coordination with other staff/volunteers should be accomplished following the bullpen meeting by those attending the meeting.
(9) Evaluate Services
(9.1) The service is evaluated as part of the following week’s teaching team meeting (normally held on Tuesday morning).
(9.2) All elements of the service are discussed. Both positives and negatives are highlighted and documented for consideration as part of future service planning and design.
(9.3) The teaching team leader is responsible for documenting the evaluation and posting the document to Planning Center Online.