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Service Planning
A view of a screenshot of the order of a service using a tool like Planning Center Online.

Service Planning: Tools Available for Scheduling Services

As one tool for planning, Planning Center Services provides note sections for each team as well, so we can make individualized notes for every team, at any given point, during the service.

In modern-day church culture, it seems as though the layout for weekend services is ever-changing.

Thankfully, there are programs and services available to us to ensure that we are creating the most effective service workflows for our churches.

Two of the most popular options available today are Church Community Builder and Planning Center Online. Both are great software resources for a church.

By collecting and entering some simple information from your current church attendees, as well as those who are new, you can begin compiling a comprehensive list of everyone who has attended your church, keep track of how often they come, and how engaged they are in serving, while also seeing how extensive their involvement is with community groups and giving.

Our church, Central Church, in Augusta, Maine, uses Planning Center Online for almost every ministry.

We utilize each function offered for different teams for different reasons. For planning and scheduling of our weekend services, we use Planning Center Services.

A team of leaders sits down together midweek to plan the service details for the following weekend to finalize the details for the current weekend. Our worship team schedules their songs a month or two in advance, and the worship portion of the service is also planned at that point.

We change the layout of our services often. Right now, though, we begin our services with a countdown video. We then move into a 20-25 minute worship set. Our MC, or announcements person, enters the stage at the end of the final song to pray and begin announcements. Next, we have a sermon intro bumper video, followed by the sermon.

The speaker then closes the sermon with prayer, and the MC leads people through a response time before dismissing the service.

With Planning Center Services we also do all of rostering, so any team member scheduled for a ministry that is active in the weekend service will have access to the plans for that weekend. This allows each team to be on the same page, prior to serving that weekend.

Planning Center Services provides note sections for each team as well, so we can make individualized notes for every team, at any given point, during the service.

Our worship team compiles all the information needed for the team members to adequately prepare for the services.

On the service schedule page, the Production Team can see the arrangements of the songs the band is preparing, who is leading, and if there are any special elements throughout the worship service. This helps our AVL team prepare for the weekend service. We attach links to PDF documents when further details or charts are needed, but the majority of the details are discussed during our weekly service planning meetings.

At Central Church, we like to mix things up and arrange our services differently. Service planning, though, really comes down to what will work best for your church in your current season. Right now, we have multiple services across Saturday and Sunday in two locations each weekend.

The effort for us is to keep our services concise, but loaded with content, to maximize our time together.

Researching and reaching out to other churches is a great way to learn and gain new ideas, but ultimately, you need to do what’s best to serve your church.

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