The stage (which is anything you communicate while you are in front of your congregation) is the most valuable communicating tool you have. This is a time when we have the attention of a large percentage of the people in our church. This is why it is important to be intentional about how you use this resource. I’ve been in many services where there is no thought put into what really needs to be communicated from the stage other than the time spent preparing the sermon. But if we realize that this is a perfect opportunity to cast vision and direction in snapshot segments, we can move our people down a path together. Realizing this, I developed a team of people that would work within the Communications Team to make the best use of the stage. It’s not a matter of using a lot of time, it’s a matter of how we use segments of time to convey our messages. I developed a plan for Service Hosts, which I am including below:
Service Host Handbook
Thank you for serving as a part of the Service Host Team! Your role is incredibly valuable to the staff as well as to members, attendees, and guests. Because you are a key representative of our church, we encourage you to live a life that represents Godly values, starting with honoring the Service Host Agreement and being at your best when you serve. You are more valuable than you know!
- Help set the tone for worship.
- Are viewed as a leader here at our church.
- Reinforce our core values.
- Promote the vision of the church through: Welcoming the crowd, Directing the offering, Announcing Events
Our Core Values
- Take it past Sunday.
- Be real.
- Talk to people, not about them.
- Be generous.
- Every member in a ministry.
- Keep it simple.
- Be prayed up and fed spiritually. This will reflect in your presentation.
- Be prepared. For live hosting, go to Planning Center by Friday to review the host notes so you are familiar with them. This will help you feel better prepared and give you time to become comfortable with the material and ask questions about the announcements. You will be less stressed on stage because you’ll be comfortable with the details. For video hosting, review the notes on Planning Center at least a few hours before taping.
- Be coachable. Meet with the Service Host coach 30 minutes before services start. This is a time to ask questions, receive last-minute instruction, and, most importantly, encouragement and prayer before you host. If part or all of your hosting will be done by video, be prepared to meet by phone with the coach prior to taping.
- Be welcoming. You are setting the tone for worship. Be positive. Everything you say is a chance to build up and encourage our guests, members, staff, and ministries.
- Be yourself. If you’re a kidder, crack jokes. If you’re passionate about our church, let it show. If you were moved by the worship or the message, let that shine through. If you are excited, don’t hold back! Authenticity makes you a great host and helps people connect with you and with our church.
- Be concise. Convey what is important in short, easy to understand sentences. Be focused on others. Members, attenders, and guests need the information and to feel good about being at our church. Going to church can be intimidating for some. Your job is to show them that there’s nothing to be intimidated by.
The host notes are detailed not so that you will read or recite them verbatim; it is so you have the necessary information on each item you speak about. Host notes are always broken down by sections with specific purposes:
Purpose of the welcome:
- Create a welcoming and worshipful atmosphere
- Orient guests, members, and attenders
Purpose of the offering:
- Promote worship through giving
- Encourage everyone to fill out communications cards
- Provide testimony about how their giving has had an impact
Purpose of the closing:
- Promote upcoming events and challenge those in attendance
- Only one event will need to be emphasized from stage
Service Hosts receive invitations to serve through an online program, Planning Center. You are likely familiar with it. This is a vital tool at our church – with more than 50 people serving on an average Sunday, it keeps us running smoothly and prevents scheduling conflicts. When you receive e-mails from Planning Center asking you to serve, simply click accept or decline. The program also allows you to block off dates when you know you’ll be unavailable. If you know in advance that you will be unavailable on a particular Sunday, please log in to Planning Center and block those dates ahead of time.
Most volunteers at our church serve on a six-week rotation. The Service Host rotation is subject to change to accommodate new team members, multiple hosts, special services, etc. When you are asked to serve, please make every effort to accept.
Even if the person communicating from the stage is the Pastor or a staff member, this doesn’t need to be a time to ‘shoot from the hip’. The time spent preparing how best to communicate various messages within the scope of the vision will pay big in the long run. Let me know if this post has been helpful to you or if you have found any ways to make this more effective.