In the last four years our church has launched four new campuses in other cities. Each time we have launched with two Sunday morning services, and I foresee us doing two services every time we start a new campus.
There are three reasons why we do this and why your church should consider this, too.
First, it saves money and space. If you launch a campus with two services, you can get by with renting a smaller space. A primary cost to launching a new campus is renting (or buying) a space and getting it renovated and ready for your purposes. This costs you both money and volunteer hours. By doing two services, you can get by with half the space for both adult worship and children’s ministry, significantly reducing your costs. Besides saving on rental and renovation expenses, you also decrease costs because you can get by with half the number of chairs and children’s ministry furnishings.
Secondly, offering more options draws more people. Different people have varying family configurations, work schedules, habits, and personal preferences. Offering two service options expands the number of people you will reach. For example, two of our campuses are in university towns. We tend to get more young families at our earlier services. Most college students, on the other hand, prefer a later service.
Finally, perhaps the most valuable reason to offer two worship times right from the start is that it offers your volunteers who serve in children’s ministry or other areas the opportunity to serve during one service and to come and just receive the other service. Long term this helps keep your leaders and workers engaged and refreshed.
Of course, there are also advantages to doing just one service. It simplifies things and enables you to hit the sweet spot of 10:00 or 10:30am. If you have the space to do this, or if you are starting smaller (as in many church planting scenarios), this might be the best route to go.
But when launching a new campus, I encourage you to seriously consider starting with two Sunday morning services for the three reasons outlined above. It has repeatedly worked great for us, enabling us to reduce costs and launch strong.
What has been your experience in offering multiple service times? What insights do you have to share with the rest of us? What questions do you have on this issue?