My church has an awesome problem. We recently moved into a permenant facility, and we've seen attendance increase a lot. So much so that, we need to add a 3rd service on Sundays.
So the pastor announced last week that we'll be adding a 1:00 service on 10/10 (to go with the 10:00 and 11:30 service). Other times were discussed by the staff, but this is what the pastor decided on.
I'm getting a lot of grumbling about the time commitment from our unpaid, volunteer band. Rightly so. We have a 2 hr practice on Saturday mornings, and we'll be asking them to be there from 8:30 to approximately 2:30 every 2 or 3 weeks.
Any great advice for things I can do to lessen the time commitment from the band? Does anyone not have a seperate practice? I've been considering just getting there earlier on Sunday morning to practice...
Thanks in advance for your advice.
Practice and run through times seem fairly reasonable so I wouldn't decrease those.
What I might do is figure out a way to create a rotation where they still serve 3 services but just not every week.
Another thought would be to create a "small" band. Maybe an acoustic/keys and a vocal or two. I know of a church in our area that is runing a third service that will be a more low-key version of the same service.
Most people are only serving every 2 or 3 weeks right now. Occasionally, people will serve 2 or 3 weeks in a row, but that's only normal for our keyboard player.
Ideally, I think I'd like to get to every 3rd week for everyone. Need a few more musicians to get there though.
Well, I think Russ hit on a great idea, making the third service more simple, not running a full band. No reason to make it a clone of the other services. Personally, I'm in church from 7 am to around 2 every Sunday, so I'm not sure I feel the "burden" here, but I guess it's what you're used to.
I'm not a huge fan of the paid musician route, but since your growing so much, maybe you can give the players a stipend to "ease" the burden some.
And pray for more musicians!!
We have two services at my chruch. For the first service it is usually just the drummer, another vocalist, and me with my acoustic guitar. It's and older/calmer crowd that choose to go to church at 8:30. Then for the 11:30 is when we have the full band. If everyone is already doing 2 services a week I think you should try and keep that but rotate who is doing the first two and who is doing the second two.
I was recently on staff at a church that was doing 6 services - 5pm & 6:30pm Saturday, 9am, 10:30am, 11:55am & 6:30pm (plus a Thursday night rehearsal) - all with volunteer musicians. We were able to retain our volunteer base and keep the complaints/burnout to a minimum with 3 things: 1) Casting vision (including clearly communicating expectations), 2) taking great care of the team, and 3) scheduling players no more than twice a month.
I firmly believe that as long as people care about what they're doing and feel that what they do is important, you could ask them to do as many services as it takes to communicate God's message of love, grace and redemption. Keep reminding everyone on your team why they do what they do. You need to show them you care - the quickest way to your team's heart is through their stomach. We always had dinner provided (usually by a volunteer in the church) on Saturday night, continental-type breakfast stuff on Sunday morning, and a light, catered dinner on Sunday night (provided by the music ministry budget, usually $75 a week - far less than what you'd pay in honorariums for your whole band). Lastly - and I admit this is unique - we worked with a pool of about 35-45 musicians which allowed us to schedule most positions once a month, sometimes twice.
So, I think if you keep your church's vision and values constantly in front of your team, feed them in stead of paying them, and broaden your volunteer base, you should be able to cut down on some of the grumbling and won't have to cut down on musicians for one of your services. My two cents...
IMO, it all goes back to purpose and vision. Yes, at some point, people are going to hit their limit of time and energy, but it seems to me an extra few hours every 2-3 weeks isn't asking much. My guess is, you need to address the core issues in order to fix these surface grumblings you're experiencing.
We have a similar set-up at our church. We have a practice Thursday evenings and then a 9am, 11am, and 6pm service on Sundays. Altogether the team ends up putting in about 9-10 hours on a Sunday. We also have prayer every Saturday night for an hour including worship (a small team) and 3 hours of worship one Friday a month as part of an all night prayer meeting. That's a lot of hours! Most people have two weeks on and two completely off.
For the most part the team is awesome and is actually excited to be a part of the extra prayer/worship times. I think part of the reason for this is because they know it's a bigger commitment than, say, volunteering as a greeter or nursery worker, but they feel called to it so they put in the time. They are on board with the vision of the church and the worship ministry, which is a huge factor.
Communicating your appreciation to the team by being flexible with schedules when you can is helpful. We let our volunteers know they have a choice by never demanding something from them. The food idea is a great one. We're working on getting that in place. Making them feel like they are really a part of something and building community is also huge. We invest in them and their skills so they know we're not just trying to build a ministry, we're building people who are living out their calling.
it completely depends on how much your playing your guys... at my church we play 2 services on sunday (and half the band plays for youth on wed night) every week... no break... its exhausting honestly and i get rather burned out sometimes. if there were three services it would be killer... but.... if your guys get a break every once in a while.... go for it... its amazing how far a little break can go
Seriously a fruit and cheese platter with some rolls will solve all your problems.