14 Hints on Adding New Service Times from 13 Church Leaders Who Did It

Is your church thinking about adding new service times in the future? We recently interviewed a number of church leaders within the unSeminary community who have led their churches through this change to help extract some helpful hints for you. I’ve attempted to compress all of this learning down into the trends that we saw across all the churches we talked with. We’d love you to share what you have learned from adding new service times to you church … leave a comment!

  • What did you do to prepare and announce the change that you would recommend other churches do?
    • Start with the Why // “Promote the why behind the addition to church as a whole and to the “insiders”. Discuss idea of adding a service with volunteers even if you have already made the decision – creates buy-in.” – Morgan Herselman
    • Over-communication is Critical // “In service announcements … funny videos that caught people’s attention. Those videos went onto all of our social media channels too. Slides pre/post service announcing new times. Email to entire congregation the week before with a reminder. Calls to all volunteers to make sure they were aware and ready for the shift. Biggest (longest) chore for us was changing all print pieces and website and graphics to new service times. Everywhere we looked there was another place we had our service times and needed to reorder/change. (Business cards, local newspapers, online “yellow page” sites, front doors, multiple pages on our own website).” – Andrea D’Angelo
    • Sequence the Communication Roll Out // “Start with the influencers and informally talk with them about the need and the solution. Have them help you with unforeseen issues and momentum with those who are reluctant to embrace or accept the change.” – Matt Brookes
    • why_newservicesTest the Times if Possible // “The first thing we did was a “trial run” on Easter Sunday – this gave us some solid evidence that we could pull off two services and do a good job.” – Scott Gamel
    • Network for Learning // “Talk with other churches.” – Tyson Herald
    • FAQ Document // “Created a FAQ about 2 services but it went just to our leaders for talking points.” – Roscoe Lilly
    • Plan for Relationship // “We planned some church wide social events following the change in service times, to help those concerned about not seeing some people that move to the other service.” – Steve Stewart
    • Choose New Times Wisely // “Don’t add a service time to an existing time(s).  Change your times and force people to make a choice.  If you add a new time to existing time(s), you won’t get people to move from their “old time”.” – Dean Johnson
  • What did you do during this change that you would recommend other churches avoid?
    • Don’t get too fancy! // “Try make new service time attractional by changing the production order or adding other elements – creates too much pressure and stress on volunteers.” – Morgan Herselman
    • timelineissueThe Summer Slump // “Do not start a new service going into the summer even if you are dying because of the lack of space.  It started off strong, but continued to die all summer long and it didn’t pick back up in the fall.” – Steve Robinson
    • Be Careful How Change Impacts You! // “Over eating from stress.” – Joe Boyd
    • You Might Get What You Ask For // “Asked all the leadership to attend during the first three months. I should have rotated them.” – Nathan Gonzalez
    • Prep the Teams // “Spent more time preparing the worship team for the change.” – John Wiley
    • Choose Timing Wisely // “Looking back, we would not have had our first “time change” services on another “big day.” We changed service times during our Fall Kick-Off. Just pushed up the stress for staff and volunteers.” – Scott Gamel



  1. Rich, so much of this is right on track with what I’ve been planning for and putting together. Thanks for the affirmation.

    Now to think through the trial run at Easter… hmm…

  2. We currently have two Sunday morning services and are planning to add a third service. Any ideas as to best strategic options? Saturday Night, Sunday Night or 3rd Sunday morning/early afternoon?

    1. Great question! There are for sure some regional differences that factor in for this one. We’ve struggled with Sunday night services …w we can’t seem to get the traction on them that we’d like. We stirred clear of Saturday evening services because we haven’t wanted our staff to be working both Saturdays and Sundays.

      That leaves us with 3 services on Sunday morning services. I was actually just doing some research on various times that churches use for Sunday services … here is the list … it might help the discussion at your church: // 8:30am 10am 11:30am 5pm 6:30pm
      New Spring Church // 8:30am, 10am, 11:30am, 4:30pm, 6:00pm
      Church of the Highlands // 8:00 am, 9:30 am, 11:30 am, 6:00 pm
      Saddleback // 8:00 am 9:30 am 11:15 am
      Central (Vegas) // 9:00 am, 10:30 am & 12:00 pm
      The Rock // 8AM, 10AM, 12PM, 5PM, 7PM
      Potential Church // 9am, 10:45am, 12:30pm and 2:15pm
      Celebration Church (Jacksonville) // 9:00 am 10:30 am 12:12 pm 5:30 pm
      NorthCoast Church // 7:30am, 9:00am, 11:00am, 12:45pm, 6:00pm
      The Meeting House // 8:00am 9:30am 11:15am
      Elevation Church // 9:30am 11:30am 5:00pm
      Willow Creek // 9:00am 11:15am
      Redeemer Westside // 9:00am 11:00am 5pm 7pm
      Hillsong NYC // 10am 12:30pm, 3pm 5pm 7pm
      North Point // 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 4:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.
      Southeast Church // 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m
      LCBC // 9:00 am 10:45 am
      12Stone // 9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 6:00pm
      The Village Church // 9 a.m.11:15 a.m.
      Northridge (MI) // 9a & 11a
      Columbus Vineyard // 9am, 11:30am
      Ada Bible // 9:15am & 11am
      Austin Stone // 9:15, 11:15, 6:00
      Long Hollow Baptist // 9:00 and 11:00am, 4:30 and 6:00pm

      – Rich

  3. Question: Has anyone developed any survey tools to assess the congregation and when they prefer attending? We’re on the verge of adding a fourth service but not sure if two and two over the weekend or four on Sunday would be best. Any suggestions?

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.