This week at Saddleback’s Radicalis Conference some friends and I are doing a session in the youth ministry track about our large group gatherings (our weekend services). We put together a FAQ to go in the notebook to help answer some questions about our ministry. Here’s the first 5 questions if it is of any interest to you:
[Wildside = Junior High, HSM = High School Ministry, Crave = college-age ministry]
1. How long is your typical large group gathering service?
a. Wildside — 1 hour and 15 minutes
b. HSM — 65-75 minutes
c. Crave – 1.5 hours
2. How long is your typical sermon/message?
a. Wildside — we average approximately 20-25 minutes
b. HSM 25-35 minutes
c. Crave – 30 minutes
3. How far in advance do you map out your teaching calendar?
a. Wildside — for the most part, we have a two year calendar that we continually teach thru (we are 7th and 8th grade only)
b. HSM — we do a year in advance during planning, but adjust as needed
c. Crave – 6 to 9 months
4. How frequently are you teaching topically versus exegetically?
a. Wildside — our goal is to teach 1/3 topical (JH survival), 1/3 exegetical (doctrine), and 1/3 other
b. HSM — we are largely topical and felt need, but try to get through a couple books of the Bible each year as well
c. Crave – 70% topical and 30% exegetical
5. How extensive is your stage design/theming of your large group program?
a. Wildside — we go in seasons; sometimes we do nothing and other times we go all out, but a lot of that depends on how the series/topic lends to stage setup
b. HSM — this is a great place to use volunteers. We have a group of students that help create designs as well. It also largely depends on budget, the length of the series, and whether a series is conducive to it.
c. Crave – Less is more for us. We rarely do any stage design.