At CF, we are Nazi-like in starting our services on time.
I hear about a lot of Pastors that wait for a while saying, “Let’s give people a few minutes to get here.” That’s a slippery slope my friend. I know it stinks to start service to an empty room (Trust me I know. I live in Miami, where I wonder if anyone in this town actually owns a clock!)
When we were about 6 months old as a church, I was the worship leader (very few people survived those days). 9AM hit and we were supposed to start. The problem: no one was there yet. What did I do? I started playing… to an empty room! People started coming in around the middle of the 1st song, but man was I nervous!
Now 6 years later, starting on time is built into the culture of our church. Clocks, pre-service countdowns, order of service sheets with times for each segment. We’re doing everything we can to respect people’s time. The volunteers in our children’s ministry have a Bible lesson, worship, and activities that have a limit. If we start late, it means we’re definitely going to end late. That’s sends a message to our volunteers that their time doesn’t matter to us. And it does!
Starting late for anything other than an emergency is rewarding tardiness.
Ending on time? That’s another story 🙂 I’m working hard to get the preacher to shut up after 40 minutes… OK, 45 minutes…