POINT OF THE POST...
Churches of the future will staff differently. In this post, we look at one new position every church needs: The Weekend Experience Director.
NOTE: A link to the Weekend Experience Director Job Description is at the bottom. Before you download it, I suggest you review this post.
The previous “5 New Staff Positions Your Church Needs” post got a lot of attention.
And I get it. The world is changing rapidly, meaning we must adjust how we think about and execute church. Obviously, this includes our staffing structures and positions. How we organize determines how we orchestrate.
In that previous post, I mentioned 5 positions churches need today:
- Weekend Experience Director
- Production Director
- Communications Director
- Information and Data Analyst
- Adult Engagement Director
Let’s spend a few minutes outlining the role and responsibilities of the Weekend Experience Director.
Why You Need a Weekend Experience Director
In the simplest terms, you need a Weekend Experience Director because, in today’s church environment, there is way too much happening on Sunday morning to be led or coordinated by a committee.
What do I mean by that? Let’s consider how many spaces and places touch the Sunday morning experience:
- The parking lot,
- Inside guest services or host team,
- Stage hosts,
- Giving or vision moment,
- Next steps,
- Back to the parking lot,
- Checking in and out children and students, and the
- Online experience.
Unfortunately, siloed leadership exists by default. If you have a staff or volunteer leading each area, they will naturally lead them in isolation from the greater experience. But as you and I know, great Sunday experiences are not created by accidentally coordinating isolated incidents. To our guests and attendees, the Sunday morning experience is one collective journey.
This is why you need this position. Every church needs a person to force the coordination of the Sunday experience, parking lot to parking lot, in-person and online.
So What Does the Weekend Experience Director Do?
I love that you asked that question.
As I mentioned above, they coordinate the entire Sunday journey. More specifically, they:
1. Provide point leadership to the groups or teams responsible for the Sunday experience.
Reporting to “we” never works. It takes a point leader with authority to coordinate all that goes into the Sunday experience. This means they are responsible for coordinating each person and team touching the Sunday experience. With authority comes responsibility and accountability. If nobody has “authority” over the entire experience, there is no real responsibility or accountability when things go wrong. And, when things go well, it’s nearly impossible to replicate the success.
Quick Note: I was a lead pastor for 13+ years. Technically, I was responsible for everything in our church, top to bottom. But on Sunday, I “reported” to our Weekend Experience Director. It was his experience, and my role was only part of the entire experience. That’s how seriously I suggest you allow this person to lead.
2. Host planning and creative team meetings.
A LOT goes into a great Sunday experience. There is so much to coordinate if we want to create an experience worth experiencing.
I’ve learned in my leadership journey that teams either have margin or mediocrity. When you have margin, you can respond, adjust, and course correct without creating emergencies for everyone on the team. Without margin, we fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent.
Creating margin through advanced planning is one responsibility of the Weekend Experience Director. How far in advance? I’d suggest three weeks. At a minimum!
If your mouth drops to the floor, I suspect you live without planning margin. At the risk of sounding harsh, you are the only reason there is no margin. For example, as I write this, it’s mid-February. We’ve known since last Easter that Easter is coming again. You could have begun planning for Easter 2023 in May 2022. Or late 2022. Or even January of this year. The Weekend Experience Director forces planning, deadlines, and timelines on the team, creating margin to be great.
3. Holistically evaluate the Sunday experience.
Remember, your attendees aren’t experiencing your church in segments. Their experience is holistic. When you shop at a store, you don’t experience the parking lot, the entrance, the isles, and the check-out process as separate experiences. It’s just one shopping experience.
It’s the same at your church.
A Weekend Experience Director is responsible for planning, executing, and evaluating the entire experience. Sure, each department or team can assess how they did individually and in isolation, but that doesn’t paint the complete experience picture. Great Sunday experiences aren’t a collection of segments, but a collective journey. Someone needs to watch and evaluate the journey to make it better continually.
4. Provide deadline accountability.
A few people, including Bob Carter, are given credit for the quote, “Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.” I’m unsure who said it first, but I am sure they are correct.
When one person on a coordinated team misses a deadline, the entire team suffers. In the church, it seems the senior pastor or teaching pastor is most often the culprit. While the whole Sunday experience should be a holistic journey, the sermon plays a critical role. Of course, people no longer attend church for content. Content has become a commodity, but that doesn’t mean the sermon is irrelevant. In most cases, it’s the lengthiest segment of the Sunday experience, and most other elements are built to it and around it.
Warning… this is a soapbox: This means the person delivering the sermon has a massive responsibility to meet deadlines and not create an emergency for everyone connected to the Sunday experience. Seriously, if you are a senior pastor or teaching pastor and give your team Sunday’s message on Thursday or Friday, you create an emergency over their weekend. That’s simply disrespectful. And let’s not make this faux-spiritual. The Holy Spirit is just as capable of guiding our sermon efforts on Tuesday as Friday or Saturday. Or the Tuesday three weeks before we preach. Okay, the end.
The Weekend Experience Director plays a critical role in the life of today’s church. We are living in the “experience economy.” Like it or not, if our church experience isn’t worth experiencing, people won’t mind missing it.
If you’d like a job description for the Weekend Experience Director, download it here: Weekend Experience Director Job Description.
The job description for a weekend experience director is EVERYTHING I WANT IN A JOB. The description calls to everything I do in my current job, it is not a pulled together like this job calls for. If you know ANY church looking to fill this position, can you please reach out to me?