Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Monday, April 02, 2012

Notes for Chairing Church Services

Below are some guidance notes we prepared for Chairmen at Greenview...


Please take a few minutes to read this.

These points may seem very obvious – but experience has shown that they are not obvious to everyone. We all like to think our way of chairing is fine but the reality is we all have our ‘blind spots’ – so these points are designed not to straight-jacket but to help keep us all aware of areas we can sometimes slip-up in.


It is expected that chairmen will take the time to find out who the speaker is and what their subject will be – for outside speakers such info can usually be obtained from XXX. It is helpful to reflect on the planned subject/passage when choosing hymns (esp. closing ones).

The musicians are happy to give guidance & help regarding choice of songs.

The chairman should make it a priority to meet with the preacher for a few minutes before the service commences to pray and have a final check on the programme.

Time Keeping

Once a service begins and others start participating it can be difficult to keep control over the timekeeping. However, Chairmen do have control of the start time and every effort should be made to adhere to this – don’t let late-comers put pressure on you to delay the start, put the pressure on them to be in on time!

As the service progresses have the awareness & confidence to adjust the programme to avoid excessive overrun – e.g. missing out a song/verses.

The service should ideally be handed over to the speaker no later than: Morning 12.00pm & Evening 7.15pm.

The trick with chairing is to make the service feel unhurried – i.e. to keep it moving without feeling rushed. This is 99% achieved by thoughtful preparation of the programme.

If the service (speaker!) overruns – avoid communicating to the congregation any sense of aggravation or disapproval you may feel. Unless exceptionally late it is usually worth taking the extra 2/3 minutes to finish with a song (perhaps with some verses omitted).

Hymn No.s

Chairmen should anounce the relevant book numbers when introducing hymns for the benefit of those who find the screen hard to read.


The Chairman’s job is to welcome the congregation and lead them through the service in a helpful and God-honouring way. While avoiding the temptation to ‘build-up your part’ - it is helpful to think about how you will introduce each item in a way that is informative for visitors and keeps a focus on the worship of God. At the end of the service it is helpful to to allow for & encourage a few moments silence for reflection.


Like preachers, chairmen should avoid using jargon and in-house references when speaking & praying. Don’t assume everyone knows the Greenview set-up, so avoid unexplained references to CIA, Moshi, The Hub etc – much more helpful to say ‘Moshi in Tanzania where two of our members work as Missionaries’ or ‘the CIA young teens group’. Otherwise visitors may be made to feel they are very much outsiders.

Again avoid referring to people (e.g. your wife) as if it will be obvious to everyone who you are talking about. In most cases one extra sentence is all that is required to clarify such things.


Jokes and comments about sectarian religion, party politics and football teams are generally not welcome.


Be aware that while an event may be of little interest to yourself is it important to others – so announce it clearly and with enthusiasm – reading the notices through beforehand will help ensure you spot any points needing clarification. Also don’t embellish notices with your own comments or assumptions: e.g. ‘I’m sure lunch will be provided’ – you’ll probably get it wrong!

Special features

Chairmen should be given good notice of extra items such as DVD clips, sketches, interviews etc – if these are ‘sprung on you’ at the last minute you are entitled to say ‘no’ if it would have a negative impact on the planned programme.

Having spoken to all participants in the course of a week, please email a timed Order of Service to everyone (including the AV Team) by the Friday evening.