Mike Hickerson & David Hibiske

Setting the Tone for a Great Weekend Experience

About The Episode

Today, we’re discussing the crucial role of weekend services for church planters, emphasizing their importance for spiritual growth, welcoming first-time guests, and creating momentum. David outlines four key ways to enhance weekend experiences: setting the tone spiritually through personal devotion and prayer, culturally by reinforcing vision and excellence, strategically for guest outreach by lowering anxiety and ensuring clarity, and aligning all teams and ministries to work cohesively. Hibiske encourages church planters to prioritize spiritual readiness, inspect and improve cultural standards, focus on guest experiences, and foster team alignment to drive growth and engagement in their churches.

Welcome to Episode 025 of The Unfair Advantage Podcast with Mike Hickerson and David Hibiske.

Insights From David

What is the Weekend Experience?

The Weekend Experience is the primary gathering of our church and includes all ministries and teams that happen as a part of a service:

  • Adult service (worship and production)
  • Campus Experience (street to seat)
  • Engagement and Connection (Baptism to the Connection Center)
  • Kids Ministry
  • Student Ministry
  • Security

Why is the Weekend Experience so important?

  • Spiritual Growth
    • The weekend services (adults, kids, and students) lead to more initial spiritual growth by moving people to say Yes to Jesus and His purposes for their life.
  • First Time Guests
    • The vast majority of first time guests and unchurched in our community will attend on a weekend before taking any other steps.
  • Momentum Producer
    • An inspiring and engaging weekend experience becomes a catalyst of growth for the campus.
    • Clear next steps and alignment across a campus team help move people forward in their faith and create greater connection and engagement in the church.

Church Planter Leadership and The Weekend Experience

The Church Planter Sets the Tone for the Campus:

  • Set the Tone Spiritually
    • Enter the weekend spiritually filled by your own personal time with God. This starts with a habit of seeking God everyday of the week. Your spiritual leadership on the weekend is the overflow of your secret time with God.
    • Psalm 127:1 – “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”
    • Practical:
      • Be on your face before God asking for Him to come before you head to your campus, even if you have early setup.
      • Lead your campus to have a prayer time before service. People will come earlier for setup to allow for this to happen. Lead them to it!

  • Set the Tone Culturally
    • Your lowest bar becomes the ceiling for the campus.
    • CP’s must cast vision for the weekend, instill values, and raise the level of excellence in what we do.
    • CP’s must lead the campus to have a leadership growth mindset believing that we can always get better.
    • This requires you to inspect what you expect – meaning you will need to regularly walk the campus, observe leaders, and be with teams.
    • Practical:
      • Ask for feedback on your leadership, stage times, etc.
      • Debrief every weekend as a staff, and give feedback to develop your leaders.
  • Set the Tone for Reaching Guests
    • When we plan our weekends and events the only person not seated at the table is the unchurched guest.
    • CP’s must lead their team to think through every step, sign, and transition that impacts our ability to bring an unchurched guest to Jesus.
    • Practical:
      • When planning be sure that we ask, “What do we want a guest to feel, and what conversation do we want them to have on the car ride home
      • Regularly walk the campus, look in rooms, observe the service, etc. with a “guest lens.”
  • Set the Tone for Alignment
    • Successful weekend experiences require alignment of teams and ministries.
    • Each weekend ministry is interdependent on the other and is only as strong as the weakest one.
    • Practical:
      • Lead teams to prioritize the whole by seeing the greater campus win over their area win.
      • In staff meetings, let teams share their challenges and lead team to help cross-departmentally. Help ministry leaders see the domino effect they have one one another so they see the transitions. Example: Kids ministry opens rooms 10 minutes before service is impacting: volunteers on other teams being on time, guests being able to make it to service on time.

Episode Links

Do ministry together! Three gatherings, nine planters, one cohesive journey. Check out the Ascent Leader Church Planter Cohorts. Get more information today at: https://theascentleader.org/cohorts/

Who Are Mike Hickerson & David Hibiske?

Mike Hickerson is the Lead Pastor of Mission Church in Ventura, CA. Mike describes himself as a church planter, lucky husband, outnumbered dad of three daughters, Oklahoma Sooner fan, coffee addict, and a struggling surfer.

UA Episode Graphic (1)

David Hibiske is the Pastor of Strategic Ministry Initiatives at Saddleback Church. He grew up in Wilmington, NC before moving to Fort Worth, TX to attend Southwestern Seminary. David met his wife, Kendall, while in Seminary and they have two daughters, Ella and Avery, and one son, Andrew. After completing his Master of Divinity, David and Kendall moved to San Jose, CA to join the staff team at South Bay Church (now Echo Church). In 2022, God called them to head to Southern California and join the team at Saddleback Church where David now serves as Pastor of Strategic Ministry Initiatives.


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