3 Lessons Your Church Can Learn from Disney Part 1

Jason Hatley compares the Disney culture to ministry:

Recently, I was asked to speak to a group of pastors in Orlando and while I was there, I was invited to go on a “behind-the-scenes” tour of Walt Disney World.

Needless to say… I was excited! Sure it was going to be fun, but the real reason I love experiences like this is because I believe that God has ministry lessons for you wherever you are, if you’re looking for them.

My ears were open and my eyes were peeled. But even I was surprised by how applicable these THREE BIG leadership lessons are to what you and I do every week in leading our churches and Worship Ministries. (I’ll cover the first one today).

Here it is:


That is… don’t assume. Go above and beyond to ensure that every detail that can be planned and examined is… well… planned and examined.

Let me explain.

Early in our tour, we found ourselves backstage at one of Disney’s “audio-animatronic” shows. It was early that morning before the show opened to the public. If you’ve been there before, you know that these robots that depict American Presidents and other historical figures are incredibly life-like. But they’re not human… they’re robots. They run on a computer program and do the exact same thing in the exact same way at the exact same time every day (sounds like some churches I’ve been to – ha!).

The point is… they don’t have to rehearse because they always do the same show.

Yet there I stood early that morning, watching as a robot show that has played almost identically for over 30 years went through it’s daily morning test run.

No one was there to see it, but the engineers told our group, “We do this test run every morning because we want to make sure that the show that our guests see today is the very best it can be.”

To some it may seem like a waste of time, but these guys were so committed to excellence that they went above and beyond, looking for anything that might keep these robots from performing at their best.

Now – in our churches we don’t really use the terms “show” and “performance”, but the principle is right on.

  • Over-manage the details. When it comes to your worship service this Sunday…
  • Don’t assume that everyone the individuals on your team know they’re serving. Confirm them by phone or email to ensure it.
  • Don’t assume that your band knows how you want to do the song at rehearsal. Send them some notes early in the week to inform them.
  • Don’t assume that the video and lighting transitions will happen at the right time. Take some time to practice those in your cue-to-cue Sunday morning (more on this idea next week).
  • Don’t assume that the broken piece of equipment from last week will work fine this week. Have it repaired and test it before Sunday.

Charles Swindoll says: “The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.”

Let’s not settle for a “good worship experience” when, with attention to some key details, we can provide a “life-transforming worship experience”. God has already promised that He’ll do His part. Now let’s do ours!

Be fanatical about the details. Lead your team to care about the details.

Doing so (I believe) is an act of worship.


Essential reading for worship leaders since 2002.


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