Ok, a little background info might be needed here, so stick with me.
Our church has been trying for some time to come up with some sort of Sunday morning service "model" that works for the majority of our congregation. And last fall we decided to try out a format that sees us start our service with traditional worship elements (usually music) before going into some "family stuff" and the preaching, and then ending with some contemporary elements (usually music).
But it wasn't working. Some were mad that people were coming late to the service, even though we gave them permission to do so. Others were mad that some were leaving early, even though we gave them permission to do so. The music was too loud for some, and not loud enough for others. It was too new for some, and not new enough for others.
And in the midst of it people were leaving. Handfuls of people walking away because they couldn't take it any more.
As a leader in this church, it was hard to watch. And it was abundantly clear that something needed to be done now. It was time for something different.
So the staff huddled for the better part of May & June and we prayed. We dreamed. We vented. We talked. We planned.
We prepared a proposal and put ti into the hands of our elders who, in turn, prayed and dreamed and wrestled and talked about what to do.
The end result, which was officially approved on Thursday and was announced this morning, was that we need to go to a two service format. As of September 20th we will officially have two services.
Both will be led by the pastoral staff, but each service will look completely different. One will be "traditional" in an attempt to honor and connect with the aged among us. One will be "contemporary" in an attempt to honor and connect with the young among us.
So, what happens when you split a congregation in 2 and place them in a room that seats 1700? It feels empty and void. So, we're renovating the facility. Removing pews, changing the lighting, revamping the stage, updating the foyer and the "breezeway". All in an effort to bring people together. Shrink the gap that exists and foster relationship building.
This is deeper than a cosmetic makeover. It goes deep into the heart of who we are as a church and what we feel we need to become in order to continue to help people have their lives transformed by Jesus.
The leadership (staff & elders) of the church were so convinced of this that they alone on Thursday night pledged to cover over half of the bill for the renovations. That alone should show you how serious we are. And if you could hear the heart of those that sat around the table and discussed this, you would see that they get this.
So, it's time for a new chapter.
I'm stoked about this. It will make life look differently for all of us staffers in the fall, but I can't wait. I think we have an opportunity before us that is full of potential. I think we can become what we need to become in order to have an impact for Jesus in our city.
And as always, I'll keep you posted as we go.