Earlier this month I announced in our weekend services, and in a “blog” I wrote called, “Living on Mission Takes a Big Commitment” that beginning in January 2017, we will be expanding our Sunday morning service schedule to 3 services in the Worship Center. I reminded you of how in January, during my “State of the Church” message, I shared about the need to expand our worship capacity and included different options. In the end, the most practical option; and the one that demonstrates to greatest commitment to good stewardship was to add a service. As we (elders/staff) pursued multiple different options from building to expanding to multi-site, we could not come up with a clear decision. I was very troubled by this and so, during my time away in August, I spent a lot of time praying about this need. The one overwhelming conviction I had was that no decision was a decision. That’s how we came to the conclusion that an additional service was necessary. The specific schedule we will follow beginning January 7th/8th, 2017 will be a service on Saturday night at 6:00 (no change here) and Sunday services at 8:45, 10:00 & 11:30. When we shift to this new schedule we will no longer have the Video Venue as the Student Ministry Center will be used by our Middle School Pastor to offer an expanded schedule of Middle School programming.
I need to tell you that this decision is an absolute step of faith. It’s a step of faith toward greater growth and IMPACT. If we as a church don’t embrace the responsibility to reach others (something I’ve been talking about virtually every week for the past several weeks) then this will look like a foolish decision. We live, every single day, under the instruction to “go” and make disciples. This has to be the first priority of our lives as Christians. If we as a church don’t embrace a deeper commitment to being faithful in our worship, then this will look like a foolish decision. The latest research from the Barna Group says that the average church attender goes to church 1.7 times per month. I’m sometimes skeptical of these kinds of numbers because I don’t always trust surveys, but I believe this one as I see this, every week. This is a reality that weakens the church today and threatens the church of the future. And the overwhelming belief of my heart is its time for many Christians to re-prioritize this part of their spiritual lives. We have the kind of church that will bless, encourage challenge and equip you on a weekly basis if you just show up with an open heart.
This is not a decision that was reached casually or quickly. I, along with our leaders, have spent a lot of time praying and seeking God’s direction for our church and we believe this is the right choice for now. On a personal level I will add that I’m simply not content to allow limited parking and space become a barrier to reaching more people with the message that Jesus offers a new and better life than anything they have ever experienced and imagined. I’m simply not content to “coast” through however many years I have left to serve effectively as the Pastor of this church. And I’m simply not content fall into the trap of offering worship without sacrifice.
So I’m asking for your help, your support, your participation and your faithfulness as we move forward. This new schedule is going to challenge our routines, it’s going to challenge our service as more volunteers will be needed and it’s going to challenge our commitment to be part of a ministry that has as its fundamental goal to change the world. I read a great quote the other day that said, “At the end of our lives, our greatest regrets won’t be the mistakes we made. It will be the opportunities we left on the table.” This new service schedule gives us the opportunity to make an even greater IMPACT on our community and, ultimately, the world. My prayer is that you’ll be “all in” as we move forward.