Like I was saying....

Early stuff…

I know I’ve mentioned our early worship service a few times. It’s really been going well. The students who are leading worship with the Praise Team are really enjoying the time they put into it for practice and the Sunday mornings as well. And the attendance has been growing as well. The past three Sundays we’ve had 87, 76, and 85. The 76 was on Fourth of July weekend too. And I know it’s not all about numbers, but the increase in the people coming is telling us something.

I think this is the fourth summer in a row that we’ve had an early morning worship service. It’s been for summers only though. When school starts back and everything else seems to get back in the flow, then we’ve always reverted back to just one main (traditional) service. The previous three summers we’ve probably averaged in the mid 30’s in attendance. I think that most of those coming came out of matter of convenience. The service was basically a scaled down version of the normal eleven o’clock service, still in the sanctuary with not a lot of changes. The people could come to church, then Sunday School (if they chose), and then go to the golf course, to lunch, the river/lake, or wherever else and beat the crowds.

Sure, some of the people coming to early worship this summer may be coming for those reasons, but something else has to account for the increases in attendance. We’re meeting in a different building, in a smaller room, with different music, with no traditional readings (well, the Bible is pretty traditional, and we still read it every time!), no creeds, no affirmations, no organ music, no hymnals. We have the praise team made up mostly of teens, and a less formal setting that we’re hoping is inviting to those who attend.

I sense an opposition coming when August gets here. There are going to be some people within our church who want it to go back to the way it was before. Only one service. They are missing seeing some of the people who are going to the early contemporary service. I don’t think that is a valid reason to stop the other service, but I can see part of the point there…I don’t want to see a church membership split along the lines of the two services.

But what do you do. When you’ve got that many people attending and really seeming to like it…why stop it? Even our pastor said this morning (and he’s said it before), “People seem to smile a little more in this service!” And this morning we had 109. There really wasn’t room for everyone, but we packed them in. We’re meeting in a small lounge that is about out of space. We can move into the gym, use partitions to block off some space, and have to fight the acoustics there…but I think that is our next move. You don’t want people not coming because of the cramped quarters.

7 Comments

  1. giddy

    I have a keen idea: Get the Right Person to request that the gym be paneled for better acoustics. I was back at home after the early service this morning and had the TV on when I heard our 11:00 service being broadcast. My first thought was that I was glad I wasn't at that service and singing the almost mournful-sounding song I was hearing from the TV. The minister is right–many smiles, even so early in the morning. In my opinion, the earlier service is more uplifting.

  2. Steve

    blake, this sounds really cool. i have a suggestion in dealing with those who may be against keeping the early morning thing going once summer ends…pray for favor in the sight of the more "traditional" folks and ask the Lord to move their hearts to support what's going on instead of opposing it. just a thought. keep keepin' on bro!

  3. Luke

    Sounds fantastic. We've had a 'relaxed' youth-run service happening for probably about 8 years. The essential features have been: dimmed lighting; contemporary music with an aim to greatness; honest and real leading; sharing times; fun.

    I was in charge of this for a while and it's really amazing how God faithfully shows up and blesses people. Often the music at practice would be terrible, but once the service started God pulls it all together.

    Maybe if there isn't room for 'taking over' there may be a chance to supplement the morning service?

  4. giddy

    Good thought, Steve.

  5. Blake

    Thanks, Steve….I'll definately be praying about it.

    Luke, I don't think the "blended" service idea would work right now. There are those that are hardcore traditionalists in our church who really scoff at the "contemporary" music/services. Blended might be tollerated, but not liked (IMO)

  6. yafreax

    well, if that's the only reason (they miss the people that are going to the first service.) then there is absolutely no validity in the arguement… i think you and your pastor would probably agree, but hey, the church today is about politics and pleasing the congregation. I'm not being sarcastic, and i'm not being rude… that's just how it is these days. in anycase, if that is the reason, then put a huge stress on everyone coming to sunday school. If i've read correctly, sunday school is inbetween the services, so it's a perfect time for everyone to be there at the same time.

    Just remember, church isnt for just the traditionalists or just for the contemp's, its for the body as a whole to be an outreach to the lost. I'd say if you concentrate on creating an environment for the body as a whole and a situation that is conducive to outreach, then not even the traditionalists can have any strong cases against the early service. It's highly unlikely that there are alot of lost people that want solely a traditionalistic church.

    good points all. good luck blake.

    p.s. – you guys have golf courses?

  7. Dan

    Hey, Blake. I just saw your blog mentioned on blogs4God, so I thought I'd drop by to say hi and let you know I'm thinking of you.

    Take care and keep in touch!

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