Listening

PSY consultationShould we continue with two Sunday morning services or try something different for our Sunday morning worship times? Are two services the most effective way of ‘extending God’s kingdom, enabling more people to come to saving faith in Christ’?  This was the focus of the open church meeting last night and it was encouraging to have such a full meeting (74 registered) with so many people engaged in the discussions. This is the start of a consultation process in which the Elders will collect information and opinion before bringing a proposal to the church meeting either in March or May this year.

Below is a précis of  how I introduced the topic last night.

In the years leading up to 2010 RBC was a growing church, this put limitations on room for the church gathering  and the children’s work. In September 2012 after a long consultation period two morning services were introduced with the aim of  ‘the extension of God’s Kingdom, enabling more people to come to saving faith in Christ’.  The primary factor was to grow, by making room for people, providing an opportunity to meet God and hear the gospel and respond.  I love this mission statement because its looking at growth through conversion/evangelism rather than simply transfer from other churches.

But RBC at the start of 2018 is a very different church, counts and data collected over the last year tell us that, based on the current attendance numbers, we could all fit in one service. This is based on a comfortable capacity of 260 seats (although there is room for more if needed).  Our average combined total attendance is 212 per week  but the regular count is around 220.

What about the children’s work? If we combine attendance at both services the average numbers are:  CoG’s: 10.   DJ’s: 31.  Youth:18.  Are these viable group sizes to run on a Sunday morning?

Of course, data is only part of the picture. What’s else needs to be considered.? What’s the mood of the church at the moment? Are people weary or raring to go? Are people tired? Do we need a change?

It’s interesting to note that in my six ‘getting to know the church’ questions 11 out of 35 people answered ‘return to one service’ to the question, ‘What would you change about RBC?’. On balance 24 people didn’t, but the question wasn’t about one or two services, for these 11 people it was important enough to mention.  I’m also aware that we are asking a lot of our musicians who arrive at 8 and leave after 1 most Sundays, although this is on a rota basis- not every week.

Are two services the most effective way of ‘extending God’s kingdom, enabling more people to come to saving faith in Christ’?

There’s many considerations to stay with two services:  Some weeks are fuller than others, smaller children’s groups, less congestion at the coffee point, it’s easier to find a seat and some people prefer a quieter 9:00 am service. But the vision was to have two growing services not two smaller services, so many of the advantages of two services were only ever intended to be short lived.

There’s also many considerations to move to one service:  We believe that God is speaking to us about unity, healing and restoration. For the people that miss being together, worshipping together in a full church in one service would bring a sense of unity.  Simplicity! It would simplify our programme and rotas to have one morning service. Opportunities! One service allows more space and time for other acts of mission and service such as street team evangelism, practical acts of worship in the town, hospitality, large church lunches and even post-service quick church meetings.

So we have begun this consultation period of listening and praying. We will shortly be sending links to an on-line survey for all regular church attenders to complete that will help this discerning process.

What do I think? That’s easy for me to answer. We cannot stay where we are carrying on doing what we do. There is a community, town, country, world out there that is desperate for good news and we the church of God have the best news to share.  It’s not enough to put on services and hope people come . We need to be sharing, telling, living, demonstrating good news in whatever circles we move in.

I see this consultation as a fresh start. Whatever is decided we need a new offensive to build, train, disciple and send out, seizing the opportunities to put missional outreach into practice. Our focus must be kingdom growth and when we get to physical capacity we’ll have a new vision, not based on where we were 2010/12 but where we are today.

As always, I’m interested in your views and thoughts on what I’ve written so please feel free to comment.

We are meeting for worship this Sunday at 9:00, 11:00 and 6:30 .

Look forward to seeing you then

Graham

 

 

One thought on “Listening

  1. “We cannot stay where we are carrying on doing what we do. There is a community, town, country, world out there that is desperate for good news and we the church of God have the best news to share. It’s not enough to put on services and hope people come . We need to be sharing, telling, living, demonstrating good news in whatever circles we move in.”

    Love it Graham, “We cannot stay where we are carrying on what we are doing”. Think some sobriety is needed of where we are at spiritually at RBC. I think most think we are healthy – when actually we are spiritually sick – truth is in the period you have been talking about, RBC has lost ground, momentum and relevance. We need to change and change quickly. We have the most life and world changing message – but our lives do not reflect that reality.

    We need to repent, think we have a culture of fear of offending people. Truth is Jesus offended people. We need to choose to follow Jesus or continue to be timid. The choice is ours – but we cant do both.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s