On Sunday, April 12, we will be launching a second service. We’re excited, nervous, and prayerful. Here are four reasons behind this move.
The most immediate reason is because of space, or the lack thereof. Over the past year, our Sunday gatherings have become quite full. For the last several months, we have been closely monitoring Sunday attendance and prayerfully considering how to respond to growth in light of limited space. In 2014, we averaged 114 adults on a Sunday and 80 children. With all 160 of our chairs out, we are at full capacity. There is no way we can welcome new folks in our current setup.
The last time I was overly concerned with numbers was three weeks into the life of our church. Since then, by God’s grace, we have never really been focused on numbers. At the same time, we are for growth when it means more people meeting Jesus and living in His community and on His mission. Church growth experts have all agreed on the 80% Rule – meaning when 80% of the room is full, growth tends to stall. Though church folks love a packed room, a crowded room can be quite overwhelming and even undesirable for an unchurched person. The example I’ve heard repeatedly is of a movie theater – would you rather go to a crowded one or one with plenty of room? By this, all we mean is that we want to be hospitable to unchurched folks and we think moving to two services may help.
We love having the room full on Sundays as it has been for quite a while. At the same time, how have we grown and with whom? Are we connecting with Christians looking for a new church or with non-Christians who don’t know Jesus? Growth can give us a false sense that we are doing well with mission when in fact we may not be. Moving to two services and sitting in a half empty room again, will hopefully be a powerful reminder to us that Jesus still has lots of work for us to do.
A second service isn’t a step away from church planting, but hopefully a step towards it. We are still completely committed to planting more churches – globally, nationally, and locally. But right now, we don’t have a clear planter that’s ready in our pipeline. However, after seeking the wisdom of some older pastors in the area, we think there are a number of practical reasons why planting a church with some more people may be even healthier than trying to do it now. In essence, rather than derailing us from planting another church locally, making room for growth by moving to two services and having more people, more resources, and more leaders, can actually help us be in a better position to do so. All the same, we have been and continue to pray that the Lord would raise laborers, specifically church planters, for His harvest (Matthew 9:38).
So, after much prayer and numerous conversation among our leaders and with our members, we’re moving to two services (9:00am & 11:15am) on April 12th. Please pray with us that God would use this transition to cause more people to believe the gospel, in community, on mission with us.
Click here for a brief Second Service FAQ Document: Adding a Second Service