On Wednesday, July 31, the Council of Deacons approved a recommendation from its Long Range Planning Committee that beginning October 5, for a three month trial period, a third worship service be held Saturday evenings at 7:15 PM. This was the chief item of discussion at the all church open forum last Sunday evening.
If you would like to read the entire proposal with plan and rationale and implications, you may pick one up from the literature table outside the church office on Sunday. Several people said that hearing the rationale caused them to change their minds and become enthusiastic about the idea. Others were already excited with the possibilities.
There are two main goals:
1. One is to make room on Sunday morning for increased attendance. This will give the Long Range Planning Committee more time to come up with a more comprehensive, long term plan for future growth strategies. We did not go the route of a third service Sunday morning because it would increase parking problems, demand doubled Sunday School hours, and miss some of the benefits we see of a Saturday service.
(Last Sunday there were 703 people in our morning worship services. This is without 100-150 students who will arrive after Labor Day and without all the regulars who are away on vacation and without the new people we are praying and believing will be won to Christ and drawn into the fellowship of the church. A conservative estimate therefore for fall worship attendance is 850-900. Realistically our sanctuary is comfortably full at 400, squeezed at 450 and packed like sardines at 500. Unless we start a third service there will be no room for growth.)
2. Another goal is to attract a group of people who cannot or do not come to worship on Sunday morning, but might be able or willing to come on Saturday evening.
(These may include people whose work schedules or travel schedules or health problems from time to time hinder their attendance on Sunday morning. It may include people who are afraid of the stereotyped Sunday-morning-go-to-church pattern but are being drawn by the Spirit to be open to Christ. It may include young people looking for something to do on Saturday night. Who knows who it might touch?)
We will preserve the intense, God-centered, vertical atmosphere—it will be a worship service not a fellowship hour. The same sermon will be given Saturday evening as on the following Sunday morning.
We welcome your suggestions and questions. Above all begin to pray that God would cause his word to run and be glorified in this new venture of faith. May he make our services an occasion for his regenerating and edifying work!
Committed to the future at BBC with you,