Thursday, December 11, 2008

the 8:00

We let the cat out of the bag a couple Sundays back and announced that the 8:00 service will be moving to the Founder's Hall beginning on January 4. We didn't give really any explanation and, not surprisingly, a few questions have bubbled up.

So, first a bit about the decision-making process. . .

We began talking as a staff about a change-up in our early-October annual planning meeting. The staff was united in its affirmation that the 8:00 needs to exist. The 9:30 is packed. The 11:00 is growing this Fall. There are not enough seats in the 11:00 to accommodate all the 8:00 folks. We'd like to see the 8:00 grow, but if anything it's shrunk just a bit this year. It's not that the 8:00 dynamic is bad. We just think it might be improved. To be honest, it's just a a little subdued. People are spread out, often sitting by themselves. It feels like a pretty big room for a small crowd of 125 to 150. What to do?

We began to talk options and the idea of moving the 8:00 to the Founder's Hall was thrown on the table. We discussed the positives and negatives in making such a move, but affirmed our shared willingness to try new things. We recognized we could always change back next Fall. We liked the idea of a more intimate setting and how that might change the dynamics. We agreed it would be fun and might actually attract some who desire a more intimate setting. At this point, given our emphasis on united, inter-generational worship, we are together in our desire to not create an "alternative" service, but a service that is as "like" our other services as possible, taking into account the natural setting differences.

With a staff consensus, the next step was to take our recommendation to the elders for their input. They, too, liked the idea and the direction and gave us their blessing to "go for it!"

So what is this service going to look like? How will it be "like" and "unlike" the other two services?

It's a great question and, to be honest, we're not exactly sure. The smaller, more intimate setting will be the biggest difference. The order of service will be the same as the other services. The instrumentation will be stripped down and more "unplugged," though we will sing the same songs. The choir will likely not sing in the 8:00 service, but we'll see.

I will still preach the same Gospel-centered, biblical messages, but will be a bit more "up close and personal" with no raised, set-back platform.

I think it's going to be great and a refreshing change. I expect that some 8:00 folks will not like these changes and will choose to move to one of the other services, but I also suspect that others may find the new 8:00 to be just what they are looking for.

Not everyone likes change, but change is good and change is inevitable and necessary. At the same time, I don't thing this change is irreversible. We're going to give it a try and see what happens.

Whatever your personal preferences, I hope you'll consider checking out the new 8:00 sometime in January or February. You just might love it.

Any thoughts?


Priscilla said...

as a choir member, I don't like the idea of NOT singing at the 8 o'clock so I hope we can work something out!

Tim said...

Thanks, Priscilla, for logging in. I'd love to hear more about why you don't like the idea of NOT singing at the 8:00. It means you don't have to be here quite so early. Wouldn't that be helpful? Can you flesh that out for me?

Priscilla said...

Coming earlier is NOT a factor and because I LOVE TO SING and getting older change is harder like you shared in your blog. I miss singing EVERY Sunday, but our personal life also makes it nice to have alternate weekends to travel to see our kids who live far away!! I also miss doing Christmas and Easter concerts EVERY year, but so understand the pressure for and on Al. Like I said change is harder as I grow older.

Mama Mote said...

And for me, even though I get older, I love change. I may get myself up to get to the 8:00. I'm really not a morning person, but going earlier, I get home earlier. What's been hard is not having Dan coming with me and when he's home, he's more likely to go to the 9:30. But when he's not here, I try to go earlier and then join a Sunday School. AND if we are still here, I might consider getting back into choir because of NOT singing 3 services because I don't know if I could get there any earlier. I'm just getting up when we would have to be here. Don't have to do a lot of prep. The older I get, the simpler to get ready. Getting there even earlier is not appealing to me. But that's just me. Understand any of that?

matthewe said...

Tim, I am with you on the need for a quality experience at 0800. I attend all three services from time to time and had not noticed a pronounced difference in congregation participation at 0800. I am sure it looks different from your vanatage point. Hard to balance that need with the need for space: From past experience, moving to a smaller venue will likely result in smaller attendance.

Tim said...

Yikes, Matt! That would be an unintended consequence and trigger a need to re-evaluate.

Joanie said...

As for the choir: This got me thinking that I could actually return to choir because I didn't have to think about the agony of putting the little ones in Sunday School for so long. I know we all have to make sacrifices, and the Sunday School teachers are so AMAZING, but there is a practical aspect to it.

As to the numbers: I definitely thought about getting up early for a more connected service. I'd miss the Sanctuary, though, but I am also very impressed with all the new construction, and it's fun that it's so USABLE. Great design, flow, and decor in all the new parts. Kudos to those responsible.