Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1 ESV
The above text from Hebrews is one of the most recognized and often quoted verses in Scripture. Faith, of course, is a very important concept and one of the key characteristics of the Christian life. In fact, the word is used well over two hundred times in the New Testament alone. This text teaches us to trust in the Lord's promises and to rest in His work. The chapter goes on to list biblical proofs of faith dating back to the days of Genesis to encourage us in our lives today. Life is filled with many challenges and trials, but our hope is found in Christ alone and upon Him do we place our burdens (Matthew 11:28-30). Not only are Christians to live life in faith of God's promises, but so is the church. Cross Creek is called to exercise faith in all things. This means that as a church we seek for the Lord's direction in how to be faithful in reaching our community with the good news of the gospel.
Toward the end of January we had a congregational meeting in which I outlined the goals for our church. One of those goals is to launch a second service sometime in the Fall (likely after Labor Day). The plan was to have two Sunday morning services, one at 9 am and the other at 10:30 am. After much prayer and discussion, the officers have elected to launch a Saturday evening service (6 pm) instead of a 9 am service on Sunday. Why? The belief is that a Saturday evening service will give greater options to our community. For example, we have medical professionals who sometimes have to work on Sunday. A Saturday evening option would be great for them. We have many families with children who already have a tough time making it to church at 10:30 am., so it would be good for them. This would also eliminate the challenges known as Jaguar home games and Sunday youth soccer games. Again, our desire is to be faithful to our Lord but also to think of unique ways to reach our community with the gospel.
Here are some more questions you may be thinking of:
Will Saturday evening service be different from Sunday morning?
No. The services will be identical in every way. Same preacher. Same order of worship. Same music set. Same sermon. Nothing changes.
Will there be childcare and Gospel Project for Kids on Saturday evening?
Yes. In fact, adding a second service affects our children's ministry far more than anything else. Heather Coggins is going to need your assistance. If you are not currently serving children's ministry, we ask that you give that serious consideration. We will also be asking families with children to indicate which service you are considering attending in order to give Heather an idea for volunteers.
Why are we adding a second service when the Sunday 10:30 service isn't at capacity?
Our current overall attendance for 2016 is higher than at the same point in 2015. This means that we are welcoming many more visitors and they are staying. Also, we are at roughly sixty-five percent capacity on a consistent basis. Don't be fooled when children are dismissed to Gospel Project and the sanctuary looks a little thinner. This means that our children's ministry is growing, but classroom space is limited. Typically, the rule is when a church reaches eighty percent capacity it's time to launch a second service, so we are being proactive in seeing this trend.
Will adding a second service bring more people to Cross Creek?
Yes. The second service will increase attendance because that's what options tend to do. For example, we see more people in adult education classes when we include offerings during the week (like men's and women's bible studies) than when we keep it only to Sunday morning. It's simple: if you give people options, they will opt. However, it must also be said that adding services alone won't increase attendance apart from telling our family, friends, and neighbors. We still have a responsibility to invite people to church and it is still ultimately a work of the Spirit.
Won't adding services split the church?
This question is similar to the one that asks if your glass is half-full or half-empty. It's a matter of perspective. Adding services will increase the opportunity to welcome new people and make new friendships, but that doesn't mean we have to lose touch with our current friends. Approximately seventy percent of Cross Creek members are in life group ministry and it's these kinds of ministries that are essential in churches with multiple services.
Our Vacation Bible School sign-ups continue at fever pace. Please don't delay in signing up your kids before it sells out.
Looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday!