Proposed Worship Schedule Redesign

From: Pastor Matt
To: Holy Cross Families
Subject: Proposed Worship Schedule Redesign

After a long time of prayer, and discussion with elders, church leadership and our musicians and staff, I’d like us to consider a redesigned worship schedule at Holy Cross which would provide access to Sunday school and Bible study for people who attend both of our services. As we consider Holy Cross as a place to follow Jesus, learn and grow, I believe that the shift supports this mission emphasis. This is something I’ve been praying about personally since before we launched the Monday service, and I have been asking others to pray about for nearly as long. It is with great care and love that I recommend this change knowing that it may not be perfect for everyone.

The proposal is to shift our Monday contemporary service to Sunday morning and rearrange the schedule on Sunday. There’d be traditional worship, a Sunday school and bible study/coffee fellowship time, and a contemporary service. A proposed Sunday morning start time would be 9am for our traditional service, a 10:15 start for our Sunday school and Bible study/fellowship and an 11:15 start for our contemporary service. We’ve also considered earlier start times or broadening the start times if we think that’s in the best interest of people. (8:30, 10:00, 11:00 as an example.)

The largest question with relation to this shift is “why?” Why make this move at all? There are a couple of reasons I wanted to share in detail. First, right now at Holy Cross we have two services across two days but only one Bible study time offered. Combining the services on one day with the Bible study in between them gives access to Bible study to people who attend both services.  There are families who attend the Monday service who shared a desire to attend Sunday school. Additionally, there are families who’ve attended Sunday school in the past who now attend Monday night because of the worship music and haven’t been able to attend Sunday morning in addition.  It’s an extra burden to ask them to come to Holy Cross two days to have access to worship and Sunday school. If we have a schedule layout with worship, study, worship, both worship services have easier access to Sunday school Bible study, and I think it allows us to grow closer to God and to each other.

In the practical timing of the shift, families who attend the Monday night service would have to make the largest adjustment. I’ve asked most families who attend the Monday night service and while some have indicated they wouldn’t be able to attend on Sunday, the vast majority of service goers have stated they’d welcome the change. Additionally, others have stated they would like to attend a contemporary service and they’d be able to on Sunday, but not on Monday. In terms of scheduling and attendance, I believe a Sunday morning contemporary service offers more people a chance to follow Jesus. Certainly, I understand that it limits the availability that some will have who cannot attend on Sunday or prefer to worship on another night. This is the primary reason I and others have prayed about it for as long as we have, through Monday night attendance peaks in the 40s/50s and higher and valleys with attendance in the single digits. I do believe that there will be an opportunity for an alternative night service to return in the future, and that two services on Sunday will lead to growth that could make a third service viable. The schedule would also mean Sunday morning families would have to juggle their routine, I’m sympathetic to that. This is why the first time shift proposed would keep the same the amount of time a Sunday morning family who goes to Sunday school and worship. It would flip the order, but maintain the total amount of time at Holy Cross. If we started worship at 8:30 it would require a little bit more hustle getting out of the house in the morning to come to worship, with three kids I can appreciate that struggle.

Growing closer to God is my number one reason for recommending this redesign, and I think this service time change would help that. Primarily, because I think Sunday is still the first day people are looking to investigate God. People who attend both of our services would have access to additional Bible study. I think a contemporary service on Sunday gives them something at Holy Cross we have never had before. I also believe it would give us an opportunity to utilize service teams more effectively with our greeters, ushers, computer and sound, and launch things over the course of three hours that would be more difficult to implement over two days. I believe It makes most sense for a church our size to have two services on the same day. I also believe that this would put less strain on our employees, myself, Alta and Laurel, and our service teams. I think it’d also more effectively enable us to launch full-time nursery care for our worship services. 

Fostering closer community is another benefit of this redesigned worship schedule, where we will be able to see, talk and grow with all of the people who attend Holy Cross. Where currently, it’s difficult to create and grow relationships with a person or family who attends the other service, the new schedule would provide a time where overlap is possible in our Bible study, Sunday school and fellowship time.

As we introduce this proposed redesign, we do want to hear feedback. Please prayerfully consider this proposal, and share your ideas to improve the proposal with myself or with an elder or another member of church leadership.

We would like to implement this beginning Sunday, December 3.

-Pastor Matt

P.S. Why the picture of the Oreos? It's what I thought of when thinking of worship services on both sides with Bible study and fellowship in the middle.

Blog, WorshipMatthew Schuler