New Worship Times Starting July 10
JULY 10 - New Times & Venues
8:15am Traditional in the Sanctuary
9:45am Genesis in the Sanctuary
11:00am Traditional in the Sanctuary
11:00am Genesis in Lee Fellowship Hall
Wil: I was there. Standing on the chancel with my guitar, looking out at a congregation of over 800 people that were fired up about First Pres' new contemporary service. Genesis debuted in the sanctuary in September of 2006, and we haven't stopped celebrating God's goodness since that day.
I stepped in as interim worship leader later that same year. With attendance declining, we made the transition to Lee Fellowship Hall, an exciting space that was full of creative possibilities.
Wil: When we added the 9:45 worship hour in 2011, we were able to bring something back Genesis hadn't had since 2007–live preaching, one of the reasons people have really connected with this service.
Dan: Over the past many months we have seen a growing trend in our worship services. The 9:45am Genesis service has experienced particular pressure due to the limited size of Lee Fellowship Hall. On several occasions worshipers have had to go to the sanctuary to watch the service on the screens.
Wil: Last year was our most exciting year for the 9:45am service and its growth, and we had to initiate an over-flow procedure for when the service began to hit capacity. (If you've sat in those snug chairs, you know that "capacity" is a really big deal in terms of the experience.)
Wil: All these attendance challenges were/are great problems for us as a church, and our staff and leader-ship have spent months working on a solution. Obviously we needed to address the overcrowding issues for our 9:45 Genesis service, but building a new space just isn't feasible with our current plans. So, 14 months ago we started working on a proposal to not only address the challenges of our numbers, but also steward the resources and buildings that The Lord has already given us. Our Sanctuary–our largest space, and one designed for worship–sits empty and unused at the 9:45am hour.
Dan: In dealing with this wonderful challenge, our Session has given the go ahead to move the 9:45am Genesis service into the Sanctuary to be able to accommodate more worshipers. In order to coordinate and accommo-date our morning worship schedule, the first Traditional service will start at 8:15am, followed by the 9:45am Genesis service in the Sanctuary. The 11:00am Traditional and the 11:00am Genesis will remain at the same time and same locations. The 8:15 time change will give adequate "turn around" time between services.
Wil: We know the Sanctuary is bigger and won't have the same feel as Lee Fellowship Hall, but we believe in it. Creatively, we're as excited about moving into the Sanctuary as I was when we moved from the Sanctuary into LFH. This space has amazing creative potential for a contemporary service–potential I don't think we tapped when Genesis debuted in that space in 2006.
Dan: We greatly appreciate everyone’s flexibility as we make these adjust-ments for continued growth of our congregation and ministry.
Wil: This is an amazing opportunity for growth for us, Church. We're not only hopeful that The Lord will use this transition to further His Kingdom and grow First Pres, I'm sure of it. We have been in fervent prayer about this for over a year, and we know this is where the Lord is leading us.
Genesis turns 10 this year, and we hope you'll join us in what looks to be an awesome new chapter for Genesis and for First Pres. See you in the Sanctuary July 10.