New Sunday Morning Plan Begins August 4
After many months of prayer and discussion our elders and staff leadership have approved a New Plan for Sunday mornings.
As part of our vision process, and in response to your feedback from our congregation-wide survey, our leadership has approved a plan that includes the following elements:
Intentional space for relationships, connection and fellowship.
Intentional time to equip you to live missionally in your family, vocation and neighborhood.
Time with our children in worship, to better reflect our generational faithfulness.
A worship schedule that is less rushed, and allows more time for us to respond to the Holy Spirit.
Time to Connect
In addition to weekly time for fellowship and coffee between worship and discipleship, once a month, the entire window of time between worship services will be dedicated to fellowship and relationship-building in Lee Fellowship Hall.
Streamlining from Four Worship Services to Two
This meets two important needs expressed by our church family: two worship services allows more of our church family to be together on Sunday mornings in the same place, which in turn, creates an opportunity for new and deeper relationships. Another key factor is that our current plan of four services, two venues and simulcasting means we must adhere to a rigid schedule on Sunday mornings - one that is often rushed and constrained by the need to do the next thing. People are pushed out in order to “turnover” the worship space, leaving little room for relationship. We want to make more space for relationship with one another, and especially to be able to respond to the Holy Spirit during worship.
8:15am Traditional & 11am Genesis
Not only were both of these services significantly smaller in attendance, but they both demonstrate specific behaviors and practices we want to model for the whole church family. Because each of these services benefited from a little more time before or after worship, they did a great job of developing community together. They lingered to talk and made a greater effort to check in with one another weekly. We know that building more time in our schedule for fellowship will be key to us growing as a church family, but we are also eager to see these two congregations lead by example as they integrate into the new services.
Children and Families
We will also very intentionally include children in worship, and make space for them to participate in our formation/discipleship hour and fellowship. We want our Sunday morning worship to better reflect the generational faithfulness at the heart of this church family.
All children are always invited to participate in the whole worship service.
SHINE Children’s Ministry will host ‘Praise and Play’ for birth - four year old children for the entire worship hour.
Children 2nd grade and under will be excused before the sermon time in worship, to children’s ministry. Children 3rd grade and up will stay in worship with their families.
Children’s Sunday school will still take place during the middle hour for children birth - 5th grade.
Frequently Asked Questions about Children in Worship
Why bring children back into worship?
Part of our commitment to generational faithfulness as a church means recognizing that children are an essential part of the church family. Knowing that fewer and fewer children were present in worship, we are focusing our efforts on making space for them and helping them learn how to worship with the Body of Christ. Think about it: if a child only worships with children, and then only worships with other teenagers, and then only worships with college students… what kind of worship have we modeled for our children? How do they learn to participate in worship as adults? Not only do they miss an opportunity to be spiritually formed by worshiping with the church, but we miss that same opportunity, to be shaped by their presence.
What if I don’t think my children are ready?
Worship is formational for everyone present—from the youngest to the oldest (even if we think they’re not getting it) because God is present with us. Because of this, we believe children can and should participate with everyone else. Don’t underestimate them! Children are learners and will adapt more quickly than you think. There will be a learning curve but you’ll be surprised by the conversations that you can have with your children because of this shared experience. SHINE is also developing a children’s bulletin to help kids follow the service and participate in worship and to help families discuss what they’ve seen and heard together.
Will they stay the whole service?
First and foremost, every child of every age is always invited to worship with the church family, every week. Children Birth - Kindergarten will have the opportunity to go directly to SHINE on Sunday mornings before worship begins. Children in 1-2 grades will be excused sometime before the sermon each week to continue learning through choir and catechism. Children 3rd grade and up will be encouraged/asked? to stay in worship with their families.
What happens to children’s worship if they’re in worship with adults?
After younger children are excused from worship, Worship Arts and SHINE Children’s ministry will lead them in choir, catechism, and bible games in the Clayton Life Center. Also, younger children will always have the option to remain in the regular worship service with their families instead of leaving the service.
When will children experience age-appropriate Bible teaching?
During 10:05am - 10:50am, SHINE and STUDENT Ministry Discipleship Classes will take place. This will be the dedicated time for discipleship for children, students and adults.
Aren’t children disruptive in worship?
You bet. Children wiggle, whisper, squawk, and cry. They may wander, they may sing too loud, they may want to dance during the music, and they may want to color during the sermon. And all of that is ok. We’d rather create a warm, welcoming environment where the church family is together, being loved, than have a perfectly calm, quiet worship service. Our ultimate goal is to worship God, and Jesus modeled a life of worship that included little children.
What if the sermon isn’t kid-friendly?
Younger children will be excused before the message. If the content is of a more grown-up nature, we will make sure to let parents know the topic in the beginning of worship, in case they want to excuse their older children to choir and catechism that day. As a church, we always want to be framing our conversations around difficult topics so that our children are learning and growing in their knowledge of the world with a biblical worldview. This takes practice and we plan to walk our families through any difficult subject matter.
Additional Details and Frequently Asked Questions about Children in Worship
Details & Next Steps
Facebook Live, May 7
Join David Swanson & Kim Allen for a Q&A on Facebook Live at 7pm.
Go to Facebook Live
Q&A with Kim Allen, Sunday, May 19
Join SHINE Children’s Ministry Director Kim Allen for a Q&A after the 9:45am worship service in the Clayton Life Center. She can answer specific questions about age-appropriate activities for children, ideas and encouragement for what it looks like for your child to be in worship with you, and ways to equip you in discipling your children.
Our upcoming Home Meetings are an opportunity to talk with a pastor and elder, as well as connect and encourage one another in the church family.
Questions and Feedback
Curious about our vision process, or need more answers? fpco.org/future has more FAQs and a summary of the process.
Have a specific question that isn’t answered in the FAQs here or on our vision page? Someone from our Feedback Team will follow up with you personally. Fill out our Feedback Form or call the church directly at 407.423.3441.