As a church we’re constantly seeking to hear from God to change whatever He wants transformed to better serve His purposes. We don’t believe in ‘sacred cows’ here. It’s with that in mind we’ve felt called to make an exciting change to our Sunday services, to be more welcoming and friendly to newcomers, but also to make space for gifts of the Spirit and for people to have time to be prayed for. We’ve felt God challenge us to step out in faith and make room for signs to follow the preaching, as He continues to work on people getting His word into them. Think 1 Corinthians 14:26 or Colossians 3:16.
To do this, from the 11th June we are trailing a new format for our 11am Sunday gatherings. We’ve moved the majority of worship to give a longer Holy Spirit-soaked response time after the Scriptures are expounded (which we’re still absolutely committed to by the way). We’ll typically start a service with two worship songs, so we’re relying on people to get to church on time, full of faith, ready to worship God from the get go!
We see many benefits to this change:
– We’ll have more time to reflect and respond to the power of God’s Word that’s just been preached, and to stir ourselves up in worship.
– It gives more time for many of us to overcome fears of coming forward for prayer, and allows sufficient space for those who come forward to be properly prayed for by our ministry teams.
– We believe more of us will be encouraged to share words and testimonies that fit or resonate with what’s been preached.
– We want to give space and have faith for “signs following”.
– Parents of children will also be able to enjoy a few response songs, which they currently aren’t able to do, before collecting their kids.
– We think those unfamiliar with church will generally be more receptive to an extended time of worship at the end of the service, having heard the gospel preached, alongside explanations of why we do things they way we do from the service anchor. Contextually it should make more sense to them, and make our services more welcoming.
Last Sunday, it worked really well! We believe this change to be significant, and hope you think so too: it’s going to play a key role helping us to follow Jesus and make disciples, to see heaven break in, and hundreds and hundreds come to Jesus. Join us, and remember to come early!