New Gathering Schedule | From the Session

Greetings from Pastor Jim,

I am writing on behalf of our Session and its Worship Team with a very important report from our Session meeting last evening.

For some time now we have been evaluating our Saturday evening worship service and have realized that it is not accomplishing the things we had hoped it would when it was launched over fourteen months ago. We have seen a steep drop off in attendance despite efforts to invite people and to make it a meaningful worship service.

Staffing for our children's programs on Saturday evenings has spread our resources very thin. This has had a negative impact on the children's programs on Sunday mornings. Also, the hope was that Saturday evening worship would be helpful to our junior high, senior high, and college students. The reality is that there are too many other events and obligations that are conflicts for them on Saturdays. This has adversely impacted our Student Ministries.

Our Worship Team has spent several months studying worship in general and looking for a worship schedule that addresses the principles for worship that are cited below.

The Worship Team and Pastors agreed on a proposal to discontinue the Saturday evening service and offer two Sunday morning services - 9 and 10:45am. The earlier service would be the Classic (or Traditional) style and the later service would be a more Contemporary style. This is essentially a "flip" of our current services though each starts a little later in the morning. This proposal was approved by the Session on June 25th. The new Sunday schedule begins on August 4th. The last Saturday evening service will be July 27th.

We realize this impacts everyone to some degree. However, this schedule best supports Children's and Student Ministries and better utilizes our resources of time, finances, and staffing - both paid and volunteer - in order to carry out our call to make disciples of Jesus Christ who Connect with God, Grow in Faith, and Serve in Love.

Would you join with our Session in prayer that this transition will go well and that together we will become faithful worshippers - of all ages - together in a common bond in Jesus Christ?

Sincerely,
The Session of Good Shepherd

Guiding Principles of Worship

  1. Worship will incorporate elements that reflect our Reformed faith
  2. Children benefit from being included in worship with adults. Adults also benefit
  3. from being in worship with children. We know that children and teens are more open about their relationship with God and they read the Bible more than their age-segregated peers.
  4. Worship leadership should include people of all ages. Reformed Christians emphasize the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. All ages are invited to participate in and lead worship in age appropriate ways. We are participants in worship not consumers of it.
  5. Worship includes reverence and can also be informal, warm and authentic. The style of worship is less important than, than the attitude of worship. We all need to participate together and encourage all family members to engage in true worship, which, is reverent and authentic no matter what the style.
  6. Music is most worshipful when it is done with excellence and is not a cause of distraction.
  7. We recognize GSPC is a multi-generational congregation – Worship should encourage interaction between all age groups for mentoring, encouraging and building relationships.
  8. Hymns and songs must have theological and scriptural integrity and reinforce the focus of worship and of the sermons. Although, two distinct worship styles are the best option for the us, this does not preclude introduction of a timeless hymn into Contemporary worship or newer songs into the Traditional worship.
  9. Worship is a place where all are welcome and made to feel welcomed. We should also extend invitations to others to join in worship.
  10. The important question we must ask in worship is not "What did I get out of it?" but "What did I offer to God?" Blessing comes from God in response to worship, if you aren’t blessed, it isn’t usually because of the style of music but because of a selfish heart that does not give glory to God.
  11. We must learn humility in order to have a strong, loving intergenerational church. The older members must patiently listen to the young, shed their “this is the way things have always been done” attitude, and adopt a posture of selfless maturity. The younger members must patiently listen to the older members, respectfully teach the older members about the way they worship, and find new ways to interpret our traditions for today’s context.

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