Dear Lighthouse Family,
After much discussion and prayer, the elders have decided to move forward with a 5 p.m. third service in the Fall. This marks the beginning of an exciting new season of life as a church, one that we hope will allow us to continue to carry out our mission: “to make gospel-centered disciples who exalt and proclaim Christ.” While we know there are some concerns about a third service, we really understand growth as part of the stewardship that God has given us, so we see a third service as another opportunity to proclaim the gospel to a world in need of Christ.
After looking at the survey results, as well as thinking through various facets of the church (servants, attendance, consideration for unbelievers, ministries, parking, sanctuary space, kids’ ministry capacity, etc.), we decided that a 5 p.m. service is the best available solution for our current concerns. There are many reasons that have led to this decision, but here are a few of the key ones:
- An evening service was favored over an early morning or early afternoon service in the survey. This included those who would consider attending the third service as well as those who were interested in serving during the third service.
- An evening service allows us to keep our existing morning service times. We wanted to make sure that the time between first and second services allowed enough time for people to fellowship, but also enough time to leave so that there is parking for the second service. The addition of a third morning service would have necessitated changing the times of our existing morning services.
- An evening service will minimize the exacerbation of some of the crowding issues in our morning services. The addition of a morning service or early afternoon service would have necessitated changing the times of our existing morning services, which we think would actually exacerbate the existing overcrowding. Specifically, adding either an early morning or afternoon service would likely make the second service much more appealing to families with children (when we first moved to two services, we started with an 8:30 a.m. service, which was poorly attended by both adults and children). The result would be extreme imbalance and overcrowding in that second service. It seems wisest to keep the current services where they are, while adding an evening service will simply allow people another option to worship. This ensures we do not add to any overcrowding situation that already exists.
- An evening service opens up evangelistic opportunity to reach those who would be unable to attend morning services.
“I have questions!”
We realize that many of you may have questions about this third service and its impact on the church. Here are a few questions that we’ve tried to consider.
- “When will we start having a third service?”
- Lord-willing, our tentative plan is to start on Sunday, October 15.
- “Will the third service be permanent?”
- We are committing to holding a third service through the end of February, after which we will evaluate the service and determine if it is a viable option going forward.
- “Will the third service be the same as the morning services?”
- It will largely be the same service as the morning services. The order of service will be the same, with the same message by the same preacher, a full worship set, communion, etc.
- “Will children’s ministry be offered?”
- Yes! For now the plan is to offer children’s ministry for 2 years old through 5th grade, but if we are able to recruit enough help, we will also do a nursery for 1 year olds.
- “Will people have to serve all day?”
- One of the potential dangers of adding a third service is that servants will be overburdened or burned out. Our eventual goal is that the third service will eventually have its own dedicated ministry teams; we do not intend to have people serve at all three services in one day. However, as we are getting the third service off the ground, some ministries may be asking for help from those who are available to serve in both morning and evening services until dedicated teams are established.
- “What does this mean for my specific ministry?”
- Your ministry leader will contact you soon and let you know what this all means for your ministry?
- “Is this a long-term solution to our space issues?”
- A third service does not end our pursuit of long-term solutions to our space issues. We will continue to look for property, consider church planting, etc.
- “Will there still be volleyball on Sunday evenings?
- Yes! They will able to start setting up the Fellowship Hall for volleyball at 7:00 p.m.
- “Is Lighthouse getting too big?”
- We don’t think so. We believe that the Lord wants us to see the numerical growth we have experienced as a blessing, not a curse. Please understand that we have done very little to intentionally encourage increase in size, so our growth is simply a result of God’s grace. This means it is our stewardship from God, not something we get to choose to ignore or are meant to complain about. We must simply make the wisest decisions possible to steward what God has given us and be excited for whatever God has in store for us.
“How can I help?”
Here are some specific ways you can be a blessing during this season.
- Consider making third service the primary service you attend! We are guessing that there are some of you for whom an evening service works better, so please make this your home!
- Consider coming to evening service once a month! Even if you continue to normally attend one of the morning services, we are asking that all church members occasionally attend the evening service instead a morning service. We hope that this will grow our love for one another as we worship with other members of the Lighthouse family in a different context. The evening service will likely have fewer people, which may allow for more deliberate conversations in an intimate setting. In a sense, the evening service may help our church feel “smaller” even as the church grows. Additionally, this will be a simple way to love others in the church by freeing up space in the morning services for others.
- Consider serving! We’re excited about how this new season for our church will introduce new opportunities to serve and love one another! All of our services, both in the morning and in the evening, are looking for more servants! Even if you don’t think you’d make the evening service your main service, consider serving on the one Sunday a month you’re going to be at the evening service; you’ll be there anyway! And if you can serve during morning services, you may free up someone to commit to the evening service! If you are interested in serving during any of our worship services, you can fill out this form and you’ll be put in contact with the leaders for some of our Sunday ministries.
- Consider using this as a means to reach out to to nonbelievers! There are many unbelievers who are unable or unwilling to come to a morning worship service, but would be open to one in the evening! We are hoping this service allows us to have unique outreach opportunities, so please help us use this service to reach out.
“How can I pray?”
Here are some ways to pray for this transition:
- For the leadership, that God will grant us wisdom and grace as we strive to make faithful decisions
- For our servants, that they would possess strength, joy and gospel-focus. We do not want anyone to burn out, so please pray also that the elders would be able to shepherd, steward, and encourage our servants well.
- For unbelievers who will be attending the service, that they might have softened hearts to embrace the gospel.
Lastly, the elders have been so encouraged by your response to this process. As we reviewed the results of the survey, we were so humbled by those that told us that you were praying for us and would support the leadership in the decision-making process (even if you didn’t love the idea of a third service!) So thank you for your constant support, encouragement, and prayers. It is a grace to serve you all.
By His grace,
The Elders of Lighthouse Community Church