When Fort Worth Business recently listed our church among Fort Worth’s “Best Downtown Buildings,” it wasn’t surprising to most of us. We all know and appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty of our church’s beautiful Gothic Revival architecture, along with the warmth and charm of our sanctuary that more modern churches simply can’t match.
But sometimes I think it’s because of our beautiful Gothic exterior that people assume we’re an “old” or “stuffy” church, which couldn’t be further from the truth! While the rich history of traditional worship is alive and well here, what many people are shocked to learn is the variety of other worship opportunities we offer as well. As long-time FUMCFW member Gaye Fuller once told me, “I don’t care what type of service speaks to you, we have it all right here!”
Just a quick glance at the red box on the front page of the (printed) FUMCFW Weekly News reveals this variety: Traditional Worship at 9:30 and 11:00 am, DiscipleChurch at 8:30 am, Chapel Communion at 10:35 am, eleven:eleven celebration at 11:11 am, and First 7th at 5:30 pm. And on the first Sunday of every month, Children First provides a family worship opportunity at 9:45 am in the Sanctuary, and the regular 9:30 am Traditional Worship moves to 9:40 am in the Leonard Memorial Chapel.
There really is something for everyone at our church. I often encourage people to try all of the various services and see which one best fits their needs. Of course, they may end up like me — a self-proclaimed “service hopper” who enjoys all of the services — each Sunday choosing the service that fits my mood! I was raised in the Methodist Church, and the Traditional Worship service reminds me of where my faith journey began. Like a favorite cozy sweater, it is comfortable and familiar. And, although my children are grown now, my family will never be too old for Children First. It is heartwarming to watch Mister Mark light the spark for a whole new generation as they begin their faith journey. I also love that in DiscipleChurch I see high-profile citizens of our community worshipping beside our homeless friends. In that hour — as well as in the nontraditional and upbeat, music-filled eleven:eleven celebration — I see community as God truly intended community to be, and both give me hope that it actually can be. In Chapel Communion, beautiful music fills the air and again, much like in the Traditional Worship service, I feel wrapped in a cocoon of comfort and familiarity. (It’s also really nice to go to that service and then to either traditional or eleven:eleven!) First 7th in a word is awesome. If you’ve never heard Lance Marshall preach, his lively and engaging “Modern, Relevant Methodism” puts a contemporary twist on traditional worship.
Though each of these services has a decidedly different feel, the common thread woven through all of them is worship — a deliberate gathering of people seeking to encounter God in Christ. When we worship, regardless of the service, it binds us together, heals our wounded souls, and gives us hope to start the week anew. How fortunate we are to have such a variety of worship choices under our beautiful and historic “Best Downtown Building” exterior. So when your friends or co-workers ask about our church, I hope you’ll remember the words of Gaye Fuller: “I don’t care what type of service speaks to you, we have it all right here!”
Lisa Helm is the Director of Welcoming Ministries, a new ministry devoted to making sure all who enter our campus feel welcome, safe, and cared for by our Church — on Sundays and beyond!