First the good news. Last Sunday the Gathering set another all-time attendance record with 539 people in worship! (Remember it took us a year to reach our first 500 people, now we do it in a day!) This beats the previous record that we set twice all the way back in September. The Gathering continues to grow and reach new people, all because you continue to bring your friends and family to church. I can’t celebrate this enough. The grace of God is transforming lives through our church here and now. This is so exciting, I’m thrilled to be a part of this together!
Now the bad news. During the 9:30 service we were once again out of chairs. Not only were we short of seats in Wesley Hall, the Gathering Café in Room 350 was also packed. This is a problem because countless studies show that guests are uncomfortable when the room is over 80% full. Well, we’re 110% full at the 9:30 service.
We need to make more room for the new people who are coming to experience God for the first time.
We need your help to make more room! Here are some ideas of how you can help.
- You can stop coming to church. Hey, it’s an option you may have considered as the room gets crowded. The plus side is that it would definitely make room. The downside is that it would cut you off from the practice of worship, the community of people who care about you, and a vital opportunity to experience God and grow in grace. I don’t recommend this option.
- You can stop inviting people. You can keep the Gathering something special and small just for you. This is what most churches do when things get a little tight. They keep it “our thing for us, just the way we like it.” It works great until you lose momentum, things get boring, and then it all fades away. Plus it explicitly excludes people from experiencing God’s life-saving grace. If we stopped inviting people when our first room was full, we would have stopped at 85 people—now we reach thousands every year. I don’t recommend this option, either.
- You can make room. Making room is easy! If you have the flexibility, I recommend you trying moving your Gathering worship time to 11 a.m. We have space in that service to accommodate at least 100 extra people, which would transform our ability to continue to reach new people for Christ. If you are able, please consider worshipping in the Gathering at 11 a.m.That, however, isn’t an option for many people, particularly those with commitments to Sunday school for kids and adults. If you’re locked into 9:30 there are still plenty of ways to make room for new people.First, please consider sitting closer to the front and closer to the middle than you normally do. Guests are terrified of sitting close to the front, please make room by saving the best seats in the back and on the aisles for them.Second, consider worshiping in the Gathering Café in Room 350. The Café features bistro-style seating with plenty of space to stretch out and be comfortable. The Café is always filled with Gathering regulars who use that space to help make room for our new guests. Consider joining them and knowing that you are helping our church reach new people!
God is up to something special in our church and through our church. Let’s keep it going!
God bless y’all, and I’ll see you Sunday!
Rev. Lance Marshall
Senior Associate Pastor