From Easter 2006 Christ Church will be offering 4 services on Sunday.
At 9:00am, 11:00am, 4:00pm and 6:30pm.

 

The Rationale:

 

Our 10.30am service is full:

·         With the revised seating we have been operating since September, we have 322 seats.  This means our 80% full figure is 258

·         Last year, we averaged 261 people at this service (the previous highest was 231), so we have seen, on average, 30 more people every week at 10:30am.

·         Between September and December 2005 we averaged 292 at this service (287 excluding Christmas) – therefore on average we were 90% full (290) – and 6 services had over 300 people at them (349, 346, 324, 307, 323 and 301) – this builds on a January to April 2005 average of 272.

·         We have 169 children aged 0-14 ‘on the books’.  This is up from 144 in October 2004.  However, our weekly attendance average has stayed roughly the same – 104 in 2005 and 97 in 2004. 

·         By our own figures, 4 of our Sunday Club rooms are overfull on a weekly basis

·         By Ofsted figures (which the planners have encouraged us to use)  - we should ideally only have 53 children in our current Sunday Club space

 

 

Q. Do we have to do this?

Based on our Growth Survey data and much debate since, we believe that there is no other / better option than to move to two morning services if we are to continue to grow as a Church.

 

Q. Do we have the resources to do this? 

 Yes - with 462 adults listed in the Church Directory the challenge is motivating them all to serve. That is one of the reasons for the preaching series on membership and Lent series on 40 Days of Purpose. 

 

However, we fully recognise that this may stretch our resources – both paid and voluntary – particularly in the short-term but believe that the Lord will honour our desire to grow and bless us with new members and new resources – both human and financial - to alleviate the burden over time.

 

Q. What about the 8am attendees? 

We appreciate that this congregation is probably most impacted by the change and hence have  tried to offer a particularly attractive alternative service option, that is, one that whilst retaining its ‘traditional’ style can be enhanced through the addition of hymns, songs or other music, and by offering fellowship / community by means of a pre-service Tea, as well as a monthly 11:00am service prior to the senior citizen's lunch club. We shall also be meeting with those that wish to on a one to one basis to explain the way forward.  Those involved with the 8am service who we have consulted with, whilst sad to lose the service, can see both the rationale, and the exciting potential of the 4pm service

 

Q. What do the Sunday Club leaders think?

James and Stephen have been meeting with the Sunday Club leaders individually to discuss the implications of running two identical Sunday morning services with Sunday Clubs. James, Stephen and the Wardens also met with the Sunday club leaders on Sunday. The SC leaders are being asked to consider which of 3 options they prefer:

 

  1. To continue as now, serving at one service, twice or three times a month. They simply need to decide which of the two services they prefer - the 1st or 2nd service. We will then recruit new leaders to cover that club at the other service or services.
  2. To lead their club at both services on one or more Sunday but on fewer occasions. We will then recruit new leaders to cover that particular club at the other service or services.
  3. To continue as now but cover both services each week. We know that Mark and Megan prefer this option for Pathfinders.

 

From Sunday’s meeting, it was clear that the Sunday Club leaders can see the need, and the opportunities.  However, they were rightly concerned that we should find sufficient leaders.

 

We recognise that we will need to recruit more leaders and helpers and are actively doing so (at most 8 and probably less). Several people have already expressed a willingness to join the team. At the next CAT meeting on the 24th January we will discuss the practicalities of providing children's clubs at two morning services. We will also approach the helpers and invite them to express their preferences.

 

We have agreed that this proposal will not go forward without sufficient leaders

 

Q. What do the musicians think?

James and Stephen have been meeting with the musicians individually to discuss the implications of running two identical Sunday morning services. The musicians are being asked to consider which of 3 options they prefer:

 

  1. To continue as now. They simply need to decide which of the two services they prefer - the 1st or 2nd service. We will then encourage other musicians to cover the other services.
  2. To play at both services on one or more Sunday but on fewer occasions. We will then encourage other musicians to cover the other services.
  3. To continue as now but cover both services each week. We hope that many of the musicians will be willing to do so.

 

We will be meeting the singers and musicians following the PCC meeting, on the 22nd January, to discuss the implications of moving to two morning services.

 

Q. Why are the 9 and 11 identical? 

 We believe, from the experience of other churches, and from our own experience of identical services, that providing the same thing twice gives the best opportunity for both services to grow, and,  critically, to reach new people for Christ.

 

This is a very deliberate strategy and has two main advantages:

  1. the congregation has only to make a decision based on service timing rather than one based on both timing and style of service and will benefit from continuity in terms of sermon series should they switch between services
  2. to prepare two different services would be considerably more demanding for all concerned in the service preparation and delivery e.g. clergy, service leaders, musicians, singers

 

Q. Is this a once and for all change? 

No.  We are entering an experimental period.

 

Firstly, we will need to review the success of the change periodically. It is proposed that there be a formal review at our July ’06 (3 months) , November ’06 (6 months)  and June ’07 (1 year) PCC meetings and changes could flow from any / all of these, if required.

 

It must be remembered that our principal objectives are to relieve current overcrowding in Church and in our Sunday Clubs and, in so doing, to facilitate further growth. These will be our key measures of success but we need also be alert to negative effects e.g. any feeling of loss of community.

 

Secondly, we will, of course, review our service pattern requirements as we approach the completion of our new extensions. See the attached schedule for more details on review points.

 

Q. How does this affect the Building Project? 

This change is being made to alleviate the short to medium term issues of having inadequate accommodation for both the congregation and the Sunday Clubs. The Building Project is being progressed in parallel and is unaffected in terms of our need or the priority we will give to the planned development.

 

It buys us time because with planning approval, raising the funds and completing the work could take 2-3 years. If the Lord continues to bless the church family by the time the extension is completed we will undoubtedly need both morning services even with the enlarged seating capacity.