Pastor’s Perspective – August 2013
First Baptist Church is proud to celebrate one hundred and sixty years of service to Jesus Christ in Northwest Ohio. Generations have served the Lord under the banner of First Baptist Church by both cherishing our traditions and boldly moving forward toward the future. At times it has been a difficult road, but through the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we have always been given the answers to even the most challenging questions. Can we honor our tradition and move forward into the future at the same time, you might ask? Well we have spent the better part of the past year asking the very same question, and we believe that, once again, the Lord has spoken to us and given us a clear response to our prayers.
After a season of prayer First Baptist Church is pleased to announce that beginning on September 22, 2013 we will provide two distinct opportunities for worship. Our worship experiences will begin at 9:15 every Sunday morning with a traditional worship service. The Traditional worship service will remind us of our deep roots in the Christian faith, and allow us to drink deep from the high church traditions that formed the framework of the historic western church. The Traditional worship service will last one hour and feature the chancel choir and a formal style. When the Traditional service is completed we will then take thirty minutes to clear the sanctuary and prepare it for our second worship service which will begin at 10:45. The second service will use more modern and contemporary worship tools in order to transport a new generation of believers to a place of celebration and praise. The 10:45 Praise worship service will be a place for those seeking an informal and participatory style of worship utilizing contemporary music and innovative communication techniques.
First Baptist Church will test these two services for four weeks beginning on August 25th. This will allow us the opportunity to work out any details or difficulties before the official launch day on the 22nd of September. But it must be made clear that the times and the changes will begin on August 25th.
We are moving to a two service plan in order to reach out to new people and to translate the old story to a new generation of seekers and believers. In order to do this we must transform the language and style of our worship service to attract those whom God is calling us to reach. The two service plan is intended to free us to reach a new generation of believers, while maintaining a place for those who are moved and spiritually fed by the classic forms of Christian worship.
We are placing the Praise service at the 10:45 time after communicating with pastors and Church leaders from around the nation and surveying people from within our local church. We have discovered that the prime time for young families to begin worship is between 10 and 11 in the morning. God is calling us to reach out to this generation in the name of Jesus Christ and to make the path easy for them to worship with us. We believe that the two service plan will provide us the maximum opportunity for outreach amongst all generations.
Of course, as with all good endeavors, moving to a two service plan will create some challenges. Two services will mean that many of our tasks will have to be duplicated, but this does not mean that we will be doing the same thing twice each Sunday. Instead we will be seeking different assistance at the different services. As Baptists we believe in the priesthood of all believes, therefore we are seeking to involve as many people as possible in the work of Church. While we will likely begin with smaller groups in each service, it is our intention to grow both services and prayerfully increase our attendance and our reach. Initially we may be able to operate with minimal greeters and ushers during each service, but we should be on the lookout for new people to serve and be mindful of paths to grow our volunteer pool. We would like for you to find your place in this holy work and commit to a worship service for at least three months in order to assist in the work ahead.
We are currently seeking people to help us as ushers, greeters, worship leaders, children’s and nursery workers. We will need people to help run the sound and lights for each service. We may also need separate open and close people from the Facilities Team. Our musicians will serve in different ways in different services, with Sylvia Loe and the Chancel Choir leading the 9:15 service and the Praise Band / First Light leading the second service. While people are welcome to attend and participate in both services, the musical leadership will maintain separate lines of authority. At some time in the future FBC plans to hire a music director who will coordinate both services. Currently Pastor Dan will serve as the coordinator / supervisor for both services.
Because the congregation will celebrate worship at different times I believe that it is important to maintain an intentional time together between the services, where people can gather, discuss and plan for activities and meetings. This will mean that coffee and donuts will take on a new symbolic relational function in the two service plan. Our coffee and tea time will be relational between the distinct worshippers, but it will also be a time for fellowship and the biblical hospitality to be shown to those who would visit us. As we attract new people it will be critical that we transform our expectations for the coffee time.
We will increase both the quality and the choices of the coffee delivered each week; not to sate our own desire for better things, but to show our guests that they deserve the very best.
Our children’s programming will be transformed by the two service plan. We are seeking to staff a 3 hour Children’s Church with different volunteers participating at different times. This would allow for a person who desired to attend the 9:15 service to teach at 10:30 and the person who sought to attend the 10:45 worship service to teach at 9:15. First Baptist Church intends to create a loving, caring place of worship and learning for each child that comes through our doors. In order to do this we must double our efforts and increase our level of participation in our children’s programs. Please contact me or Jude Ehrsam in order to get involved in our children’s work.
Of course other classes will also be necessary, and will be based on the needs of the congregation. We expect there to be many opportunities to begin lay-led Sunday School classes and small groups. If you believe that God is calling you to begin a class or continue an existing one, then please let me know of your intentions. As you can see there are many opportunities to participate in the ministry of First Baptist Church. We welcome your involvement in every aspect of the work of the Church. Please contact me or one of our Team Leaders if you are willing to help us in any of the areas mentioned here.
Sowing the seeds for the next century of worship at First Baptist Church,