Dear Church Family,
In the late 1700s, “Sunday School Societies” were started here and there throughout the young United States of America. But at first, many members of the clergy were opposed to them, maintaining that it was a desecration of the Lord’s Day to hold school on Sunday. A pastor in Connecticut said of a class held in his church on Sunday, “You imps of Satan, doing the devil’s work. I’ll have you set in the street.”
Can you imagine someone being against Sunday School? It’s hard to believe that something what we take for granted was once the subject of heated controversy. The reality is that there are some things in the Church that remain the same and there are other things that change. The message of the gospel and the truthfulness of God’s Word remain the same and never change. Until Christ returns, the Church will continue to preach the Word, baptize believers, pray, participate in the Lord’s Supper, sing, gather for worship, and seek to make disciples of all nations.
However, there other things that change such as starting Sunday School. One of the changes that we experienced over the past year was the birthing of a new early morning worship service. This service was birthed to provide us with another opportunity to reach people for Christ and help them worship the Lord. Over the course of 9 months we saw attendance fluctuate between 20 to 60 people with a core group of about 30 regular attenders. I am greatly encouraged by your willingness to try something new and I’m pleased to say that we have seen new people join our church family as a result of this step of faith.
Another change that we’ve experienced is the loss of our minister of music. Knowing this was coming, Bob and I decided to bring the two morning services together during the Christmas season. This allowed us to experience more diversity in our worship and helped build momentum as we entered into the new year. I believe this was a good move for our church. We knew with Bob leaving and the current state of our attendance that keeping the services together into the new year would be the best scenario for growth.
If you’ve been able to attend more than one worship service in December and January then you’ve seen the evolution of bringing the two services into one. We are continuing to use the piano, organ, and hymnals and we have introduced some new worship songs with the guitar and other instruments. The use of the instruments and music has varied but what has remained the same is the order of worship. The order of worship mirrors the gospel. We begin by focusing on the character of God. Then we move into a time of confession and assurance of our forgiveness through Jesus Christ. This prepares us to give our offering and hear God’s Word. After the sermon, we respond to the Lord as we sing the song of response. At the end of the service, I give the benediction which usually is a combination of a blessing and a challenge to represent Christ well to our city. This is the order of worship which will remain constant.
I want to challenge you to see this as an opportunity for our Church. There will elements in the service that will be very familiar to you and there will be others than are not as familiar. I challenge you to look for the good and seek to worship the Lord both in the known and the unknown. One thing you can count on is that whatever we do in the worship service will be guided by the Scripture. While we continue our search for a new minister of music, we are blessed to have musicians and volunteers such as Fred, Brant, Bill, Leah, Jan, RJ and the choir to help lead us in worship through music.
As we continue to experience both the unchangeableness of God and the changes that occur in ourselves, in our church, and in our city, I would like to ask for your prayers, your patience, and your participation as we seek to worship the Lord together each and every Sunday morning. I believe if we can be united in the desire to reach people for Christ, build them up in their faith, and send them out to reach others then God will do a great work in our church!
Pastor Ron Jones