First Christian Church | Pittsfield

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New Season

05.10.17 | Michael's Corner | by Michael Ten Eyck

    Dear FCC Family,

    Cycles and seasons are a part of life in any church. It has been said that if there is one constant in life, it is change. Change is not always easy, but it is often very essential to growth. This is certainly true in God’s Kingdom. The Christian walk is a continual process of changing to be more like God. This road is not always easy, nor necessarily comfortable, but it is well worth it.

    Several years ago, I felt a calling to begin a new worship service on Sunday morning. Feeling that a newer worship style and a more relaxed venue would relate well to young adults, I asked for the freedom to launch the Sunday Morning Oasis service at 9:15. It took a few years of building, but it is now a very strong part of our Sunday Morning worship, adding many to our Church Family and having become the service, at times, with the largest attendance.

    The 9:15 Oasis service has definitely been a blessing to many in our Church Family. It has allowed us to grow, but it has also presented some challenges. With the addition of the Oasis worship service, our church has become a bit more disconnected. The scheduling and staffing of Sunday School classes has become much more complicated. Some of our families do not have the opportunity to worship together in the same service and go to Sunday School. While this is somewhat common in larger multisite churches, it is not the most healthy way of doing life together in a church our size.

    One of the greatest obstacles we face now is how to effectively connect with young families with increasingly busy schedules. We have attempted to offer more events at different times, but trying to find volunteers to staff all of these is a nearly impossible task. We have prayerfully decided that we need to simplify and work smarter.

    At the last Elder meeting this subject was prayerfully discussed at length. The Eldership has unanimously decided that this summer we need to transition to two services on Sunday morning with Sunday School/Connection Groups time at 9:15. This is not a light decision. While it affects all of our Church Family, we believe that this is the healthiest move for us going forward. Our sanctuary has enough worship space for us to accommodate all of our Church Family in two services while we re-tool the Sunday School and Connection Groups ministry, as well as add Children’s Worship to both services. Moving to two services will also be the most logical choice for us while I am away on Sabbatical. There are many unanswered questions about how to address our building issues, but working on our unity as a Church Family first and foremost will allow us to make wise and faith-filled decisions for the future.

    I was blessed by the youth that led our worship services this past Sunday, and although many have asked which worship service will be traditional and which one will be contemporary, I believe that we are mature enough in Christ to look to the future needs of the ministry in terms of our worship style. Instead of having two different styles of services, I believe we should strive to unify. This past Sunday was a great example of what I feel we should be embracing stylistically.

    You may be wondering what all of this means for you personally. I am asking a few things from all of the FCC Church Family:
    Pray - pray for our Church Family during this time. Pray for wisdom and Christ’s attitude during this time.
    Commit - commit to giving this a try for the summer. Be intentional in making an effort to remain faithful in your participation and support. We are a family.
    Connect - try a Sunday School class or a Connection Group. We will be offering several new classes and connection possibilities for ALL ages during the 9:15 time. Step out and give one a try.
    Be gracious - I have to admit that I did not care for brussel sprouts the first time I tried them. However, my palate has matured, and I now not only really like them, but often prefer them with my dinner. I just had to give them a chance. Believe it or not, there was a day that someone brought a new song called “Amazing Grace” to a worship service… I bet there were many in attendance that really did not care for it, but new is not bad, it is just different.
    Keep your focus on Jesus - when we keep loving God and loving one another, it will all be well.

    I look forward to this new season. It will certainly have difficulties but I believe that the blessings will far outweigh them. I am blessed to serve you, my Church Family. Let’s serve the Lord together in this new adventure this summer.

    Loving you all,

    Michael