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Hey Brother, Can You Share Some Change?

Hey Brother, Can You Share Some Change?

It’s probably happened to you. You’re at church one Sunday morning and see a face that doesn’t look familiar. Wanting to be a good host, you approach and introduce yourself.

“Are you new to OBC?” you ask.

“Well I’ve been attending for about 6 months,” they reply.

After overcoming your initial embarrassment for failing to recognize your fellow worshiper of a half-year, you realize that you’ve both been attending different services for Sunday School and worship and missing each other in the transition.

Such is the lot of a multi-service church.

But does it have to be? The elders at OBC have been grappling with this problem for years, and we’d like to try an initiative that would give the body of OBC opportunity to know one another better. For the past few years, the church has been having Sunday School classes (both children and adult) that run concurrently with the worship service. Since we don’t have the opportunity to go to one worship service, what we’d like to do is to try one single hour of Sunday School in between the early and late services. Here’s the proposed schedule:

8:30-9:45 a.m.* – First worship service; no concurrent adult or children’s Sunday School; nursery open for ages 0-3 years

10:00-10:50 a.m. – Sunday School for both children and adults; nursery open for ages 0-3 years

11:00-12:15 a.m. – 2nd worship service; no concurrent adult or children's Sunday School; nursery open for ages 0-3 years

So what does this mean on a practical level? First, you’ll notice that the early service will be, well, earlier. One hour earlier, to be exact. Services even earlier than that around our area are not uncommon, so we’ll see how that goes. The second service’s time slot will remain the same.

How does this help unity at OBC? As we saw from last Sunday’s sermon, programs and schedules don’t create unity by themselves. But they certainly can impede unity. What we’re doing will remove one impediment to our now-disjointed church body. There are other potential benefits as well.

Potential benefits to a unified Sunday School schedule: 

  • Staffing in children’s ministry will be more feasible. Because there’s only one hour to staff, all classes won’t have to be double-staffed. With all free to work or participate only on Sunday school, the greater simplicity makes available more workers, and the ability to have a better student-teacher ratio. We believe this schedule change allows us to be better stewards of our ministry servants.
  • Child safety policies can be more easily met. Each age requires a certain number of workers in each room and by reducing the workload we can staff appropriately. Also, with more lead teacher-qualified volunteers available to substitute or rotate for a season (like the summer session), teachers will get a break, get a chance to try out other areas of service, and (hopefully) be less likely to burn out.
  • We will have one period each week at OBC where we’re all together. Currently, both “congregations” cross each other on the stairs, causing the all-too-common experience of not knowing half of the congregation. We have heard from some difficulty in getting to know people. Now, this change in format would enable us to truly gather together during the middle hour and better connect the whole body of Christ at OBC. Additionally, it helps minimize the scenario above, and rightly focus on visitors while developing relationships with the family of faith at OBC.
  • Worship service leaders and laborers will enjoy more fellowship with the church body. In other words, the preacher, music team, sound techs, etc. will have an hour to step off the platform or away from the soundbooth. This will give them opportunities for greater connection with the body when they’re not standing at a pulpit or with a guitar in their hands.
  • Family worship will be enhanced. Children 4 years-old and above will have opportunity to sit with their parents in the service. This is a positive that will allow kids to see the heritage of the saints at worship and hear the gospel in the word of God as it’s regularly sung and proclaimed from the pulpit. To help families with younger children, we will also have on-hand ‘Kids Kits’ at the Hope Desk. And we will establish a team of strategic “bookends” for single parents who may need a hand in service.
  • Training teachers and other servant leaders is better facilitated. Fewer teaching slots means more strategic classroom opportunities to disciple newer members, teachers, servants. Instead of giving curriculum without oversight, we can invite new teachers to observe, to teach under supervision, to engage in constructive feedback, and then unleash. This format enhances the goal of discipleship.

Is this plan perfect? No. Will it create difficulties of its own? Probably. That’s why we’d like to implement this on a trial basis beginning January 8, 2017. We’ll monitor the situation weekly and will reevaluate the situation in the Spring. Our hope is that the positives for our growth in unity and discipleship far outweigh any negatives.

As with any change, this will likely cause inconvenience to some. If you fall into that category, please let an elder know ways we can help you. There will always be challenges to face as a body, but we’re looking forward to this season of facing them together as unified body at a unified time.

Let’s walk together as we share some change.

Jared Bridges

– on behalf of the Elders