Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Add an Additional Worship Service?

Yesterday we announced that beginning September 9 we are adding an additional Contemporary Service to our Sunday morning ministry here at Gaylord E-Free.  Why did we make this decision?  There are three main reasons:

To Relieve Overcrowding

One of the things that can quickly stifle our growth as a church is overcrowding.  Studies show us that when attendance reaches 70 to 80 percent of seating capacity in the auditorium, a church often experiences a plateau in attendance which then leads to decline. Newcomers wonder if space even exists for them.  When they do stay, others may leave, creating a revolving door phenomenon. 

Here at E-Free we are currently pushing that 70% mark in the Gospel Center on Sunday morning.  Though we still have room, we do not want to wait until we hit that 80% mark and begin to plateau before making a change.  Our desire is to make that change in advance of that mark so that our growth rate is not stifled. 

The same principle regarding overcrowding is true when other parts of our facility become overcrowded. When people can’t find a parking place, they may keep on driving until they find a congregation with more parking spaces.  We are regularly hitting and often even surpassing the 90% mark in our parking lot on Sunday mornings.  While the formula for building codes appears to allow enough parking for our seating capacity, the truth is that many families drive multiple cars to church which causes us to quickly surpass that formula.  In the winter months this becomes even more vital as we often lose parking spaces due to snow amounts.  Adding additional parking is very expensive.  By adding an additional Contemporary Service we can alleviate the overcrowding in our parking lot with very little financial cost involved.

We have also reached capacity when it comes to our Second Hour classes.  Currently every room in our building is being used.  As a result, it has become impossible to add additional opportunities for growth through Christian Education on Sunday mornings.  Adding on to our facility is very expensive.  By adding an additional Contemporary Service using the method outlined in this document we can literally double our room usage with little financial cost involved.  

To Encourage Growth

Church growth experts agree that adding additional services promotes growth in a church.  When you only offer one service at one time, people only have one choice.  When you offer multiple service times, people have more than one choice.  This makes it easier for new people to visit.  It also makes it easier for current attendees to not miss.  Where there are more options for growth, more growth takes place.

Church Growth Expert, Charles Arn, in his book, “Multiple Worship Services and Church Growth” says this, "Approximately half of the 355,000 Protestant churches in the U.S. and Canada should consider adding a new worship service to their weekly schedule of activities, regardless of the number of services they presently have."  Arn's comments come as a result of a five year study conducted by Church Growth, Inc., out of Monrovia, Calif. The study examined hundreds of churches that added a new service with the result that most were able to reach new, unchurched people for Christ.  

To Fulfill our Mission

Our mission as a church is to MEET as many people as possible right where they are at and to help MOVE them to where God wants them to be.  Every decision that we make as a church is rooted in fulfilling this purpose.  Our Staff, Leadership Team and our Elder Board here at E-Free are all convinced that adding an additional Contemporary Worship Service will help us to “MEET & MOVE” as many people as possible.

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