new service pattern

We’re living through an exciting chapter of God’s story here at St Matthias as we continue to grow in number – and in depth of faith.  We hear many encouraging stories of people encountering God in new ways, and growing in their love for Jesus.  Over 200 adults now worship at least monthly, which means we are close to a being a community of 300 adults plus around 70 children and young people. 

However, evidence shows that as churches grow, they need to change the way they operate. 

It makes sense: in a church with up to 150 people or so, one pastor can know everyone - and everyone can know the pastor.  Most people know one another.  Above this number that all begins to change – as we are already discovering!  Since few of us like change, it means that growth can be uncomfortable.

Growing churches, especially those moving above 150 – 200 people, discover that more staff are needed, communication gets more complicated, and pastoral care and welcoming new people cannot only rely on a relationship with just one pastor. 

There are also key learning points about the pattern of services.  The evidence is that it was declining large churches who stuck to a ‘one size fits all’ morning service, yet growth continued where new congregations were launched.

We’ve already discovered more people come to church on the Sundays when we have Breakfastzone and Prayzone in the Hall as well as services in the church.

So we’ve decided that - after many years of wrestling with the issue - we need to move from one main 10.30am service for everyone to two main morning services (as well as the smaller 8am Prayer Book Communion).  We’ll begin to develop two main services three weeks out of four on 1st April this year – which is Easter Sunday!

We’re adding one new service ‘Growzone’ and moving Prayzone to an earlier time.  All of the existing 10.30am services in the church remain as they are at present, but we are moving them all to an 11am start.  We’ll have coffee now between 10.30 and 11am so that both main congregations can meet up, and people will still leave church around 12 – 12.15pm. 

Multiplying the congregations like this will, we hope and pray, encourage more people to come to worship.  Smaller congregations means we’ll get to know people better. 

The 9.30am stream will have a more informal feel, and the 11am services a slightly more formal feel – allowing people who prefer either style to be able to worship more easily. 

We’ve put a lot of work into trying to make these changes work to enable us to continue God’s mission here, but please be patient and generous hearted in the process of the changes. 

Thank you.                 St Matthias’ PCC     March 2018