Starting on Sunday, January 7, 2018, we will be moving our 11 AM Contemporary Service from the Sanctuary into the Life Center for a 3 month period of time so that we can intentionally explore new ideas and new avenues for making the service even more vibrant and meaningful. We invite you to join us during this exciting season of exploration, as we seek to bring even more energy and excitement to our Contemporary Worship life.
Our dream is that, by Easter Sunday, we will see a growing number of people drawn to this dynamic worship opportunity, especially including families with youth and young adults. When people leave the service, they’ll be challenged and encouraged by the opportunity to connect with God and with others in a fresh way. We will have a clear path forward to extend the reach and impact of the service beyond those who currently attend it, with word spreading throughout the community about this new approach to contemporary worship.
A few years ago, Pastor Greiner and the Governing Board asked the question at an annual planning retreat: "How 'contemporary' should our contemporary worship be?" This came from a general sense that, while St. Peter has offered a contemporary service for decades and hasn't been afraid to try new things with it, there was more that we wanted to see out of that service.
From that process of discussion and planning, an entirely new service - Encounter - was created, focused primarily on families with young, school age children (click here to learn more about Encounter). Once Encounter was launched and seeing success, we came back to the existing 11 am Contemporary Service and found that it still needed some work to reach its full potential.
As we began to talk with people about what we wanted to do with this service, we quickly discovered three key themes:
- We might be held back by the room. We know that the design and layout of a room dictates, to a certain degree, what happens in the space. While we love the Sanctuary, it might be holding us back from some of the things we want to do (e.g., movement during the service, lighting effects, feeling close vs. spread out). Rather than waiting to change or update the Sanctuary, we have decided to move the service to the Life Center for a 3 month period to test out some new concepts.
- We already have most of the pieces. We don’t need to go searching for a “silver bullet” that will magically give us what we want. We already have a great band, dedicated volunteers, and a team that is willing to jump into this. The elements of the worship service itself are also all there. We just need to spend some deliberate time and energy exploring creative ways to bring them together in a new space.
- We can learn from Encounter. While we know that this service needs to be “different” than Encounter, there is still quite a bit we can transfer over from Encounter to the 11 am service, including both subtle and obvious changes (e.g., how we do communion, volunteer, pray, snacks).
The first move will be to relocate the service to Life Center. This one step, while it may seem simple, will immediately open up possibilities that just won’t work in the Sanctuary. It may, however, be the hardest change for some people to accept!
We will be using a $25,000 grant from the St. Peter Lutheran Foundation to upgrade some of the lighting and sound system, as well as adding new elements to the room to draw people in. You’ll see some of this right away, while some will be rolled out over time.
We will introduce a new basic template for how the service will look in January. We will tweak and adjust this throughout the 3 month period, but it gives us a clear place to start, especially for the first few weeks.
We have been developing a creative team to drive the service, like we have with Encounter. These volunteers will start meeting in January and will help design the services and lead them, working with Pastor Greiner and Sam Baker.
Throughout the 3 month period, we will be actively listening to the congregation, seeking feedback and input along the way. We anticipate that by the beginning of March, we’ll have a clear picture on whether or not the service will stay in the Life Center or move back into the Sanctuary, as well as what’s working and what’s not working with the new format and features that we have developed.
Please continue to keep this process and the people that Jesus will help us reach with the 11 am Contemporary Service!