During the fall of 2014 and Spring of 2015 the church leadership wrestled with a VERY GOOD kind of problem. We could no longer fit all of our members, partners, guests, and visitors into the church at one time for our Sunday Casual/Contemporary Worship Celebration! Seats, parking, and hallways were all over-crowded. On the Sunday after Easter Waretown UMC took a leap of faith and expanded from two to three worship celebrations every Sunday. Of course, everyone had to compromise a little. The 9am Traditional Service had to start their announcements before the 9am start time. The 11am Casual Service had to push back their start time from approximately 11:10 until 11:30. AND, we added a brand new Causal Service at 10:15.
During this expansion everyone is deserving of much thanks for their flexibility and encouragement. We would especially like to thank the Praise Band for extending their already radical generosity of time and talent to leading BOTH causal/contemporary celebrations. We would also like to especially thank the Sunday School and Nursery Leaders who also have had to navigate slightly different hours in the church on Sunday. As of today we are happy to report that the expansion HAS made room for more people to experience our uplifting and inspiring worship!
Since April our average Casual/Contemporary Worship attendance has grown from 100 to about 130!
As we move into the summer and families as well as worship leaders take vacations, and all regular programming enjoys a much needed summer break, we will certainly find smaller worship gatherings during July and August. Take this short period where there is a ‘lull’ in the activity to meet one another and chat on Sunday morning while it is less crowded and maybe even invite some friends, neighbors, or family to come celebrate with us!
Summer is also a good time to assess where we are in our faith and what our next step might be. Those of us who call the Waretown UMC our church home and family have usually progressed through four stages of relationship here. What stage are you at?
Visitors are our friends and neighbors with us for the very first time and for the first three months. We encourage our visitors to ‘come and see’ what we are all about at Waretown UMC, what our missions and ministries are, and if this church family is a good match for you. Guests are our visitors who have said ‘Yes! This church is a good place for me and my family.’ Guests usually spend 4-8 months getting involved beyond Sunday worship in the missions and ministries of the church, building relationships with others, and finding out where they ‘fit best’ in the life of the church. After nine months, guests usually become Partners. Partners are invested and investing in the life of the church and supporting it with their prayers, volunteer time, financial support, and even leadership. Partners are participating in ministry and serving in mission and outreach. At some point, Partners decide to make a public commitment to the church during a Sunday morning celebration and become Members. Membership in the church is the public and enduring commitment to working hand-in-hand together to engage people for the Jesus lifestyle; and serve the world in faith, hope, and love.
Did you know that so far in 2015 we have received 30 people into membership! Members and Partners are our leaders in the local church and by God’s Spirit help chart the mission and strategy for the future. What is your next step?