Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Time Change Sunday

Dear Friends,

God is doing some amazing things at Cornerstone. Over the last 9 months the church has seen extreme growth due to your faithfulness and service, and God’s grace. In June 2005, average attendance was 91 in our one worship service. By October, we added an 8:15 early service to accommodate a crowd that had grown to 132. This trend has continued at a rapid pace, and this past Sunday we had 182 people worship with us.

As you can imagine, the rapid growth has created some unique challenges in ministering to the growing number of attendees. The greatest challenge is to create enough space in the adult worship services without overworking those who minister to the children. The addition of the 8:15 service and the sacrifice of those who volunteer at that time created 40 seats in the second service which have now been filled by new comers. We are thrilled that God has seen fit to bless us with more people with whom to serve our community. The challenge is that now the 10:30 service is again at capacity.

In January of this year we met in our monthly vision meeting to discuss the need to draw more to the 8:15 service. Many of you gave great ideas, and others made the commitment to come early to make more room at 10:30. However, in spite of the fact that 48 attended the 8:15 service this past week, there were 134 in the 10:30, a gap that needs desperately to be narrowed. Essentially, the room was at fire code capacity and there was not room for one more family to be allowed in.

The Leadership team has been working hard over the last 3 months to come up with the best possible solution; one that will adversely affect the least amount of people while positioning the church for continued growth. Beginning April 2nd, the church will move Bible Fellowship tables out into the welcome area. This will allow each Bible Fellowship Group the flexibility to meet at 8:15, 9:30, or 10:45 on campus, or at any time of their choosing off campus. This in turn will free up the lunchroom at 9:30 for the early worship service. It is hoped that the later start time will balance the attendance in the two services thus allowing the church to grow to over 250 in attendance as God continues to bless.

Those who are used to coming to the 8:15 Worship Service will still be able to come at 8:15 for Bible Fellowship and leave after the 9:30 service. Your schedule should remain the same with the exception of attending Bible Fellowship first and Worship second. Also, beginning at 10:45 for the second service will still allow the second service to be out by noon. The children’s departments will keep to the same schedule as before with 9:30 Sunday School and 10:30 Jr. Church. There will be no Sunday School for children at 8:15.

One of the added benefits of this move is that it will allow us to continue to grow without adding more services, and thus creating more pressure on existing ministries. Also, by adjusting the start times, it allows the church to once again add the 8:15 service, when 9:30 and 10:45 reach capacity. This would allow the church to grow to over 300 without having to make any drastic changes.

In summary, we want to be faithful with the ministry that God has given us now, and also lay out a vision for the future. As always, we are continuing to look for land that will meet the growing needs of the congregation. However, until God provides the land it is our duty to grow where we are planted. The staff is available to answer any questions that you may have concerning this change as we all look forward to seeing what God has planned for Cornerstone Baptist Church.

Together In Christ,
Joel L. Johns, Pastor