LifePoint, we have a problem…and a big next step is coming.
Just over six years ago LifePoint relocated to our new (now current) facility. We needed more space, and that move felt really big. I’m not talking about the building. The building was, in fact, much larger than our first facility and provided a solution to our space problem. The bigness I’m referring to, though, is not a building. I’m referring to the step LifePoint took to re-locate. Relocation was a giant leap. But the Lord led us and has remained faithful every step of the way.
Six years later and 2016 presents a new challenge and a new step that we must take. The majority of Sunday morning services in 2016 have either been near or new records for LifePoint. We had at least four Sundays when people left the property before service because they could not find seats. We served almost 900 people on Easter Sunday. The problem became so publicly obvious that I encouraged the ushers to develop “hand signals” (Think: baseball coach”) to help people find seats. (That idea didn’t really “stick”.) But the reality is that the seats are just not there. People left our services, LifePoint, because there was no place available for them. For LifePoint, that’s just not acceptable. And that’s our problem.
In early February the Elders and staff began discussing our situation. Throughout the Spring we’ve deliberated, planned, strategized and met with a consultant to plan our next step.
Beginning Sunday, August 21, 2016,
LifePoint will add a third Sunday morning worship gathering.
New service times will be 8:00am, 9:30am and 11:00am.
Our worship gatherings will remain very familiar with a gospel-centered flow and format. We will provide children’s classes, birth through 4th grade, during all services. Impel (5th-6th graders) will meet during the 8am and 11am worship hours. So much will be the same, but this is a big change.
LifePoint moved to two services 11 years ago, only our second year as a church. That was a big challenge for us. Now, two services feels normal and natural, almost like we can do it without effort. And that will be one of our greatest challenges in this change, new effort. We’ve never done this before, so it feels different and unknown. People often react with fear to the unknown and different. However, we’ve experienced something quite the opposite. Our people are talking about our need for this change and sensing that God is working among us. It’s encouraging to hear people get excited and embrace this next step.
As you pray for our next step, I ask you to personally consider three questions to prepare.
#1: Where will I serve?
Before you decide which service you will attend, I want to direct your thoughts to LifePoint’s mission to consider how you will serve. Adding a third worship gathering will create many new opportunities to serve throughout the body, along with a new need for people to serve. Leaders will recruit servants throughout the month of July to serve for the Fall. Pray now, and prepare to commit to serve so you can help move the mission of LifePoint forward.
#2: Which service will I gather with LifePoint for worship?
Once you’ve answered the first question and know where you will serve, then commit to gather for worship. With three service times, 8am, 930am and 11am, we know the middle service will likely have the highest attendance. Unless you commit to serve at 8am or 11am, I ask you to commit to gather in one of these services. We need critical mass of people in each gathering. If attendance stays packed at one hour, it will not help. Our purpose is to create space for new people. We need every “LifePointer” (Covenant Member and regular attender) to make a strategic commitment to “serve and service” to create space for others.
Once you determine which service you will gather for worship, I ask you to commit to it. “Gathering” for worship is as much a central practice of our mission as “scattering”. We gather to serve the congregational mission of LifePoint and declare a united witness to the world. When LifePointers are present in the room, we are prepared to welcome the guest, stranger and newcomer along with one another. We need to create the most space that says “welcome to this place” in the 930am service. Would you strongly consider committing to gather at 8am or 11am?
These first two questions lead each of us to consider our personal investment in LifePoint’s mission. Notice, I didn’t ask anyone to “attend” or “volunteer”. Both those words strip personal investment and ownership from the mission. LifePoint strives to engage worshipers and equip servants. A moment like this is a great opportunity for every person to ask, “what sacrifice will I make for the mission of LifePoint?” Unity in sacrifice is essential to serve the body on mission. But I have one final consideration for you. Ask yourself this question.
#3: Where will I live sent?
“Living sent” means living as a faithful witness in all of life. We are witnesses to the King of kings and Lord of lords. While the first two questions cause us to consider the importance of “how” we will sacrifice for mission, this question charges us to live with redemptive urgency. LifePoint doesn’t wait and hope for people to find us. We pursue people because God pursued us. Who is near you today that you need to invite and bring to LifePoint with you? It may be someone near in proximity, at work, recreation or at home. Or, it may be someone God has put near you in your thoughts or a burden on your heart. Whoever it is, do not wait to pursue them. You know God loves them and wants a personal relationship with them through Jesus. We pursue people because God is pursuing people.
Fall 2016 will begin an exciting season at LifePoint Church. You can find more information at www.lifepointozark.com. Plan now to participate in two powerful nights of prayer and preparation. Sunday, July 10, at 630pm is our next Night of Worship. We will join in prayer before the Lord for this next step in our church’s life. Sunday, August 14, 4-7pm, is our annual Leader Conclave. We will make final preparations and prepare to launch three Sunday worship gatherings on Sun, Aug 21.
I can’t wait to experience all God does among us.