20 Sep WE News September 20, 2016 – Looking Forward
WE Friends –
Believe it or not, today marks the six month anniversary of our move from Beaufort Academy to our newly renovated church. It has been so exciting to watch “the little church that could” make this historic transition. Thanks to all who have given so much of their energy and resources to make this happen, and thanks to all who have been so patient during this time. It is never easy to move!
Over the last six months we have discovered a number of things about our new space, including the need to (1) enhance our HVAC capacity and ventilation in the worship space and (2) improve the drainage in our parking areas. Our Trustees have identified these and other concerns and are hard at work to address them.
We’ve also discovered what our space limitations are, both for Sunday worship and other functions. When we partnered with the YMCA earlier this summer to host the month-long Migrant Summer Camp, we discovered that our capacity to host such a group was far less than the 80 children and youth that participated on peak days. Going forward we now have a better sense of what is doable for hosting both day and overnight groups, which we hope to do frequently.
Regarding Sunday worship, we’ve discovered that our new space begins to feel “full” when we have approximately 140 folks in attendance, no matter how many chairs we set up. If you exclude the three highest and lowest Sundays over the last six months, our worship attendance has averaged 120 people. And, as we all hoped would be the case prior to our move, we continue to see many new faces every week – ranging from individuals, young and older couples and children and youth of all ages and from all over. God is good!
As most of you know several months ago our Church Council charged the WE 2.0: Moving Forward Team (the Team) to research several key questions, including what criteria we might use to decide if or when to add another worship opportunity. In their research the Team discovered that a new, more-identical-than-not worship opportunity should be added immediately when the worship average is regularly 80% of the worship space capacity. Based on this research along with WE’s trends and our community’s changing demographics, the Team recommended to the Church Council a few weeks ago to add a second worship opportunity as soon as practicable.
I realize that moving in this direction will cause some to worry that WE will lose the very “thing” that makes it special. I share this concern. But what motivates me – and has since I first became more familiar with the WE story – is wanting to share the love that we have all experienced with others. I and many of you have been around enough churches to know that our approach is unique, and we continue to be a safe, caring and non-judgmental community where persons can hear the Good News that God loves them – no matter who they are or what they’ve done. What’s the old saying, “God doesn’t care about our past flops and failures…and neither do we!”
Obviously, the addition of a new worship opportunity is something that needs to be well thought out and planned. As the Team and I work on a more defined recommendation and timetable to present to the Church Council in the coming weeks, I ask only one thing from you at this time: to pray.
Pray for those formulating a plan.
Pray for our Church Council as they finalize the plan.
Pray for those who will step outside their comfort zone to help make this new worship opportunity a reality.
And, most importantly, pray for those unfamiliar with WE who will one day call this place “home” and call us “family” because of our willingness to open the circle even wider.
Your servant in Christ, lane
 Arn, Charles How to Start a New Service (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997)