The clear call of Scripture is to love God with all that we are, love our neighbor as ourselves, and make disciples of all nations. In light of this the elders, pastors and program staff have spent several months discussing how we can do a better job relative to our programming and schedule.

We’re excited to share with you our plans, which will kick off in September. Here we go…

What's the plan?
The core feature of our plan includes programming on Wednesday nights for all ages. Currently, our Wednesday-night programs were focused on children through grade five. Starting this fall, we will be expanding our Wednesday nights to include adults and youth, too, while also sponsoring some outreach efforts for members of our community.
What about the children's ministries we already host?
We will continue our JAM Jr., JAM and 45 Club program for children. That won’t change. What will change is the timing and some exciting additions for other age groups.
So, what will Wednesday night look like?
Wednesday nights will begin with a light, simple dinner from 5:30-6 p.m. in Showker Hall. After that, various groups will be offered, including the current children’s ministries from 6-7:30 p.m.
What will be new for older ages?
Youth will meet for Bible study and fellowship. Adults will have small group and Bible-study opportunities. The choir will meet for rehearsal. GriefShare, our support group, will meet. And here’s something we’re really excited about: We will be starting English classes for adult learners from our community. Those adults can bring their children for the children’s ministries while they learn English. What an opportunity!
Sounds like we will need a strong roster of volunteers.
We will, and we hope you will join us. We also hope to free up volunteers from our children’s Sunday school classes by not holding children’s classes on Sundays and instead focusing on this more robust Wednesday-night option.
Will anything else change on Sundays?
Because we will not hold a scheduled Sunday-school hour we will move our 11:15 a.m. service to 11 a.m. Our 9 a.m. service stays at the same time. Between the services, from about 10:15-10:45, we will have some intentional fellowship times planned for people who are leaving the 9 a.m. or coming to the 11 a.m. service. Children’s church and nursery are unaffected.
What about my adult Sunday school class?
We will not have a dedicated “Sunday School” block, but if you have a group that wants to meet on a Sunday for Bible study, you are welcome to schedule a time that works for your group. Just arrange that with the church office for scheduling classroom space and time. We may at times hold intergenerational Bible studies on Sunday mornings that will connect us across generations.
What data helped inform this decision?
Session considered the declining number of children involved in Sunday School (we average only 20 children fifth grade and under in Sunday School) and a history of having more than double that number of children involved Wednesdays. Session also looked at national trends that show that most growing churches have shifted Christian Education for all ages off of Sunday mornings (Sunday School) to mid-week programing and small groups, leaving worship as the primary focus of Sunday mornings.
What else do I need to know?
We are still working on details about our new schedule, but we wanted you to know the basics now. In the coming weeks, you’ll be hearing more, and we’ll be asking you to partner with us to serve in various ways as we seek to make Jesus known in our community.
How can I help make this happen?
First, pray now how you can be engaged in God’s work. And then think about how you can help. We will need kitchen crew for our dinners, Bible-study leaders for adults, children’s ministry workers, English-language facilitators and more. Betsy Dishman and Scott Thayer are available for your input or your raised hand to volunteer.

In the meantime, keep praying. Your leaders came to realize that in the midst of change, we serve a God who never changes. We also serve a God who says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” So we ask you to join us in prayer that God would build the house at First Presbyterian. Call on him to work through our feeble efforts, and trust him to do “exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine.”

E-mail Betsy to volunteer

 

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