Making Room For Others
Friends, over the last few years we have seen tremendous growth in our worship attendance. Praise Jesus! It has nearly doubled over a five-year period. However, we have now noticed this trend has changed over the last six months, with growth rates dropping from the double digits, down to the low single digits.
So, what's going on? The good news is that it appears people truly enjoy worship at CGLC. The bad news is that we are running out of space. Here are a few observations:
10:45 AM - Is Running Out of Seating Space
The 10:45 AM service regularly exceeds 85% of seating capacity. With respect to “industry norms” that means this space is effectively full. As you can imagine, when a space gets this full it becomes difficult to seat any groups that show up with 2 or more people.
9:00 AM - Is Running Out of Parking Space
During the two 9:00 AM services, we have plenty of seating space, especially in the Life Center. However, this service time is unique because, in addition to worship, we are also running our AGAPE Kids program and several large bible studies.
Many families who attend worship at 7:30 AM, will stay after to serve, study or fellowship during the 9:00 AM period, and many who attend the 10:45 AM service come early for the very same reasons. All of this overlapping activity is placing a huge strain on our parking capacity.
We are now regularly counting about 30 to 50 available stalls. With 460 stalls total, we are running about 90 - 95% full, with virtually all of these open stalls being back within the gated area near the school. So again, based on “industry norms”, we are basically full.
We All Have a Responsibility to Help
Let's imagine you are a first time guest at CGLC and you are trying to decide if church is “the right thing for you”. You show up at CGLC and your first experience is a major ordeal trying to find a place to park. In fact, the only place to park is way in the back of the campus inside some gates. You don’t know for sure if you’re allowed to park there, or if the gates will remain unlocked by the time you are done. It would be no surprise that many would decide to drive away in frustration.
Alternatively, let’s imagine that you have arrived for 10:45 AM worship. There is plenty of parking, however when you arrive in the Life Center, the room is very crowded. The ushers do their very best to find you a seat, but it still takes a few minutes of searching and waiting. You are new to church and were hoping for this experience to not bring too much attention to yourself. Many who experience this may decide this is not the right time or place for them.
Friends, this is a dilemma that should compel us all into action. In Hebrews 13:2 Paul says “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
What Can We Do?
The good news is there are some things you can do right now to help newcomers experience the love of Christ at CGLC!
- If you prefer traditional worship, and normally attend at 9:00 AM, please consider attending the 7:30 AM service instead.
- If you worship at 9:00 AM or if you study, serve, or fellowship with others during the 9:00 AM service time regardless of your worship time, then please consider joining the pastors, myself and the rest of our leadership team by parking in the back gated area. Our goal is to shift as many of these open stalls into the north and south lots so that they are easily accessed by guests. We have added four new designated “New Here? Park Here!” signs at the front of the south parking lot to make new worshipers feel welcomed. It’s an easy sacrifice for most of us to walk an extra couple of minutes for others to feel welcomed. We promise to keep the gates open!
- If you attend 10:45 AM worship, please help our ushers find seating for later guests and worshipers by moving towards the center aisles and filling in any empty seats between you and other worshipers. Also, if you do happen to have an empty seat near you, please help keep it open by storing any personal items underneath your chair rather than on the empty seat.
Looking To The Future
If we work together, then we can definitely make room for others. This effort has the potential to make a huge impact over the next 6 to 12 months. But, what happens as we continue to fill this newly found space? To answer this question, we are also looking at some longer term solutions, specifically to address our parking issues by creatively examining our schedule of worship times and ministry offerings on Sunday morning. Nothing has been formally decided yet, but we are at the very early stages of asking “what if” questions to our members for many scenarios. If you have any creative suggestions during this process, we would love to hear them.
Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel!