Rethinking Sunday Morning

By Peter Hanson, Lead Pastor

As I mentioned in my annual ministry report, I believe that Christ the King is being called to provide opportunities for children and youth to more fully participate in worship on a regular basis. At the same time, I believe our community would be well-served to offer more faith formation opportunities for adults, on Sundays and at other times. Taken together, these two items have suggested that we rethink Sunday mornings at CtK, and particularly begin considering the possibility of creating more time between our two worship services to allow for learning opportunities for all ages.

When the findings of the 2015 Worship and Music Study were presented last spring to the congregation, it was noted that as an input-seeking group, the Task Force itself did not arrive at nor implement any particular decisions. Instead, the findings of the study were to be used to help discern God’s leading and arrive at thoughtful decisions concerning the future of our shared worship life. Some of the seven key ideas that emerged from the study helped inform the search process for a new Director of Worship and Music, while others addressed the need for more time between services. When taken together these themes have allowed us to identify certain shared values we hold concerning worship:

  • We value worship that connects faith to our daily life.
  • We value worship that is guided by CtK’s vision and mission.
  • We value strong sermons, quality music, relevant prayers, and participation of all ages (including children and youth) in worship.
  • We value practices beyond worship that engage and feed our faith, including community-building time and educational opportunities on Sundays.
  • We value worship that weaves together our diverse style preferences, moving us toward a common purpose and an authentic practice.
  • We value worship leadership that emphasizes a sense of God’s presence, expands our portfolio of music, and widens participation among the entire worshipping community.
  • We value worship that is not rushed, in which the various elements fit together well, and which avoids an atmosphere of “performance.”

The study also revealed that nearly all respondents wanted to see children and youth become more active in worship, along with a strong desire for educational opportunities for adults. While the specifics of how exactly to achieve this were not immediately obvious, they appeared often enough in both the survey and focus group portions of the study to warrant a closer look. After informal conversations with staff, elected leaders, and key volunteers, I am beginning to see that an adjustment to our Sunday morning schedule could serve both purposes—to make worship available and offer faith formation to people of all ages.

Where do we go from here?

During the Sundays in June, we will offer facilitated conversations about worship and faith formation based on findings from the 2015 Worship and Music Study. These conversations will take place at dedicated tables in the Fireside Lounge after both 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. services. Each week, we’ll consider different aspects of the Sunday morning experience:

June 5: “Worship for all ages at all times.”
As we continue to weave together our tapestry of worship, how does our worship get planned and led to best involve all ages?

June 12:  The future of Sunday School.
How might the way we do Sunday School be transformed by having a distinct faith formation time? What possibilities for intergenerational learning opportunities might this also provide?

June 19: Children and Youth in Worship
What are the benefits and challenges to having children and youth participating and leading in worship?

June 26: Adult Faith Formation
What might that look like on Sunday mornings? What format should such faith formation take? What are some of the topics, speakers, or discussions we could or should feature?

We encourage you to participate in these conversations as they will help to inform future decisions surrounding Sundays at CtK.