Worship and Faith Formation for all ages
By Peter Hanson, Lead Pastor
You have spoken. We listened. Now, we’re responding. Beginning in September, Christ the King’s Sunday morning schedule will be adjusted in order to offer faith formation for all ages between our two worship services. This means that Sunday School will no longer meet during one of our worship services, but rather at its own time. In addition, new opportunities for adults to engage in learning will be offered at that same educational hour.
Why the change?
Last year’s Worship and Music Study revealed that nearly all at CtK wanted to see children and youth become more actively involved in worship. Having Sunday School at its own time —rather than during worship—provides an easy opportunity for this to happen.
Dawson Blanck, CtK member and single father of two, has been involved in Sunday School for the past three years and is excited about the idea of getting to worship as a family. “[With the previous schedule], it was difficult to get the whole church experience,” said Dawson. “Now, we can do both. We have the option to go to church and learn together.”
In addition, both the Worship and Music Study and other surveys (Kairos’ MAP process, and the 55+ survey, for example) demonstrated a desire for more educational opportunities for adults, especially on Sunday mornings. A time slot devoted to faith formation on Sundays would allow for such learning to take place on a regular basis.
Further conversations entitled “Rethinking Sunday Mornings” held during the month of June strongly affirmed this idea of adjusting our schedule in order to provide both worship and faith formation for all of CtK’s generations. “Sunday morning adult education could be an excellent opportunity for members to learn,” said active member and volunteer Karen Peterson. “[The new] structure should also include the opportunity to interact and build connections.” A bonus: having a full hour between worship services also allows for occasional intergenerational events for learning, service, and community-building, as well as congregational conversations on stewardship programs, ministry updates, the budgeting process, and even portions of our annual meeting agenda.
While this idea has been discussed as early as the Worship and Music Study last year, we know from previous changes to our worship schedule that a good deal of time and attention is needed to carefully consider all the effects—both direct and indirect—that such a change would mean. Discussions have taken place at the staff level, as well with several different groups of engaged and committed volunteers, particularly those involved in Sunday School and worship planning. In my report for programmatic portion of the Annual Meeting in May, I indicated that I was feeling more and more called to lead CtK in this direction. The “Rethinking Sunday Mornings” dialogues in June shared more of the details of this idea, while seeking important input, feedback, and buy-in from congregational members.
In many ways, such significant changes to our worship and faith formation schedule can occur only once during the course of a school year: Rally Day. Were this change not to take place this Rally Day, Sept. 11, we would need to wait another full year to implement such a change. For a good number of those surveyed and interviewed in the process of our Worship and Music Study, the possibility that this change has built an excitement and eagerness to begin this reconfigured Sunday morning schedule this year.
What’s the expected impact?
We expect that the impact of this shift will be at least two-fold: that our worship will increasingly invite and include all of CtK’s generations in both participation and leadership; and that we will be able to provide increased opportunities for children, youth, and adults to deepen their faith and grow in the practice of it.
While it might take some time to take hold, a larger and longer-term impact of this change will be a culture shift within our congregation. We hope that CtK will continually imagine itself to be a congregation that is not segmented generations—with some age-groups encouraged to be in worship on Sundays while others are encouraged to be involved in education. Specifically, it is my prayer that all of us—no matter what our age—will see the importance and necessity of both expressing our faith through regular acts of worship and deepening our faith through more intentional learning experiences.
In both cases, the overall impact would be that a larger segment of the CtK family more fully lives out its mission:
to Gather for worship and fellowship,
to Grow in faith and understanding, and
to Give of ourselves and our resources.
New schedule begins Sept. 4
Worship at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. will begin on Sunday, Sept. 4. Our intergenerational hour of faith formation will start the following Sunday (Rally Day) Sept. 11. If you have questions, council members will be speaking on the subject at their next Coffee with Council scheduled for Sunday, July 17 at 10:30 a.m.