Something exciting is happening at Church on Mill just about three months from today! You’ve probably heard about it by now, and if you were able to attend our Members Meeting last weekend you know about quite a few of the details. Now, we will take a minute in this blog to talk about our shift from one Sunday morning gathering to two.
Our church is mirroring in many ways the early churches in Acts, what a blessing! God is growing our church in two ways he was growing the Church back then, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the spirit, it multiplied” (Acts 9:31 ESV). Don’t you see our lives more and more reflecting the belief that God is in control? God is growing us on the inside! And don’t you see the auditorium filling with people each Sunday? God is growing us in number, as well.
As we grow, we desire to be faithful and wise with the people and heart God has given us. After much prayer, discussion, and consideration, the Transition Team has decided it seems to be God’s leadership to move forward with a shift to two gatherings beginning on August 6, 2017.
To delve a bit deeper into why we would expand in this manner, we can look at logistics currently and long-term hopes. Our present situation is this: our auditorium is full, and we all, of course, want to be able to continue serving the tens of thousands, especially in Tempe. The most feasible manner of serving more people at this time is adding a second gathering so that more people can come to each.
Our future hope is this: let’s send more people, specifically groups of people, to plant and revitalize more churches across Arizona, the U.S., and the world. We’ve been blessed with faithful men and women who we have sent out to do just this, but we’ve sent them all as individuals or families. If we move to two gatherings and God blesses us with more members, we pray that we’d eventually be able to send groups of 5-10 as teams to new mission fields. To become this type of perpetually sending church, we’ll need a slightly larger body of church members.
Here’s the fun part: our body gets to embark on this journey together. We are not turning into two churches; in fact, we pray to grow in unity as we walk this new road. We will pray together, give together, disciple together, and serve together. Our one church will be able to serve in expanded ways because of this change to two gatherings. In the next few weeks, watch and listen for opportunities to serve the church in new capacities—we’ll need all hands on deck moving forward. Let’s pursue Christ-likeness even more fervently as we stretch ourselves in ways we hadn’t anticipated, and we’ll walk as a family as we do so.
As we anticipate this change, let’s start doing so in community right away. Bless another church member with coffee or lunch and talk through your reactions and feelings about two gatherings. Pray over those reactions and feelings, and pray for the rest of the body and our church. Any of the Transition Team members would love to do this with you, as well. Your insight is needed and valuable as we approach August 6th.
This Sunday the 7th, we’ll have a Q&A directly after church in the East Wing. Please attend if you have questions, insights, or would like to grow in mutual understanding. We’ll have the handouts from the Members Meeting that give a preview of the new typical Sunday at Church on Mill. They mention the identical worship gatherings, the format of connection classes, and the availability of preschool, kids, and youth activities.
What a blessing it will be to offer to others what God has given us. What a gift he has given us in adoption into the family of God! May two gatherings bring more people to see the kingdom of heaven enacted at Church on Mill.