Over the past week, I have been discerning as to the exact time we should start holding worship services. Here’s why: This past week I talked to two different new churches. One church was planted 3 years ago by two friends. I met these two pastors over lunch who said their first worship service was simply their two families. They slowly grew from there. Three years later, they have about 40 people regularly attending.
Another pastor I talked to is starting a new church in Florida. After just a few months of being on site, he started weekly worship services. The first service had 30 people. He was praying hard that people would show up. People did. He advertised in the local paper, he used Facebook, and he handed out invitations.
These two stories present two completely different methods of planting a church. The first method is focused on doing life together. They have hardly advertised for compelling theological reasons. They simply want to grow through the development of meaningful relationships. These two pastors would get a standing ovation from a lot of church planting authors right now. Doing life together is a mantra I read over and over again right now.
The second method of just setting up shop, advertising, getting the name out any way possible, and then holding weekly worship services (yes, two different worship services a Sunday) without a large launch core is not heralded as the way to plant a church. At least, that’s what the current voice says, but this voice feels more like a trend. I am learning that trends change quickly in this business.
Talking to the two planters from the three year old church has inspired me to remember that deep and common relationships are key to both evangelism and discipleship. However, talking to the planter from Florida has inspired me to make sure I do not wait too long to start the actual worship service. This planter reminded me of a valuable theological truth: God works through the preaching of the Word, and people will be drawn to that.
Right now we are praying about the timing of when we should start meeting. We do not want to meet too early, we do not want to meet too late (most recommend having a core of 40 people before one meets for worship!). But we will meet at some point! It is what we are working towards, but the butterflies flitter when I think about it.