New Third Worship Service
"I want people to know that the afternoon service is ‘come as you are.’ I’ll be dressed casually,” says Pastor Chip Stevens concerning the new service at FBC Starkville. FBC is starting a new worship experience, one that probably goes against typical Baptist norms. Sometimes all it takes to keep people from stepping through the sanctuary doors is the fact that it’s a sanctuary or the fact that they feel under dressed or that they don’t own a “Sunday best” outfit. Sometimes we simply don’t come to church because we like sleep and can’t drag ourselves out of bed on Sunday morning. With the new service, these reasons won’t be an excuse for anyone not to attend a church service. The casual afternoon service will take place at 4:00 pm in the Warehouse.
As part of the Third Service Launch team, I am personally very excited about this new opportunity we are offering. It is a need that we as Christians and a church family are called to meet. We are called to reach the lost.
As I think about the task of reaching the lost and starting a new service, I am reminded of the story of Jonah. I recently went through this book on Rightnow Media and learned a lot about Jonah – things I’d never noticed before, even after hearing the story my whole life. God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh, an evil city, and call the people to repentance. Jonah disobeyed and ran from God, which showed Jonah’s lack of compassion. Jonah cared more about what he wanted than the lost and broken people who needed restoration. His response to God exposed his heart. This story led me to think about my own heart and what is behind my lack of compassion. (I used “Jonah” by Eric Mason on Rightnow Media to study this story if you want to check it out – it’s so great!)
I think we can ask ourselves the same question as a church – do we lack compassion for the lost? Starting a Third service that has been planned around targeting those who are unchurched is a step in the right direction. It excites me to be a part of a body that sees a need to reach lost people and is taking action in order to meet that need. After meeting, exploring different options, and landing on a 4:00 pm service, I had to begin considering making the switch and what that would look like for me. I absolutely love my community group, am learning so much, and am just starting to really develop some relationships within it. However, I have to decide for myself what God is calling me to do. Am I going to stay in my Sunday morning community group where I’m comfortable? Or am I going to step way outside of my comfort zone and volunteer to greet unchurched people as they step through the door at the new Sunday afternoon service? I have decided on the latter. It is really a no-brainer for me, but, like Jonah, I have a tendency to disobey and choose my personal preferences over what God is calling me to do. (If you want to read more about the new Third service and how it could change things for you, visit fbcstarkville.com.)
Kim Trimm has also decided to make the switch because she finds it exciting to be involved in something new and to watch God work. She is most looking forward to welcoming new faces, seeing people come to know God, seeing them grow their faith, and growing with them. Her prayer is that this new service will be an environment where unchurched people will feel comfortable and welcome. She feels that some people are so intimidated with the thought of going to church - fears of being accepted, what to wear, social anxieties - that they just don't go to church at all. Pray with me that this Third service is an environment that strips all of those things away.
Not only are Kim and I excited about this new opportunity, but Pastor Chip is also. He says, “What excites me the most about this new service is giving people the opportunity to worship who just can’t make it to church during the traditional morning hours. People are so busy. Whether it’s work, or being out of town, or just having a hard time getting kids dressed on a Sunday morning, it can not only be difficult to be consistent in coming to church, but it can also bring added guilt. Offering the afternoon service just gives more people an opportunity to learn about God’s incredible love.”
If you haven’t already, I challenge you to consider your role in reaching the lost as part of FBC Starkville. Your part can look totally different from mine. It might be simply praying for the people who will be attending the new service, praying for the service itself, inviting a co-worker to the new service, volunteering to help during the service, or maybe even leading a Wednesday night community group. Everyone has a role, and whether it big or small, it matters.