Beginning December 30, we’ll have 2 services on Sunday:
- Contemporary service at 8:30
- Blended service at 10:00
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven….” Ecclesiastes 3:1
In the last few years there have been some trends on Cape Cod and at BBC that many of us are aware of—the first is that more homes on the Cape, especially the mid to outer Cape, are becoming seasonal. Forty-four percent of the homes in Brewster are now second homes. The percentage in communities to our east is even higher. More of our attendees are splitting their time between the Cape and somewhere else. We live in a seasonal vacation and retirement area and that’s becoming more pronounced. Thirty people from BBC moved away this year and only two remained on Cape Cod (Mashpee). Everyone else moved over the bridge and most moved out of state.
When we added a third service in June of 2014, one of the primary reasons was a lack of parking. Since then, we have connected our parking lot with the library next door. As part of that project, we paved another section of our parking lot and added the stone covered area as well.
Two years ago when Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, we had one worship service in a blended style that brought everyone together. People really liked it and enjoyed seeing other people who attended a different worship service than they did. Many people asked if we could do it more often.
In the winter of 2015, after Christmas until Palm Sunday on March 22, we averaged 408 people in worship. This year we averaged 373 people in worship in the same time frame—a decline of 35 people.
In the winter of 2018, the 11:00 service was the smallest every Sunday until Palm Sunday on the last Sunday of March. There were four Sundays that we didn’t reach 100 in attendance and another four where we had just 100-103. The totals ranged from a low of 68 people and a high of 114. In 2015, we had three Sundays under 100 at 11:00, but the high was 146, 32 more people than our high of this year. The reality is we have more and more people who attend that service who spend the winter elsewhere.
If we keep running our current schedule at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00, that will almost certainly mean we will face a month or more of Sundays in which we have less than 100 people at multiple services.
So we’re making a change to our Sunday morning schedule from December 30, 2018 – March 31, 2019 that recognizes the changing demographics of our local communities and BBC, and the seasonal nature of our area.
After talking with the staff, Advisory Council, and Ministry Council, the option that seems best is changing the time of worship to 8:30 & 10:00.
The 8:30 service will be just like what we do at 8:00 and 9:30 right now.
The 10:00 will be a blended service, which combines a couple of songs like we do at the early services with several hymns that we do at 11:00.
This change means everyone has to be a little flexible and open to the Spirit. The prayers, scriptures and sermon will be the same.
Children’s Worship will be during the 8:30 service and Sunday School will be at 10:00, and there is the possibility for us to offer at least one adult class at the same time as each service.
There are several advantages to making this adjustment for the winter.
It will bring the church closer together. By having two services 30 minutes apart, someone who wishes can see anyone in the church by staying after worship or coming a little early. This will enhance fellowship and connection.
It will enhance our experience of worship because there will be more people at each worship service. It feels better in a space the size of our sanctuary to have 175 or more people at a service rather than 65-115. It will also make both services more intergenerational.
Another significant benefit of going from three services to two is it will give our volunteers relief at a time in the year when we have the fewest volunteers to draw on. This will benefit us when it comes to staffing the media booth, fellowship time, and Worship Welcomers. It also means the Worship Team and other volunteers at the first service can get an extra half hour of sleep!
Finally, by sliding worship a little bit later, it provides more time to plow the parking lot and clear the sidewalks in the event of snow.
What are the concerns of making this change to the schedule for the winter?
We’re asking everyone to change the time they attend worship. For most people it means shifting by 30 minutes. For the 11:00 service it means being ready and here one hour earlier. For some people, this will be a positive move, but for others it will not.
At 10:00 we’ll be asking some people to worship with music that may be unfamiliar or not their first choice. For people currently attending at 9:30, coming at 10:00 will mean you’ll hear some of the hymns of the church that have stood the test of time. For 11:00 folks coming at 10:00 it will mean learning some songs that your grandchildren will know if they attend worship where they live. In either case, it’s important to be open to learning and growth.
Worship is first and foremost about exalting God and not just our own likes and dislikes. It’s important not to make an idol about one type of music or one way of worshiping. Those who prefer contemporary music won’t suffer too much from discovering some of the hymns that have sustained people of faith for generations. Those who prefer hymns won’t be hurt by discovering that God has continued to inspire composers and songwriters since the end of World War One.
BBC member Earl Caudill tells a story about his employer Christian businessman J.C. Penny.
J.C. Penny would never hire someone who put salt on food before tasting it because to Penny it revealed a mindset that was not thoughtful or open to assessment, but rather set in its ways and predetermined.
Regardless of whether you view the change to the worship schedule positively or negatively, we encourage you to continue to attend worship at BBC and not to make a premature judgment especially about what worship might be like at 10:00 am and to stop coming.
Some of us are old enough to remember an ad campaign for Life Cereal back in the 1970’s in which two boys are sitting at a breakfast table pushing a bowl of cereal “that’s supposed to be good for you,” back and forth because neither one of them wants to try it. Then one boy suggests giving it to their younger brother, Mikey. “He won’t eat it, he hates everything,” the older brother declares. Then to their shock Mikey tries it and he likes it. There is a lesson there for all of us.
Some of us face change with more enthusiasm than others. However it’s important to remember that everything we now like in life was once new and something we’d never experienced.