August 17, 2017
The Body of Christ at Midway United Methodist Church:
I hope this letter finds you well, and that God is blessing you in amazing ways this day!
I am writing you to explain a decision that the Administrative Council made last night, acting on my proposal. I wanted you to hear it from me rather than any notes you might read from the council minutes or by word of mouth either second or third hand.
At the council, I proposed that we make some changes to the 11 am service. The reason is simple: the late service has been struggling in terms of attendance for quite some time – long before I came here. With the choir attending, it fluctuates from the low twenties to the low forties. Many who attend the service have spoken privately with me about their concerns. It is hard to invite people to be a part of something when the church looks pretty empty.
What I proposed was to change the format of the 11 am service to more “contemporary” service to differentiate it from the early service as well to draw in new visitors from our community. The 8:45 am service will not be changed at all. That late service will have a different order of worship and music, but should have (or most) of the components of the early service. The music will be led by Melody Hubbs (our music minister) and will not be a rock band, nor we will be changing the sanctuary for this new service.
Here is how we will facilitate this change: the final 11 am worship service as we currently worship will be at the end of October. We will celebrate on October 29th (5th Sunday and All Saints Sunday) all the good that has come out of that service, remembering the lives that have been changed, the moments that we will cherish, and the moments that make us laugh.
During the month of November, we will not worship at 11 am. I hope that you will join the 8:45 am service during that time. For those unable (or unwilling) to join us that early, we will record each service during November and stream it on Facebook so that you can worship from your homes. The reason is to help migrate some who prefer the music we currently have to the early service and to prevent the culture shock of going from our regular late service to something very different.
The first contemporary worship service will be December 3rd at 11 am, the first Sunday in Advent, The Sunday of Hope.
I know that many of you are saying to yourself, “Why do we need to change anything? I like it the way it is.” We need to change because need to attract new families, younger adults, and visitors that we have been unable to reach to date. If you haven't been to the 8:45 service, it is nearly identical to our 11 am worship.
Others might say, “I don't like contemporary worship.” I appreciate that. All I am asking is for you to support with your prayers and your love this change. While everyone at Midway UMC might not like the new service, we all should hope for lives to be given to Christ and more people worshiping Christ.
Please know I understand the risk involved. I did not approach this without prayer. I have felt prodded by the Spirit to move towards this, although my flesh would vastly prefer not to “rock the boat”. I value each member, visitor, and frequent guest who worships with us at Midway UMC.
Also know that your Administrative Council spent a lot of time discussing this change. There was general agreement that something new was needed at the late service.
While this letter is primarily to inform you of the decision made last night, but also to ask for you to support this change. I am not asking you to like contemporary music or contemporary worship. I am asking that you pray for hearts to be changed and feel invited, that Melody and I and all those that will lead in worship to be led by Christ as we prepare for December. I ask that you help in ways that you can as we kick of that first Sunday. I hope that we can be one church, one body of Christ, as we move forward, that we can be more excited than concerned, that we can be more hopeful than upset, that we can be unified in our desire to make an impact on Liberty County in a way that we have not done in a long time.
Please feel free to call or speak to me about any concerns or questions you might have. I am always available for you.
Pastor, Midway United Methodist Church
Midway United Methodist Church
215 Martin Road
Midway, GA 31320
Pastor Hank Perry 912-414-4852
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