Worship is a beautiful and integral part of our faith community at Central. I recently came across this quote, “Worship takes our eyes off the busyness of life and turns us to the person of Jesus.” I believe the experience of worship is transformative, especially in community.
According to research from the Fuller Youth Institute, participation in all-church worship is more consistently linked with lifelong faith than any other form of church participation. Somewhere along the way, our students have become convinced that Central’s worship services aren’t for them. Because the habit of regularly participating in an intergenerational worship service is a critical part of a student’s faith development, we want to change that.
We are going to start by putting the priority Sunday morning on worshipping together. Starting Sunday, September 29, we will suspend Oasis. When I first came to Central, the habit for families was to spend one service time in worship together and the other serving or attending classes (like Oasis). For a few of our families, this is still their habit.
However, the majority of our families are living into a different model today. Due to schedule changes, sports schedules, other commitments, and shifting priorities, most families only commit to one service time and what often happens is students will participate in Oasis while parents participate in a worship service. If students have only one hour to give on Sunday, our hope is that they will spend it worshipping alongside the larger church body. (If they have two, we hope that they will consider serving in another ministry.)
There will be a 3-week special Oasis class starting on September 8th to help ease students into this transition and better prepare them for worship.
Joe Strube and I are now a part of the preaching team, so we are assisting our pastors in crafting their messages to be applicable and accessible to students. The Family Ministry team and Worship Arts team are regularly collaborating to create worship services that are inviting to our students.
Next, we will mobilize and unleash Whirlwind Leaders on Sunday mornings to welcome students and connect with them in and around the worship service. We are seeking out and will share resources for families to help make worshipping together a warm and positive experience.
I am hopeful for what this shift will mean for students, families, and the larger church community. If you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com.