I wanted to give an update to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, as we look ahead to the direction our church is headed in terms of our corporate worship time.
But first, I want to start by giving the church a tremendous thank you for your support and patience the past several months. The transition of replanting two churches into one has been a lot of work for everyone, and that has certainly been true for our corporate worship. It has been a joy more rewarding than I expected it to be, but it has also been tough. In the middle of this transition, my wife Kristina and I welcomed our second daughter into the world, which has added to our joy but also added to my busyness.
All that is to say: Thank you, church, for your patience during this time of transition. There have been many of us working hard these past few months to put our best into each Sunday, and that has made it hard to look ahead toward making improvements. There have been times these past several months where I have felt that I have only barely been able to stay afloat. But what we are doing – serving God’s people in corporate worship – is worth it. Thank you for the support, love, encouragement, and prayers poured out from so many of you.
I am writing so that I can tell you that we are not yet through the transition. I think we have come a long way, but I also recognize that we still have quite a ways to walk together. That’s true for nearly every aspect of the replant, but I am specifically talking about our worship services. I am still working hard to refine our worship services. So please hear a few of my practical near-term goals for our corporate worship. And if you want to hear more, please, come talk to me.
- Incorporating songs you love.
Bringing two churches together has meant that some songs from each church are being sung, while other songs (some from both churches) have been set aside for the time being. People from FBCF may not realize it, but the people who came from Passage have had to learn new songs during this transition too. And I believe that we are better off because of it! I also want those from FBCF to know that the people who came from Passage have had to set aside many of their favorite songs, just as those from FBCF have had to do. Please understand that people from both churches have had to set aside beloved songs and learn completely new songs.
We all have songs we miss and want to bring back to our Sunday services. Several people have already given me song suggestions. I hope that they have noticed that many of those songs (even if not all of them) have been incorporated in our worship services in recent weeks. If there is a song you miss, please let me know about it. It may very well be the first time I am introduced to that song, or if I do already know it, I may simply not realize that it is dear to you. That is the kind of thing I can only know if you tell me about it personally. Please, come talk to me.
- Greater involvement from the church.
Another of my goals over the next few months is to get more people involved with our Sunday services. From singers to light board operators, there is a wide range of opportunities to help serve the corporate worship service on a Sunday morning. But I have no way to know who is interested in being a part of our team, unless you let me know. So please come to me if you have interest in being a part of what we are doing. If you are interested in being a sound tech or light board operator, we can provide training. If you are interested in singing or playing an instrument, understand that there will be an audition process to see if you would be a good fit. But, please, if you have an interest in being a part of what we are doing on a Sunday morning, please, come talk to me.
- More instrumentation.
Many of our church members have expressed interest in having an orchestra play in our worship services. What may not be understood is that I have made attempts to get an orchestra back together, but circumstances, schedule conflicts and limited resources have gotten in the way. Many of the former orchestra players are now college students who are away a majority of the year. Many of the songs we sing, need new arrangements written that specifically use instruments we do have available.
But we have a plan in place to address this, and with summer at hand, we have been able to move forward.
Michael Dunsmoor, who you often see playing bass or keyboards on Sundays, is the orchestra director at Pattonville High School and has advanced degrees in music composition and conducting. This summer, while he has a break from teaching, he is going to be working on orchestrating some of our music, specifically so that we incorporate our string and wind instruments on occasion. He has already been hard at work, creating arrangements that we hope to use as early as next month, so that we can involve some of our musically gifted college students while they are home for the summer. Part of our vision for worship is that we could continue to use orchestration and different instrumentation more often in worship throughout the year.
This will be a process, however, so I ask that everyone please be patient. And if you have any questions or concerns about it, please, come talk to me.
There are many more things I could say about what is going on with worship. Ultimately, the vision for worship at FBCF comes from the vision for the church. Love God. Love others. Serve the community. We love God by offering him our worship, which has much more to do with our hearts than our song. We love each other by joining in fellowship to sing God’s truth so that those around us may hear it and be lifted up. We serve the community, by proclaiming the Gospel through music in a way that is relevant and accessible to the people we are trying to reach. There is a lot to be unpacked from all that, but ultimately what I want you to understand is that there is a lot of thought and intentionality that goes into what we do on Sunday morning.
Please be praying for our church, and for our worship.
To close, I would like to take a moment and be extra vulnerable. By that I mean to say: I want to get to know you!!! Though I may be comfortable getting up on the platform, my personality is not an outgoing person. But that does not mean I don’t love all of you. We introverts can be easily mistakenly as “hard” people or “closed off”. I hope that’s not how I’m seen! I want to get to know all of you better. Sadly, I can be distracted on Sunday mornings as I am often juggling several balls and spinning multiple plates (metaphorically, of course). But I firmly believe that relationships are more important than those last minute details. I promise to make more of a deliberate effort to be available for you at church. And I would ask you to do the same. Please, if you think about it, come up to me and say “hi”. It would mean a lot to me. We are family, after all.