Saturday in the Sanctuary
This weekend we will once again move our Saturday service to the Sanctuary for those who would like to have their Sunday morning free to watch the Seahawks crush the Panthers. It’s worth noting that every week, our Saturday service is identical to our 10:45 am service, so if you normally come to 10:45 but can’t come on a given week (like, because you want to watch the Hawks) then Saturday is a great option!
In fact, these Seahawks Saturdays have caused us to ask a question: why don’t we try Saturday Night in the Sanctuary on a more regular basis? Our Saturday service has grown 40 percent in the last five months year to year. We now regularly have enough people in the Memorial Chapel that it is becoming inhospitable for new people. We’ve had to use a different set of chairs just to squeeze in 30 more seats and on several occasions in the last few months we’ve even had to seat people outside the chapel in the now infamously named “C-section” (thanks Gunnar Tesdahl!)
This is great news for a service that is just a little more than three years old and began as an experiment to see if it could reach people who couldn’t otherwise come on Sundays. The community of people who formed on Saturday night have taken that challenge seriously, and invite and welcome new people every single week.
As we were pondering moving Saturday to the Sanctuary more regularly, we also recognized that we have made significant technological enhancements to the Sanctuary in the last few months, upgrading the sound system, and providing our musicians with wireless in-ear monitors. Beyond that, we have also hired Blaine Staub onto our Tech team, who has extensive experience in church lighting, and we hope to grow in this area during 2019.
We’ve also upgraded our lobby outside the Sanctuary—kudos to the men who gave up their Thursday to create the beautiful new feature wall made of reclaimed barn wood in the Next Steps Center. The lobby is now a place where I want to sit and relax; it feels like a living room, rather than a waiting room!
Finally, we are working hard to provide an even better experience for our kids on weekends, and one of those ways has been to create a more creative and interactive experience in the Memorial Chapel (where our kids meet on Sundays, but also where our Saturday night service meets). Often, this leaves our children’s staff and volunteers working late into Saturday night to turn that room around.
So, as we pondered this question of moving Saturday to the Sanctuary more regularly, we thought, why not try it out? There seemed like lots of good reasons to give it a go. Therefore, we held a couple of open-invite vision meetings with Saturday night attendees (we even gave away free pizza!) and sought feedback. We all recognized the challenges of moving to a larger space, but also the reality that if God was growing this service, who were we to try and stop it!?
So… beginning January 5 , 2019, Saturday Night will now be meeting in the Sanctuary (at least on a trial basis until Easter) as we live into the reality of the growth that God has sought to bring to our church. I’m excited to see what God will do as we step out in faith.