Westminster Is Growing!
While worship attendance figures are not the main sign of church vitality, health, and faithfulness, they are an indicator worth noting. I want to share some figures with you from Westminster.
In the fall of 2016, we started noticing the 11:00 service felt full, and while it was exciting, it also presented a challenge. Prevailing wisdom among those who study such things suggests when a sanctuary reaches 80% capacity, it becomes “unintentionally unfriendly” to visitors. In the same way that walking into a crowded movie theater presents anxiety about where to sit, walking into a crowded sanctuary is not a positive experience for visitors. In our sanctuary, 80% full is about 210 people, and average attendance that fall was 230. We knew we needed to do something, so in February of 2017, we began offering a worship service at 8:45. Problem solved, right?
Well, for the past 3 Sundays (not counting Hurricane Florence weekend), attendance at the 11:00 service has been 245! Average attendance at both services combined has been a little more than 300.
The growth is worth celebrating, but it also presents the same situation we were in two years ago, only this time, it is even more challenging. If our trigger for “too full” is 210 people and we’re averaging 245, then we have some work to do.
Let me suggest some ideas:
- We ARE NOT at this time, planning a third worship service.
- We ARE NOT hoping you’ll stop inviting people to worship.
- We ARE all going to continue to be as friendly as we know how.
- We ARE all going to be aware of the situation, making space for any who wish to worship at Westminster.
- We ARE all going to be intentional about noticing new faces and helping them have a positive experience.
- We ARE all going to continue to pray that God will bless the work happening here at Westminster. The Spirit is alive, and we’ll follow the direction his wind is blowing.
Friends, God is so good! It is a joy to worship together with you- even if we have to snuggle a little bit while we’re doing it!
Growing with you,