Check out the video above for the video version of this blog – or if you prefer, read the text below…or both!
You may have noticed that we are often at our capacity on Sunday – these past few weeks, even more so.
Recently, we reviewed our worship attendance data for the last 8 years, and we realized, that we’ve been at capacity pretty much that whole time. We’ve flirted consistently with 80% of capacity, to be specific – sometimes above, sometimes below – but never really staying above for too long. This is important, because studies show that once you hit 80% of capacity, your attendance flatlines because people get a subconscious message that there isn’t enough room for them. And that’s exactly what our data shows.
Even before the election, we were pondering what to do about this. But with the results of the election and the many big questions before us, it is even more urgent that we ensure that we are making space for all who may be needing a religious community grounded in the practices of courageous love. The data shows, capacity is the driver – and so our question is: how do we increase capacity?
With all this in mind, the Board has asked the staff team to explore a “3rd Service Experiment” beginning around February and continuing through April – during which we could figure out what it would take to maintain 3 services over the longer run, if it’s possible, and what will work best.
We know that this will require some discomfort on all of our parts – but as I said in a prior blog post – unleashing courageous love does not mean being comfortable, but only the safe place in which we can manage discomfort, together. So our hope is that we can learn together, grow together, stumble together, offer each other grace – all of which will allow us to truly unleash the big huge love that exists within us and among us. We need this, the world needs it – now more than ever.
I’ll keep you updated as our staff and lay teams for worship and religious exploration start to figure out the details. For now, I am so grateful for your partnership at this time, grateful to be learning with you, wrestling with these big questions together, and unleashing courageous love, together.