St. Stephen is excited to start a new, modern worship experience on September 17. Through this new worship service, our hope is to meet the expressed needs of our neighbors, reach new guests, and make new disciples.
Our new modern service will be held every Sunday in the Youth Ministry Center at 10:30am for the next 7 weeks — during which we will test new styles and formats, monitor service attendance, and collect member and guest feedback. For the time being, our traditional service at 9:30am and Sunday School hour at 10:30am will remain unchanged.
These next 7 weeks will be a season of learning and experimentation. We will use it to discover how we can most effectively provide an environment of worship for our neighbors who may be looking for a place to get to know God and worship God for who God is. We want to create a space for learning, growing, and sharing in our faith — a space that is comfortable, connectional, and relational.
We know some of you may have questions about this service, so we have put together a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” we’ve already received to help you get to know more about this service and the decision-making process behind it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of worship service will this be?
Our new worship experience will largely lean toward a modern style, with some traditional worship elements mixed in. Its final form and style will be determined over the next 7 weeks of learning and experimentation.
Why are we creating an additional worship service now?
For many years, St. Stephen hosted two different worship services — one modern and one traditional. Our experience during the pandemic caused us to shift back to a single service. As we continue to explore a post-pandemic world, now is the time for St. Stephen to re-introduce elements of our worship which made us an attractive faith home to newcomers and guests — which many of you once were! We want to provide as many “on-ramps” to faith and life in Christ as possible.
What are our goals in creating this new worship experience?
Our primary goals are to reach new people, answer the needs of our guests and neighbors, make new disciples, and provide a space for worship that is comfortable, connectional, and relational.
Hosting the new service, at least temporarily, at 10:30am will allow us to experiment with this new service’s time, format, and style. Since the final time or format might change in the future, we aimed to cause as little disruption to our current Sunday schedule as possible. We did not think it wise to change the times of our current 9:30am worship, Sunday School hour, or other Sunday activities just yet.
Will childcare be provided?
Yes! This was another key need influencing our decision to temporarily host the new service at 10:30am. Doing so allows us to offer childcare (through children’s Sunday School) without over-extending the time commitments of our current children’s ministry, nursery, or childcare servers.
Will I miss my Sunday School class or small group?
Possibly. If you enjoy modern worship and would like to join this new service, then you will not be able to join your regular Sunday small group. We ask that you commit 7 weeks to this experiment and be the practical hands, feet, and heart of Jesus as we work together to shape and form this new worship service into the best space for new guests and neighbors.
What do you mean by “experiment”?
During these next few weeks, we will test and experiment with the new worship service’s style and format, monitor its attendance, and collect feedback and input from those attending. All of this information will help us make a final decision on how we might further design the new worship service and/or restructure our Sunday morning schedules.
Who determined the time and format of this new service? How were these decisions made?
The decisions guiding this new service have been made through a mutually collaborative effort between lay leaders, members, and staff. These decisions were informed by feedback and insights provided in surveys completed by nearly 100 members/regular attenders and nearly 50 neighbors/campus guests. The vision team also conducted a handful of one-on-one interviews and conversations with others to better understand the wants, needs, and desires of those who do not yet call St. Stephen their church home.
When will a final decision be made about worship service times and our Sunday morning schedules?
The new worship vision team, other lay leaders and members, and staff will be monitoring the feedback we receive over these next 7 weeks. We hope to have a final Sunday schedule and new worship service times determined at the end of this experimental period.
Will hosting two worship services split the congregation?
As followers of Christ we recognize that at times we are called and sent out from our “homes” and places of comfort to be servants of God and to make new disciples. Rather than splitting the church, a new service multiplies the church. It might be possible you will miss seeing some of your closest church family members over the next 7 weeks. After we determine our final Sunday schedules, it is our hope we’ll discover both familiar and brand new ways to connect with each other, regardless of which service you attend. We’re also encouraged knowing that the church exists all day, every day — not just on Sundays. We are committed to providing more opportunities to gather and to serve. Our new service is just one of many ways we fulfill our call to make new disciples and have a greater, positive impact on our neighborhood.
Have any other questions? You can chat with Associate Pastor Jesse Enniss anytime. His email is email@example.com and you can reach him at the church office at 704-364-1824.