From the desk of Andrew Burchett...

From the desk of Andrew Burchett...

You may have heard that we have moved from our Sunday morning services from the dome to our fellowship hall.  You may have also heard that from now on we will have two services on Sundays, 8:30am and 10:30am in the room that was our old worship center.  So, why are we doing that?  I’m sure you have plenty of questions especially if you weren’t there for last Sunday’s service where we announced all of this to the congregation.

Perhaps you’re concerned that this will destroy our unity? Maybe you’re wondering if we are going to abandon the dome? And last but not least, where do we go from here?

In this email briefing, you will read about...

  • How did we get here?
  • Why are we making this change?
  • Will this divide us and split our family?
  • What is going to happen with the dome now?
  • What do I need to do next?
  • How did we get here?

A few months ago, I felt a stirring in my heart, and a hunch that things may be changing with our Sunday services soon.  I mentioned it to our board and we set a time to pray and talk about this in January.  I was beginning to think that perhaps the Lord was prompting us to move over to the fellowship hall for the summer... but then the heater in the dome failed.

When we moved over into the smaller worship space a few weeks ago, we were struck by the intimacy, excitement, the ability to hear others singing and togetherness we felt. That experience forced internal conversations to speed up and pushed us to pray and ask God what we should do, once the heater was fixed.

Why are we making this change?

So, as a leadership community, we prayed and listened to what God was asking us to do, and asked others to pray with us about this.  We feel that the Lord has confirmed it to us and is leading us to make an investment in moving to two services in a smaller worship space.  It is much more work for our children’s ministries, worship folks, the people who make coffee and church staff.  Even though this is more work, we believe that we are responding and following Jesus into a season of investment and growth.  We believe this investment will cause our church to grow, give a chance for those who serve in children’s ministry an opportunity to get to church, and allow us the opportunity to repair and improve the dome for the future.

Will this divide us and split our family?

It has been a luxury for most of our church body to worship all at the same time, and at times we will gather all together for events and special occasions in the dome.  Our two services, at 8:30 and 10:30 will have the same worship and the same teaching.  We place a high value in being Spirit led and we know that the Lord will probably lead us in different ways in the two services spontaneously.  Some of you have the fear of missing out, but the Lord wants to meet with you more than you want to meet with Him.  You will not miss out on anything the Lord wants you to experience. 

Sometimes we feel like we have 400 friends because we meet for church at the same time.  The truth is that we exist in multiple communities within the larger Neighborhood Church family.  Sociologists have said that the average person can’t maintain more than 150 meaningful relationships at the same time.  Those “facebook friends” aren’t necessarily all friends of yours - some are just people who like the pictures you post and your witty humor.

Multiple services often help people who have to miss church because of work.  The time between the worship services is also a prime time to see others who go to the other worship service over donuts and coffee.

What is going to happen with the dome now?

We are not abandoning the dome.  The dome was a dream in the heart of our founder Ken Backlund, back in the 1960’s before there was a building on this property.  It was his vision to create a venue that would serve as a gathering place for people in the North Valley - as a lighthouse to share the gospel.  It has served as our main worship space for the past 25 years.   It has been an amazing blessing to our church body and to the city over the years.

It is time to make much needed repairs and improvements to this huge building.  I also believe that the Lord is going to give us a new dream and vision for how the dome is to look and function.  We are very excited about dreaming together about how we might remodel and refresh the inside for use for the next 25 years.

What do I need to do next?

All you need to do at this point is show up on Sundays!  We are asking that you would be patient with us, as we make improvements to the “old sanctuary” where we are now meeting on Sundays.  We recognize that there are improvements we need to make, and systems to put into place.  Please let the church staff know if there is something you are seeing that needs attention.

This is a great journey that we are on together.  I know what we are doing seems unorthodox but sometimes that’s how God does things.  We are going to see God provide for needs, inspire new creativity and God’s Spirit move and change us, as we choose to come into alignment with Him and invest in His purposes.  Through all of this God will shape us into the image of his son and give us more of His abundant life.