This past Spring, after hearing from some leaders in our church and exploring some options, I felt led to explore Sunday morning Growth Groups. It was too quick to implement this summer. I believe the timing is right as we go into the Fall. Our Fall Growth Groups semester will be from September 13 - December 13. I am meeting with our leadership team tonight and we are flexible on many aspects of this change. Paul Eill is working closely with me in helping to plan for this semester. I am simply requesting we offer Groups on Sunday morning before the worship service and that we allow our kids to worship together with our families during the worship time (babies and toddlers would be the exception and we would provide childcare for them). I believe this offers many benefits: 1) It will allow our church to better connect with one another. Currently, on Sunday mornings we rush to set up, have our worship service, and then rush to take down. I believe by having Groups on Sunday morning we will add more fellowship time along with Bible study and this will help close our back door. 2) I believe it will enable us to better connect newer people to our church in Groups by having the advantage of them meeting on Sunday morning before the worship service. This will also help us better connect people who begin attending Ridgeview but drop out after a month or two because they never connected with anyone. 3) I believe this will bring even more unity in our church. Currently, if a volunteer is serving in our preschool or children's areas, they miss the worship service. Many times when they serve for a month they feel out of the loop and uninformed. I believe this will help alleviate that. 4) I see a value in families worshiping together. We as a parents need to model for our kids and I believe a great way we can do that for them is in the worship service. 5) I see this as freeing up the week to enable more and more people to find a Life Transformation Group (LTG) for deeper discipleship. They can meet anywhere or anytime.
I have said for many years that people are not looking for a friendly church, they are looking for friends. Ridgeview Church is a friendly church. We consistently get them in feedback from first timers. But, one area we can improve upon is helping people connect more at Ridgeview. If they don't do that, they will eventually leave. I believe this is a step in the right direction. We don't have all the answers yet, and I would love to hear your feedback. We simply are trying this experiment for the Fall. If we find it isn't working for us we will reevaluate it for the new year. Rest assured, our purpose will never change: To be a bridge of God's love to all people so they may experience His purpose for their lives.
See you Sunday!