This past Sunday was a rather momentous event in the life of the River Oaks Community Church. We had our first service in our new location. There is really a lot more to the story about where we are meeting, but the short version is that we are now sharing a location with three other churches. It’s not something that you see happening much in our Western church culture. Many churches today focus inward, and often churches think more about competing with one another rather than helping one another. Sharing a building has a lot of unique challenges – many of which we are just beginning to realize – but it has some unique benefits as well.
One of those benefits is that the different churches can help each other in pretty profound ways. It’s kind of the attitude that together we can do more than we could separately. I am personally involved in leadership in two areas: Worship and Youth Ministry. I have been working with Evergreen Community Church (one of the other churches who shares the building) and their leadership so that our youth and worship ministries can work together. It’s been going very well so far.
For our first service in the new building, we had one core worship band leading both their service and our service. This band was made up of musicians from both churches. It looked a little different for Evergreen’s service than for our service (different singers led the worship), but overall , the same band played the same set list for both services. For a more detailed look at what we did and how it went, click here. In summary, it really worked very well. The music styles of each church are not exactly the same, but we overlap enough to pull this off, and having different singers lead the different services introduced enough variation to make each service unique.
A bit on logistics: our worship services begin at 11:00a now. Evergreen meets at 9:45a, and their service runs until 10:45a. That’s a pretty tight window, essentially leaving fifteen minutes between services. It’s not as tight as it seems, because was have a 15 minute meet/greet/eat/drink coffee time before our service, so the worship actually begins at 11:15a, which leaves us 30 minutes between services. It did mean that, at 11:00, when our service officially began, most of the Evergreen congregation was in the lobby. Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing – it actually gives their congregation and our congregation an opportunity to meet and get to know each other. It will be a bit of a challenge, though, to find and welcome new guests who are coming to our services.
When our service began, things went really well. The music was good (though we did crash and burn on the end of one of our songs – my fault!). The message was really good (Bill spoke about the book of Acts, and it was awesome, as usual). And meeting in our own place was awesome. No more setting up and tearing down. No more white cinder block walls. No more community center. By the way – this is what it looks like inside:
I’m really, really excited about where this is going and what is ahead for our church.