The PV shepherds care deeply about this family and sharing the love of Jesus and His gospel. We are currently spending 40 days in prayer for over 150 names our members have submitted who need to find Jesus. We are committed to removing any barrier to help them in that process.
Some of those barriers can be found in our Sunday morning experience, so we want to take some time to share a few things we are implementing.
First, we are working to improve and increase our paths and resources for individual discipleship. We desire to help people find AND follow Jesus. Healthy churches must pursue both and we are evaluating and initiating programs to that end.
Second, we will be expanding our greeting ministry using best practices learned from expert groups all across the country and churches that do this really well.
Third, security is extremely important to us and we want to provide a safe environment for children to grow and learn about Jesus. If you have children, you have already noticed some of these changes. We will continue to make safety a priority. Read security FAQs in a recent bulletin.
And fourth, we have made the decision to incorporate a worship team similar to what we have been experiencing on Wednesday nights into our Sunday assemblies. This worship team will include both women and men, serving under the direction of Josh. We feel strongly that this is one of many tools to help our service feel more inclusive and less foreign to outsiders. It is one of the ways we can show that every gender, age, and race are valued parts of this family and the Kingdom of God.
This model makes our worship less foreign to guests, but it is also exciting for those of us already here. We have utilized this format for months on Wednesday nights as well as during our Christmas eve gathering. We have seen first-hand how it can improve freedom and participation in worship. We believe this is an effective tool for those who have never experienced a Capella worship as well as insiders who have always enjoyed our congregational times of praise.
Just like in any family, some will be excited about this change and others may have questions or anxiety. The shepherds are sensitive to both feelings and want you to know that after much study, we do not see any scriptural reason to prohibit this practice. The women and men volunteers will serve under Josh’s leadership, who is under the shepherd’s authority, who are under the authority of God.
We said when we announced the hiring of Jonathan as preaching minister, this eldership is committed to exceptional a Capella worship. That commitment to a Capella worship is part of what drove our decision to bring Josh as executive and worship minister. Josh is considered one of the best a Capella worship ministers in our fellowship and we trust his expertise. If you haven’t gotten to know Josh yet, we encourage you to call the office and set up a time to talk to him and get to know his heart for unity and for the community.
It may seem we are getting ahead of ourselves with this announcement because we are still some time away from incorporating worship teams into our Sunday assemblies. Our goal in talking about this now is that we want to be open and transparent with our church family and do a better job communicating with you than we have in the past.
This is being shared early by design to give anyone who has questions time to talk and pray through those with any of the shepherds. It also gives Jonathan time to lead the church through the same study of Biblical theology of assembly and worship that the shepherds have gone through together. This will happen the first two Sundays in February.
While we will begin this practice in 2020 in our Sunday assemblies, we have not yet set a specific start date. We are committed to keeping everyone informed as we move forward. For those who have not participated in our Wednesday evening assemblies or our Christmas eve gathering, we encourage you to join us on Wednesday night to experience this with us. When the timetable is decided for Sundays, we will share it in advance.
We are excited about the future at PV and the church God has called us to be. A few weeks ago, Michael Keck shared with you our commitment to the “empty chair.” We view the empty chair as representing those who need Jesus and who are not yet here. The commitment to the empty chair starts in each of our hearts. Your shepherds have spent much time in prayer, Bible study and conversation about the desire to bring people to know Jesus and we continue to ask each of you to do the same.
The leaders of this church are seeking what God wants for our church with all their hearts. We truly want you to use this time to speak to any of us about your questions or concerns. You can set up a time to talk with a shepherd or Josh or Jonathan by calling the church office at 501.225.5818 or through the form below.