Starting a Sunday evening meeting in the New Year has created quite a lot of discussion here at RFC.
Yesterday I had a great conversation with Gary Watkins about the danger of us creating a mono-culture evening meeting. Starting at 6:30pm isn't a great fit for young families and given we value the inter-generational & multi-ethnic feel of Sunday mornings, how does that work on a Sunday night?
A wise question that I don't think has one 'silver bullet answer' but here was my gut reaction to Gary's question:
There is a real danger we shipwreck our momentum in diversity and build a mono-culture evening congregation. Yet, simply knowing that this 'dangerous reef' exists help us as we navigate.
Whenever you pioneer a new work, 'values' are more important than initial profiles. Our values should shape who we become. When we started RFC we were 100% British White but now we are 80% British white! We are multi-ethnic and increasingly inter-generational because of our dogged commitment to our values and God given calling.
That said, I do think that each meeting will have a different feel to it. The morning will be more family friendly (kids work) whilst the evening meeting end with an invitation to go for drink together. The expression of our values can look different and different people will prefer the different expressions. All that we do should be underpinned by our high value on inter-generational, multi-ethnic, socio-economic diversity.
Lastly, the risk of building a mono-culture congregation is eclipsed by the need to reach the unchurched & backslidden Christians in our town. These people may find an evening meeting an easier door to enter than our 10am Sunday morning meeting. On this basis alone, the risk of a monoculture evening meeting is a risk worth taking.
Clearly this is a not an exhaustive answer but Gary thought it helpful if I publish this on my blog!