Grace Polaris Church, a Grace Brethren congregation on the north side of Columbus, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor), made the move to three services last Sunday. With a “classic” service at 8:30 a.m., an “eclectic” service at 10 a.m., and a “modern” service at 11:30 a.m., all are designed to reach a different audiences.
“What a delight is was to worship together this past Sunday,” Pastor Mike reported to the congregation via email. “Our three-service format launched well as 1,800 people (1,500 in services and 300 kids) joined us at Grace. Our inaugural third service was attended by 300 people – and it was thrilling to be a part of! If you missed them, check out our new video announcements.”
The gracepolaris.org page explains more. “Our passion is that individuals who come to Grace can understand the Gospel, respond to God, and connect with His family in ways seem natural to them. We might call it a “native language”—the communication form that best resonates with each of us. We currently have worship gatherings that speak two “worship languages” in terms of form and style. … We are absolutely committed to the unchanging Gospel and distinct identity of God’s people. But we also are not content to have a large group of people stay on the fringes (or stay away) because the languages of our services are foreign to them. We want to offer a third worship service that especially connects well with them—in tone, style, and feel.”
The three services are explained on the website:
- First Service: Traditional (or “Classic”) Service, 8:30–9:35 a.m. This service will be somewhat more traditional than our current first service. Congregational singing will primarily come from treasured hymns, anthems, and Gospel songs, with keyboard accompaniment. The choir and orchestra will have some involvement, and special music will be regularly featured. Drums, electric guitars, and praise and worship songs will be quite rare, and the volume will be modest. Some use of Scripture reading and responsive reading will accompany the Bible message. Think classic, vintage, and reverent.
- Second Service: Blended (or “Eclectic”) Service, 10:00–11:15 a.m. This service is for those who connect best with a wide variety of worship expressions, musical and otherwise. It will be fairly similar to our current second service, with regular participation from our choir and orchestra and substantial praise and worship music as well. Numerous kinds of instrumentation will be standard. Hymn arrangements, musical specials, some drama, video, and other media will be typical. A Bible message will continue to be a central part of the gathering. Key descriptions of this service are variety, diversity, eclectic, grand, and celebrative.
- Third Service: Contemporary (or “Modern”) SERVICE, 11:30 a.m.–12:40 p.m. This service is for those who connect best with a contemporary worship style, with both modern musical styles and appreciation for more reflective forms. Several younger leaders will have an increased role in the third service. Music will be mostly praise and worship songs with some modern hymns and newer expressions. Volume will be diverse (sometimes louder) and special music will be rare. Our worship band (both electric and acoustic, as well as keyboards) will lead, with no choir and orchestra. A Bible message will be central with strong applicational emphasis, as in other services. Think participatory, congregational, personal, and responsive.
Click here for additional information.