I found the photo to the left on accident a few days ago. It's a shot from our very first worship service at 701 Whaley in July of 2011. I remember thinking then how happy I was that the room felt so full.
Today, I'd wonder what went wrong if we had enough space to play indoor kickball without moving a single chair on a Sunday morning. The growth we've experienced in the past two months came as a complete surprise. If you've attended recently, you know that coming early is the only guarantee that you and your crew will find seats together if your party is more than 1. The chart below with its snazzy, logarithmic trend lines is evidence that the shoulders you've been rubbing on Sunday are for real. [divider]
When I went back to check the attendance figures for 2013, I was surprised to find that our attendance actually decreased as the year progressed. By the end of the year, our average was 218. Which makes the sudden leap in Sunday attendance even more surprising.
Many people have asked what we are going to do considering the present and welcome challenge of accommodating so many people in a space that seems to slowly be shrinking. A typical church would likely start a second service. We tried that last year and it solved the practical problem. There was room for everyone, but the early service lacked the critical mass to appear credible and before long, the negative momentum made for a sparsely attended service and an uninviting atmosphere.
So, the solution for now is to put out every chair available (402 to be exact) and stick with one service. You'll rub shoulders with your neighbor, and it won't leave much room for dancing, but if comfort is a pre-requisite for your church attendance, then DTC might not be the place for you.
That's the plan for now. I'm reserving the right to change our mind if someone donates a prime piece of real-estate and a couple million dollars to renovate it. Until then, know that you'll always have a shoulder to cry/lean on at DOWNTOWN CHURCH (literally).