At Downtown Church our ideas typically outnumber our resources at a rate of 10/1. For example, with one full time videographer we could make 10 videos each week. Or if we had one trailer to store our worship equipment we'd deploy a 10 piece platform to use each Sunday. You get the idea. But sometimes, our lack of resources leads to alternatives that are more interesting, creative, and faithful. Our Ash Wednesday plans are an example. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the season preceding Easter. The imposition of ashes - black ash on your forehead in the form of a cross - is the highlight of a typical Ash Wednesday service. The ritual is standard in Catholic churches but is now commonly practiced in other churches as well. Normally, the service would be held in a sanctuary at night. However, we don't have our own space and 701 Whaley, where we worship on Sundays, is booked that night. Not having space should have stopped our planning immediately, but it didn't.
We do have some space downtown that is ours but it can only accommodate 25-30 people comfortably. Even if half our average weekly worshippers skipped out on Ash Wednesday, we'd still either break a fire code or have to turn people away. Neither option was appealing. So we determined that instead of one service, we'd have three small, intimate services and include a concert featuring a trio of our musicians. In this case, our lack of space was transformed from a disadvantage to the defining feature of the evening. It's almost as if we planned it that way.
If it goes well we might continue the series of teeny tiny concerts in the future.