The Art of Starting Worship: Part 3 of 4

This is the third part of a four part series detailing the decision to begin weekly worship. Read Part 1 for an introduction before you read this post to catch up. In this post, I'll offer an account of how we made the decision to start worship. As the title of this series suggests, the process was less scientific than you might imagine. We did have some benchmarks, but even the selection of those benchmarks was dependent on a close reading of our context. What's important and necessary for Downtown Church may not be critical for Church XYZ in Tucson, Ariz.

The decision wasn't made by committee, but the wisdom of many people was consulted. Our coach (aka Daddy) played an important role in this process. Don't feel ignorant if you don't know what a New Church Development coach does, a year ago I didn't know either. Sam Downing is a former church planter that lives in Denver and consults with us on a regular basis. He is compensated for his services which include the following:

  1. Telling us what we don't want to hear but is true.
  2. Pointing out the gigantic mistakes we're about to make but are too inexperienced to notice.
  3. Reminding us to not lose the "forest for the trees." Sam likes to say this.
  4. Giving us pep-talks when it seems like the sky is falling. It never is, but we're paranoid.
  5. Caring for us as a staff by reminding us to go home and be with our families.
Sam's going to work with us for another year. He's been a gift to me personally and has benefited the Church in too many ways to mention. The decision to start weekly worship is one of those. Every time I proposed an ambitious date based on whatever recent success we enjoyed, Sam would send me back to our benchmarks. He challenged us on the validity of our estimates regarding the size of our core group and questioned whether we had the capacity to sustain weekly anything. Sam's guidance informed the conversations of our guidance team (the big papas and mamas from the Presbytery) and our launch team. Eventually, it became clear that while it was impossible to mitigate all the risks, the time felt right. And that's why it's art.