July 21, 2018
We have been discussing among leaders at CBCGL about scheduling change in our Sunday program to better utilize the new building when it is available. We introduced at the April English ministry business meeting a proposal to pilot test from September to November an 11:15-12:30 worship time for the English service, with the goal of making it a permanent time in the new sanctuary if it works out logistically. The proposal has the support of the meeting participants. Since then, different ministry committees have been consulted and it was brought up at the Council meeting. The responses have generally been supportive and accommodating. Both the Mandarin and the Cantonese ministry committees are receptive to the suggestion of moving the Chinese worship services to 9:45-11:05.
When I came up with the idea of pilot test for three months, I designed it so that it will affect the English adults and youths internally. However, as this idea is deliberated at the Cantonese ministry committee and the Council, an amended proposal is emerging that we could perhaps broaden the pilot test churchwide in Building A to make for a more realistic logistic simulation for what is to come.
This is roughly what the churchwide pilot test beginning September might entail:
– Mandarin service at the 1/F sanctuary.
– Cantonese service at the 2/F sanctuary.
– Youth and Children Sunday school classes in their current classrooms.
– The new English “community fellowship” at 2/F (English) kitchen or 1/F Cantonese Newcomer Room. Other classes in various 2/F classrooms.
– Mandarin Sunday school class in their current 2/F classrooms.
– Cantonese Sunday school class at the 2/F sanctuary.
– Children worship at the 1/F children worship room (“ping-pong room”).
– English/Youth service at the 1/F sanctuary.
The Mandarin and Cantonese plan to hold combined worship on the first Sunday of each month beginning September. On some Sundays, Children may join the early part of the English/Youth service.
The main advantage of this amended proposal is that it simulates the new schedule more completely. While every ministry will relocate when the new building is available, this plan already reflects what is to come. It gives us a lead-time of several months to work out the transition logistics.
I want to emphasize that this is only a proposal. Because the schedule affects every ministry, we want to proceed only when we have a consensus across ministries. In all consensus-building exercises, there are gives and takes. But to highlight the positives, here are some immediate benefits:
– In the poll done several months ago, the Cantonese congregation expressed preferences for an early service, but only in a sanctuary setting.
– Cantonese and Mandarin are having combined service in the summer. This pilot could mean Cantonese worship doesn’t have to move to 11:25 in September, only to move back to an earlier slot when the new building is available.
– It gives English ministry to try out ways to make use the expanded seating capacity. Not only does it mean more immediate opportunity to test run special family-oriented Sundays with children joining, it also enables us to test run ideas of community outreach, joint services with other churches, and hosting of short term local mission teams. All of these are growth ideas that we have been discussing at the English ministry for some time.
There are foreseeable disadvantages and unintentional consequences with any changes. But rather than enumerating all the hypothetical downsides here, it should be emphasized that the main purpose of a pilot test is to find them out. The inputs and comments from everyone are therefore much appreciated. Please take time to think about these proposals and bring forth constructive suggestions!