Highland Park Baptist Church

New Sunday Service Times

June 1, 2014 - 8:45am

Sunday Mornings at HPBC

Sunday, June 1, will be the first Sunday of this new schedule.

8:45am - First Hour Worship
Transition: 9:55 - 10:10am
10:10am - Middle Hour Ministries - ABF, Students, Kid City
Transition: 11:00 - 11:15am
11:15am - Second Hour Worship

Why did the church leadership decide to change the start time of the first service?

It has become clear to us that the essential values we hold for the Sunday morning 10:15am middle hour as a time in the Word, for fellowship, and opportunity for gathered prayer, is not being fully realized. This is the hour that our entire church connects on some level with others in the body, regardless of which worship service is attended. And we value that.

Since the inception of our current Sunday morning schedule, we have been challenged with facilitating the allotted time frame for our Adult ABF's, Students, and Kid City Ministries. This is primarily because transition times between first hour worship, middle hour ministries, and second hour worship are all unrealistic and undefined. It has been difficult to determine actual starting and ending times for middle hour with the first service dismissing at 10:10am and the second service beginning at 11:15am.

As a result, middle hour ministries are currently being squeezed. It is important that we provide for adequate time in the ABF classes for fellowship, prayer, and teaching; and to better identify the time frames for students and children’s ministries for this hour. As long as we have soft starting and ending times we will struggle to get started and also to dismiss on time for the second worship service. By defining the time all classes actually begin and conclude, we also remove the confusion for parents and the schedule for teens/children during this middle hour.

After addressing this challenge many times over these past several years, the only long term solution to consider without sacrificing the priorities of any of the Sunday morning ministries was to add 15 minutes to our morning schedule. The determination had to be made to either start the morning earlier, or extend the morning schedule longer. After much discussion about impact on each of the Sunday morning ministries, we felt the best solution of the two options was to begin the first service at 8:45am.

Was this a hard decision to make?

Yes, because change is difficult, especially when there are those in our church family that are not adversely affected by the challenges of our current middle hour schedule.

Yes, because we want to maintain the ministry priorities of each aspect of the morning - gathering for corporate music & worship, growing through the preaching of the Word, and developing Biblically focused community among the various age groups in our church family - adults, teens, and children.

Yes, because it does add an extra challenge to those serving and preparing for first hour worship and those leading and teaching in our children's ministries during this service. And, we are asking our first service worshippers to come 15 minutes earlier. And we are asking all ABF classes to start at 10:10am.

Why don’t we have the second service start later?

Our priority for each Worship Service is to allow time for 30 minutes of corporate worship, and up to 40 minutes for the preaching of the Word. Starting the second service later would mean a later dismissal, which then puts stress on children's ministry workers, on families with children needing lunch/naps, and makes it more difficult for those participating in our Sunday evening ministries to be back at 6:00pm.

What do we hope the transition times will accomplish?

Planned transitions will make it more realistic to actually start/stop on time; thus allowing for better flow of the entire Sunday morning ministries.

The new schedule plans for transition time between services allows for rest room visits, picking up some coffee, connecting with one another in the atrium cafe, foyer and hallways; and for parents to sign in and get their children to their classrooms.

It will help us better define actual transition times for our children's and student ministries. As starting times are clearly identified, it will be clear to parents when they are to drop off / pick up their children.

Why not just keep things how they are?

We can ... but if we can make this one schedule adjustment, then we can then effectively allow for sufficient and valued time in each ABF for teaching, prayer, and fellowship. We can provide time for necessary transitions, and define realistic starting and stopping times for our middle hour ministries. And, children’s ministry leaders can effectively communicate and manage transition times.

A revised schedule will:

  • better accomplish the values of the middle hour – teaching, prayer, community
  • define realistic start & stop times for all ministries
  • provide for a schedule that includes in-between time for transitions
  • maintain our commitment to Worship and Bible preaching in services