Why Change? 

Letters from Chris Warner about why we are making changes on Sunday Mornings

You may have read that we are changing the Family Service times to 9:15 at Daniel Island and Sullivan's Island, and inviting children to leave the 9am services to join the children's service. You may also have heard we will not be holding Sunday School as we have in the past. Please read the letters below as Chris explains how these changes will help us fulfill our mission.

 

Pastor's Pen - August 12, 2016

Important Sunday Changes Coming September 11

My wife Catherine recently received the following meme:

We laughed because there is some truth in this. Change often seems difficult for us - even when it’s good change. And yet, the honest person recognizes that we deal with change every day of our lives. Change is critical to a life of growth; without it we become stagnant.

We have some important changes coming that I want to continue communicating. Last Saturday we held a parent’s meeting to discuss these changes. We will have another meeting for interested parents on September 3rd. Over the next couple of weeks in the Pastor’s Pen, I will explain why I believe these changes are critical to us living into our mission of making disciples who make disciples. They’re also an instrumental part of us fulfilling two of our vision points: Equipping parents to disciple their children and growing and empowering life groups. 

Children’s Family Service
On September 11, we will change our Childrens Family Service (CFS) start time at both our Sullivan’s Island and Daniel Island locations. Beginning September 11, those services will begin at 9:15 a.m. Other than the starting time, the CFS will function basically the same for families who currently attend that service.

9 a.m. Contemporary Services
Our 9 a.m. Contemporary services at both locations will also function as normal - though we will begin to invite children from those services - who wish to participate - to be escorted by Parent Shepherds to the Children’s Family service at 9:15 (during the Gospel song). After participating in the CFS, they will be returned to their family during the Peace/Announcements so that they can then participate in Communion.

Sunday School/Breakfast Club/Life Groups
We will not offer Sunday School/Breakfast Club in the traditional format we’ve offered in the past. We will continue to provide Faith Formation through the avenue of Life Groups. We encourage you to join a Life Group for your and your children’s Faith Formation. It is imperative that we equip our parents to shape the spiritual lives of their children.

Whether you attend Holy Cross as a single person, a married person with no kids, a married person with kids, an empty nester, or a retiree, (I think this covers every single person), you are encouraged to belong to a Life Group. We are in the process of developing our Life Groups ministry and will continue to establish groups regularly for the foreseeable future.

For families who desire to be trained in how to disciple your children, we will offer the Visionary Parenting course beginning September 18th. This course will be followed by a Family Life Group training course in which families will learn how to have family worship, how to read the bible together, how to pray, and how to have a life group with other people.

I am excited about this season that God is calling us into. It will require faith as we move forward into His preferred future for us.  I believe we are moving into something extraordinary and our community will surely be blessed in the process.

Blessings!

Chris

Pastor's Pen - August 18, 2016

“When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.Simon answered, ‘Master, weve worked hard all night and havent caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets’” (Luke 5:4-5).

Think about how hard it must have been for Simon Peter to admit failure to Jesus. He was a professional fisherman, and he was good at it. It was how he made his living. But sometimes even the pros fish all night and catch nothing. Thankfully, Peter was willing to yield to the directions Jesus gave him, and, in so doing, he experienced a miracle beyond his wildest dreams. More importantly, he found out who Jesus really is in the process.

I believe Holy Cross is on the verge of experiencing a wonderful move of God’s Spirit. God desires to bring abundance to our “nets” and reveal Himself to us in the process. But this requires that we recognize what is not working effectively and make some shifts to the way we do things. This is especially true regarding our faith formation for children, students and adults. Beginning this fall, we will no longer conduct Sunday School as we’ve traditionally practiced it. Instead, we will begin to implement Life Groups as the primary vehicle for Faith Formation. 

Simply put, Sunday school is not working as well as it once did to create disciples of Jesus Christ who are making disciples of others.

Simply put, Sunday school is not working as well as it once did to create disciples of Jesus Christ who are making disciples of others. By the way, this is no criticism of our Sunday School teachers - they have worked diligently and sacrificially, and I am grateful for their service. However, we are moving into a season in which the Lord is calling our community to go deeper with Him. This cannot be effectively accomplished in 25 minutes a couple of times a month. No, God is calling our people to go deep as His disciples. And God is calling parents to live into the calling He has given them to be the disciplers of their children. My job - and the job of the staff and others - is to equip you in this process.

Children’s Family Service
On September 11, we will change our Childrens Family Service (CFS) start time at both our Sullivan’s Island and Daniel Island locations. Beginning September 11, those services will begin at 9:15 a.m. Other than the starting time, the CFS will function basically the same for families who currently attend that service.

9 a.m. Contemporary Services
Our 9 a.m. Contemporary services at both locations will also function as normal - though we will begin to invite children from those services - who wish to participate - to be escorted by Parent Shepherds to the Children’s Family service at 9:15 (during the Gospel song).

This continues to provide a faith formation opportunity for our children that is overseen by the church, but is geared toward helping parents disciple their children. Children will hear the same scriptures their parents hear but with a message that is geared toward them. At the conclusion of the service, they will receive questions related to the scriptures that they are instructed to talk about with their parents. This provides an opportunity for parents and children to engage with one another over what they heard in church so that it can be applied throughout the week.

After participating in the CFS, the children will be returned to their family during the Peace/Announcements, so that they can then participate in Communion.

Sunday School/Breakfast Club/Life Groups
We will not offer Sunday School/Breakfast Club in the traditional format we’ve offered in the past. We will continue to provide Faith Formation through the avenue of Life Groups. We encourage you to join a Life Group for your (and your children’s) Faith Formation. We are making this change because it is imperative that we equip our parents to shape the spiritual lives of their children.

Whether you attend Holy Cross as a single person, a married person with no kids, a married person with kids, an empty nester, or a retiree (I think this covers every single person), you are encouraged to belong to a Life Group. We are in the process of developing our Life Groups ministry and will continue to establish groups regularly for the foreseeable future.

For families who desire to be trained in how to disciple your children, we will offer the Visionary Parenting course beginning September 18th. This course will be followed by a Family Life Group training course in which families will learn how to have family worship, how to read the bible together, how to pray, and how to have a life group with other people.

All parents are encouraged to join our Next Gen Ministries staff, Jonny Keys & Melissa Bennett, and our Director of Children’s Ministries Sue Cuthbert on Sullivan's Island this Sunday, August 21st or on Daniel Island the following Sunday, August 28th immediately following the 9am service to hear about the year ahead and particularly how Life Groups will fit in with our student and children’s ministries.

I am excited about this season that God is calling us into. It will require faith as we move forward into His preferred future for us. I believe as we listen to the Lord and let down our nets, we will see an extraordinary catch!

Blessings!

Chris

Pastor's Pen - August 25, 2016

“You have just enough time to do God’s will while you’re here on Earth. You’ve been given just enough time to fulfill your purpose. When you try to do more than God planned for you, it’s only natural that you will find yourself constantly out of time or stressed over your schedule.” -Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life

Do you realize that God’s will for you on earth is to make disciples who make disciples of Jesus? This is one of the primary messages of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. God is building a family for eternity and it’s His plan to use every day people (not clergy alone!) to minister to the lost and help people grow to spiritual maturity in Christ. Sadly, many Christians will stand before God and realize that while His grace saved them, they did not live into his purpose for their lives. As your pastor, I don’t want that to be my story, our story, or your story.

The primary biblical model for discipleship is a small group of people. Jesus modeled this for us when he chose 12 people — a small group — with whom he shared life and then empowered to carry on his mission. Thats his methodology for carrying out Gods agenda of making disciples. At Holy Cross we call these Life Groups. A Life Group is typically a gathering of 4 to 12 people that meets weekly in homes to build community and live out the Christian life together. The purpose of Life Groups is to care for each other and grow as disciples of Jesus. Through studying Scripture, praying for each other, sharing life together and serving others, these small groups provide the context to do just this, and to reach out to our communities.  For those interested in becoming part of a Life Group, please email our Life Groups Coordinator, Catherine Warner: Catherine@holycross.net.

Parents and Grandparents - do you realize that God has already placed you in a Life Group?  It’s called a family. God has placed you in the unique position to make disciples of your children. We want to help you learn how to do this - if you’re not doing it already. Join me on Sundays starting September 18th for Visionary Parenting.  For more information go to holycross.net/visionary.

Also, we have some Sunday morning changes happening to help with the disciple shift we’re making. Because of low attendance in recent years and in order to help establish Life Groups and Family Life Groups, we will not offer our traditional Sunday School classes. We will still offer an opportunity for children’s faith formation to occur through our Children’s/Family Service which takes place beginning September 11th at 9:15. Children from our 9am service - who wish to participate - will be escorted by Parent Shepherds to the Children’s Family Service during the sermon time. Kids will receive a message geared toward them while their parents are hearing the same scripture message at the 9am service. We will provide questions for parents to discuss with their children during the week to help you disciple your children and so that you are equipped to speak with your kids about your faith. This will help you incorporate Sunday morning into the rest of your week so that faith is actually applied to real life.

Look for more in the weeks to come!

Blessings, Chris