Six Months Later...
It has already been six months since we decided to change our Sunday morning worship schedule. It's always a good idea to revisit decisions that have been made and evaluate if they are working out as hoped.
When the congregational vote was held, some of the primary reasons for making the change were: hopes for improved Adult Bible Study attendance, hopes for improved Sunday School attendance, and a better overall flow for morning worship. Some concerns focused on whether the earlier hour would be less accessible for teens and for elder members of our congregation. How have those hopes and concerns played out?
- Our Adult Bible Study has better attendance than ever, percentage-wise, and the highest attendance in my five and a half years here.
- Our Sunday School numbers saw a slight increase, though Spring sports have started to erode that just a bit.
- Overall flow is difficult to give an objective evaluation, but just a few Sundays ago, I was approached before the service by several people who were facing unexpectedly difficult situations, and the new schedule allowed me to give them my attention without it adversely affecting my service preparation; we had a large turnout for our coffee hour; we then had a nice and well-attended education hour. In other words, it flowed as we hoped it would.
How about the concerns? Teen attendance has shown no evidence of being adversely affected, nor
have we seen a drop in the attendance of our elder members.
In other words, it seems that the decision really was a healthy one for the life of our congregation. So, then... why write about it?
I wanted to praise the congregation as a whole and the congregation's leaders for handling what could have been a divisive question with care and maturity. There were differences of opinion; there were options that would be easier for some and more difficult for others. Throughout the process, both then and now, I have seen nothing but Christian love and genuine concern for the well-being of the church as a whole. I have seen the church strengthened in its mission to bring the Word and Sacrament faithfully to an increasingly-Christless society. I have seen people make personal sacrifices to continue to be fed in worship and education.
And as a pastor, that makes me proud. You have handled the changes exactly the way I or any other pastor would pray for: honestly, maturely, and lovingly. It helps me to be confident that whatever decisions lie in the years ahead, this body of believers will be faithful to our calling to love the Lord and to love one another.
So, thank you, and may God continue to grow you in both grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Hope I see you in worship!
Pastor Rob Morris
About Our Pastor Rob Morris:
Pastor Rob Morris has just celebrated his sixth year with us having moved here to Newtown on New Years Eve 2011. Pastor Rob comes to us having earned both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in S. Hamilton, MA.
Prior to serving at Christ the King, he was a full-time staff member at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Topsfield, MA, focusing on both the youth and worship ministries. In the Fall of 2011, he attended one semester at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Pastor Morris is joyfully married to his high school sweetheart, Christy, and July 2014 marked their 13th wedding anniversary. They have been entrusted with two wonderful boys, Elijah (who turned 11 in March of 2017) and Isaiah (who turned eight in January of 2017). As a family, they love to hike, bike, explore, read, and play music together.
In his free time, Pastor Morris loves reading, playing music (guitar, bass, drums, piano, and a smattering of other instruments), and both road and mountain biking.
Though the journey to serving at Christ the King was not a traditional one, Pastor Morris is excited to serve in such a warm and vibrant congregation. He says, “Christ the King is the perfect name for this ministry, for it is Christ who reigns by grace through his Word and Sacraments. It is also the perfect name because Christ’s reign is extended by the faithful service of his saints here at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Newtown, CT and around the world.”