The Weekly Epistle 1/11/23

Hi Living Hope,

It was a beautiful moment in the life of our church! This past Sunday filled my heart with such joy and gladness as we shared together in the goodness of God. As close to 190 of us mingled, ate, and worshipped together! It was a highlight for us as a church as we wait in anticipation of what God is going to do in us and through us at Living Hope Lakeport.

“Pastor, can’t we meet in one service every week?” I expected to hear that question, and in fact, did hear it several times. I do get the sentiment. And perhaps there may be reason to do this again. But what about doing one service every week?

Allow me to share the rationale with you around the two-service format that we instituted in April 2018. At that time, it was on a 9-month trial basis and then after that period of time, it was determined there was reasonable justification for staying with the two services.

But this is the “why” behind two services. In line with our mission to make disciples, we want to provide more opportunities for people to engage in the life of our church and come under the hearing of God’s Word. The more choices for a worship service the more likely people will say, “Yes,” to one of them. It increases people’s options. Most people will be able to attend in a weekend as some will catch one of the two services rather than skip church entirely. Church growth stats show that adding a second service should increase attendance by 15% in a period of 4-6 months. We did see that growth back in 2018.

It is about making disciples, not merely growing in attendance. Our desire is to create more space to reach people for Christ. Adding a second service is for people who are not here presently! While we enjoy being together in one service, two services create space for others in our community to join us.

It is an important reminder that when a church is around 70% full, it is full. To put ourselves in the shoes of a newcomer, it is challenging to walk into a church service for the first time. Then to enter a room full of people, leaves that newcomer feeling rather conspicuous. Then if that newcomer has difficulty finding a seat and if that seat is in the front row or in the middle section of an aisle, it can be rather awkward and even painful. They may not return.

This past Sunday, I was told, a newcomer walked in late to the worship service. The greeter warmly welcomed this newcomer and encouraged her to stay, but the comment was made, “I don’t like crowds, I will come back next week.” I hope she returns.

“But pastor, you wouldn’t have to preach twice on Sundays. That must be exhausting.” I appreciate that concern, but honestly, preaching a sermon once for me is like that big Thanksgiving dinner that takes hours to prepare and is gone in 30 minutes (even faster in the Green family growing up). I love feeding the flock twice with what I have prepared.

One last benefit for the two-service format, though this one isn’t always realized. It does allow for volunteers (kids program, nursery) to serve in one service and attend the other. Attend one/serve one!

What thrills me is that behind your question is your desire to be with God’s people. It excites me that you long to be with all your brothers and sisters at Living Hope! We do have something good here and my prayer is that we can share this with more and more people in 2023.

All to God’s glory, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The People Who Know Their God

Isaiah 1:1-9

Link to This Sunday Worship Service


Mark Your Calendars:

“Essentials for Spiritual Growth”

Last chance to sign up for the men’s study led by pastor Brian. It begins Saturday January 21st from 8-9A.M. in the fellowship hall. Please sign up at the ministry counter.

Trajectory Rec:

Trajectory Rec will be taking a break starting December 26th through January 23rd.

Living Hope Kids Sledding Party:

All are invited to go sledding at the Gilford Sledding Hill on January 28th from 1-3pm! Hot chocolate, cider, and snacks will be provided. Bring your own sled!   We will provide directions at a later date.

Cancellation Procedure for Sunday Mornings

In the event of bad weather that would potentially impact services, the following will be taken into consideration: the current weather in Laconia, timing of the weather event, and whether roads, walkways, parking areas will be cleared.  A decision will be made by 7:30 am to cancel one or both of our services.  Living Hope Lakeport will notify of cancellation using the following: WMUR TV*, Church website news feed, Email (weekly epistle list), and Living Hope Lakeport private and public Facebook pages. *(If 1st service is cancelled, it will say “No Early Services”, if both services cancelled, it will say “No Sunday Services” on WMUR) 

Looking Forward to February

On Friday, February 10th from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, Andy Whitman will be giving a presentation about his missions work in the Dominican Republic.  Pizza will be served.  The snow date for this event will be the next Friday, February 17th.  If possible, please sign up on the sheet in the back of the church so that the Global Missions Team can have an estimate of how much pizza to purchase, but last minute walk-ins are welcome!