In our structure here at CapCity we have a simple 4-step plan to help people move through their journey with Christ. That journey starts for most people at one of our worship experiences. We call this the “Plug In” step.
We work very hard to structure our Sunday experience to achieve our set goals:
- Honor the time of those who attend
- Boldly proclaim God’s truth from scripture
- Give opportunity to worship God in a unified way with other believers
- Present every person with a next step in their journey with Christ
- Ensure every person in attendance feels welcome
- Do everything as best as we are capable for God’s glory
With these in mind, here is our current order that we use on Sunday mornings followed by some explanation of why we do it this way:
- 5 minute pre-service countdown
- Song #1
- Song #2
- Announcements/special elements
- Information Video (played during the offering collection)
- Song #3
- Song #4
- Song #5
This order is not random or something we picked up at a conference. We have been tweaking our order for the last few years as we continually evaluate what we do against our goals and vision. Other churches do things differently than we do and that is great. The Kingdom of God is diverse and wonderful and not meant for us to be cookie cutters putting out the same thing all the time. This is not saying that this way is “right” and others are wrong. This is just the way we do it and why we have chosen this way.
We know that on any given Sunday there is someone here who does not yet know Jesus personally. We are also aware that there are people in attendance that it is their first time at CapCity, if not their first time in a church like ours for a Sunday service. This knowledge guides us to make sure that we explain what is happening and use as little insider lingo as possible. It means we repeat some things weekly, but that informs guests and helps everyone to be on the same page.
It was a very intentional decision that was made to use the term “guest” instead of “visitor.” The term “guest” is the one we use for someone coming to our home. It is personal. There is connection and relationship there. Visitor is someone who goes to a national park or a museum. That term is impersonal, corporate. Just like we prepare for and consider a guest that comes into our home, at CapCity we keep the guest in mind in our planning, our wording, and our approach on Sundays.
Sunday morning has two main purposes:
- to know Christ… this is for everyone, wherever they are in their spiritual journey, to take one step closer in understanding of God.
- … to make Him known… to lead those who have not yet begun a journey with Christ to do so.
Both of these center around what makes church services unique among all other human gatherings, the preaching from God’s Word. It is the main reason we gather in the form that we do. There are other purposes; fellowship, synergy, worship. But, it is the proclamation of Biblical truth that God uses to change lives. We have chosen to limit the preliminaries and get to the main thing a little sooner. Too often, the sermon gets rushed or cut short, because other things took too much time. This order helps us give more priority and freedom to the message.
As we look around at culture and the community in which we are located, there are some things to be aware of in regards to how we do some of what we do. One of those is how we use music. Music is important in society. Yet, participatory music is used to highlight and enhance, not as a stand alone thing in the culture at large. Guests are not accustomed to standing for an extended time of singing. Besides, they don’t know the songs and are often not at a place spiritually to worship.
However, musical worship is important and meaningful and we don’t want to lose or diminish that at all. We use music in the early part of our service to help people transition into being at church and to get ready to receive from God. It also helps us get people into the room and engaged in what is happening. We have put the longer more contemplative songs at the end very intentionally. We want to give each person time to let what they just heard spoken in the message and what the Holy Spirit may be speaking to them take root in their heart and move them into that next step with God. This also gives time for people to respond to the message and for prayer to take place with those who want without feeling rushed at all.
By using this current format, we are finding more freedom in music and in response to God after the message. For those that would rather not stand and sing or need to slip out, they can do so more easily as everyone is standing and the lights are off and the band is playing.
Bottom line is in everything we do on Sundays we try to consider our guests and what we can do or not do in order that they can most effectively encounter God. That is what the Plug In experience is about as we strive to know Christ and make Him known.