This week Mercy Hill is launching a Thursday Night worship experience! Our staff team is excited to provide this opportunity and kick off the weekend on Thursday nights. Thursday Night will be the first service of the weekend. It will have full kids programming and match the Sunday service in every way. Here are a few quick reasons why we are excited to have a worship experience on Thursdays moving forward:
1. Another service means more seats.
Over the last three weeks at Mercy Hill, many of our services have reached over 90% capacity. This is happening at both campuses. As I’ve pointed out before, when a room is that full it sends all types of unintended messages to our first-time guests. A completely full room says, “We weren’t ready for you, we weren’t expecting you, and there is just no room for you here.” That is obviously not the heartbeat of our church! We want to create an environment where people who are new and potentially far from God can comfortably come into our services and feel welcome. The gospel is already offensive so nothing else (e.g. a crazy, crowded room) should be. The fact is, more first-time guests are coming in the morning than at night. Beginning another service in the evening gives our home folks the chance to give up their “primetime” slot on Sunday morning in order that someone new may have a seat.
2. We must record the sermon before Sunday anyway.
Our model of multisite works because we have the ability to play the sermon off-site. The technology enabling playback is twofold: a hard copy and a cloud based live stream. Having two systems in play gives us options at the campus and a backup if one system were to fail. Of the two systems, the cloud based streaming is simple. The hard copy, on the other hand, is tougher because the sermon must be preached beforehand and recorded. The Thursday service then will be our “capture” service moving forward. This service will give us what we need to have hard copies off-site. This will be so much better than what we do now! Right now, we capture the sermon by having a handful of staff come to the Regional Rd. campus on their day off, and I preach the sermon to them. So, if the sermon has to be preached anyway, lets open up seats and capitalize on it for the sake of the mission.
3. Thursdays gives us the opportunity to reach a different crowd.
We just have to face the fact that we live in a society that no longer gives deference to Sundays. When the culture shifts, it is right for the church to shift methods in order to be effective at reaching people. With the shift in culture Christians have two options: we can either complain about how many things happen now on Sundays or we can be missionaries to the culture we are living in. Thursday nights gives us the chance to be mission-minded toward those whose lives are not conducive to needing every Sunday off to connect. Who am I talking about? People whose kids travel to play sports, the restaurant industry, blended families, medical professionals, law enforcement and fire fighters, and the list could go on. We will be better at reaching out to these people having a Thursday night option in the tool bag.
-Andrew Hopper (Lead Pastor)