Late last month, we began an experiment with a different way of offering the bulletin in worship. If you were here in October, you may have noticed that we are no longer handing everyone a printed order of service; instead, everyone receives a one-page announcement bulletin with the green attendance sheet tucked inside.
Full bulletins are still available for those who prefer an order of service—some folks like to know what’s coming up as they worship—and first-time visitors will always be given a bulletin, since it’s helpful to someone who’s unfamiliar with our service. Full bulletins are in red covers, and are on the altar straight ahead as you enter the main entrance of the church building. Everyone will continue to receive an announcement folder, which has the day’s cover art, thought for quiet reflection, and a page of announcements to take home.
We have also been experimenting with the way we do attendance. Each week for the last few weeks, we have been posting an update on the NDC Facebook page that says something like: “We’re ready to worship God—are you here?” Instead of using the green attendance form, folks who are comfortable using Facebook can comment on the post to let us—and all your Facebook friends—know that you’re at church.
One benefit of using Facebook to check in to worship is that by using social media, you’re not only letting us know you’re worshipping, you’re letting your whole electronic network know, and it serves as a reminder and an invitation to your wider connections to join us on Sunday morning.
We decided to move in this paper-less (not paperless, yet) direction for a few reasons. One is that we noticed that most regular worshippers were using the order of service and hymn lyrics that are projected on the screens, rather than using the bulletins as we move through worship. Another is that we got several comments from folks about a desire to reduce the amount of paper we distribute in worship, especially with the green attendance sheets. The third reason is that we desire to be good stewards—both of the church’s resources, and of the Earth’s resources.
Being mindful of our resources is an appropriate topic to ponder as we move into November and the time of our annual pledge campaign. This year’s theme, “welcome. grow. serve.” captures in three words the mission and purpose of Niles Discovery Church: to welcome people on all walks of life into our community, to grow in our relationships with God and each other, and to serve our community and the world in the way that Jesus served others through his life and ministry.
By being careful stewards of our resources of time and treasure, we’re freeing up resources that can more directly be used to welcome, grow, and serve. By inviting our wider networks to worship and other church activities, we’re welcoming new people into our vibrant community of faith, where they, too, can grow spiritually and serve others.
I hope you’ll join me in taking the time during this year’s pledge campaign to consider new ways that you can support the mission and ministry of our beloved church community, and make a commitment of generous financial support for the coming fiscal year. We will bring our pledges to worship and dedicate them on Sunday, November 15.