#LetWorshipLead is a movement God has started at FBS. Logistically, it is a re-gathering of our worship schedule for Sunday—but spiritually the call runs much deeper. The Lord has called our church to a season of obedience, as well as a personal period of fasting, and a re-commitment to personal and corporate evangelism. Below are a few frequently asked questions about the movement.
A Season of Obedience and Renewed Passion
As Dr. Wilton says, “we can’t wait until we are in the ditch to change course;” we must look ahead at where we will be down the road, and make course corrections to ensure we arrive at the destination God is directing. As Dr. Don and our church leadership have been praying and seeking vision from the Lord concerning the future of our church, there has been a renewed commitment to the five core values of First Spartanburg, which are: Absolute Truth, Intentional Unity, Redemptive passion, Dependent Prayer and Generational Potential—In particular, there is a renewed commitment to Redemptive Passion. We are called to reach Spartanburg and beyond for Christ!
This has led to two key immediate initiatives: unity and growth. In this season, Dr. Wilton is calling us together with unity in 2 services on the main campus at 9:30 and 11:00 AM as we seek the Master’s Plan to Grow First Spartanburg. Though there is still much unknown, God has spoken clearly to our pastor and church leadership to gather in this special way. We are responding in obedience to God’s direction in this season.
Shifting Genesis to a Larger Venue for a Time
Though the initial draw of the Genesis service for many has been The Hangar building, the choice move into the sanctuary is a practical one based on size of gathering space. Having worshiped in many different styles and worship venues, First Spartanburg has never let a building limit what God is doing in our church. Dr. Wilton asked us all, “if God called us to meet out under a tree in the park, would we do it?” Yes, we would! The sanctuary is the right place for this season of gathering together, but we are not gathering just to huddle as believers; God is calling us to gather—and then scatter—every week to reach our world. The Hangar, now 14 years old, is not being decommissioned or cast aside; it is still our very active Youth Center and can be used for Worship Sunday morning if the Lord leads us to that use again in the future. Remembering God’s command to us to reach the world around us, we will be moving forward with a master plan that must consider all of the facilities God has given to us. We have to seek the Lord’s direction on how best to utilize, upgrade, or even remodel them to create environments where lost people will feel welcome to gather and encounter the Living God—and the exciting news is, no one at FBS knows what that will look like yet!
The Celebration Service You Love, the Genesis You’ve Never Seen
As we transition all of our worship services to the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings, the need for distinct and unique worship environments is very evident. The Celebration Service will continue to grow and utilize all we can to celebrate Jesus in worship while remaining very consistent with what we experience now. After Celebration Service has ended, teams of volunteers will quickly transform the Sanctuary stage into a next generation worship environment. If you have been to our contemporary services in the Sanctuary at Christmas or one of Jarod’s CD release nights of worship, then you have gotten a glimpse of what Genesis will be like in the Sanctuary. We will be utilizing additional lighting and next generation elements to bring a distinctively different look and feel to the 11:00 service. Regardless of the style of worship and the venue, however, the key remains to #LetWorshipLead no matter where we gather and what it looks like.
Continuing the Hangar Coffee House, And Developing Additional Gathering Spaces
The Hangar Coffee House is a great place to bring a lost friend and make connections in a warm, welcoming environment. The Hangar Coffee House will continue to operate, and, in addition to that, we are developing more “Gathering Spaces” for fellowship before and after Life Group and Worship services. Developing community is a very important part of the growth of our church family. As we re-commit ourselves to being a multi-generational church, these shared times will become even more important.
A Shift in Service Times to Address the Shift In Culture
The new times have been researched and determined to be best suited for the largest group of people. Expanding Life Groups from 2 to 3 sessions will help distribute our small group ministry across our buildings that in many areas are out of space. The 8:30 Life Group time was determined to be an ideal start time, and it is primarily for those attending the 9:30 Celebration service.
In student ministry, Life Groups that begin at 9:30 are working wonderfully in many churches across the nation. The 9:30 time has proven to increase Student Life Group participation, and afterwards create a “herd” movement into worship.
The later start will be seen by many as an opportunity to have a later, more relaxed start for breakfast and then work with the same 3-hour maximum investment of time over Life Group and Worship. The Worship services will continue to be 75-minute services—sometimes shorter, sometimes longer—as the Lord leads, but our teams are more committed than ever to make the best use of time on Sunday mornings.
The Classic Worship Style Will Continue At FBS
Though the Classic Service is going to cease in its current state, the Classic worship style will by no means be going away. Wednesday night prayer meetings in the Chapel will continue with corporate worship with our traditional hymnals, and Sunday Nights in Wilton 101 will continue in Classic worship style with hymns and hymn medleys with choir and accompaniment. In addition to that, the Celebration Service will continue to be a blend of Classic and contemporary worship.
An Intentional Plan for Gathering More Intimately In Worship
In this time of gathering we will be more aware than ever of the need to be comfortable, but also closer, in our seating. With a new initiative of welcome team section leaders, we will work tirelessly not only to get everyone in the sanctuary, but to welcome and connect with each guest while making best use of our seating space. We are hoping each service will reach overflow at some point. With that joyful problem in mind, we are amassing a group of core volunteers and families who will be strategically placed and ready to give up their seats for guests before moving to an overflow location.
A Shift in Worship Location, But Not Dress Code
Where many guests and Genesis attenders may feel pressure to wear nicer clothes in a more traditional worship venue, our church has been consistently pursuing the call to be a “place where everyone can invite anyone to encounter the living one.” Coat and tie, or t-shirt? Let’s relieve some pressure—Dress the way you like to dress. To many, the outward expression of casual dress is a reminder to “come as you are” to the Lord in worship as well as a means to help guests in casual clothes feel more comfortable. Others approach worship by wearing their Sunday best as a way of honoring the Lord. You’ll see everything from nice suits to t-shirts and shorts at FBS, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Dress up if you like, but don’t feel pressured to look a certain way before you enter worship. The Lord Jesus was a homeless man (Matt 8:20), and most likely didn’t have a closet of nice suits!
A Revamped Plan for Parking
Parking is always a concern with a downtown church and we are continually making adjustments to best serve our guests and members with convenient parking. The newly expanding teams in the streets and parking lots are more committed than ever to allow the transition to go smoothly. We are also excited about the “being in the same building for worship” concept for children and parents and are making adjustments to help families know the best entrances to use for their life stage.
Share What the Lord Has Put on Your Heart
Our church has always been open to the Lord speaking through its people. All of the ministerial staff welcome input and prefer a call or visit to talk things through, but if you prefer email, firstname.lastname@example.org goes to the media department and they deliver all input to the departments referenced. In the process of our countdown to the August 20 Launch, many volunteer teams and small groups have voiced their suggestions, and the plan has been the better for it. Small tweaks have been made since the announcement, but most notable was the shift from the 11:15 start time to 11:00 for the Genesis and Life Group hour. Please don’t hesitate to let leadership know how God is leading you!
Continuing to Broadcast Truth in the Celebration and Genesis Broadcasts
Nothing will change in our broadcast and streaming schedules except the location for Genesis. We will continue broadcasting the message of Jesus, regardless of service or location. Continuing to answer the Lord’s call to First Spartanburg many decades ago, our church continues to reach lost people every day through different broadcast means, whether it is the Sunday morning WSPA broadcast, the Genesis Experience, The Encouraging Word broadcast, or the daily radio sermons and His Radio Z outreach.
Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones
The Let Worship Lead initiative is, first and foremost, a season of obedience and listening to God’s call for our church. Many of us, from regular attenders to volunteers to staff and even Dr. Don, all have questions as to what will happen in our church during this season of regathering and fasting. What we do know is that God has firmly called us as a church, corporately and individually, to be obedient for a season and step outside our comfort zones. For many, the discontinuation of the Classic service is a sacrifice of preference, and they will be adjusting to a new style of worship. For others, the Genesis service in the Hangar is the only form of Sunday worship they have known at FBS, and changing venues to a classic sanctuary is an unusual step forward. For some parents of young children, the change in schedule will be a drastic adjustment between childcare, life groups, serving, and worship times. For all of us, this season of change in how we gather corporately, as well as our individual commitments to fast and pray, will be an interruption to the same old schedule we have come to expect every week. Many times throughout Scripture, God has asked unusual things of normal people in order to cause extraordinary movements, and we are looking to what the Lord will do with our obedience in the face of uncertainty.