By Carissa Smith and Lainey S. Cronk on April 1, 2008
The first service at the Pacific Union College Church commences with the rich tones of the Rieger organ. Not long ago, this “early service” started at 8:45 and housed a very small congregation, mostly white-haired. Now the first service is called the Majestic and starts at 10 a.m. It is purposeful in presenting a quality traditional service, and is more intergenerational and attended by about four times as many people as before.
These positive changes are part of a larger picture that includes both worship services (the Majestic and the Gathering, which meets just after noon). Led by senior pastor Tim Mitchell, worship and outreach pastor Jessica Shine, and campus chaplain Roy Ice, the church recently began to take a good hard look at the weekly services and the congregational community. Some of the problems they faced were low attendance at the early service, frustration with the blend of elements in the second service, and the need for a sense of community that carries over from week to week.
“We asked ourselves, what does the congregation need?” Shine recounts. Church members filled out surveys; and focus groups made up of people from a wide