Tale of Two Services

    The leadership team voted
    to transition to two services.

    Quick Facts

    • Our first Sunday with two services will be March 30th.
    • The services times are 9:00 am and 10:45 am.
    • There is full Children’s Ministry at  9:00 am.
    • The 10:45 am services will have Children’s Ministry
      infants through 3 years of age.
    • There will be a 30 min break between services.
      With this time constraint we 
      will need parents to
      pick up kids from their classrooms asap

      after the first service.

    The Process

    After realizing that we were running out of seats and that we were soon going to outgrow the Museum the Interim Leadership Team (ILT) began to look for solutions and pray for wisdom.  The ILT discussed various ways to accommodate our growing body by a possible transition to two services on Sunday mornings.  The ILT presented the possibility of two services at the first Family Meeting of the year and solicited feedback. After the Family Meeting, the ILT presented the possibility to the small groups and solicited feedback.  After the feedback was received, the ILT discussed at length the issues that were raised and prayed through them. The ILT concluded that the best short-term solution would be a move to two services.


    There were some concerns brought up about moving to two services.  Below are a few that we would like to expand upon.

    • People are already overburdened by the high volunteer demand for setup and children’s ministry

      The Lord has blessed Riverside by growing His Church among us and we need individuals to labor with us.  While it is true that many people feel at their max capacity to serve on a Sunday morning, the reality is that we will need more volunteers regardless of moving to two services.  With a move to two services there will be a need for more people to serve, but it will be a smaller commitment.  Instead of having to setup and tear-down, a volunteer would either setup or tear-down.  For now, the Children’s Ministry will be a smaller version, for infants through 3 years of age, during the 10:45 am service and will only need about 4 extra volunteers.

    • What is wrong with how big we are now?

      There is nothing wrong with how big we are now.

    • This feels like a corporate growth strategy.

      Our desire is to see the people of Columbia enter into a relationship with the Risen Lord and connect with His bride, the Church.  Because of this passion, we should want to see growth and be thankful when it happens.  Thankfully, we are not the ones who provide that growth; our growth belongs to the Lord. When a church body experiences quick growth, it may feel less intimate than when the church was first planted.  Because the Lord is adding to our number we need to seek ways to serve them better.  We  have a responsibility to be hospitable and shepherd the people that are coming.  People who come to the Sunday service often feel there are no open seats for them.  We are known for being extremely friendly and welcoming, and more open seats would just make it easier to get to know people and be even more welcoming.

    • Getting up earlier sounds terrible. I barely get there on time now!

      Yes the 9:00 am service will have full Children’s Ministry, so parents with kids will have to be a full hour and 15 minutes earlier.  This was a concern for many parents, especially those with multiple kids.  The decision was made to have the full Children’s Ministry earlier so that kids may be more focused, and regular nap times may not be interrupted.  Also, our goal is to one day offer full scale Children’s Ministry at both services, but we are currently unable to do so.

    Our Situation

    • The Lord is growing Riverside and people can’t find seats.

    • The Lord may bring even more people if we had more space.

    • We don’t have the ability to buy and renovate a building downtown at the present.

    • We have no suitable location to accommodate everyone in one service with our current budget.

    • Messages are usually better the second time around, especially Pastor James’.


    Next Steps

    1. Continue to serve new people the Lord is bringing by having space and welcoming them warmly.

    2. Seek the Lord in prayer as we search out new locations for the future, so we can worship together in one service again.

    2. Continue to develop the new leaders the Lord is bringing to Riverside.

    Future Vision 

    Church planting is part of our DNA. We believe that church planting is a primary means of reaching lost souls, both here in Columbia, and the rest of the world. Because of this firmly held belief, we would like to become a church planting church. In order to do this, we would need to have a critical mass of staff and leaders to support launching church plants in the city as well as a significant basis of members to be able to sustain two churches.  It is our goal as we move forward with finding a new location, that we will return to one worship service.  If the Lord continues to add to our number, then we will be able to plant a church and sustain them both for a season.


    In the meanwhile, we will be going to two services as a short term solution. We are still looking to God to build Riverside as He sees fit. Please continue to pray with us as we journey together and embrace this new chapter for our church family.


    “Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
    Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain.”
    Ps 127:1