I’m long overdue in giving you an update about what happened after we made the changes to our worship schedule just over a year ago. For those of you who don’t recall or came to Pantano after that time, I’ll recap the details. In January of 2017, we cancelled our Saturday night service and added a 1pm service. We added our live online service on Easter 2017. We also expanded our middle school services from one to three services. At first, we moved high school to Sunday evening and that did not work. We ended up losing about half our high school students. We knew this was the most risky of the moves, but the problem is we don’t have enough space at the prime times. So we moved high school to the 1pm Sunday service time instead. Unfortunately, 1pm Sunday is not the most ideal time either and we still don’t have as many HS students in attendance as were able to attend at the original 11am service time.
But here are the overall results of the changes: Since last year at this time (comparing today with this time in 2017) we have increased 28% in our adult attendance, 5% in children’s attendance, 17% in middle school, but with a decline of 49% in high school. Overall our attendance on our campus year to year increased 20% and our giving has increased 5%.
As you can see, it all good news except for our high school ministry and that is not acceptable. First let me express to our families with high school students how sorry I am. We tried to find the best way around our space limitations and our programing options did not work. So, it is necessary that we add space, not only for our high schoolers now, but we now have more middle school students who will be graduating into high school. We are working on plans right now to add a new high school area that will be designed just for their unique needs. That same building will be large enough to move all our offices, which are currently located in three separate buildings into one place and that has lots of benefits. That will free up the office spaces in Towne Hall for more classrooms and allow us to expand Starting Point (which is often full). We’ll be able make our current main office building into a medium-sized venue and chapel. We’ll be able to solve most of our immediate challenges and needs, and we have plans for additional phases if our growth continues.
We are working on the preliminary plans to see what is feasible and to determine the costs. One of our values is being frugal without being cheap. We are looking for the least expensive way to provide a quality facility. Once we have more information and details, I’ll let you know. It is our hope (not a promise yet), to have the facility occupied and used by the time school starts this fall. It is interesting that there have been a few people already that have observed our need to build and they’ve given some generous gifts to help us to do the necessary and preliminary planning.
Please pray with us about this. Pray for God’s clear leading and direction. Pray that we discern God’s wisdom. Pray that we can provide space quickly to accommodate our students. Pray in advance for God’s full provision of the funds needed. Pray that our high school ministry will rebound. We want to continue to reach children, students and adults who are not connected to God or a church and not hinder our ability to reach people as we’ve been experiencing. Thank you for joining in prayer with us over this crucial and significant undertaking.