Whether you are a member or a guest of Rocky Creek, we want to keep you informed during this time of transition in the Fall of 2018. Rocky Creek continues to celebrate spiritual and numerical growth, and the church must provide space for current growth and plan now for continued growth in the future.

As we look forward to our future, here are some helpful pieces of information to keep you informed and equipped.

In order to provide the capacity to make more disciples, Rocky Creek currently needs these three things:

  1. Open Doors,
  2. Empty Chairs, &
  3. Willing Hearts.

Let’s unpack what these entail and what it possibly means for you.

Download – Fall Forward

OPEN DOORS

Our current building renovation project intends to increase capacity and flexibility to disciple more people. We are landlocked outside and crammed inside. This 4-phase project seeks to work within these restrictions and get creative with how to accommodate current and future growth.

  • In April 2017, we added the 9:00 worship service and 10:30 groups.
  • In August 2017, we added Sunday and Wednesday evening groups.
  • In April 2018, we added the 10:30 Spanish worship service.
  • In May 2018, we were out of space again at our 10:30 English service and people were walking away without a place to sit.

In our location and within our campus, we only saw a few options:

  1. Close the doors for new people and accept the fact we were out of worship space (but we knew there are more people who need the gospel),
  2. Build a bigger facility (but we knew that would be limited by campus space and it would prove to be expensive for the limited additional space it would actually provide at this time),
  3. Move worship times around (but we knew an earlier hour for worship would actually decrease attendance and segregate generations),
  4. Have a unified discipleship hour (but we knew that our classroom space and preschool space will soon run out, and our children’s gathering space is already at max capacity as they meet at only one hour), or
  5. Get flexible.

We decided to do the best we could with the space we have. We want the worship doors to be open wide! Our sanctuary and multipurpose rooms renovation (Phase 1 & 3) will begin in August and take approximately 3 months to complete. It is more cost-effective and time-efficient to do both projects at once and for us to vacate the areas during the time of construction.

Starting in August 26, we will have English services in the gym at 9:00 and 10:30 AM.

The service times will stay the same but the location will change. The plan is for the construction of Phase 1 and 3 to be finished in December.

Some items to consider:

  • Relocated Classrooms – To accommodate Gospel Groups with mobility issues, some classes will be temporarily relocated. The senior adult groups that meet in the chapel will be moved to the first floor to minimize the amount of stairs and distance between worship and groups.
  • Repositioned Parking – Some of our handicapped parking will need to transition temporarily to accommodate these changes. Some of the neglected parking spaces will now become prime spots. We encourage all those able to park as far away from the gym as possible to allow our guests and elderly to park as close as they can.
  • Rerouted Traffic – How you travel to worship and to your Gospel Groups will change regarding internal traffic patterns. The hallway from the multipurpose room to the other side of the sanctuary will be closed. Doors outside and hallways above and below will still be operational, but consider your best way to navigate during this time.
  • Reassembled Worship – We are grateful to have a space like the gym to worship, but it is a different space visually and acoustically. To avoid as much echo and noise as possible, our services will be simplified during this time.
  • Rescheduled Events – By setting up hundreds of chairs and installing a sound system in the gym, weekly events in the gym will need to be postponed. The staff is working with all groups to help find a temporary place to meet.

EMPTY CHAIRS

Our Gospel Groups at all hours are growing. Some groups have multiplied into additional groups, and some groups are currently running out of space. With limited room to grow more on Sunday mornings, we wanted our schedule to provide flexibility for those currently in groups and for those not in groups yet.

We have asked for groups to volunteer to either split through multiplication and/or consider moving some groups to switch their worship and group times to level the playing fields.

  1. Facilitate Further Growth. If both 9:00 and 10:30 hours have worship and discipleship opportunities for all ages, we can further facilitate growth.
  2. Multiply Meeting Times. For those willing to join a Gospel Group on another day and get the same content on a time other than Sunday morning, it frees them up to serve in an area on Sundays.
  3. Double Sunday Morning Space. By multiplying groups and using rooms twice, we are doubling the amount of people who can join Gospel Groups on Sunday morning at all ages.
  4. Unite All Ages. By providing options at all hours for all ages, we are ensuring that we don’t segregate by age or family situations. This model will provide all morning services to reflect the entirety of our church body.
  5. Reach the Disconnected. We need to provide some empty chairs in our Gospel Groups. Each week, God is sending people our way who need to be discipled and we don’t want to be hindered by classroom space. By multiplying groups, we empty some chairs and provide Gospel Groups with which to connect.

THE NEED TO PRUNE

If the branches from bushes and the limbs from trees grow too much too fast, the base will be unable to carry the weight. Due to the pressure, they will snap. That’s why the discipline of pruning growing things is so important. Unfortunately, after you prune something, it doesn’t always look as good as it did before. A good gardener knows that a temporary eyesore will provide long-lasting growth.

The same is true with us as individuals and as groups. Jesus said it this way, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). Pruning our groups may look unhealthy at first. What once was full is now smaller. But to continue growth, we aren’t taking away, we are simply pruning back.

  • Adults– Would you consider who you could ask to join your group this Fall?
  • Students– We know not seeing all your friends at group can be challenging, but could you bring some new friends along while continuing to develop all relationships at the Storehouse on Wednesday nights when you gather together?
  • Kids– Would you do your part to welcome in our guests to your groups and make sure they have a friend?

WILLING HEARTS

None of this can happen without willing hearts who are eager to see this city changed by the gospel and transformation multiplied through discipleship. Will we be willing to make some adjustments in our efforts to go forward? I have asked these questions of our church in recent months:

  • Do you want to see more people transformed by the gospel?
  • Do you want to see more disciples making disciples?
  • Do you want to see our church continue legitimate Kingdom growth?
  • Do you want all of that to happen without it messing up your schedule?

If we are honest, we all answer “yes” to every single one of those questions. We all want to see lives changed but prefer to do it without our schedules changed. It’s kind of difficult to figure it all out. None of us like change, but these are very good problems to have, and we appreciate your flexibility as we go forward.

While many of you serve in one or many capacities, we have a simple solution to shore up much of our scheduling issues at the church:

Would you find 1 hour to join in worship, connect with a group, and serve in a ministry?

If every person in this church would find the margin for those 3 hours, most of our scheduling issues are remedied.

  1. Decide which hour to worship on Sunday morning.
  2. Commit to either a group or a ministry team on a Sunday morning.
  3. Commit to either a group or a ministry team at another hour during the week.

While we have groups and ministries that meet all throughout the week, most of our opportunities are built around prime time on the church calendar to make it easy for all ages and all family situations. If you look at the chart below, you really have at least 4 options to select 3 priorities. Where will you WORSHIP, DISCIPLE, and SERVE?

We promise we won’t make changes just for changes’ sake. Coming up with this strategy has taken many prayers and many hours thinking through how to lead this church well during this time.

Honestly, we hope this won’t be the last change we have to make. We hope God continues to send people our way to disciple. Let’s keep moving forward!

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.