The Happy Problem of Growth

The challenge of fitting more people into our services at Highfields
The Happy Problem of Growth

The happy problem of growth

Dave Gobbett | 17:05, 17 September 2021

Sally and I were talking the other day about the need to get some new school uniforms for our children because they are growing so fast and that problem of growth is a good one. It's great to see youngsters growing up but it does require more work to compensate.

Here at Highfields we're really excited that God seems to be growing our church but there are more problems that come with that.

I wanted to give an update about the challenge of fitting more people into our church buildings now that the restrictions are beginning to ease and we're seeing more and more people coming back to services in-person.

Very possibly this next week and the following week we may see scores and scores of students arrive at Highfields, as we know and love them to do so.

So here are three quick pieces of information from the church:

  1. First, we are changing our risk assessment so that rather than there being two seats between group bubbles that book in, we're just going to have one, now that the government says we don't need to have any social distancing at all.  We would rather include the one spacing seat for just a bit longer for people's peace of mind, but it does means that we can fit more people into a service.
    Seating arrangements
  2. Second, we would love to fit all of the church family into our two morning services at 9am and 10:30am. On Monday 13th September after the bookings had opened  by the end of that day about 90 people had booked spaces for the 9 am service and over 200 had booked spaces for the 10:30am service. It is understandable, because the 10:30am service is a more accessible time for lots of us.  However, it is also a concern because when the students arrive for the new term and when people walk into the church building not having booked they're more likely to come to the 10:30am service than the 9am service.

    Therefore, in future weeks we really want to encourage those who have booked the 10 30am to consider booking for the 9am service.

    The new seating arrangement means we can all fit into each of the services, but I’m concerned that when the students arrive, there won't be as much space for them as we would like.  We would never want to ever have to turn people away.

    Of course down the line, we'd love to get to the stage where we can have the children back in the services for the first part of the worship service as well, but for that to happen we really need to level up the attendance distribution between the 9am and 10 30am services.

    Now of course, some people have to come at 10 30am. Those include families with youth aged children who only have a youth program at 10 30am and the leaders of those groups who only serve during that part of Sunday at Highfields.  For everyone else, if you would prayerfully consider going to go to the 9am service, you would get the rest of your day free before the evening service at 6:30pm meaning more space especially for people walking in and for students when they arrive at 10 30am in the next few weeks

  3. Third, frustratingly I’m sure you've seen that last month we've lost about 50 car parking spaces in the area around the church building.  The council have put lots of yellow lines around and extended the restricted parking for local residents, and the local residents have been speaking with us.

    I’m really frustrated by that too but we are where we are and I wanted to give you just a few options for parking:

(1) The first option is maybe you would consider walking or cycling to church.
(2) The second option is maybe you would consider carpooling and linking up with somebody else you know who is travelling from near to where you live and rather than have the two of you parking in different spaces, you could come together and use just one space. If you want to email the church office we'll try to connect you together with other people if you've got spare space in your car or if you like a space with someone else.  A few folks have volunteered to help us with this task.  Just get in touch we'd love to try to help you with that too.
(3) The third option is maybe you could park at the Co-op (2 minute walk) Open in new window.  It is still available to use side for a few months.  Sadly we've been told that it is due to close in a couple of months’ time.  We are praying that a new shopping centre or supermarket would open up there meaning the car park remains available. You'd have one hour for free in the car park at the Co-op and two hours for a pound.  You get that money back if you go into the shop and spend up to £5.  So that's maybe a third option to consider.
(4) A fourth option would be to park along Allensbank Road Open in new window or down by Roath Park Rec Open in new window and walk from there.  It is only a 7-minute Open in new window or 10-minute Open in new window walk and there's lots of free parking in those locations (especially the early part of Sunday).

That is the update from me.  As you can see they're all problems of growth, trying to fit lots of people into a small amount of space.  They are good problems to have praise God!  I know lots of churches that would love to have the problems that we have reflected on today.  They are problems with frustrations but they're also good gifts from God!

We can't wait to welcome many here at Highfields on Sunday mornings and again on Sunday evenings. 

God bless.

Dave

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