1. Worship times:
I arrived at 10am to find a group of people, led by the pastor, including several young adults, engaged in prayer. Jesus said: “My house shall be called a house of prayer”. People don’t come to church to hear announcements about car washes. They come to experience Jesus. They recently transitioned to an “inverted” worship schedule that has tripled their Sabbath School attendance. Their website explains it best:
“Our Riverside mission is best articulated as a movement – we want to move people from our weekly Worship Services to KNOW God through Bible Study, to GROW in God with a Small Group, and to SOW God’s Love by ministering in our community.
Our Goal: Move 300 members from Worship to consistently participating in KnowUniversity (Sabbath School) Bible Study Classes each Sabbath.
To help us reach our goal we launched “THE MOVEMENT” on Sabbath, July 20, 2013. From that Sabbath, until the end of the year, we will have:
10:00-10:30 – Prayer Meeting
10:30-12:00 – Worship
12:00-12:30 – Fellowship (along with refreshments)
12:30-1:20 – KnowUniversity (Sabbath School – adult and children’s Bible Study classes)*.”
The classes were as diverse as the church. You could attend one of more than 10 options, ranging from Sabbath School Quarterly to a marriage enrichment or prophecy class. Other classes on sharing your faith and going deeper in scripture were attractive as well.
2. Youth/Young adult involvement:
They were everywhere. Ushers, worship band, worship leaders, platform participant, Sabbath school teachers, and a significant majority in the congregation. The pastors have intentionally made Riverside a place where young adults feel welcome. One interesting fact, is the over 20 nationalities represented in Riverside Chapel. One new idea they are trying is an internet revival. The day I spoke they were filming the presentations. It will be interesting to see the results from that initiative.
3. Punctuality and excellence in programing:
I believe excellence honors God and inspires people. There were several transitions in the morning that demanded punctuality. Prayer started on time. So did the worship service. So did Sabbath School. A natural flow was evident.
One last note. There is something to be said about the length of tenure of the pastor. Pastor Fordham has been there close to 7 years. You are able to build consistency and rapport with the congregation you are trying to lead after several years. The research points to that fact.
May God continue to bless the ministry of Riverside Chapel and all others who are endearing to reach the ones God misses the most.
Here is the seminar I gave in the afternoon on young adults and church: http://www.slideshare.net/RogerHernandez6/yound-adult-ministry
For the PowerPoint for the sermon in the morning please send me your email.