Do you find yourself in stretches during the summer or other times in the church calendar where it feels like the community calendar is in a bit of a “slump?” Over summers and other holiday seasons, it can be difficult to keep families around and find things to do in your church and community. Roger Howard, as Minister of Worship and Music at Christ Lutheran Church in La Mesa, CA, would recommend trying to put in a few worship nights in during those times where things get slow. Howard and Christ Lutheran in La Mesa have put their worship nights, or Thursday Night Commons as they’re dubbed, into the schedule and found them to be a good way to “keep families around and minister to them in what can be a down time” of the year.
In these Thursday Night Commons worship nights, Christ Lutheran structures a service with more of a “relaxed summer worship” feel, with music led by school and church youth, which is “a good opportunity to incorporate youth and tie in school community [with] great connections for school families to be involved,” according to Roger Howard. The church puts these Thursday Night Commons services on each week, with a meal provided beforehand that then flows into the time of service and worship. The meal beforehand can be as simple as pizza, hot dogs, or sandwiches, just as long as it provides families with an opportunity to not have to cook for an evening. The first Thursday Night Commons starts up right after school gets out, and goes all the way to the end of summer, right before school starts up again. This accounts for summer travel for families by providing an option if they cannot attend on a Sunday or Saturday.
For these worship nights, Christ Lutheran plans them to be “a little more open in service format, with the same sermon being preached that will be given that upcoming Sunday,” and can also incorporate Communion when it matches with the service calendar and if appropriate based on attendance and who is present. Roger Howard and the community of Christ Lutheran Church in La Mesa, CA have found these Thursday Night Commons to be helpful and a good idea for their context, and might be something worth trying in your community during those slumps and slow times in the calendar. Contact Roger Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have or for advice on how something similar could look within your context.