Monday, March 24, 2008

Feedback on our Easter service

This Easter Sunday was definitely something different. We worshipped in the auditorium at Johnston Middle School, ostensibly because during our renovation we can only seat around 500 people in the gym, and we wanted more room than that. But truth be told, we (the ministry staff) have wanted for some time to do a worship service someplace other than our church campus. We hoped perhaps some folks who would feel intimidated coming into our big, beautiful worship center might feel more comfortable coming to a service in a non-churchy setting. This renovation simply gave us a good reason to try it out.

As for me, I thought things went exceptionally well. The crowd was not overflowing, but it was too large to seat comfortably in the gym. So, so many people worked hard to make this all happen, including the people who addressed invitation cards to the community (I had a lady sit behind me at the service who came because of those cards), people who stayed here at WBC to keep the nursery, ushers, choir members, sound team, and so many others. All the work really showed, in my opinion.

But I'd love to hear from you about it. What can we learn from this service? What could we have done better? What about this "worked," in your opinion? I look forward to reading your comments.


Anonymous said...

Dear Paster Jeff and ministerial staff:

For me, the Easter service at Johnston was WONDERFUL. I had a beautiful worship experience. I so much appreciate all the staff and non-staff people who worked so hard to make the event seamless. And, I don't forget the many volunteers who gave of their time.

The outreach opportunity was fantastic, yet we experienced the usual great sermon, worshipful music, and warm interaction.

I came away feeling re-filled and refreshed. I am thankful.

Beryl Davis

Anonymous said...

In response to your request for feedback, I want to address everyone involved with the service:
It was wonderful! Really! From the greeters on the corner to the music inside, it was smooth, it was comfortable, it exuded a feeling of JOY that our living Savior had risen! And I love the idea of being in a non "churchy" place for a change, I do believe on this holiest of days it might encourage even just one person who would have hesitated to attend a regular church service. If there was one person there like that, then mission accomplished!

From Martha Aschenbrenner
(can't remember my password....)

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the efforts of everyone to get us there. The service was wonderful. I did not see many visitors from outside the church. The visitors I saw were visiting family members. There was one couple in front of us that do not attend, though the parents do. I hope they will come to the church. I did not see anyone whom I had invited. (:>(

I don't know whether mailouts work. But if we can follow up with some visits, then maybe.


Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Jeff,
I really was blessed by the Easter service at Johnston. I'm a member of First Baptist Church, but since I went to Johnston in the '60's, I decided to visit just to see the school again and visit your church. The music was wonderful, and I liked your message very much--the part about "you ask me how I know he lives" and the way we should show His love. I look forward to returning soon to see your newly-refurbished sanctuary. David Long

David Dennard said...

It was a great Easter experience!

Before the service I was looking at some of the art in the hallway and a mom wandered by with her teenage son, neither of whom I recognized. She was an alumni of Johnston and she was explaining how the buildings had changed and what it was like to go to school there. It was a neat thing to see and made me feel that they were there at least in part because we ventured outside the sanctuary.

Kyle did his usual fantastic job with the music and program.

The next time we do this we might consider changing a few things to make worship more accessible to folks that don't normally darken the doors of a traditional church: skip the offering, use the "group formerly known as Selah" to lead music, advertise our web address and your blog prominently, get the youth visibly involved, encourage the congregation (and staff) to dress casually, etc.

Jeff Berger said...

Thanks for the suggestions, David. Those sound good, and very practical. And thank you all for your comments so far. To David Long, I appreciate you visiting on Easter Sunday. As you know, you are always welcome.

Please keep the comments coming!

Anonymous said...


I was unable to come to JMS. I was in the nursery at WBC. But, to a person, every comment I heard was positive. I only wish we had some type of sign at WBC to indicate where we all were. It looked like we had all been raptured.



Anonymous said...

Dear Visitors and Jeff,

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend Easter, but I'm a student of churches, so to speak, so I would be interested in knowing things about the visitors who respond to this blog. Specifically, what types of services or things in a service they find most conducive (? spelling just doesn't look right)to worship.

It would be helpful to know other things about them, like their age, etc., if they would be so kind as to list the things like this THEY consider relevant. Also, I'd like to know what it was that prompted them to attend this past Sunday, and other times as well.

I'm not a member of Westbury, but I am concerned about church life.

Thanks! This is an interesting thread already.

Anonymous said...

To our Pastor and all staff--First of all, thank you so much for asking for feedback! I truly believe that an open atmosphere for give and take is necessary to encourage others to want to come and be a part of our fellowship and to know the Savior we serve. It sounds like some good suggestions have already been offered but I would encourage us all to continue to think 'creatively'.

thePiks said...

The service Sunday was great! Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it work. I especially want to thank all those who stayed at WBC and kept our kiddos. I agree with Karen. It looked a little strange that there weren't many cars at the Baptist Church on Easter. Maybe a big banner to tell where we are if we do this again. And I hope we do it again! Jeff, your sermon was inspiring as always. We are truly blessed to have you at Westbury.

Anonymous said...

dyiyaA comment on David Dennard's comment:

I think the things he suggested were quite good, and easily doable. I can certainly see how such changes might make "the church experience" less intimidating for some who come to worship with us.

Beryl Davis

Anonymous said...

I was another one who stayed at the Nursey. I would suggest doing 2 things when you have another service outside of Westbury. I agree with Karen that there should be a banner at Westbury. I think we should also add a banner at Johnston Middle School, or wherever we meet, so the community around knows what is going on.

Also might consider going onto KSBJ website and put something on their community events sight, and the community newsletters also.

Anonymous said...

It was a lot of work and a lot of hours. In fact, the last several months have been that way. However, I have learned that we can worship and worship well in a gym. We can worship and worship well off site in a school auditorium. We are blessed with a beautiful sanctuary to use for worship as well.

It is not about the room. Our greatest blessing is that we can worship anywhere.

Great comments and ideas from everyone. Perhaps next time....

Count me in if we want to do it again. It can only get better.

Keith Haggott

Jeff Berger said...

Thanks for all the helpful and encouraging comments. Keith, your attitude inspires me...thanks for all the tireless work you and your team put in. (Of course, I am wise to praise you publicly. As you have said, you can make me sound like a duck anytime you want to!).

I especially appreciate the suggestion about using some banners or signs at the church AND at the off-site location. All good stuff.

Anonymous said...

I am a little late getting my comments in but I agree with all that has been said. The experience in the school was very good. I felt like it was a true worship service. I appreciate everyone that worked so hard to get everything in place to allow it to happen - Kyle, Keith and all the sound guys, the musicians and choir and those who set the music up. Thank you to all.

I am in favor of doing it again when it comes as a natural thing to do. Thank you Jeff for leading us and helping us to see that we need to do as much as we can to reach outside and beyond our church walls.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Easter service was fantastic. Thanks to the staff and volunteers who made it possible and to you for another wonderful message. I am not gifted as an idea person, but I thought the idea of a banner at Johnston was a good idea. I can't say I want a banner in front of the church but it would be nice to somehow let people in our community know when something special is going on, such as, Lovie Smith-Schenk Concert with Steve Adell. That might bring some music lovers in that would not ordinarily attend a church service.

John & Elsie Ann Stolzer said...


What more can we add to the other comments - it was a wonderful service and worshipful experience.

John & Elsie Ann Stolzeer