co::lab & FBC, Monongahela
Over the weekend, Jeff Johnson visited the First Baptist Church of Monongahela, in the southwest corner of our region. FBC has been part of the year long co::lab experience; working on vision to take their church to the next level of impact for Christ in their community.
As part of the community's Light Up Night for the holidays, the church held a live nativity experience in their parking lot. Over 500 people came through! The event was put on pretty much cost free through a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses.
Jeff went to the church, as well, to check out a change they made starting this fall. They flipped their worship service to be the first thing they do on Sunday morning. It is followed by Connection Groups which have replaced the traditional Sunday School and spill over into gatherings held throughout the week in various locations throughout their town. With the change, their worship attendance has increased by 10%, and more people are staying to study the Word than have in the past.
Their worship service is blended with both traditional and contemporary songs. Their praise band is huge with everything from the traditional keyboard, guitar, and drums, but also includes a flutist, full percussion section, as well as a man playing the harmonica. There was even a young man in the church who plays the hammered dulcimer. The various generations in the praise band, from teens to senior saints, was awesome to see.
Oh... and the church uses online giving as a donation option. 10% of their weekly offerings come through this means. This is a church on the move for God!
Mark Schollaert is the pastor; and Ken Kirby, one of our CLI/ACTS grads, is the lay minister in the church.