Making The SHIFT: Field Notes From a New Church Part II

As a Church Planter, I thought it would be interesting to Pinnacle readers to see how one new church is trying to put into practice the SHIFTS outlined in Mark Tidsworth’s book: SHIFT: Three Big Move For The 21st Century Church. We, at the bridge Presbyterian Church in Leland, NC have used the SHIFT material to create 8 core habits that function like a Rule of Life for disciples at the bridge. Our first core habit is: Disciples at the bridge WORSHIP WEEKLY.

The third SHIFT that Tidsworth discusses in his book, is the SHIFT from Consumer Church to Sacred Partnering. Tidsworth writes: “We desperately, clearly, and emphatically need one another in order to live as sacred disciples of Jesus Christ…This need drives us to a very focused question: What kind of faith community develops invigorated disciples who join in God’s movement in the world?” At the bridge, we believe weekly worship is the cornerstone for developing invigorated disciples.

The biblical basis for our core habit is Jeremiah 19: 13: “When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.” Social science reminds us that we become what we seek and WEEKLY WORHIP is the way we seek and find God. Moreover, we challenge every disciple at the bridge to commit to WEELY WORSHIP because we need God and one another in order to faithfully live out our calling as Christ-followers. Finally, we remind disciples at the bridge that in order to get into the FLOW of the Christian faith, disciples need to discover the weekly rhythm of gathering for worship and scattering on mission.

We underscore the importance of WEEKLY WORSHIP by offering sermon-based small groups. We typically run 5 – 6 sermon-based small groups at the bridge (we also offer other biblically based small groups at the bridge). The small group curriculum corresponds with the scripture and sermon that the pastoral team preaches on. Sermon-based small groups have been shown to increase Sunday worship attendance.

The challenges associated with sustaining the habit of WEEKLY WORSHIP are predictable. Young families have weekend commitments and retired empty-nesters travel to see family and friends. Yet, our commitment to shape a new worshiping community around habits like WEEKLY WORSHIP appear to be bearing fruit.