The PROPOSAL: The Coordinating Council together with Dr. Moody propose that Providence expand and strengthen Deeper in these ways: lengthen Deeper to one hour; reschedule Deeper to Wednesday evenings 8-9 pm; structure Deeper to include prayer, testimonial, reports, and conversation, in addition to serious reflection inspired by the sermon (see below); and promote Deeper as the primary weekly gatherings of the congregation. To test the efficacy and impact of this proposal, we suggest this revised approach to Deeper be implemented as a trial for at least six weeks this fall.
The RATIONALE: As split worship (home and sanctuary) appears to be the pattern for the foreseeable future, it is imperative that Providence adjust our traditional Sunday schedule to respond to the present needs of the congregation. Conducting Deeper as a hybrid between home and sanctuary has proved clumsy and increasingly less compelling. Plus, Providence needs more time each week devoted to cultivating conversation and camaraderie among the people of the congregation. Thus, designing Deeper to attract more participation and, at the same time, providing a regular time for things beyond the sermon feedback (mission reports, prayer requests, testimonials, etc.) will help meet some of the pressing needs of the church. In addition, moving Deeper away from Sunday morning will give interested persons time to watch and/or read the Sunday sermon (published in video form each Sunday on the church FB page (and soon, the website) and published in print Monday on the website) prior to Deeper on Wednesday evening.
The PROGRAM: The expanded and strengthened Deeper might consist of four parts. One, for five minutes, a Call to Community will consist of the lighting of the candles (in every place where someone is participating), a standard and scripted invocation, a reading of scripture, and a brief prayer. The next thirty minutes will be devoted to a Community in Conversation, principally about the scripture and sermon the previous Sunday. For the next twenty minutes, Concerns of the Community will be a moderated sharing of prayer requests, announcements, reports, and testimonies. Finally, five minutes will be given to Commission of the Community, consisting of a scripture reading, a benediction, a standard and scripted text of commissioning, and the extinguishing of the candles.
The Outcomes: It is hoped that this fresh approach to Deeper will increase participation, cultivate a better flow of information, provide needed time for testimonials and sharing of concerns, and deepen the reflection on the preaching and teaching from Sunday worship.