Lift & Shift  – Say What?

Have you heard?  

Heard what?

Lift & Shift…it’s coming! 

Coming where?  

To BUMC.    

When?  

Starting January 7, 2024.  

Wait…what? And why?  

Ah – an excellent question!  Read on for an explanation as to what Lift & Shift is all about!

In the coming weeks  you’ll be seeing and hearing the term “Lift & Shift.” Look for it on the pre-service slides, in the bulletin, on the website, in the Weekend Update, and anywhere else we can publicize it. You may have already heard the phrase…but what does it mean?  In short, it refers to a change in our Sunday morning schedule that will take effect on January 7, 2024 in which everything in the current schedule will simply be moved up (lifted) one hour earlier (shifted)…hence, “Lift & Shift.” Instead of an 11:00 am worship service, the service will begin at 10:00 am.  Instead of 10:00 am Sunday School, Sunday School will begin at 9:00 am.  Everything we offer now will still be offered – just an hour earlier.

For almost 25 years, we lifted and shifted our worship schedule during the summer months.  The two services normally held at 9:00 am and 11:00 am became one service held at 10:00 am between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  The summer services were always full and energetic.  You could count on hearing someone say, “It’s nice to have a full church” or “It’s nice to see and be with people who go to the other service.”  

The return to the so-called “regular” schedule in the fall was generally (and genuinely) an exciting time as we returned to Sunday School classes, music rehearsals, and among other things, the second service.  But despite the excitement, the return to the fall schedule could also bring a slight sense of lament as the time shifted requiring some church members to arrive earlier, stay later, or both!  At times, particularly after major holidays, it also meant worshiping with a much smaller congregation.

But all of that changed with the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020 – almost 4 years ago!  Literally overnight, we were no longer able to gather in-person for any service – much less the normal two services and forget about any additional programming!  The struggle didn’t end after returning to the building…it was and remains clear that what we had pre-pandemic was gone.  

The decision to have only one service was the first attempt at recapturing what we once had.  It was a compromise on all fronts – traditional music, liturgy, organ, bells, choirs, and praise band with newer and varied music would somehow have to find a way to coexist like never before.  Opinions as to whether we’ve been successful are varied, but in general, the expectations of this single “blended” service have been at least, met, if not exceeded.  

So, what does all of this historical background have to do with Lift and Shift?  Everything! In the midst of the struggle to be the church in the post-pandemic world, a question about our Sunday morning schedule was raised.  No one knows exactly when or by whom.  Most likely, it was several folks in different places and times.  The question itself was whether or not we could serve our congregation and community better by changing the Sunday morning schedule.  To find an answer, we did what churches (especially United Methodist churches) are prone to do; we formed a committee.  The committee consisted of leaders from every aspect of BUMC – worship, Sunday School, music, children & youth, and pastors. We talked – we agreed that there was no perfect solution.  Any change would have definite pros and cons.  Most importantly, EVERYONE – that is, every aspect of the church program would be affected somehow.  

We considered just about every conceivable option including a return to a two-service schedule, but ultimately we decided a Lift & Shift approach was the simplest, least disruptive, and most beneficial option for the current situation and time.  

Here’s what it looks like: the worship service time, Sunday School times and other Program times highlighted for. The full schedule is provided so teachers, musicians, and other volunteers can see how everything fits together, but also as a glimpse behind-the-scenes for all to see.

Starting January 7, 2024

  • 8:00 AM Pre-service meeting, pastors, music director, tech/sound Office
  • 8:30 AM Praise Band warmup/sound check Sanctuary
  • 8:30 AM Children’s Choir (until 9:00) Choir Room
  • 8:45 AM Philosophy, Theology, and Religion (PTR – until 9:35) Room 209
  • 9:00 AM Children’s and Adult Sunday School (Until 9:45) Education Wing
  • Special Music set-up/warmup (e.g handbells, soloist) Sanctuary
  • 9:30 AM Pre-Service Coffee & Fellowship Narthex
  • 9:40 AM Sanctuary Choir Warm-up Sanctuary
  • 9:50 AM Gathering Music & Streaming Begins Sanctuary
  • 9:55 AM Pre-service Opening Music Sanctuary
  • 10:00 AM Worship Sanctuary
  • 10:15 AM Kids With Purpose (until 10:45) Education Wing
  • 11:00 AM After-worship Coffee & Fellowship Narthex

We are not by any means the only church struggling to regroup in the post-pandemic world.  But BUMC is one of fewer and fewer churches with a strong identity, a rich story, a powerful message, and most importantly, a strong sense as to the importance a community of faith plays in the lives of children, youth, and adults.  In short, BUMC has a lot to offer.  It is our hope that this schedule change represents the greatest potential for growth for the time and circumstances in which we find ourselves.  Furthermore, we hope you will continue to support the ministries of this church by your prayers, your presence (especially!), your gifts, and your service.  

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