A few weeks ago, I walked into service at Summit Lake Mary, not quite sure what to expect. Bulletins were handed out at the door, the lights dimmed, and Worship Coordinator, Josh Pearson, began to play just like any other Sunday. Campus Minister, O.J. Aldrich, sat near the front, preparing to give the sermon, and the sound booth was staffed with the lighting and sound volunteers. However, despite all of these familiar happenings, each one was just a little different this week.
The bulletins were accompanied by a basket filled with coloring pages portraying the shepherds and kings we would be learning about. Next to O.J. sat a handful of high school students, Bibles in hand, ready to read the week’s Scripture from stage. In the sound booth, an extra stool had been added for a volunteer’s wife to sit with their young son in tow. As he began to play, Josh looked out to see his son, along with the other children, dancing to the Christmas Carols he played.
This was the Sunday of the Family Friendly Service across all Summit Campuses. At Lake Mary, this special service not only gave a well-earned break to our hard-working Base Camp volunteers, but it brought the campus together in a unique and refreshing way.
The kids weren’t simply “making it through” the service, they were participating in it. They were watching and learning from everyone around them what worship looks like. The church body wasn’t worried about being distracted by dancing and coloring children, they were enjoying how the young members of their church family expressed their excitement at the coming of our Savior. This was our community, every age and life stage, worshiping our Creator together.
I realized that worshiping together was a natural extension of the community I had already known to exist at Lake Mary. To the rest of the congregation, the kids who were dancing in the back of the Sanctuary and the students reading from stage weren’t just the offspring of others who attended the church. These were the junior volunteers who taught preschoolers about Jesus in Base Camp. The baby sitting with his parents in the sound booth had been rocked to sleep in the nursery by the senior couple sitting two rows in front of them. Young couples looked on with pride as the students they had been pouring into during Surge read Scripture from the stage. When a toddler played peek-a-boo over the back of her seat, members of her parent’s Connect group waved back to bashful smiles.
I found myself truly blessed by the Family Friendly Service and the community it celebrated. This was a family, all interconnected in some way, together worshiping the one who made them a family. This was a service friendly for any family who may have walked in that day and friendly to the family God has so beautifully weaved together in Lake Mary.