A couple of years ago, I was reading Arnold Dallimore's excellent biography on the life and ministry of C.H. Spurgeon. He recounted stories of when the London Tabernacle was so packed on a Sunday that there were long queues around the block with hundreds of people trying to get in to hear the message. Spurgeon got into the pulpit and asked everyone who was a member of the Tabernacle to raise their hands. He then asked them to all leave and to go pray in the basement so that visitors could find seats. I don't imagine that the members were all that chuffed, but I do love the evangelistic impulse of hospitality that Spurgeon showed.
The good news is that BBC doesn't have Spurgeon preaching and so we are yet to have thousands of people waiting to get into our gatherings (if you can call that good news). But if you came this last Sunday morning, you will know that it does feel like it at times. Unfortunately we have heard of quite a few stories of people who wanted to join us, but on seeing where they had to park, decided to go home instead. The sad thing about that is that we still had some seats (albeit very few of them) available, but our parking is a major issue.
This coming Sunday, we are expecting record attendance, Lord willing. We are kicking off a new sermon series called "Delta" that I am very excited about, and we are launching our new Next Generation Ministries curriculum. It is going to be a great day. We have already made plans to limit parking congestion. All staff and volunteers who will serve at both AM services are parking at an off-site location and will catch a shuttle bus to BBC. Our volunteers really do continue to amaze me in their willingness to inconvenience themselves so that others can be recipients of the message of the gospel. This will make a big difference but we need your help as well.
Here are a few ways that YOU could really help us to be hospitable to visitors, particularly the next few Sundays:
- Consider coming to the evening service if at all possible. Same sermon, same songs, better vibe and less congestion. If you don't have kids who attend Next Gen, then attending the 18:30 instead of one of the AM services would help us immensely.
- Carpool. We often have families of four managing to arrive in four cars. Arrange a lift with mates and meet for coffee or a meal before or after the service.
- Try alternative transport forms. I know this is a long shot with Joburgers, but why not try bike to the service or maybe even walk if you live close enough?
- Arrive early. The congestion really occurs because everyone is trying to get in at the same time. Come twenty minutes early, and enjoy a cup of coffee and relax before the service gets started.
- Listen to the parkers. The volunteers, who help to get you into a parking bay, are really there to help you. They know the flow of the site and where the best available bays are. Please listen to them as it helps them to manage a good flow onto and off of the property.
Exciting problems to have, hey? We are looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Grace and peace.