Monthly ‘Early Worship Days’ Service Designed for Seniors

Post a Comment » Written on May 8th, 2008     
Filed under: News
TACOMA, WA (May 8, 2008) – At a time when many churches craft their worship services and programming to reach a younger audience, Praise Covenant Church here has been holding a special service once a month for seniors.

“Saints who have attended church most of their lives hearken back to the grand old hymns,” says Doug Stave, pastor to the church’s senior adults. “However, most growing churches fill Sunday morning worship time with praise choruses, because these contemporary songs attract youth and young families today.”

The 500-member church wanted to make sure that the seniors were not forgotten, however, even as it reached a new generation. “We tried hymn sings but drew meager response,” Stave says. “A once-a-month worship time filled the bill.”

The one-hour service celebrated at 11 a.m. on the first Thursday of each month – and called First Thursday for obvious reasons – has a simple format and resembles the worship time seniors recall occurring on Sunday mornings when growing up, Stave says. Lay leaders call the people to worship, lead several rousing old hymns and gospel songs, offer prayers, announcements, and a hymn story.

Guest musicians share “old greats” from the 1950s and 1960s by writers such as John Peterson, who composed more than 1,000 hymns and songs including, “Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul.” Stave then shares a message.

As many as 75 worshipers gather for a prepared lunch in the church’s fellowship hall following the service. “We have a great crew that always surprises us with their culinary creations,” Stave says.”

The church started the service two years ago and attracts visitors every month, Stave says. “We hope other churches that have a significant number of seniors will hear about First Thursday and try the concept.”

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