Jeff and Danielle Black are thinking outside the Sunday morning box when it comes to getting people to come to church.
Jeff, who is the senior pastor at MPNaz, first tried adding Thursday night services for people who work swing shift or who were otherwise unable to make Sunday morning services.
"That didn't work at all; nobody showed up," Jeff said.
Jeff and Danielle went back to the drawing board – or rather, the online message board — and posted a question asking people what kept them from coming to church on Sundays.
"We had a lot of people say, 'we work every Sunday,'" Danielle said.
Others responded that church was boring, exclusive and judgmental.
The Blacks took those responses and decided to start something brand new.
"We've been trying to figure out what the community needs and what they're looking for," Danielle said.
"I kind of started rolling this idea around in my head and I thought, 'I think I want to do a Saturday night service," Jeff said.
To make sure people would attend, they again posted a poll online asking what time would work best for those who didn't — or couldn't — attend church on Sundays. Saturday evenings were the top choice.
The Blacks admitted they were a little surprised that no one argued against holding church services on a different day.
"There's no reason church has to be exactly the way it is, so we're going to be flexible," Danielle said. "What we're teaching won't change, but the way we're teaching might."
"We're going to preach that God is good and Jesus died on the cross for our sins and the only way to heaven is through him," Jeff said.
MPNaz will hold an initial meet up from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 16. The public is invited to share in pizza, music and games and give their input about the new Saturday night services.
"We're inviting people to come hang out at the church and talk about what it would look like," Jeff said.
MPNaz will hold Saturday night services once a month — on March 16, April 20 and May 18 — before scheduling them for every week.
Jeff said they are thinking of starting each Saturday with a meet and greet time, followed by singing a few worship songs, having a community prayer and a short sermon.
"It'll be more of a contemporary service on Saturday night and Sunday morning will be more traditional," Jeff said.
The Blacks expect the Saturday night service to take around 45 minutes.
"Our goal is to form a community," Danielle said.
Danielle noted some people confessed they felt like a failure when they couldn't pay attention to an entire church service and MPNaz is adding ways to keep people focused.
"We're looking into making some adult coloring pages we can have on the tables and Bible notebooks for people to write in and do some more interactive activities," Danielle said.
Jeff chuckled a little when he noted holding church services on Saturday and Sunday means he will work seven days a week, as he is also employed at Viega.
"It makes too much sense to not do it," Jeff said.
MPNaz is also working to remodel its interior to update the sanctuary and classrooms. Danielle said she would like to add times for parent/child support groups to meet during the week. The success of the church's Little Free Pantry — which allows people to donate or take food and other supplies — gives the Blacks encouragement that their church is reaching people in McPherson.
"We're working hard to let everybody know we're here, we're wanting to help and we have stuff going on," Danielle said.
For more information about MPNaz, located at 1455 N. Main St. in McPherson, call 620-241-2675 or visit https://mpnaz.wordpress.com.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MiddleSentinel.