Pilot Exp Church
In early 2017, I began to meet with Patti Nemazie, who had recently become pastor of a new church in Sarasota, Florida. The church was to become the Sarasota campus of Grace Church out of Cape Coral, Florida. At that time, Patti was beginning to reflect on how Grace Church Sarasota could be a different kind of church that was more experiential in nature, one that seemed to fit how God had uniquely gifted her. We began a conversation on how Southwest Florida Christian Counseling could combine efforts with Grace Church Sarasota in three areas. Those three areas included counseling, retreats and creating an Experiential Church Model. Church services began in March of 2017. We began identifying what components were needed to have an experiential church and then began to develop a team of members who would represent those specialized areas. We began to implement and test what an experiential service might look like every week on a small scale and once a month on a larger scale. What I mean by larger scale is that the whole church service would be experiential versus just small components of it. In addition, the design of the sanctuary was changed to include a coffee shop, high table tops, comfortable couches and tables that could be put up and taken down. The pews were taken out in order to allow for flexibility of the space being used. One of the larger scale events was a communion service that was done experimentally. The feedback we received was very positive. In September of 2017, the church had it's official launch. We continue to build a team that meets weekly to plan the experiential components of the worship service. We are learning as we are moving forward with this new model. We will continue to keep you updated to what is happening at Grace Church Sarasota and also with our current talks with other churches and pastors who are excited about this new movement. Stay tuned!
Grace on the Bay Kayaking is one example of how Grace Church Sarasota is beginning to implement experiential activities as part of the worship experience.