When is it appropriate to cancel church or substitue other activities for church?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by abcgrad94, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    In an effort not to hijack the thread about the superbowl, what is appropriate use of "church time?" I'm talking about Sunday and Wednesday services. Is it ok to cancel services to have a Christmas party? Is it ok to substitute a family movie night in place of evening services? What do you think?

    So far my church has canceled services for the following reasons:
    1. Inclement weather
    2. Pastor was suddenly sick once and we had no one to fill in
    3. A death in the church family and/or funeral services held at the church
    4. Door to door evangelism after meeting for prayer on a Wednesday night

    We did have a Christmas fellowship on a Sunday night, but it included singing and a devotional, so to me that counts as a non-traditional service.
    If your church has canceled services or substituted traditional worship with something else, what was the reason?
     
  2. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Pastor not there..
    YOuth camp starting and most of the church helping in youth camp
    Associational Meetings at other churches.
    Weather..
    Death of a member
    Fellowship event (Anything from church picnic to party) where the church gathers outside the building to fellowship.

    I fall in line with those that think that a healthy church has 5 purposes (yes, it's where RW GOT the purpose driven stuff...but it has been around WAY before RW.. so it was not his idea..)

    Worship
    Evangelism
    Discipleship
    Fellowship
    Ministry

    All 5 should be balanced. so I have no problem cancelling evening services for any of those, because while doing those we are still being a church...
    We should BE the church, not just DO churchy stuff.

    To me, Church parties, picnics, and yes even the super bowl falls under fellowship.
    The church can come together and bond together in fellowship. And that is ONE thing that is missing a lot in churches these days.. we don't see each other except during services.. we should encourage activities to get to know one another. After all, we are brothers and sisters.

    So to answer your question...

    I think it is OK to cancel services (even mornings) in case of emergencies
    and if it is to promote worship, discipleship, evangelism, fellowship, or ministry...

    (One program we did in 2008 was OUTFLOW.. and it suggested not having church in the church building one Sunday morning, but having it at a park that morning, along with a cookout and block party.... While we didn't do this.. I wouldn't have had a problem with it...)

    We need to come out of our buildings and associate with those around us.
     
  3. TomVols

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    I'm not a legalist about non Sun am services. For me, I think only the weather is acceptable there. There are an abundance of folks who can fill in for me at a moment's notice (I realize I've been priviliged there). We sometimes omit a PM service for a dinner, family night, and some churches will cancel services on a holiday evening (or, say, the night before Labor Day or Memorial Day as this impacts so many in our resort community). Once we start making hard and fast rules about something the Scripture has no hard and fast rules about, we get perilously close to idolatry.
     
  4. Marcia

    Marcia
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    We have never closed, even for weather. If the pastor is able to get there, the service takes place. Even with this last big snowfall of 25 inches when most churches around here closed Sunday morning, the pastor was able to get there, as well as about 50 people.

    They had no choir or music so he was able to preach 45 minutes! (He told me about this with a smile)
     
  5. annsni

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    We have only closed for weather. Our pastor has an easy time to get to church since he lives right across the street. He's stated that he'd open the church because some people just want to get there and it's their choice to be there or not. However, if he DOES open church in bad weather, then the staff needs to be there as well and all of us need to travel a number of miles to get to church. He has said that he does not want to be the cause of anyone getting into an accident, ever. So usually once each year we will cancel services due to inclement weather.

    For every other circumstance, we've never cancelled services. Just about a month and a half ago, our senior pastor, who was scheduled to preach, suddenly became ill after the service started. We had an ambulance quietly come to the side door and take him to the hospital and one of our other pastors got up to preach instead. No one knew that he was not the one who was supposed to be preaching! There were 2 other pastors who were also ready to get up to preach as well.

    We've also had deaths in the church family but why would that stop church? We will have the funeral around the services for the living rather than stopping the living for the dead.

    We don't have a Sunday evening service or a Wednesday night service so that does make a difference. Wednesday night are our "Sunday School-type" classes as well as programs for the teens and kids. We HAVE scheduled different sorts of things on these nights like a family game night or something but it works into our schedule and we're not stopping services to do so. If we had services, we'd not pre-empt them with another event.
     
  6. Dale-c

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    There is certainly no mandate on service times.

    We have altered out normal service times for various reasons.
    5 times per year we will have an afternoon service following a dinner at the church rather than our evening service.

    We also had a modified evening service at Christmas time where we sang a lot more than normal and had several readings rather than the normal sermon.

    Changing the service format on certain dates etc is not a problem but substituting the worship service for other things, even good things is a problem.

    Wednesday night is somewhat different in that there is no command at all to meet on wednesday, though I would still be careful about canceling services for the World Series or the NBA finals.
    If you do not have a wednesday service or you want to do those things afterwards then I have no problem with that.

    I think all would agree that weather is a valid reason to cancel a service, though even that should be considered carefully.
     
  7. JohnDeereFan

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    Why can't you have the Christmas party in addition to the church service?

    No. Why can't you do that in addition to the church service?

    Perfectly understandable.

    Things like that happen, but I'd still prefer to get together, if no one was available to preach, to worship together.

    In our case, we have an assistant pastor, a couple of elders, and some young men we're training for ministry who can all preach, so that isn't really an issue for us.

    I think that's well within the scope of the role of the church.

    Sure, but the key word here is "after".

    The only thing we've ever cancelled services for is weather. However, we have a chapel in our church and it's our desire to have someone in their praying for our nation, for our leaders, for our church, for our missionaries, and for the salvation of our family, friends, and neighbors 24/7. In the three years our church has been in existence, there has always been someone in the chapel, even in the recent snowstorm and in some really bad storms.
     
  8. blackbird

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    I was preaching along once on a Sunday nite----getting into it----the weather was bad outside----constant lightning--rolling thunder---and hard rain----getting worse by the minute

    Just then---someonce bursted through the front door yelling "TORNADO HEADED THIS WAY!!! TORNADO HEADED THIS WAY!!!!"--------we canceled PRONTO!!!!
     
  9. abcgrad94

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    Ann, our church is small and so is our community. Often times when a church member dies, the viewing and funeral is held at the church instead of the funeral home. Often this is scheduled in the evening so people who work during the day can attend. If the family wishes to use our church for that purpose, then of course we let them. After all, there is preaching when funerals are held in our church.
     
  10. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    Yes, Blackbird, we've had that happen here. One Wednesday evening just a few minutes before service was to start, we got hit by a tornado. It did damage to our church roof and building and to our parsonage roof and privacy fence. We canceled church and spent the evening moving debris.
     
  11. donnA

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    we live in a rural area, and there haveben times when church was canceled becasue of weather, travel can be dangerous, and if we continued we'd be purposely and stupidly putting people's lives in danger.
    last winther we had an ice storm, everything was covered in inches of ice, many were without electricity, our entire water district had no water for 2 days, just walking outside was dangerous, much less driving on 2 or 3 inches of solid ice. Nope, having church would have caused deaths, no church had worship that Sunday.




    ..................................................................................
    Each church has to use a little wisdom in cases like this.
    Service is usually called off if it's VBS, church picnic or the church going elsewhere, if the associational meeting is to be held there, or other such meetings. Why had church if everyone is going n the church picnic, or the entire church is moving elsewhere for that worship time.
    I guess the pastor could show up anyway and wait for an hour or so, then join his church.
    The church isn't a building, no need in pretending like it is.
     
  12. TomVols

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    Been there and done that. My favorite tornado incident was when I was dealing with a pastor search committe at the church. Met before the tornado and after, since the tornado did no damage to the church. Went in to the meeting with the sun shining...before the night's over, hunkered down in a cellar with 7 strangers.

    Ahh, memories :laugh:
     
  13. TomVols

    TomVols
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  14. ReformedBaptist

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    There are 3 basic reasons an individual should do this:

    1. Deer season.
    2. Turkey Season.
    3. Small game season.

    That is all.
     
  15. Johnv

    Johnv
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    When is it appropriate to cancel church or substitue other activities for church?

    There is no hard fast rule that would not cause one to become legalistic. It is appropriate to cancel church/substitute other activities whenever the church thinks it appropriate for them to do so.
     
  16. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    Which is why we should carry our guns to church, right??:tongue3:
    I think your answer is my favorite! LOL!
     
  17. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    When is it appropriate to cancel church or substitue other activities for church?

    I would say it would depend on who you ask, we all are a little different.
    If one would have ask my father, he would have said don't go at all, have you study and prayer at home. He believed preachers were lazy, he worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week plus he had a farm he worked when he got home, didn't know why preachers didn't work that much but was always asking for help. But if the church building needed a roof, he put it on and paid for it or any other repair. He didn't speak to me for about a year when I went off to seminary. Then when I left the Presbyterian church and joined a Baptist church, it was about two years he didn't speak to me.

    Ask me, I believe if it is a schedule meeting every week, have it, if people don't come, so be it.
     
    #17 Bob Alkire, Jan 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2010
  18. Berean

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  19. Johnv

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    That's an excellent question. Church time is, loosely, the thime when people incoropriate to engage in worship and fellowship concurrently. We have specific customs relating to that (Sunday mornings, about an hour, three hymns and a cloud of dust, etc). But those customs are expressly manmade. Appropriate use of chruch time is whatever the congergation feels is an adequate implimentation of corporately engage in worship and fellowship concurrently.
     
  20. dh1948

    dh1948
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    I have a couple of pastor friends who are adamant about NEVER canceling a Sunday night or Wednesday night service. Both of them claim....in their words...."I don't want my people to get out of the habit of coming to church on Sunday night and Wednesday night." Hmmmmm....

    To each his own.

    Since we don't have Sunday night services, I can only comment on Wednesday nights. We cancel in the event of an impending hurricane; snow (which happens about once every ten years here!); area-wide power failure; Christmas week; New Year's week...that's about it. I wouldn't rule out other possibilities on a case-by-case basis.
     

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