Why are Sunday Evening Services Falling By the Wayside?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by righteousdude2, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. righteousdude2

    righteousdude2
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    Traveling around, as well as seeing information on churches in the area, I have seen more churches dropping Sunday evening services.

    Have you kept them going? And if you have, how is attendance, and what do you do to draw the folks back in the evening? It seems that families are more interested in Sunday Night Football, and when the season is over, they never get back into coming to church!

    Of course, there are other things keeping families at home. I hear things ranging from, "I have to get the kids ready for school and to bed early" to "We are just dog tired come Sunday evening!" Others say that they use the evening for family or extended family events, or because both the husband and wife work, they need time to reflect on the coming week.

    All are legitimate reasons, but it looks like Sunday evenings will soon be going the way of the Edsel, or at least something our grandparents did.

    So if you still have a service, how is attendance? And more importantly, what are you doing to maintain interest? :type:
     
  2. Salty

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    Our church averages about 20-25 each Sunday.

    We ended Sunday night service about 3 years ago when only 2 or 3 showed up.

    Now that I have to be to work on Sunday night, and our pastor died a few weeks ago - doesn't look like we would restart any time soon.

    Many large churches are getting into the home Bible study for small groups.
    (IMHO when a church is getting too big, they need to start another local church)

    Also, there are many families where both parents work - and Family time is at a premium.

    Once I fully retire - I would like to restart the Sunday night service.
     
  3. righteousdude2

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    So sorry about your pastor ...

    That is something to aim for Salty! I always loved Sunday evenings as they were a time to be informal and let your hair down, as well as be creative and do many things you can't always do in the morning!

    I was surprised to read about your pastor. Was he older? will pray for your church. This is a hard time for you folks, and when one weeps we all weep with them! Will pray for you as you begin to look for another shepherd. :tear:
     
  4. Salty

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    He would have turned 51 next week. had a heart murmur - evidently since birth. He leaves his wife and two sons - ages 25 and 15.

    I am the chair of the pulpit committee.

    There is at least one member of the church that would like to see me as pastor - however there is one member of the committee - well she is not too good at being submissive to authority ......

    I am willing to serve - ....
     
  5. PreachTony

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    Salty, I've kept you and your church in my prayers. I hope things go as the Lord intends for you.

    I'll be honest in saying that I would hesitate on making a church member the pastor. It opens the door for lots of internal politics and as a member, you often would already know a lot about the members of the church, which is a definite two-edged sword. In my experience, it is typically best to try to find someone from outside the church, as they would be, essentially, a clean slate coming in.

    That's just me. If you have a burden for it, then perhaps the Lord will work things out for you. I'll be praying either way.
     
  6. PreachTony

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    My church still has Sunday night services, though we have certain Sundays we take off (Christmas night, Father's Day, Mother's Day, Easter night) and we take the last Sunday night of every month off to allow our members to support our sister churches in the area.

    It's been said for a long time that if you want to know who the backbone of a church is, then go to that church on a Sunday night or, even better, go on a Wednesday night. We have Bible study on Wednesday night and a youth study. Both Wednesday and Sunday night we draw about 20-25. Sunday mornings we get between 50-70. Occasionally we'll top 100.
     
  7. RLBosley

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    We have Sunday evening service. it usually is around 50 people or so (Sunday mornings are usually around 200-250). As of yet there is no plans (that i know of) to drop the service, but it has been discussed. I've heard everything from from we HAVE to keep it as is, to we ought to make it into a traditional service or make it into a really contemporary service, etc.

    To increase interest we have started classes (discipleship, teaching, counseling) before the evening service, in the hopes that people will stick around after the class for worship. IMO that's backwards - the number one problem I see with Sunday evening service is that it takes up so much time from the family and for preparing for the week, who is going to take away another 1 1/2 hours for these classes? But we'll see how it goes.

    Ultimately I'm indifferent toward it. Whatever helps make more and better disciples is what we should do, even if it is different from our tradition.
     
    #7 RLBosley, Sep 11, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  8. Bro. James

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    Dust off the sermon: "Behold, I come quickly and My reward is with Me."

    Another: Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things(needs if life) will be added unto you."

    The things at the top of our priority list usually get done.

    Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
  9. JonC

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    What I wonder about is the reasoning behind dropping the service (I certainly understand in Salty's situation). But what of larger churches who have several full time pastors? Is it that those who show up are not "worth it," or simply no one showed up? Some could argue, I suppose, 'family time,' but when I was a child our family time was often centered around church.

    Anyway, part of the reason many (including me) may object is tradition. I know there exists no biblical mandate to hold Sunday evening service. But I do miss it.
     
  10. Greektim

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    Working all week... Sunday is about the only day to be with my family for more than 2-3 hours at night. I love that our church only gathers Sunday morning. No Wed. meeting... no Sun. evening... It's awesome. I get to be w/ my wife and girl all day.

    My question is, why do some here feel it is necessary? Why support a tradition that is not Biblical? If it is not necessary or even needed, then why do it at all? And why rail against those who don't do it.

    Lastly, Sundays are the busiest days for some Christians. They barely have enough time to relax on the weekend. I was jealous of my neighborhood friends who got to play all day Sunday while I was only home 3 hrs in the afternoon (and forced to nap). Enjoy Sunday. Don't make it more work under the guise/banner of religion or worship.
     
    #10 Greektim, Sep 11, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  11. Bro. James

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    Most folk have a religion which conforms to their lifestyle instead of a lifestyle which conforms to their religion.

    There is no real directive as to when, where or how often to ecclesia

    It sure is edifying to be able to meet often with others who look for His Coming any second.

    Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
  12. JonC

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    I doubt most here feel it necessary. While it is not biblically mandated to gather on Wed. it is also not unbiblical to do so. I think that it is reasonable to hold the apostolic church gathered more than Sunday mornings for an hour or so (and obviously the earliest church also went to the temple as well). I do think that it is helpful (for me, this is highly subjective). Wed evening bible study begins with a fellowship dinner and is typically more in depth and less formal (we study for an hour fifteen minutes). Sunday evenings also had a different approach...although we no longer gather on Sunday evenings.

    Part of my opinion is based on the importance that church held when I was growing up. Many of our activities and fellowship were centered around the local church. But times change.
     
  13. Salty

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    One of our area sister churches runs about 1,000 during 3 services on Sat PM and Sun AM.

    I went to the Sunday night service one week - about 30 in attendance.
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    I've never understood Sunday night services.

    Even when growing up in a church that had Sunday night services. They make little sense.

    If there some kind of reward for venturing back out in the twilight to meet with other Christians and hear another sermon? Can we not accomplish the duties of community on Sunday morning? What is accomplished Sunday night that isn't possible Sunday morning?

    We have never had regular Sunday night services. They don't make much sense for us. We'd rather folks spend this time with their families. We ask that our people spend this time with their families. Now, we do, once a quarter, have a core leadership meeting on Sunday evenings but this is not some kind of worship service, it is a meeting.

    We are toying with the idea of expanding our ministry model and offering another worship time at 3:00 or 4:00 on Sunday afternoons, but this will be the normal Sunday morning worship reduplicated.

    Sunday nights aren't effective uses of our time. We can do limited things of them, but nothing regular. They just don't work for us.
     
  15. corndogggy

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    Personally I think it's redundant and unnecessary. If you haven't learned enough for the day after sunday school and normal sunday morning services, you haven't been paying attention.

    It's also wasteful. Why two trips anyway? Just make services twice as long if you're that worried about it. The collective gas money and car maintenance from the congregation could be used to actually help somebody instead of creating smog.

    Also what's the point of passing around the collection plate if the congregation is the same as sunday morning? And people actually give twice? Makes no sense.

    Does anybody really think the preacher has anything mind blowing to say on sunday nights? No, he puts his energy into sunday morning then the evening services are often on autopilot, regurgitating the same tired subjects.

    I just don't see the point unless you have to work on sunday mornings. Those aren't the majority of people showing up on sunday nights though.
     
  16. PreachTony

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    Some of the best services I've been in happened on a Sunday night. Just because the crowd is down doesn't mean the Spirit is down.

    Now, from what I've gathered from other posters, my church operates a bit differently from other churches. If a visiting preacher shows up, my pastor is lust as likely to put that man up as to take the service himself. There is no jealousy of the pulpit. The pastor may come back Sunday night and deliver the message that God had given him that morning.

    Sometimes we schedule church singings for Sunday night, with visiting groups or even visiting churches. It's not unusual for a preacher to get fired up during these services. I've done it myself. We're not showing up with a carved-in-stone order of service that has to be followed.
     
  17. OnlyaSinner

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    The above comes across, to me anyway, as quite negative, though perhaps not by intent. I think JonC's post #12 provides most of the answers.

    We have about half as many on Sunday evening as in the morning, and some are millworkers who have to work on Sunday morning. Our pastor's evening messages are generally on multi-week themes, currently on the fruit of the Spirit, while his morning messages are more varied. While most are expository, more are topical than those in the evening. We also pobably have more presentations by missionaries on Sunday evening than at other times. I can't speak for anywhere else, but at our church the next-to-final paragraph, above, would be totally wrong and dismissive.

    An earlier post lamented those who would rail against churches that don't hold Sunday evening services. Now we see someone railing against those who do. Either position would seem to wish for limits on Christian liberty.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    We have evening services for several reasons. Sunday evening is activity night for our youth. This gives our youth an opportunity to epxerience Christian fellowship while trying to avoid the wrong worldly influences. It is working well we even have some kids who claim to be athiests coming. They know the rules but they respect them but they enjoy the atmosphere and fellowship. One of them has even been inviting other athiests friends to come. This in spite of the fact that all music and or movies must be Christ centered.

    For the adults this is a time of teaching about specific church issues whereas on Sunday Morning the teaching and preaching is ususally focused on walking in Christ and becoming a Christian.

    Wednesday evening services are about true prayer. This is a time for the church to gather and in unity seek the face of God corporately as a church looking for His direction as a church corporately.

    I cannot imagine getting everything done on just a Sunday Morning.
     
  19. JonC

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    It's not about accomplishing "duties" of community or anything else. Our Sunday evenings were informal, often a time of fellowship and worship...sometimes a sermon...but I never viewed it as a "duty." When I attended a larger church as a late teen, Sunday evenings was more focused on youth programs. Was it "rewarding" in some way? Yes, for me it was very rewarding. I enjoyed the time at church with my family and my church family. I never felt that it was a list of duties to be accomplished that somehow didn't get 'done' in the morning service. That said, there is nothing wrong with not having night services (I just don't think evening services should be frowned upon as a waste of time).
     
  20. Salty

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    IF the morning message is 45 minutes - that is 1 1/2 hours of instruction per week. When I took (part-time) college classes - it was a bare minimum of 3 hours per week.

    if you are traveling 50 miles to church - yes that would be stupid.

    Spoken like a true liberal

    Not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together.
     

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