The Death of Sunday Night Services

Basics - Service Times

Every Monday I post one of The Basics. The Basics are simple steps every church can take to grow. They are the same steps that led my church from 87 people in attendance to over 700. These steps have helped my church see hundreds of people saved and baptized in just a few short years. Most of these steps you can take this week without even having a board meeting. These are The Basics.

sunday-night-service

I’m not sure when Sunday Night service died, but I’m glad it did.

That was my first thought as I woke from my Sunday afternoon nap, but that hasn’t always been the case.

For several years I was on the other side of the debate. Churches that cancelled Sunday evening services were shallow, unholy, and had lost their desire for God.

Now I realize they’re just smarter than the rest of us.

When you don’t do Sunday evenings, you can put all your energy and effort into making Sunday mornings great.

And let’s be honest, how many unchurched people are showing up to your church on Sunday evenings anyway? My guess would be almost none.

Sure, you can use that time to pour into the holy rollers, but aren’t they already getting that during Sunday school or small groups? Do they really need to hear another message?

Is it really worth burning out your pastor and volunteers?

What about an alternative? If you really feel like you need two services on Sunday, why not do them both on Sunday morning?

Instead of offering a 11am and 6pm service, what about a 9:30 and 11am service? Now, that makes a lot of sense.

Because here’s what we know, the most likely time someone is going to show up for a church service is between the hours of 9 and 11am on Sunday morning.

By offering two Sunday morning services you will automatically see an increase in attendance. People like options.

There are some mornings people are going to oversleep, no problem you got them covered. Just come to the later service.

Other times, people want to get church in before the game starts, the 9:30 service is perfect for them.

More service times means more opportunities and less excuses.

Here’s a couple of other benefits:

  • The pastor doesn’t have to prepare two sermons, he can preach the same one two different times. This not only makes him better as a speaker, it takes stress off of him, and prolongs his career.
  • When you have two services your volunteers now can serve one service and sit in another. This means your childcare workers aren’t having to miss service when they serve.

I know what some of you are thinking, we can’t do that it would interfere with Sunday school.

I would suggest you quit Sunday school, and offer small groups during the week, but if you insist on Sunday school, offer it during both service times. Who knows maybe you even see Sunday school attendance increase.

But we’re not running hundreds of people. Let me ask you this, how full is your sanctuary on a typical Sunday morning?

Fifty percent? Sixty? More?

If you’re filling your sanctuary to sixty percent capacity, you’re ready to start a second service. If you’re less than fifty percent, you need to remove some chairs or pews until you can get that number to over fifty percent.

Don’t make the same mistake we did, we waited far too long to begin another service. Do it as soon as possible, just don’t do it on Sunday night.

Is your church offering multiple services? Why or why not?

Multiple Choice Marriage

Staying in Love - Part 4

This November my wife and I began a new small group study based on Andy Stanley’s series Staying in Love. Over the next four weeks we’ll be learning practical lessons that will help strengthen marriages.

We’ve already had a tremendous interest in the group at our church, so I thought it would be a good idea to sum up what we’ve been learning each week and share it with a larger audience. This is part four. You can check out part one, two, and three here.

StayinginLove

Multiple Choice Marriage

Every couple has arguments, what you’ll find is couples that stay in love handle these arguments differently than couples who fall out of love.

You see at the center of most of these arguments is a gap between expectations and behaviors.

A wife may expect her husband to be romantic, but that’s far from his behavior. On the other hand, a husband may expect to get sex every night, but his wife may not cooperate.

There’s a gap between what we expect and how our spouse behaves, and what we fill these gaps with will ultimately determine the longevity of our marriage.

Here’s the good news, you get to make the decision in how you fill those gaps.

You can;

Assume the Worst

By assuming the worst, you get to be right. The more we assume the worst, the more right we get to be. It’s a cycle that feeds itself.

However, when our relationship becomes about winning the argument, we’ll quickly discover that we’re losing our marriage. With each victory, we sacrifice the long-term health of the relationship.

Or

Believe the Best

What studies have found is that couples that stay in love always believe the best about each other. They always rate their spouse higher than their spouse would rate themselves.

By doing this, they experience greater love and intimacy.

We all are constantly making this choice, one way or another. We’re either choosing to assume the worst, or to believe the best.

No one wants to disappoint their spouse, but when you continually assume the worst, your spouse will feel like they’ll never get it right. This pushes them further and further away.

When we assume the worst relationships die, but by believing the best relationships thrive.

That’s why the apostle Paul tells us, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Does that describe the love in your relationship? If not, make the decision to change that.

Have you ever been guilty of assuming the worst? What can we do to start believing the best?

The Advantages of Being Narrow-Minded

Why your Church Needs to Become More Laser Focused

Contrary to what you’ve always believed, your church needs to do less not more.

LaserFocused

Rick Warren in The Purpose-Driven Church wrote about a scenario in which a radio station played music to appeal to everyone’s taste. They would play a classical song, then country, then rap, then heavy metal. You get the idea. He came to the same conclusion that I’m sure you did, no one would ever listen to that station.

And yet, that is how so many churches choose to operate.

Churches that try to please everyone, end up pleasing no one.

Why, because their vision is too broad. I realize you want to reach the world, but you have a much better chance of reaching a specific segment of your community. And if each church would focus their strategy and resources on reaching the segment God has called them to reach, the Church could reach the world.

So, where should we start?

  • Narrow your focus. Determine the segment God has called you to reach. For the church I serve, that segment is young families. For you it may be young adults, or elderly, or empty nesters. Look at the community God has placed you in. What demographic is not being reached? How can you align everything you do around reaching this segment of the community?
  • Cut to the core. Determine five things that will be essential to reaching your segment and cut everything else. If you’re trying to reach young families or adults, cut the senior ministry. Likewise if you’re trying to reach the elderly, cut the modern rock worship. You will discover that doing a few things great is way better than doing a lot of things poorly.
  • Raise up leaders. Look for hard workers and strategic thinkers to start investing your time in. As your church grows, you’ll need more leaders to sustain that growth. As you grow leaders you can add more programs and ideas to better accomplish your vision of reaching the segment God has called you to.

Changing how you do church is difficult, and it’s going to take time, so don’t get in a hurry. Focus on the small battles first. Get some wins underneath you and some people alongside you before moving on to bigger battles.

A word of warning, when you begin narrowing your focus, people will leave your church. It will hurt, but it may be a sign that you’re headed in the right direction.

What segment has God called your church to reach? Are you currently doing anything that needs to be cut?