Every church is going to do things differently. That’s fine. One of the recent trends in church life is to have a single Sunday service rather than two services — a morning service, then a Sunday evening service. Some may lament the loss of an evening meeting, but there are some reasons that a church chooses to go this route. Here are some of those reasons:

Six Reasons a Church Might Not Have an Evening Service

1. To help keep Sunday a day of rest.
For many churchgoers, Sunday is a busy day, possibly even stressful! In order to get out the door to make it to Sunday School at 10am, there’s a lot that has to happen. As far as the preparation goes, it’s much like another day of getting everyone dressed up, packed up, and loaded up and off to church.

In addition to Sunday school and the morning service, many families that are involved in church have choir practice, committee meetings, discipleship group meetings, and other events that crowd into their Sundays. There’s nothing wrong with being busy (within reason) or having a lot of activities in one’s life. There is a problem, however, when we are neglecting God’s mandate to keep his day set apart.

Perhaps unwittingly, we’ve turned Sunday into a busy day of more activity and more commotion, rather than working to make it less busy and more reflective. When you add yet another service to an already full day, you run the risk of making Sunday an exhausting and draining day, rather than a day of spiritual encouragement and soul rest.

That’s why some churches have chosen not to have an evening service.

 

2. To prevent time consuming and costly commutes.
In some settings, the church commute itself is a prohibitive for Sunday evening services. Growing up in metropolitan Seoul, South Korea, our church did not have an evening service for this very reason. It took our family more than an hour on some days to get to the church building. When this trip included taxi rides and multiple subway transfers, it could get pretty expensive (especially for my family of seven). Others who attended our church had a commute of two hours! Clearly, a Sunday evening service — separated by a span of four or five hours — would not be ideal. Our alternative was a meal after the morning service, and an afternoon Bible study.

I’ve known churches that have eliminated Sunday evening services during the winter months due to the dangerous conditions of the roads in the evening. I’ve known families who have spent the afternoons at local parks, restaurants, or driving around town, simply to stay within the vicinity of the church for the evening service.

An evening service presents somewhat of a logistical hurdle for some people. Whether or not the Sunday evening service is a critical part of church life, there are those who just won’t be able to make it. The problem becomes particularly acute in dense urban areas or during seasons of inclement weather. No one is insisting that gathering for church twice in a day should be easy and convenient, but when it becomes dangerous, expensive, or logistically untenable for most attendees, it might be best not to have the evening service.

 

3. To give attendees more opportunity within their community.

One church I attended made a careful move to eliminate their Sunday service, and to emphasize a missional alternative — getting involved in one’s community and with one’s neighbors.

As Christians constantly run the risk of rubbing shoulders with only those like us — other Christians. If we work on our weekdays, spend time with our families on Saturdays, and go to church all day on Sundays then when do we have time for other opportunities with neighbors and building relationships with others? It can be difficult.

Evening services, usually held right around dinner time, preclude neighborly involvement and relationship building on Sunday evenings. Alternative times on Sunday, such as the noon meal, are also difficult for most Christian churchgoers.

The church I mentioned above encouraged us to not simply fritter away our Sunday evenings, but to employ these strategically for ministry, outreach, relationship-building, and living out our faith within our communities.

 

4. To alleviate the burden on the leadership.
There are many pastors whose teaching and leading responsibilities are such that an additional service creates a workload that is nearly impossible to handle. Many pastors easily spend 20 or more hours a week preparing a single sermon. When you add additional services and teaching times to this load — a Sunday school lesson, a midweek Bible study, an evening service — the study and preparation load is just too much.

Some churches are blessed with a lot of pastors who can share this responsibility. But other churches considering the limitations of their leadership choose not to have an evening service.

 

5. To reduce the need for physical meeting space.
When a church meets in a rented office space, a hotel conference room, or school facility, it’s very difficult to hold multiple services in one day. Other times, tight church budgets mean that using the building is expensive. In these cases, churches limit the amount of time that the building is in use.

 

6. To allow truth to sink in.
Preaching is wonderful. It’s a great time to learn, to worship, and to gain a better understanding of God and HIs word. Is it possible, then, to have too much preaching? Probably, yes.

I’ve attended week long Bible conferences, and multi-day teaching conferences. Invariably, I would experience some new insight or spiritual encouragement. But other times, after listening to six sermons in a single day, I found myself exhausted and drained. There’s only so much blessing I can take! Most churches don’t have six times of preaching a day, so we’re not running any big risks there.

One advantage, however, to holding a single Sunday service is that it allows a body of believers to reflect all day on truth that was expounded in that single service. When a pastor spends his week preparing a sermon, there’s probably something there for believers to mediate upon all day long.

 

Conclusion
The evening service is a tradition, not a staple of the faith or a Scriptural mandate. For thousands of churches, holding on to the evening service is the best thing that they can do. There is nothing wrong with this at all!

A church isn’t just about coming to gather. A church is also about going to minister, serve, and spread the good news. Today’s go-go-go mentality has crept into the church, leading us to think that more services, activities, meetings, and fellowships are necessarily holier, better, or more spiritual. Is busier better? No. In some cases, less is more. And this is why some churches choose within their cultures and communities, not to hold an evening service.

Sometimes, a simple model may be more beneficial for churches. Sure, there are advantages to having one more Sunday service, but there are also advantages to not having one.

About The Author

Daniel Threlfall has been writing church ministry articles for more than 10 years. With his background and training (M.A., M.Div.), Daniel is passionate about inspiring pastors and volunteers in their service to the King. Daniel is devoted to his family, nerdy about SEO, and drinks coffee with no cream or sugar. Learn more about Daniel at his blog and twitter.

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