Thursday, April 1, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Second Service?

One of the things that is interesting about the ecclesiastical landscape today is the almost universal absence of a Sunday evening service. Whenever we are on vacation, or out of town for some reason, it is virtually impossible to find a church that has a second service. Now certainly, there are many reasons for this. If you don't see Sunday as the Lord's Day, a day of rest and worship, then you might as well get worship out of the way in the morning (or even Saturday night) so that you can have the rest of the day free to do what you want. But why is it that among so-called "Reformed" churches that the second service has disappeared. Or, if there is a second service, why is attendance so poor? I am thankful that we get anywhere from 75-85% of our people back for the evening service, but in talking with fellow ministers, I've discovered that most Reformed churches (even of the confessional stripe) typically get 20-30% of their people back for the evening service. Some get 40%, but very, very few get more than 50%. Here's the question: Is there a biblical warrant for a second service? Or is that just simply a tradition that has no biblical foundation? I hope to use a post or two to look at this issue, so that we will understand both "why" we have a second service and the importance of the second service.


svandyken said...

One aspect to consider could be the members' understanding of who is calling them to assemble for public worship. If they see it as a decision originating with them, then attendance is optional (how does it fit my schedule/priorities this week?). If, on the other hand, they see that God is calling them -- through His ordained officebearers -- to meet with Him, then attendance becomes a much more pressing matter. It all goes back to the question "What is corporate worship?"

Kevin Efflandt said...

Excellent point. If I am the initiator, then I will come as long as I have time. Once again, our egocentric, individualistic culture rears its ugly head.

Rick said...

In a way you as a minister are battling the common cultural attitudes that say "it is good to do your own thing, you deserve a break on the week end."

Getting past the culture, however,it is our own bad hearts that want to fight with God and rationalize away his commandments. We are big fat lazy spoiled Christians who feed on entertaining ourselves. So, when the Lord says that one whole day in seven is to be holy, sacred and set apart to Him, it just plain goes against the natural man and remaining corruption.
May the Lord help us to call the Sabbath a delight.