10 Reasons Why Sunday Night Service is Still ImportantApril 10, 2017
Before I itemize the benefit and blessings of attending the Sunday night worship service, allow me to make some preliminary statements.
- First, the traditional worship hours that we have in our churches cannot be considered as scriptural mandates. No one can honestly or biblically claim that the local churches in Asia Minor held Wednesday night service at 7pm or Bible study at 9:30 on Sundays mornings. To consider these designated hours as non-negotiables is faulty. (Peter and John went into the temple to pray in Acts 2 at the “ninth hour” which was from 2-3pm).
- Second, the body of Christ is the body everywhere, not just within the confines of a building. We are commissioned to go into the world and preach the gospel. When we equate church attendance with the work of the Great Commission we work counter product to the actual call of God. The church is not just somewhere we go, the church is something we are.
- Third, culture has a great influence on the structure of worship times and services. In the early days of the American frontier movement, circuit-riding preachers would go into sparsely-populated areas from week to week. Depending on his schedule and the distance between his circuit, local churches may not have the evening service or would “call off” the fourth or fifth Sundays of the month. Some of the old associational and primitive churches still hold to this practice. In countries around the world where Christianity is illegal, small groups of Christians meet underground or in secret locations where they may only come together a few times a month for security reasons. The designated hours of worship depend largely on culture, laws, tradition, and history.
- Fourth, there are some people who simply cannot make it back to Sunday night worship. Some have physical and health limitations that prevent them from coming. Some have financial limitations. Some have relational limitations. Some have limitations that are never known to others. I am thinking of several scenarios: the man who is doing all he can to provide for his family but his job keeps him strapped; the teenager with unsaved parents who simply refuse to bring them to God’s house; the widow who can barely see in the day time and simply cannot drive during the night; the physically-afflicted who deal with constant pain and cannot leave the sick bed for more than an hour or two at a time.
In summary, I understand, and even accept the fact that Sunday night worship is not the end-all of someone’s spirituality. This post is not about taking an argumentative stand against individuals who do not attend Sunday night or even churches that do not have Sunday night services. Rather, I would like to point out some practical and beneficial reasons why Sunday evening worship is still relevant and beneficial to our generation.
1. It Gives People the Opportunity to Worship Who Cannot be in the Morning Service.
In our church, we have some people who cannot make it to the evening service because of job circumstances; however, we also have some people who cannot make it to the morning service because of job circumstances. If we did not have Sunday evening worship, those who work in the early Sunday morning hours would have no opportunity to worship corporately with their local church
2. It Reminds People that Sunday is the Lord’s Day, not just the Lord’s Morning.
I am not saying that you must be in church for 24 hours on Sunday to observe it as the Lord’s Day, but by “book ending” Sunday with a morning and evening worship service it keeps the believer’s mindset on spiritual matters throughout the day. Again, I am not saying you must be in church to sing hymns, read Scripture, worship, or pray, but doing those things individually at home offer a different experience from doing those things in a corporate environment. The early church in the book of Acts met together on Sunday because of His resurrection. They designated that day as a time to regroup, remember, reflect, and revere the work of Jesus Christ.
3. It Provides Opportunity for Believers to Minister and be Ministered Unto.
The Holy Spirit equips us with spiritual gifts with the intent to exercise those gifts in the congregation of the saints. You have gifts that others need to benefit from, and others have gifts you need to benefit from. For example, if someone has the gift of encouragement and could potentially implement that gift on a Sunday evening service, you would miss that blessing. On the other hand, if you are the one with the gift of encouragement and you fail to attend the worship service, there could be countless opportunities missed to bless the body of Christ.
4. It Teaches Another Generation Faithfulness and Instills a Sense of Commitment.
Sunday night attendance in the past decade has almost died. Many churches no longer have Sunday night services. Churches that still offer Sunday night services report that less than half of their Sunday morning crowd comes back. So here is the question: Is the state of our world getting better because of this decline in attendance? Is the moral compass of America improving because of less worship services? Has there been a sudden spike in spirituality because of the disappearance of Sunday night church? The truth is, attending church in a consistent, faithful and committed manner is a practice your children and grandchildren need in order to survive in this ever-declining world. We are faithful to our jobs, sports, relationships, social gatherings, and civic duties; is church less important than these?
5. It Creates Bonds, Friendships, and Camaraderie Among the Congregation
Most guests and visitors typically check out a church on Sunday mornings. With that being said, Sunday evening worship is usually made up of the “home folks.” It is in the evening service one gets a greater sense and feeling for the true make-up of the church membership. Worshiping together, praying together, learning together, and growing spiritually together naturally creates bonds and ties within the infrastructure of the local assembly. Again, that it not to say that Sunday-morning-only members are not part of the intimate setting of the church, it’s just they miss out on more opportunities to connect with their fellow parishioners, and oftentimes feel alienated from shared experiences.
6. It Gives Additional Time and Space to the Exposition of Scripture, Worship, Prayer, and Growth
I, for one, need church. I need preaching. I need worship. I need prayer. I need to be with God’s people. Statistics show that unsaved people typically attend Sunday morning, therefore most of the messages I preach (not all) in the AM services are evangelistic in nature and plea. I generally preach more practical, in-depth, comprehensive messages on Sunday evening and Wednesday night. Sunday night tends to be more relaxed as well in our worship. For the most part, there seems to be a greater sense of liberty, freedom, and expectation on Sunday evenings. If you are missing those services, you may very well be missing the greatest opportunities to grow in your walk with God.
7. It Serves as a Testimony to the Community
Just about every week we have guests and visitors who attend Sunday night service thanking us for “keeping the doors open” during the evening. If the local convenient store was only open half of the time, it might suggest that the store is struggling on some level. It would also be an “inconvenience” to the community if the “convenient” store was always closed. The church is not a convenient store by any measure; however, when we keep the lights on throughout Sunday, it suggests to the neighboring communities that we are open for business and that they can come inside.
8. It Gives More Opportunity to Proclaim the Gospel and for People to Respond
The gospel is not restricted to worship services, we should be preaching it wherever we go (unto the ends of the world). However, there is much to be said about coming together and hearing a man of God proclaim gospel truth in a corporate setting. I agree, in the book of Acts we find individuals telling individuals about the good news of Christ; however, we also find large groups assembled together under the sound of a preacher’s voice. The church was birthed in this setting on the Day of Pentecost. I will admit, this point is personal for me because I was saved on a Sunday night, and all three of my children were saved on a Sunday night. I thank God the doors were not shut on those Sunday evenings!
9. It Allows Family Time to be Centered Around Spiritual Things
Studies show the number one reason churches have decided to call off Sunday evening services is to give families more time to spend together. I will admit, families need more time together in this fast-paced, ridiculously-busy society. However, my question is: Why does church have to be the item that is cut from the schedule? We refuse to cut out ball practice for family time. We dare not consider take less hours at work to make more time for family. I don’t think we are prepared to cut out the time we spend on electronic devices to make more family time. So, unfortunately, we do away with one of the greatest things we can give our family: time together in God’s House. In my experience, memories have been made, experiences have been shared, and lives have been changed…not away from church, but in the midst of church.
10. It Brings Honor and Glory to Christ
If we have Sunday night service apart from the glory of Christ being centerstage we might as well cancel it. Furthermore, we might as well cancel all services. Paul said, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Sunday night should be included in the “whatsoever” category of our lives. I will go on record and say, if we are only meeting to see each other, we would probably be better off staying at home; but when we meet with the desire and aim to glorify and make much of Christ, we will never give the benediction in disappointment.