By Not Known
Not many local churches have an evening service, but we do. Over the years, it has provided an alternative worship time-slot to those who might be working on Sundays, who missed their normal morning service for one reason or another, or who simply prefer a quieter service at a different time of day. I remember as a youth in the 1970’s attending ORPC both in the mornings and the evenings as the sermon were different. Today the number of worshipers at our evening service has grown steadily. Two Sundays back I noticed the sanctuary was about two thirds full in the middle and two side sections. We should record the weekly attendances at both our services so that we can track growth. In the 70’s and 80’s we only had a cup of coffee or tea immediately after the evening service; today we have finger food or a simple meal. Many stay back to eat as our services end around dinner time, and this creates a relaxed environment to socialise.
As I thought about how the evening congregation has grown over the years, I thought “Perhaps this may be an OPEN DOOR which the Lord has given to us. Just as there are various activities going on during the morning service or just after, why couldn’t we also have the same for the evening service?” If we had some children eg, we could start a class for that particular age group, and from there more classes could be started as more children attended. Sometimes families do attend but the children sit with the parents in the sanctuary. Why couldn’t we offer a modest Sunday school class? There is already a Small Group which meets at 5pm every fortnight just before the service begins, and there has also been a Discipleship Group at the same time. Why couldn’t we have more groups?
Perhaps we could encourage the start of post-service discussion groups focusing on the sermons after the service while worshipers have their dinner? They could be informal, use our current BFA notes and take say 30-40 minutes. We could also have a monthly social night, doing different things eg, mini-concert, a sing-along session, folk music, line dancing, or a reading group (read a book/article or watch a movie then discuss), organize an outing/concert to attend together or watch a sporting event. We must counter the notion that attending a church service is like seeing a movie – you watch it and then go home. Church is far more. It is about focusing on God certainly, but it is also journeying with one another spiritually. But for that to happen we have to get together first, get to know each other and then be able to minister to each other.
Also, as God brings more and different believers with new gifts, we should encourage them to serve, to use their gifts to bless and grow the congregation. We want to encourage ministry, activity and service, not keep to the “same old same old”. We could consider appointing an Evening Service Team with a designated pastor to think of how to develop it. Let’s pray, talk and see how God leads.