Church Twice on a Sunday? Really!

I guess we might be somewhat unusual as a church. We put a fair degree of emphasis on the goodness of meeting twice on a Sunday. We actually run three services a day – two in the morning, 9.15, 11.15 (same service), and then an evening service at 6pm. And we encourage our folk, where possible, to come to a morning service and the evening service. I know lots of churches have dropped the evening service, and I’m also aware that lots of new church plants are going for just one – often a 4pm service. And I’m really really not criticising that at all. But here’s ten reasons why I’ve come to think that having a couple of services a day might be a good thing.

  1. One more opportunity to pray, praise, feast and fellowship. We put a fair emphasis on teaching – this gives us another opportunity to serve up some spiritual food. We often work through a book of the Bible in the morning, and then we may do something more topical or creative in the evening. By having two services we can have the best of both worlds.
  2.  Shift workers – a fair number of our folk work shifts or have other commitments which might mean, if we only had one service, they wouldn’t make church at all on a Sunday. For some their shift patterns may mean they make church only once or twice a month, which would be a shame right?
  3. Parents of young children. Let’s be honest – having a baby or toddler with you at church tends to mean you struggle to engage with every aspect fully. So we suggest to our young parents they take it in turns for the evening. One parent puts kids to bed and the other can come out and have a bit of space/time out/adult conversation etc. Next week they can swap. Obviously once kids get a bit older everyone can come out. But it’d be quite easy to lose a decade of church engagement through temper-tantrums, emergency toilet trips, tummy bugs etc etc.
  4. Singles. This one may sound a bit controversial, but from some of the singles I’ve spoken with Sunday’s can be a long day – especially if they don’t have specific plans or a lunch invite. An evening service means that those who might otherwise feel isolated have somewhere to go, and some people to see. With the above categories (shift worker, parents, singles) it’d be pretty rough if the rest of us sacked off Sunday evening and left them to it. That wouldn’t be all that edifying, encouraging, or loving to them. So its really important that we all make the effort – to serve others by our presence, as well as getting good stuff out ourselves.
  5. Evangelism. Some folk may have other commitments in the day-time – Sunday sports, family gatherings etc. An evening service gives you another opportunity to invite people along to something.
  6. Hospitality. I think there are a couple of quite different opportunities for hospitality on a Sunday. Lunch is one obvious way. But if you don’t have the space or skills for that could you do something post-evening service – get a group of people round for tea and toast, or go for a drink/coffee/McDonalds (depending on how you feel about ‘sabbath observance’ – let’s not get into that here and now!). ‘Hospitality’ can, I think, take many forms. And an evening gives you a different opportunity.
  7. Training. Think of the opportunity to raise the next generation to love church, the Bible, worship, and family. And think of all the good you’ll be doing them by teaching them to spend time with others. I know this isn’t the primary purpose of church, but, anecdotally, the teens I know who have done this for the last decade or so are some of the most rounded and socially able young adults I know. It’s not nothing!
  8. Habits. For those familiar with Jamie Smith’s work I’ll just leave this here.
  9. Theology – the early church started meeting on the first day of the week as it was resurrection day. It is an opportunity to spend a whole day anticipating resurrection/new creation and doing those sorts of things – praising, enjoying, feasting, listening etc. I know the early church couldn’t do this as most of the people were working – but, if you had the opportunity to give a full day to some new-creation anticipation that would seem a good thing, no?
  10. What else would you be doing? Ok, that’s mischievous – I know lots of people have worthwhile and/or necessary things to be doing. But I also suspect a lot of us might answer the question with, ‘I could be watching Top Gear.’ Is that a better use of your time, or could you get it on iPlayer?

So there’s ten reasons that you (or your church) may wish to value a ‘twice on Sunday’ model of meeting. What else might you add? If you’re unpersuaded then comment below – let’s keep the conversation going.

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10 Replies to “Church Twice on a Sunday? Really!”

  1. Those are 10 excellent reasons for encouraging meeting twice on a Sunday, and not only for the ultra-keen.
    May I offer one (actually three) more?
    Firstly, as the church grows, by the grace of God, and we have the two morning services, it can be easy to never meet the perfectly lovely and very committed folks who attend the ‘other’ morning service. It can very subtly become two parallel churches, and never the twain shall meet, except maybe at coffee & doughnut time between the services.
    However, having an evening service means that folks from both morning services meet together and get to know each other, so it helps us to remain a united whole, not two churches sharing the same leadership.
    As a recipient/participant of this well thought out system, I can say that I have found it extremely helpful during all seasons of life.
    Secondly, , another benefit is that, having a child on the Asperger’s/autistic spectrum, we have found the relatively smaller evening meeting much easier for him to cope with, whereas the sheer numbers of people in the morning meeting/changeover time can feel overwhelming.
    Thirdly, we love the opportunity to have excellent Bible teaching in the mornings, supplemented by still very Biblical but more wider-reaching culturally engaging topics in the evenings.
    It makes us more fully equipped to engage and encourage those around us, wherever God may have placed us on our particular front-line.
    Just some observations from a very thankful sheep 😊😊

  2. Thanks for this.

    Some people say that if the evening service is very different to the morning service (i.e. morning traditional, evening contemporary) then all the young folk will go to the evening service and the older folk go to the morning service. Suggesting they wont worship God together. What is your view on that?

  3. Being in a church that has a communion service ~ 90 minutes of extemporaneous worship followed by a Sunday school/youth bible class followed by a forty five minute bible teaching meeting followed by a half hour prayer meeting preceding an evangelistic meeting followed by an older bible class in a rotation of homes (we do actually get home for lunch and dinner often with hospitality and fellowship) I am somewhat perturbed that people are abandoning even two services as it’s too much commitment. I know service attendance isn’t everything and would never want to make it appear so but this change cant be a good sign surely?

  4. Some good points, but we have 2 and I’d prefer 1 that had more to offer. More study, more prep by the preacher with not having to prep for evening also. Make the one worship full of hymns, praise, and deep spiritual thought (not subscription power points with no richness). An evening fellowship group meeting & devo is good, but don’t misuse Heb 10:25 and try to make Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night a guage of faithfulness. Some of these 10 good reasons don’t apply to our church, so as indicated in the intro paragraph, it’s a situation that should be applied to those churches for whom it works.

  5. I would add that having an evening service also provides more opportunities for future leaders, whether in preaching, leading music, or reading Scripture publicly. Also, those who may serve in nursery or some other ministry on Sunday morning may miss being fed the Word in the morning, so the evening service allows them to feed with their brethren together. Great list though!!

  6. Love this list. I grew up going to two services each Sunday. It was a given in our family. When I moved out as a single woman, that mentality kept me going twice each Sunday even though I had to drive a long distance to do so. The point you made about it serving singles is a very good one. I hadn’t thought about it until you pointed it out, but I now recall how lonely Sunday afternoons and evenings could be as a single person. But evening services brought me to be with other believers, and frequently ended with getting together for something to eat and visit together afterward. Without that, I would have missed out on an awful lot. Am so thankful I got to enjoy that.

    1. I might add, evening services had some of the most memorable sermon messages for me, too. I don’t know if it was because I was so much more awake in the evenings (I worked late evenings in the week and was always tired for morning church), or because our pastor tended to have a different style for the more casual evenings, but 30-some years later, I still think about some of those messages.

  7. I love the idea of a Sunday evening service. But to put into perspective what that means in a small single staff church/church plant, by the time I lock the church building at 2:00 P.M after our Sunday morning service, I’m Usually exhausted having preached and having already put in an 8 hour day on the tail end of a 75 hour week that included counseling, web mastery, admin work, a Wednesday night bible study, as well as 40+ hours of study and prep for Sunday mourning and Wednesday night. And that’s if no one is in the hospital, the couple that cleans the church isn’t out of town, there was no snow to be shoveled and there were no plumbing emergencies. In many places (and it seems that single staff churches far outnumber multi-staff ones these days) Sunday evening services may come at the cost of the health and well being of the Pastor.

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