In 2015 after a long hard summer in our church, we made the regrettable decision to end our regular evening worship service. Part of the reason was that attendance had dropped off to abysmal levels. We had also started a new Wednesday Family Night program, and it was doing well. It was reaching our children who had not come consistently on Sunday nights or even Sunday Mornings. There was also the fact that I was just exhausted.
I have been convicted that we need to return to Sunday evening worship as an aid to our Lord’s day observance. We are already fighting the idea that you only have to come for one or two hours on Sunday. Morning and Evening Lord’s Day worship helps frame the day so we can focus on worship, rest, and fellowship with God and his people.
This decision to restart has been hard work. It is difficult to recover the ground that we gave up in 2015. The world, in many ways, rushed in and filled the void created by the absence of our Sunday evening service. Now it is hard to pull many back in to worship on Sunday night.
It is incredible how far we have fallen as churches regarding this issue. A former pastor of my little mill hill church started a new congregation on the other side of town. Even as a small child, I can remember the scandal of this new church among my family and members of our church. This new church was not going to have an evening worship service. It was shocking. Now in many places, it is surprising to have an evening service.
I am not sure if the lack of evening services is a symptom or a cause of the church’s decline. I know that it is not good either way. We see in Acts 2:42 that the church was devoted to the teaching of scripture, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. If we are devoted and if we are hungry for God’s Word, then why are we not demanding an evening service.
We must be careful of pride in our having decided to worship on the Lord’s day evening. We can wear it like a patch that says we are better than those who do not have a service. Our having an evening service should not flow from our desire to look the part of a truly reformed church. It should come from our hearts longing to be fed by the Word. It is to train us and double our exposure to the Scriptures that shape and mold us, the Word that tears us down and builds us back up.
If your church has an evening service, do you attend it regularly? What reason do you have for not attending it? The people of God are coming together to worship and fellowship. Where else would you want to be?
If your church does not have a service, maybe you should encourage your elders to start a service. Perhaps a solid local church may have an evening service that you can attend if your church is unable to have a service.
I am not going to say this is the secret magic link that will transform your church, but how can more worship, prayer, preaching, and fellowship be a bad thing for the church? How can doubling our time together each Lord’s day not only help us better keep the day for the Lord but help us better exercise the disciplines of the Christian life?