The Sunday Evening Service
There are a number of good reasons for doing an evening service as well as a morning service, a few of which are included below. I realize that this is not the trend but I am very much convinced that this is one of the areas that the current trend is more about accommodation and compromise than anything else. Everywhere we look in history where God has moved in great ways from the revival under Nehemiah, to Pentecost, to the Reformation, and to the First great awakening in our own country there is a constant—the ordinary means of grace are there in abundance. Our hope for our church and even for our country must include a zeal for worship, a passion for preaching, and a delight in prayer… all in the context of the fellowship that is found in Christ.
Because there is nothing more important for the church than gathering around these ordinary means as we worship and fellowship we have reason for extraordinary hope.
A few of the reasons:
1. It is another opportunity for the whole church to gather around God’s Word for edification and fellowship—a doubling of our time together as a body which by God’s grace may become the means of the development of our corporate identity as Christ’s church as well as a means to our growth as saints.
2. The evening service typically provides a more relaxed time for fellowship before and after worship as well as allows for an opportunity to incorporate some aspects of worship (such as more singing) than the morning service permits.
3. The fellowship time after the evening service around a meal or snacks is a wonderful place to build community. This building of community is a great area of need in the life of the church of our time—members are scattered not only geographically but by busy lives as well. Having a set time where we are able to fellowship around our gathering around the ordinary means of grace is a context of growth. This is the kind of place that love and unity are nourished.
4. The evening service is also a great place to introduce others to the life and ministry of the church. The context of the service and the fellowship is an excellent place to introduce non-Christians to the Christian church and a good place for believers who are looking for a church home to get a good look at who we are and what we believe. Feel free to bring some visitors when you come.
5. Not only will two services allow more preaching time, it allows for a greater balance in the pulpit ministry. It is difficult to deal with both Testaments when preaching is limited to once a week. Two services would allow for the pulpit ministry to include studies of Old and New Testaments at the same time or a mixture of verse by verse teaching along with studies of specific areas of doctrine.
6. Finally, I do think this is a biblical pattern for worship that we see in the Old Testament with the morning and evening services, as well as being the practice of our early Church Fathers, the Reformation fathers, and almost all of the evangelical church until about the last 50 years. I am always a bit suspicious when our culture finds better ways of ordering church life than our Fathers did, especially when that change happens to fit so well with the mindset of our own culture. I fear that the recent changes in the evangelical church in regard to this practice have much to do with interests of lesser value.
In Closing, please pray with us for God’s blessing of both services.