Monday, April 18, 2005

3rd Service Thoughts: What about Saturday night?

Earlier posts have mentioned our vision to add a third worship service here at Grace Church, SLO. Several comments have asked about the possibility of a Saturday night service. Here are my thoughts. . . .

I do believe that a Saturday night service is the best pragmatic option from a "market" perspective. As far as I am aware, there are no Saturday night services in SLO proper. I believe this could work and and work quite well. Why not?

A Saturday night service is the worst option for me personally. Every pastor I have talked to who preaches both Saturday and Sunday services says its BRUTAL on family life. With a fourth child on the way, my family must be my number one priority. At the present time, I am not comfortable with having another teaching pastor who preaches Saturday night, while I preach Sundays. My understanding is you are basically creating a church within a church, which eventually leads to problems in the future. I am trying to stay open to this possibility somewhere down the road, if absolutely necessary, but for now I am committed to building and protecting our unity.

(OK, I'll admit it I also am kind of a "Lord's Day" guy. I am not real fond of catering to the convenience of our consumeristic culture. Don't tell anybody.)

So the plan is to do a third service on Sunday. Morning or evening? I'll share my thoughts after I hear some of yours.


Josh Mock said...

Well it seems pretty obvious that doing anything earlier than we already do is probably not a good idea, seeing how first service is generally not nearly as big as second service.

And if you had 3 in the morning, services would most likely have to be shorter, which you may or may not think is a good idea.

An evening service could work well, but I don't know how that would affect family life for you.

Brian Wong said...

Although I am disappointed that we won't be adding a Saturday night service, I do laud you for your recognition that your family comes first. I also agree that having another pastor do a Saturday night service would be divisive. That church within a church concept doesn't jive well with me, especially since Grace really isn't that big compared with some of the multi-thousand member mega churches. If we were that big, I could see the need for a church within a church in order to accomplish a better feeling of intimacy, but since that's not the case, it doesn't make much sense.

I'd vote for the Sunday Evening service for more or less the same reasons I'd vote for a Saturday night service. I think it will help out with the parking. It could potentially be a new ministry/evangelistic opportunity. It would also allow those who were not in town for the weekend to come to the service after their trip.

Although I can't speak from personal experience, I also think that speaking to three straight services might be pretty exhausting. Having that afternoon gap for rest would be nice before hitting the home stretch.

On the other hand, Josh has a point in that it could affect family life since you'd would no longer have a good family evening on Sundays.

Missy Grant said...

Hi Tim - I thought I would take a minute or two and chime in on this one. Here goes....I agree the best option would be saturday evening, but that is not on the table. Thanks for the explanation and one David and I applaud you and Susie for. This is one of those decisions on first glance seems easy to decide until you start thinking about it and the implications of future ministry at Grace.

I would vote for three services in the morning and this is why. You still have the potential of creating church within a church with a Sunday evening service. It may be identical in worship and teaching but it will have a different feel and different attender(s). I to am a "Lord's Day" person and enjoy the multi generational congregation at our morning services. This would change to some degree with a change in service time.

To me it is somewhat of a discipline issue as well. Preparing our hearts for church saturday evening (by choosing our activities carefully) and getting the family up and out the door on Sunday is a priority for us. It's not a matter of works; just who we are in living out the Gospel everyday. It would be easy to sleep in or go out of town and hit an evening service later but that doesn't seem to fit the call on our lives to "seek ye first..." I want my children to experience the blessing on their lives for being good stewards of the Lord's day. Does that mean we only worship and seek him on sunday? No! It is the time we come together for corporate worship, though.

Almost all of the scheduling issues, such as musicians, parking, Adult Bible Fellowship, Children's Ministry can all be worked out in three services in the morning. It will be a draw on your energy but the Lord will provide! It will also be less of a pull on your family this way. I agree that must be a priority. A couple of questions would be where do we go after this decision? As we continue to grow more will need to be added in the future. Would we then add Saturday or Sunday evening or Mid-week? All of what is decided now will impact those decisions later on. A good debate - it is nice to read others thoughts. Good luck to you and the elders as you decide. We are praying for you all. Missy

Helen V. said...

Great decision; no matter what, your family comes first. As for the time of a third service, I would say adding a third morning service is the best option. If you add a Sunday evening service you will be expected to preach a different sermon because many Christians would feel they should return on Sunday evening and would therefore not want to hear the same sermon over. Sunday evening services are also usually quite smaller in numbers because your average person has either work or school Monday morning and usually needs time to rest-up for that. Besides, we shouldn't overlook the fact that the Sabbath is meant for rest.

Three Sunday morning services will encourage more growth because most people still view Sunday morning as the traditional time to attend church services. We came from a church where they had three services at 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. The 8:00 service was always the smallest, but there were still enough people to make a nice service. 9:30 and 11:00 were always full. Most Sunday school classes met at 9:30, giving the option of either attending the 8:00 or 11:00 service on either side. The 9:30 service was always full because it was a convenient time for those who didn't attend Sunday school. Any way, I know there is a lot to consider, but you seem to have your priorities straight. Helen V.

jeff martin said...

Don't mean to sound lazy but I generally echo the comments made by Missy and Pastor Tim and won't waste any more space. I am a Lords Day kind of guy too... The only thing worth mentioning in addition to your stretched family life with the "swing shift" or Saturday evening/Sunday evening services would be the focused energy required to be effective. Suppose you already mentioned this... If you would choose the third service, it would appear back to back would be best and on Sunday. Well that's my "peanut gallery" banter.

Peggy Brown said...

We have been looking for ways to make the college kids feel more a part of the Grace "family". If we had a Saturday evening service I think it would possibly isolate them even more (We at least have a chance to meet them as we pass on Sunday AM.) I wonder if Sunday evening might do the same thing?
Could we use a 3rd AM service on Sunday to encourage an increased participation in Sunday School too?
What a bonus!

Suzette Lyons said...

We are not early morning people, but we would actually get up and go to an earlier service. Given our current situation 8am Church and 9:30 Sunday School/Youth Group would be great. It would enable us to attend Church as a family. Which is something I am missing right now.

Heather Kelley said...

What about just splitting up the services with Sunday School in the middle? That way people could go to first service and then Sunday School, or Sunday School and then second service. That would give you a break in the middle to either visit Sunday School classes, or to just rest your voice and study. That also means you aren't preaching an "extra service"
I do like the Saturday night idea just because I think we could reach a lot more people that don't want to come on a Sunday morning. I know that New Life in Pismo has a huge turn out for their Saturday night. I realize it would be hard on you and your family, however it would be the same amount of time away if you add a third service on Sunday. Something to think about... some people feel threatened to come in on a Sunday morning, but they might feel more apt to come to a more casual contemporary Saturday evening service.
I will pray for you and the Elders as you try and make a decision.

Jeannett Gibson said...

I'll keep it short and just say that I also agree that a Sunday Morning service would probably be the best option. I appreciate wanting to get a different crowd, but I'm also a "Lord's Day" GAL...Three services in a row seems exhausting to me, but I'm not sure that I like the other alternatives so much. Keep up the good work Tim! I'll be praying!