The Challenge of Sunday Evening Worship

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Anytime we can get together and worship it is a good thing. One thing that many congregations face is the challenge of the Sunday night service. At Northwest we typically have LIFE groups 9 months of the year and take 3 months off in the Summer time. We get such a low turnout on Sunday nights at the building it is hard to figure out how to effectively reach out even to our very own members who come for the AM service but don’t seem to think coming back is that big of a deal.

We are going to try something different tomorrow night. We will have some prayers and some singing and then we will be writing notes to homes in our neighborhood. We have a mailing list of 500+ homes in the immediate area and we are going to split the list up, pray for those families, and write them a personal note. Hopefully two things will happen through this. First, our members will get to be involved in serving and reaching out to others. Second, our neighbors will know we care and that we are here for them.

What things has your church done on Sunday evenings to make a difference?

0 Responses

  1. Love that idea! How’d you get that list?

    We do the same thing with our LifeGroups. So for the month of June we watched Terry Rush’s Natural Evangelism series. In July we’re learning new songs every Sunday & Wednesday night. Not sure what we’ll do on Sunday. nights in August.

    Wednesday nights in August we’ll have a men’s and women’s class.

    We face the same thing on Sunday and Wednesdays.

    It’s an old fashioned thing to meet on those nights, still I enjoy it and I think the ones that attend do also.


    1. There are companies that sell that information in a format that you can print labels and do a bulk mailing so that you get way cheaper postage. I can get the name of the company for you if you like.

  2. This sounds like a great idea, Matt! If I understand it correctly, Sunday evening gatherings caught on because they met a need. It seems that they are no longer supported by most members, because the need for them is no longer perceived.

    It is my opinion that our culture has changed in so many ways that the Sunday evening gathering is an obsolete practice which should be replaced by relevant and focused strategies that enable us to impact our world for Jesus. Nevertheless, I hope you will be successful in re-imagining and re-purposing the Sunday evening gathering.

    1. Sunday night as Sunday morning lite or “mini-Sunday morning” just doesn’t seem to mean a whole lot to most people who come in the morning. I think it is important, as you said, to re-imagine or re-envision it for a purpose that suits kingdom business.

  3. Our congregation has not had a Sunday evening assembly for years. But we do have three events that require the efforts of the whole congregation. 1) is our Celebrate summer program, 2) SOS [South Oakland Shelter], and 3) our annual corn roast. We advertise these events extensively through the summer in the one square mile around our building. We also walk through the neighborhood surrounding our building and pick up trash, meet people, and offer prayer for those we meet.

  4. Great idea, Matt.

    We found that you can google “new mover lists” and get all the info you need on new people moving into your neighborhood.

    We’ve used videos to spice up Sunday night, and Wednesday night we feed supper (pot luck) to make it easier for families coming from a busy day straight to church.

    Here’s an old article I found on the subject:

  5. Matt,
    Why do we have to do anything on Sunday night? Wouldn’t it be a great time for small groups to build relationship among members. In my opinion this Sunday night tradition is one that brings very little to the health of a church. Thanks for the blog.

  6. Matt,

    We’ve dropped Sunday nights in favor of small groups. One group meets at the building and provides communion and hosts any visitors.

    We call our groups Acts 2 groups and urge them to provide service to the community, often cooperatively with community social service agencies. It was a lot of work to set up, but it’s worked very well.

  7. We have a Sunday morning and a Sunday evening service. They are 2 equal but different services attended by different groups of congregants, altho some do attend both services. The morning service has kids church and teens programs. The evening service is more contemporary and is attended mainly by twenty-somethings and empty nesters. Why do people need to come twice one one day?

  8. We also do Small Groups on Sunday nights. But we also offer the building for special groups to meet. For instance we have a Dynamic Marriage group that has used the building on Sunday nights, and in the fall we will be hosting a class on apologetics. We also have a group of 40 or so (mostly older congregates) that meet for singing songs out of the song book & a short devotional. So our Sunday nights are open for what the congregation needs…not just to provide another service where people can come & consume instead of give.

    1. Eddie,

      Those are some good suggestions. I think it is important that we impress upon people the necessity for us to be about kingdom living and mission rather than just doing things a certain way because we always have.

      Also, didn’t know you have a blog.

  9. What did the Sunday-evening service originally do or provide? To borrow the language of a previous comment, what was the need that it met? I still wonder where the Sunday-night thing came from.

    When I was growing up, Sunday and Wednesday PM services were for the serious Christians. It was for people who (positively) couldn’t get enough or (negatively) were there to prove their faithfulness. Mine was a “faithful” family, which meant I always had to be there whether I wanted to be there or not. That’s just who we were.

    The promos for “The Wonderful World of Disney” always looked so good. I never saw one episode. When I was in high school, the promos for “60 Minutes ” sometimes interested me. Ditto. But when it came to “Elvis in Hawaii Via Satellite” I gave a sick performance worthy of the Academy. It was an odd combination of guilt and pleasure.

    1. Keith,

      That article is right on track. I think what we are going to end up doing is something along the lines of changing it from AM lite to a gathering for outreach, service, and actually applying what we are talking about in our classes. We’ll see how it goes.

    2. Matt,

      I think you’ve found a way to make Sunday night truly mean something. We met last Sunday night as a church and discussed some if the issues that have arise from your blog.

      It has made us rethink. And I believe it will help us also make some needed changes.

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