At our church, our staff has discussed what to do about the Sunday evening service. Since I’ve been a member here, we’ve not succeeded in attracting many attenders to the evening service. Our church is a traditional, small-town church in Texas. The church has always held a Sunday night service. Last summer our church staff decided to give the evening service one more try. So, we’ve had Sunday evening services from 5:00-6:00 p.m. I serve as the teaching pastor, and I’ve preached a series of sermons on What Baptists Believe. What more could people want? Nevertheless, we only draw 50-60 people. (Our staff calls them the “faithful fifty.” This represents about 15% of our Sunday morning attendance. We’ve tried employing a small group program in the summertime, and the response to that is much better. So, we have decided to surrender and offer small groups on Sunday evening. We’ll have some groups meet at the church—Financial Peace University and a class on parenting, but most of our groups will meet off-campus.
Before my wife and I returned to Texas, we were members of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. Bellevue offers an evening service. I believe Bellevue’s morning/evening ratio is about the same. It’s rather hard to say for sure because some folks from other churches come to Bellevue on Sunday evening because their churches no longer offer evening worship. I should add that sometimes Bellevue sponsors a special event, like a concert, and folks really turn out for those.
I must admit that part of me is sad to see the evening service die. I realize many of our younger readers will think—Man, he is an old dinosaur. They’ll be right in thinking that. I’m certainly not opposed to small groups; in fact, the advantages are obvious. Besides that, I enjoy the small group meetings. I’m aware, too, that most churches have already done away with the evening service and embraced a small group ministry. One of our deacons observed, “The people voted with their feet.” What about your church? What are you doing on Sunday evening?