Archive for February 2009

Have You Considered Starting A Sunday PM Service?

There has been talk of late about the downside of starting Saturday evening services. Having pioneered that time slot from the get go as an alternative to Sunday mornings I have to agree with the critics – it is difficult to get people to migrate from the comfort zone of Sunday mornings to what is for many is the fun night of Saturday. Consider something completely different. What about moving to the end of the weekend. Not many have done this but I am one who has experienced doing this for years. If I were facing jammed up Sunday mornings and a need to expand (other than going off campus necessarily) I recommend first a move to Sunday nights.

Why Move to Sunday Nights?

Convenient to them

Catch them at the end of the weekend after they have been out traveling or doing recreational things. People typically are not going to reroute their entire weekend in order to be a part of live church services at this point in history so we need to reroute church services in order to connect with them. It is a simple matter of service toward people. We do call them “Services” don’t we? Let’s put the serve back in our services and flex a little in order that we can find people where they are.

Options to church shop

When we hear those words used it is always in a negative context. However there is by necessity the need for people to check things out before they decide to be a part of what is going on at a new congregation. When we help people get a sense of what our churches are all about they are able to move forward in their trek with finding a church. The problem with church shopping is mostly connected with the few who are incapable of making a serious commitment with a local church and thus are perpetually on the search for a new church. I have served as a pastor for a number of decades and I have not found that matter to be a common one.

Sunday Nights are Harder to Start Up:

This is especially true with childcare. It can be a bit challenging to find a cadre of childcare workers who will come together week after week (it is necessary to develop a childcare system similar to what you do on Sunday mornings – only difference is the timeframe). They key to progress is to find workers who enjoy working in that schedule as part of their weekend flow. They simply like attending on Sunday evenings and they enjoy working with children.

Sunday Nights are Easier to Start Up:

I have found it is generally easier to assemble teams on Sunday nights than it is to find them at their Sunday morning counterparts. It seems that people are more laid back in general on Sunday evening than in the morning. The weekend is nearly past, they are well rested, they are with good friends – it is almost as though there is a team of like-minded people gathered together and they are happier on Sunday evenings – at least that has been my experience consistently.

Jumpstart Factors:

Do a study of your congregation. Let them be assured this will be a full-service service with all the features of the Sunday morning counterpart(s). Communicate to them the total package that will be available to those who participate on Sunday PM services. I recommend you specifically ask gifted children’s workers and other teams to join you in the Sunday PM timeslot for a specific time period of a minimum of six months. That will give you enough time to gain traction so you can get the ball rolling on all of this. Hopefully by then the camaraderie will be flowing I referred to above.

Should Ted Haggard have been forgiven earlier?

By now you’ve probably seen the Oprah interview with Ted Haggard and his wife Em. If you haven’t seen it yet you can catch the entire 45 minute interview on YouTube.

Think what you will about this one-time pretty boy of the evangelical church world, the matter of the church forgiving him is now out in the open for all in the mainstream culture to see and judge. The matter at hand now is not so much Haggard but the Church’s handling of his situation. How did we do with this hot potato triad scandal of drugs, sex and deceit? The question of whether or not the church ultimately forgives Haggard is beyond the grasp of his local congregation in Colorado Springs. It is now on the national arena for all to judge as to whether a decent job was done or did we push down the already depressed.

The question comes up pretty quickly: What we do with haggard Haggards who are certainly more common than church leadership would like to admit? He’s apparently been recently welcomed back by his congregation in Colorado Springs – a move that was quite slow in coming down for whatever reason. We don’t know exactly what the underpinnings were of the welcoming back gesture – it seemed as though the leadership was convinced that appropriate repentance had taken place (at least there was appropriate clarification that it occurred in the relationship between Ted Haggard and the congregational leadership). This team moved a long way from telling him he could no longer operate in the state of Colorado to now allowing him to be in the same city. (By the way, how would you like to be the pastor of this congregation now on a given Sunday when Ted Haggard is sitting among the people? That would make for an interesting preaching milieu if nothing else…)

Haggard’s treatment was an interesting test case for the Church in the United States. The congregation in Colorado Springs treated him like he was a local person only but he was so much more of a national figure by the time all of the story broke.

Regardless of the marks the Church receives on this grading period in regard to Haggard, let’s hope we learn a lesson or two on this one. Let’s prayerfully walk this one out to its end in hopes we can learn our lessons well. To replay life in the same vein with no lessons learned would be tragic and uncalled for.