Yes, you read that right. Sunday evening services were once a “normal” part of a church’s weekly schedule. However, for the better part of a generation in many churches this practice has gone by the wayside.
During the time of the Protestant Reformation, it was considered an essential part of a Christian’s life and routine to attend a corporate gathering of the local body of Christ in the morning and evening on the Lord’s Day. This was seen as essential to the “setting apart of that day to the Lord”.
At some point, for many churches, the evening service took on a more “evangelistic” flavour. It was even called in some circles, “a gospel service.” This, among other things, helpful to contribute to the problem where Christians began to see the gospel as something only for unbelievers and not for Christians.
Then there was a time when the evening service became a “youth service.” It was run for the youth as the target audience, often times even run by youth. These services were often designed in such a way (music selection, teaching topics, etc.) older people were almost made to feel unwelcome.
Then, they stopped… Completely. We just don’t do Sunday evening services anymore.
(I understand this brief history of Sunday evening services is simplistic at best. It is not intended to be comprehensive and I am not even addressing the pros & cons of various approaches.)
Beginning this Sunday, the 6th of March 2011, Howick Baptist Church will once again have weekly evening services.
These services will begin at 7pm and will conclude near 8:30 with a supper. These services are intended to serve our church family by providing a second opportunity on Sunday to worship our great God with song, fellowship, prayer, scripture reading, and the teaching of God’s Word.
Beginning in April, Joe will be continuing the Colossians series during the Sunday evening. We strongly encourage you to attend both Sunday services. For those who are busy serving on Sunday morning (i.e. Sunday school, crèche, hospitality, etc.) this service will provide you an opportunity to be in a full service.
Obviously this service (like all our services) is open to anyone. We pray the Lord would be so pleased as to bring non-Christians to us during the evening that may not be able to attend a morning service due to work, etc.
At the moment we have the following ideas for a “normal” Sunday evening service (I do expect this service will look different in six months times as we all grow together.):
- Congregational singing – a couple of songs with simple accompaniment.
- Pastoral led prayer along with opportunities for corporate prayer.
- The public reading of God’s Word. We plan supplement our Sunday AM systematic Scripture reading (at the moment we are reading through Psalms together) with a systematic reading of God’s Word in the evening beginning with Hebrews.
- Preaching/Teaching of God’s Word. Again, in April Joe will continue the Colossians series and then, Lord willing, move to a series through Proverbs 1 -9. Our desire is for some of the teaching time to involve a bit more interaction than would be “normal” in a Sunday morning.
- Q&A. We plan to have an open time of Q&A on most Sunday evenings. This will provide a regular opportunity for folks to ask questions. These questions do not have to be related to the teaching time, but can be whatever people are presently mulling over in their hearts & minds.
- Food & Fellowship. We have a group of servants forming who are looking forward to facilitate a time of casual fellowship by providing a weekly supper.
From time to time we will also slot in a missionary speaker, Ministry Trainee, guest pastor, etc. into the Sunday evening service thereby providing a wonderful opportunity for the people of Howick Baptist Church to hear from other capable servants.
We are endeavouring to do this for the glory of God and the good of His people. As we seek to accomplish these goals we will make adjustments where and when necessary. Please join us in praying, that the Lord would be so pleased to bless this work. And join us at Howick Baptist Church at 7pm this Sunday, if you are able.
Blessings in Christ….