According to Thom Rainer, a church researcher, the typical Sunday night worship service conducted at the church building is a thing of the past. According to his research, only 5% of churches have “traditional” Sunday evening services. [That statistic is not representative of typical churches of Christ, but we are moving closer that direction].
I think all would agree that the number of times the church meets together on the Lord’s Day is a decision to be made by a local eldership, and may scripturally differ from congregation to congregation. However, I would like to offer four reasons to continue having Sunday night services.
- Broccoli. When I was a child, if my parents had left it up to me, I would have never tasted broccoli, or any other vegetable for that matter. Due to my immaturity, my dietary choices would have been insufficient and unhealthy. Likewise, if one were to poll a congregation, consisting of some who are spiritually immature and babes in Christ, his feedback may be to dispense with a second meeting. Thus it becomes necessary for church leaders to be just that: leaders. They must decide to pursue what is best, not just what is desired. While it is not necessary for a local eldership to decide in favor of a second service, I believe that in most cases, it would demonstrate wisdom.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
- Charades. Several years ago, we had the youth group over to our house and we played, “Bible Charades.” One young lady was to act out “David and Goliath.” I noticed that she had a disconcerted look on her face, not knowing what to do. So I pulled her off in the hallway and reminded her of the basics (e.g. David was a shepherd, Goliath was a Philistine Giant, David killed Goliath etc.). So she said, “Ok, I can do it.” So when she stood in front of the youth group, she jumped and acted as if she was stabbing someone really tall.This teenage girl had no idea that David killed Goliath with a sling-shot. Our innocuous game of charades revealed a criminal lack of biblical knowledge. The decision to meet twice on Sunday is a decision intended to correct such ignorance.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you…seeing you have forgotten the law of your God…” (Hosea 4:6).
- The Ciccarelli Brothers. When I was a young boy, two twins brothers who were a year older than me, decided to make me a mark of their bullying. One day, they informed me that they were going to beat me up after school. Since I didn’t like my odds against two older boys, I surrounded myself with friends as I left school that day, and several days following, until they lost interest in me. Likewise, the Devil is “picking fights” with many of God’s children, and they need the strength and encouragement of their brothers’ and sisters’ presence. The additional time spent with these brothers and sisters may be the strength they need to get through another week.
“I have shown you in every way…that you must support the weak” (Acts 20:35).
- And So Much The More. Some Christians in the first century had begun forsaking the assembling of the saints. The writer of the book of Hebrews instructed those Christians to stop forsaking the assembling of the saints, and “so much the more” in view of an impending day. In other words, whatever that impending day was (e.g. persecution, the second coming of Jesus), it was all the more important to assemble together.Likewise the growing hostility of our culture towards Christianity, and the fact that we are closer to the return of Jesus, would suggest that more, not less time is needed to assemble together.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
Whether a church meets once, twice, or three times on Sunday, and whether those meetings be structured as preaching, Bible classes, or a mixture of both, just make sure that the decision is not based on convenience or social calendars, but upon what is best for the spiritual growth and maturity of the body of Christ.