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Do we really need a Lord’s Supper devotional on Sunday night?

When Tim Tannich passed the seven-minute mark in his communion devotional, I squirmed in my pew.

I mean, this was the 5 p.m. Sunday service — the Lord’s Supper make-up round for folks who weren’t here for the morning assembly.

Shouldn’t we ask if anyone actually needs to hear this?

A visitor packet at the Westside Church of Christ in Midland, Texas.

A visitor packet at the Westside Church of Christ in Midland, Texas.

Honestly, it’s rare even to find a Sunday night worship these days. Even before the pandemic, many churches had canceled them entirely or switched to a small-group format. And I’m guessing that, after the virus finally does subside, a lot of Sunday night services won’t be coming back.

So I was happy to find a vibrant, well-attended evening worship at the Westside Church of Christ in Midland. Minister Mike Vestal invited me to stop by on my way back from the West Texas town of Iraan after I preached there on Sunday morning. (It was my second time with the Iraan Church of Christ, an amazing, mission-minded congregation.)

Related: Searching for home? Try Iraan

The Westside church started its Sunday evening with an old-school “pack the pews” event for kids. I got to hear a heavenly host of young men lead songs, coordinated by minister Adam Orr.

Vestal gave a great overview of 1 Timothy, a book written by the apostle Paul to his younger colleague, Timothy. Its six chapters are full of wise counsel on doctrine, worship, leadership, relationships and godliness.

But what stuck out the most to me was the communion devotional by Tannich, a recently retired dentist in Midland. He had pages of notes and really dug into how the bread and the fruit of the vine represent our Savior’s body and blood — how they unite us.

Tim Tannich shares Scriptures about the Lord’s Supper.

Tim Tannich shares Scriptures about the Lord’s Supper.

I’ll be honest: I’ve phoned in communion devos, especially on Sunday night. Most of the churches I’ve attended (that still do Sunday nights) dismiss the folks who missed Sunday morning to a back room to take the Lord’s Supper there.

But Dr. Tannich brought his A game — on a Sunday night.

It turns out that the long devotional is by design, brother Vestal told me as he treated me to a Texas Burger after worship. The church’s elders want the flock to really understand the significance of the words etched into so many of our communion tables: “Do this in remembrance of me.”

“Tim is one of about 25 different men we’ve asked to offer these Lord’s Supper meditations,” Vestal said, “and we’ve been so blessed by their thoughts.”

Erik Tryggestad and Westside Minister Mike Vestal eat at Texas Burger.

Westside Minister Mike Vestal and Chronicle president Erik Tryggestad have supper at Texas Burger.

All of this brings a sad memory to mind. It was a Sunday morning at my home church when I noticed two visitors, a mother and daughter, on the front row. I think we just did quick prayers for communion that day, and the reaction these ladies had to the trays as they were passed is best described as a full-scale freak-out.

I made a mental note to talk to them, but after the closing prayer they bolted out the door. I never saw them again.

They could have used Dr. Tannich’s devo, the same one that made me squirm.

Church of Christ Westside, West Illinois Avenue, Midland, TX, USA

In our increasingly unchurched world, we should never assume that those who take the bold step of crossing our thresholds know everything that’s going on. Take the time to explain.

Even if you already know it, someone needs to hear it.

As Paul writes in that letter to Timothy, we serve a God and Savior “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

ERIK TRYGGESTAD is president and CEO of The Christian Chronicle. Contact [email protected], and follow him on Twitter @eriktryggestad.

Filed under: devotional Insight Iraan Church of Christ Lord's Supper Opinion Top Stories West Texas Westside Church of Christ

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