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POLL: How do you spend your Sunday nights?


Prayer during a Sunday night home Bible study in Chennai, India. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

We just posted a poll question on our website about Sunday night services. Please take a minute to respond. Here are the options:
• I attend a worship service at a church building.
• I participate in a small-group Bible study at a church member’s home.
• I am involved in a ministry or community outreach project.
• I do a combination of the above options, varying from week to week.
• None of the above

Click here to vote.
We tried to give options that would cover a broad range of responses, since activities vary from congregation to congregation. (In case you’re wondering, “Watching ‘The Amazing Race'” fits under “None of the above.”)
Still, we realize that it is impossible to represent all possibilities in a poll. If you would like to explain what your congregation does on Sunday nights, please leave a comment.
Over the years we have gathered reports about churches canceling or modifying their Sunday evening services (moving to home groups, etc.) for various reasons. During the gas crisis in 2008, several churches suspended their Sunday evening services — especially in locales where members had to drive 30-plus miles to reach the church building.
P lease tell us what trends you see with regard to Sunday night services. Are they declining? Are there any examples of revitalized, growing Sunday night services? As always, we value your input.

  • Feedback
    We attend devotional and “open bible study” at STCOC.
    noreen anderson
    October, 27 2010

    I attend a LIFE(small) group Bible Study on Sunday evenings and this past summer my congregation did something different: we has one Sunday to gather with our LIFE group, one Sunday to spend time with family, and one Sunday to spend personal time with God. I like this idea and I hope and pray that our leadership does this summer idea again next summer. I LOVE my LIFE group.
    Kevin
    October, 27 2010

    Attend small group Bible study.
    Fran
    October, 28 2010

    None of the above – We usually spend Sunday evening with our kids and grandkids.
    Gary
    October, 28 2010

    Editor/moderator, I see that you did not have the courage to print my comment. Shame on you. No doubt, this one will be deleted also.
    Josephus
    October, 28 2010

    None of the above. We spend Sunday evening with family and also as a time of Sabbath rest. This has truly been a blessing.
    Ted Mountjoy
    October, 28 2010

    I take my kids to the youth group (teen) devotional.
    James A. Robbins
    October, 28 2010

    Josephus, Feel free to read our comments policy and try again. Offer a thoughtful, respectful response. Use your real first and last name. Include an e-mail address that works. And then maybe we’ll approve your comment. But if you want to start a fight, this is not the place.
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    October, 28 2010

    The elders of our small church in Shelby, NC recently decided to discontinue the evening service because of a lack of interest. Having attended evening services for more than 50 years at the various churches where I have worshiped, I was deeply saddened. I realize that there is no Scriptural requirement to meet more than once on the Lord’s day, but I find it troubling that Christians would rather spend time engaging in activities other than worshiping God and enjoying fellowship with each other. I think it is evidence of a growing tendency to compartmentalize religious life, which, after all, should be our life, period.
    Gretchen Cooke
    October, 28 2010

    Our congregation offers each of these choices on Sunday nights. This works well for those who prefer the traditional worship service and others who prefer more interactive groups. Child care and youth activities are at the building, so the adults have the freedom for more advanced bible study and conversation. I enjoy the home bible studies just as much as Ladies Bible classes at the building.
    Jean
    October, 28 2010

    We just have a rest Sunday evenings. We do not have an evening service, but we are a small church and we have other meetings and Bible studies on Saturdays and on other days of the week, so our schedule is already full enough. By Sunday evening we are really tired and we do not feel like neglecting worship.
    Attila L�vai
    October, 28 2010

    Sunday nights in Vancouver,WA we have three options at the building.
    1. Alpha small group
    2. “The Truth Project” is shown on DVD and then discussed
    3. “The case for America’s Christian Heritage” is discussed after viewing a DVD. This is the one I have chosen to share in.
    Melanie Bailey
    October, 28 2010

    I am the Church Life minister at the Webb Chapel church in Dallas and we have a somewhat traditional Sunday evening service. However, we now meet at 5:00 pm and we vary the content of our services. Our preaching minister still preaches once or sometimes twice per month, but we have other options as well. For example, in the past few months, we have had evenings in song, a panel discussion of biblical issues, an emphasis on our care groups, a youth led worship service, a presentation by a biblical languanges expert regarding the accuracy of the modern texts, and presentations by members whose lives have been changed by the grace of Jesus. I believe that the interest level of those attending has been improved, although I cannot prove that our attendance has increased.
    Bert Alexander
    October, 28 2010

    We have done a variety of things due to the fact that they have not had an evening worship long before we moved here. We have attended evening worship in a neighboring town, helped lead services at a small congregation in another neighboring town, and held an in-depth study for two hours every other Sunday night on books such as Revelation. We have also had a Men’s Spiritual Growth class, a Child Training class, and a Dave Ramsey Financial Workshop. The reason for this is to keep it fresh in different areas for different disciplines while ALWAYS focusing on what God’s will is for us in these respective areas.
    I do agree with Gretchen! It is the Lord’s DAY and we should take advantage of that time to spend with the saints; whether it be the entire body or a small segment of that. Too many are being assimilated into this downward-spiraling morally-bankrupt culture. We need to live in the world BUT be not of it!!! We need to be COUNTER-CULTURAL! We need to be about God’s will all week long and not just ‘clock’ our time on Sunday and Wednesday night 🙂
    John Schadegg
    October, 28 2010

    I meet with a group of about 12 from our congregation. We meet from house to house, and usually the host home coordinates the discussion. We choose our own topic. Most recently we each contributed 2 Scriptures (one OT, one NT) that we thought would be good for consideration and discussion. These were put in a box, and each time we met, we pulled out one for the evening. We followed this format: 15 minutes for individual silent prayer for understanding and enlightenment and reading and rereading the passage chosen. Then as much time as needed for the group members to talk about what the verse(s) meant to them personally. This has been an excellent way to study Scripture; it was interesting that none of the Scriptures contributed by group members were “hot button” issues, but just edifying, encouraging, enlightening. One evening we spent the entire time on one verse from a Psalm. Of course, we eat afterward!
    norma hill
    October, 28 2010

    I spend my Sunday night at church with the rest of my Christian family and that is where I want to be. I am like Gretchen (below) who doesn’t want to be anywhere else. You have only NOT to be able to go to services to realize that you miss it so much and would give anything to be there. There has been a lot of apathy about the Sunday night church services at my church also, as you can see a drop or about 70% of the congregation that doesn’t come back. My daddy always said “God gives you 168 hours a week to do with what you will, the least you can do is be at worship services when the elders deem to meet.” He was right. It is uplifting to me and the mid-week services serve to uplift you throughout the rest of the week. If our church got to only 10 people worshipping on Sunday night, our wonderful elders still would not call off our worship services. I am sorry Gretchen’s elders didn’t see how important it is to the ones that want to be there.
    Pam Jaquish
    October, 28 2010

    We have Sunday evening services with the format varied every Sunday night ranging from preaching, devo over a Bible book (Each man in our small congregation has a part), Sing at Rest home and then to the building for a short devo, Bible Bowl with everyone participating who wishes to, etc. I agree–it is the Lord’s Day–let’s give it to Him.
    Don Fischer
    October, 28 2010

    Typical Sunday evening worship (except on last Sunday night of the month is a singing/scripture reading worship centered around a particular subject). Sunday AM attendance at Ellisville church is 150-175, with 70% returning on Sunday evening, 80% returning on Wednesday evening. Our return rate is probably higher than most congregations. We have small group meetings, too, but at times other than the traditional full assembly gatherings.
    Bob West
    October, 28 2010

    I spend Sunday evening in worship…. But some of the activities/groups mentioned also seem like a good idea (for those who have already attended morning worship).
    Kenya
    October, 28 2010

    We have switched our Sunday night and Wednesday night formats. Sunday night is actually just Bible Classes with a short devo afterward. Wednesday night is mainly a worship service with more singing. Once a month on Wed night we have an all singing night. Its very popular. Most folks stay for about 2 hours on singing night. Its a lot of fun.
    Sunday morning we just have a prayer service then a normal worship assembly. We save the Bible Classes for Sunday night. Its been a very successful format. Sunday night attendance has increased. We have had many more come to Sunday night Bible Classes than we did when they were on Sunday morning.
    John Dunigan
    October, 28 2010

    Most Sunday nights our members meet in life groups and meet at our building occasionally for special presentations. Since starting life groups our Sunday night attendance has more than doubled. It has been a wonderful time for getting to know each other better, sharing in Bible devotionals, prayer and fellowship.
    Beulah Kyle
    October, 28 2010

    Where I attend worship, we still have a service on Sunday night at the building. No Life Groups meet in houses. One church in our city dismissed last Sunday night to have a Halloween Party at one of the elders homes. This was one of the churches of Christ. Our church would never, ever do that.
    marilyn Sander
    October, 28 2010

    We do several of those events on Sunday nights, plus being houseparents for 6 teen girls. God is good, there is always time if you want to use it or waste it.
    Donald Musgrave
    October, 28 2010

    Our congregation offers both small groups and a traditional Sunday night worship. My husband and I have participated in both, but we prefer the small group setting, as it encourages strong personal relationships with other Christian brothers and sisters who help us in our daily walks (and vice versa).
    However, we are now the parents of 3 small children (4, 2 1/2, & 1), and small group worship quickly became a time of kid control and the Sunday night worship offered at the building does not provide any kind of nursery care. We wanted something that allowed us to truly worship and study together as a family, in a way that was relevant to our children. Consequently, we have been having family church on Sunday nights. It is a purposeful worship time, usually right after supper, where we read from the bible, sing, and pray. The older two children are involved: they choose songs, make prayer requests, discuss the bible lesson, etc.
    Yes, we could go to another church in town that does have nursery care for children on Sunday nights, but we feel that it is our responsibility to teach our children about God and lead them to Christ, so we don’t feel real good about dropping them off in the nursery and then worshiping separately without them. And, given their ages, trying to sit in pew with three wiggly kids and make them be quiet during a sermon they don’t completely comprehend doesn’t produce anything but 2 tired parents who didn’t hear a word of the message and 3 frustrated children who just want to move around and play. So, we have family church.
    I do think, as the children get older, we will go back to small groups, but for now, this is where we are.
    Mary Alice Brooks
    October, 28 2010

    During the past year at Plaza church of Christ in Sumter, SC we have been having small group studies at the church building with a devotional and invitation that follow. Along with the devotional, we include all elements of worship and offer the Lord’s Supper for those who may not have been able to partake the previous morning. Our small group studies generally center on the topic of the sermon from the morning which allows for a little bit more in depth understanding of the subject presented. Most are please with this format, and we have plans for moving the groups to individual homes in the near future.
    Glenn Landrum
    October, 29 2010

    We have service, like usual, at 5p, then have a “grill out” afterwards. We have a large grill, and every one brings their own meat and a side dish to share. The church provides hot dogs for visitors, plus chips and condiments. It’s a great time of fellowship!
    Laura E.
    October, 29 2010

    I meet with the church at the church building on Sunday mornings and on Sunday evenings, always. When Jesus returns, if on a Sunday, I plan on being there at the church building not lounging on some sofa, unless I’m sick. Heb 11:25 says to not forsake the assembly of ourselves as some do. This is not the time to rest but to worship our Lord. There are a total of 6–24/7 other days to rest. Our rest is promised in heaven with God at the proper time. Praise the Lord atleast more than half of us still have our priorities in order! It hurts and is discouraging and can be a stumbling block when less than 70% of the congregation shows up at night. This is one of the reasons for Heb 11:25. But I believe it’s the teachers and preachers and elders responsibility to teach and lead by example. That’s what I was taught in the church. And I believe its proper. I want to be where ever Jesus is and I know for sure he’s at church on Sunday night! May God continue to bless us all!
    Sister Terri
    October, 29 2010

    We offer two options for the adults at our building on Sunday nights: traditional worship service and LIFE groups. The children are either in the nursery or in children’s Bible Hour, and the youth group has its own small group meeting. From time to time, the congregation as a whole meets for special occasions. I attend a LIFE group myself and really enjoy getting to know the members of my small group better. I especially enjoy how we are better able to share what is going on in our lives and receive support from other members of the group. We have seen our attendance on Sunday nights increase as a result.
    Mary Beth
    October, 29 2010

    I think this is a wonderful way to share what we are doing in the Lord’s church and open our minds and hearts to what we have available to keep our “hearts and minds on God”. Be thankful you are able to participate as some of us are unable physically to attend both, or even one service. One good thing you could do before or after service is visit some of those you know who are homebound. Young folks soon learn how it feels light up faces of those who need it so badly � an experience they will not forget. Even Sunday afternoons are spent by some Christians who visit people with long-term illness. There is so much work for the Christian. We must never give up on caring and giving love to others. Just look around. May God bless each of those who have shared this section with each of us.
    Being a full-time caregiver, I know what it means to have someone just take time to say hello.
    Since I can’t go to visit as much as I would like, I spend time sending “concern and caring” notes and e-cards.
    jo
    October, 29 2010

    We have a potluck lunch, then a 1:00pm devo type service. Afternoon and evening is open for nursing home visitation, youth activities and family time.
    Calvin
    October, 29 2010

    About two years ago, in response to the continued dwindling of Sunday night attendance, we went to small groups. We do, however, still have one of the groups that meets in the church auditorium at the traditional Sunday night time, mainly for tourists who don’t know about the small group arrangement as well as for the few who couldn’t take communion in the morning service. Overall, total Sunday night attendance has improved dramatically since going to the small group arrangement. As one would expect, a few traditionalists were not pleased with the change but most of the criticism has now ceased.
    Ernie
    October, 29 2010

    We do WATS (We Are The Sermon) where we go out in the community and be the sermon instead of going and listening to a sermon. We clean up yards and trash of people in the community who can’t do it themselves. We have a better turn out for WATS nights than we do our regular Sunday PM service.
    Trey Morgan
    October, 29 2010

    Go Trey! That’s a “worship service”.
    Ray Vannoy
    November, 2 2010

    My home congregation does a variety of things on Sunday evenings. I’ve started attending a different congregation on Sunday evenings that has a traditional worship service, which I prefer. While the traditional service is not a commandment, and there are many high-quality alternatives, the trend in churches to move away from any type of gathering at all on Sunday evenings disturbs me. Rearranging and canceling services to primarily accommodate secular activities doesn’t seem to be putting God first, in my opinion.
    Amy Lee
    November, 3 2010

    Being an frequent pew warmer for over 50 years, would prefer many Sunday evenings not sit in in the building or even a life group, and be told need to serve. It’s a time for action. Visit, hold Bible studies, minister to the sick, train for service. However I can personally give and meet the needs of my church family.
    My favorite Sunday night experience is to take communion to a elderly shut-in, pray, and listen. Twice have experienced it being the last time before they were taken Home. A close second is to be in a study and ask that all important question-Are you ready to be baptised; and actually be thankful the building was open, and the baptistry was ready. A third is to witness the training of our youth. Let them lead the service. I welcome the excitement of their sharing and building of lives for service; this includes the new converts.
    Sunday night service was began largely to allow those who worked to have a opportunity to take communion, and however it’s done, we must still teach and assist members to remember our Savior’s sacrifice. It’s fine to cancel or change evening services, but provide a scriptural manner to ensure the family of believers take communion on the first day of the week, and that includes visitors.
    We always take supplies for communion with us when we travel because so many church web pages/phone listings show a evening service, and we ocassionally show up to find the doors locked.
    Recently visited a congregation on the Kansas side near Kansas City. The evening service began with a moving communion service/devotional with two of teens involved, and a time of prayer. Followed by the fellowship breaking off to classes or service opportunities by several including taking communion to shut-ins, visiting and conducting studies. The group who stayed in auditorium had a focused class that encouraged lots of participation. The evening concluded with those who could return to main assembly, hearing the invitation offered by one of men, who rotated each week. It appeared like they successfully attempted to do things that served/worshiped/ taught/encouraged.
    Phil Kitchens
    November, 3 2010

    It is such a great feeling to come to services on Sunday evenings and Wednesday evenings to find the parking lot full of cars, the street in front of the building full of parked cars and the business lot next door full of cars! My prayer is that some day most of the rest of you could experience this same thing. When your congregation participates at this level, it is a tremendous encouragement. And what an example to our children about putting God first!
    Bob West
    November, 5 2010

    I always, unless very, very ill assemble with the congregation at the meeting house for worship of God, preach His word and after service a good number go to a local eatery for an hour or more of good fellowship and visiting together. Wednesday night after Bible study we do this again. Don Kline
    Don Kline
    November, 6 2010

    I am a little concerned that some respondents seem to think that choosing not to attend a Sunday evening (or elders choosing not to offer an evening service) indicates a lack of honoring the Lord’s day. Some suggest–even though in a seemingly gentle way–that it is a lack of desire to be with God’s people or that it is slipping into cultural norms. As gentle as it is couched it is still an accusation of a person’s lack of commitment. How can this be since the Bible does not address such multiple assemblies?
    If a local body wants to meet twice on a Sunday that is fine. If they wish to pursue more intimate group fellowship throughout the week instead (or small groups on Sunday evening), that is certainly good as well. Perhaps it would be good to avoid criticism or the maligning of motives. Many who have posted noted they preferred to spend time with their children and grand children. Is there something wrong with this? We claim the family is important–then why do we demand people to constantly attend <i>programs</i> that separate parents from children and then make them feel guilty for wanting to spend some time with their kids at home?
    Can we honestly say sitting in an auditorium staring at the back of someone’s head and listening to a lecture (however, entertaining and educational it might be) is actually a demonstration of fellowship and love for God’s people? And why do so many criticize people who spend time in very intimate small group fellowship studying the Bible and sharing their hearts with each other in lieu of attending a lecture in a special designated “church building”?
    I fear we have become so building-centric and program-oriented we do not recognize how unlike first-century Christianity this attitude of criticism may be.
    D. Brent
    December, 27 2010

    re: D. Brent’s post
    Amen, brother! May I just add that it is sad that we create human lists of things that make someone “faithful.” God will judge the heart, and that is where true faithfulness comes from. Making lists pleases our flesh. We use lists to judge ourselves in a positive light while judging others in a negative one. They distance us from the uncomfortable reality that we are all unworthy of the gracious gift that God has offered us in Christ Jesus.
    James A. Robbins
    December, 28 2010

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