Monday, October 24, 2011

Two Church Services

I started my second sermon with a joke. "Sorry if I sound repetitive: I already gave this sermon once today." No one laughed. For them morning I was acting as guest speaker (actually, I was introduced as "friend speaker," because I was more than a guest) at Winona Lake Grace Brethren. The bodies and bustle in their Sunday morning requires two services.

Where I experience church life, we all worship together. And if any families are missing, we take notice. We are a small congregation. Dividing into two services would turn us into two small groups.

Nonetheless, splitting into two services is an intriguing concept. It simultaneously expands and dillutes a church's effectiveness. A second service alleviates the need to for more space, but it requires more volunteers. It presents God's word more efficiently, but may lead to factions (and repetition). In any attempt to please ears and meet budgets, we may relieve people from making sacrifices of personal taste.

These are not new thoughts (any church that made the triumphal leap from one service to two has certainly weighed pros and cons more than I intend to), but this was a new experience for me as a guest preacher. And as a new experience, I wanted simply to reflect on a few observations:
  • I used twice as much gum as I usually do following a message.
  • My voice was hoarse by noon.
  • Battery life of the PPT remote may not last two services.
  • Gaffs and distractions from the first sermon do not have to wait until next week for a reprieve.
  • It is not a noble goal to make the two sermons as different as possible (while keeping the same outline) just to satisfy my desire for novelty.
  • Earlier services have a higher median age than later services.
  • Later services invite more participation.
  • It is not good to create competition between the early and late services. If the gospel can reconcile Jew and Greek, slave and master, it can bring early-risers and late bloomers together.
  • I am exhausted.


Todd said...

Personally, I found the joke funny upon reading it! I was part of the first service though.

Great Blog.


Kyle said...

Don't care what they thought... That was a great joke :)