Throw It Out There Thursday!

Okay – here goes. . .

I’m just gonna “Throw It Out There” . . . Unknown

Why not? It’s Thursday. . .

Earlier this week, I was asked (in the comment section on last Thursday’s blog), “What happened to Sunday Night?”

I talked about it some during my recent “State of the Church” message. To answer the question, let me give a history of “Sunday Nights” during my brief – almost 2 years now – time here at FBC El Dorado. . .

  • Sunday Night church ceased to be a part of FBC El Dorado‘s schedule a couple of years prior to my coming on as Pastor (translation: people were out of the habit of coming).
  • The Pastor Search Team (PST) requested that I bring it back if/when I became Pastor.
  • I told the PST I would give it a try.
  • I gave it a try in the Fall of 2012.
  • The first time we did “Sunday Night Church” – called “Sunday Night Live” (SNL) – we did it over in the “2Fifty2” building and saw around 280 people attend.
  • Over time, that number dwindled SUPER fast.
  • By Winter of 2013 – the number was down to around 150 average.
  • So, we tried moving it over to the sanctuary and did it every other week.
  • Last count – Fall of 2013 – the number was down to around 85 in attendance.
  • In all honesty, to many of us (myself included), it felt like a cheapened and “warmed over” version of Sunday morning.
  • To make matters a bit more frustrating (or “telling” – depending on how you view it) – the last time we had a Sunday Night service – in the “2Fifty2” building – on March 16th, 2014 – we had less that 130 people attend . . . and THIS was the night I talked about the “State of the Church“!!!

What to do???

Should we cancel Sunday Night church simply due to numbers? No. That’s not a very good reason.

But should we have it simply because we used to have it? Nope. That’s not a good one either.

In large part – did those who did attend SNL faithfully do so because they were part of the “good old days” of Sunday Night church of the past? Yep. I think so. Is that wrong? No. Not at all. I too used to LOVE Sunday Night church.

Do I/we have a plan? Yes.

The plan is to be INTENTIONAL.

I spent the first quarter of 2014 unpacking what I believe to be a God-given vision for FBC El Dorado:

FBC exists to nobly dare, in the Spirit’s power, to make known Jesus’ commanding claims here and everywhere. 

Because of this, your pastoral staff is currently asking the question, “How can FBC BEST provide an environment where her members nobly dare to make the commanding claims of Jesus known?”

To further push ourselves to this end, we are also asking questions such as:

  • “If FBC was just starting out as a church – with no programs or ministries in place – how would we ‘do church’ so that its members would grow to nobly dare to make Jesus’ commanding claims known?”

AND

  • “How does THAT answer (see question above) fit into what FBC is currently doing?”

AND

  • “How does doing ministry/making disciples look in El Dorado in 2014?” (Not, “How have we always done it?” because we don’t live in the 1960’s anymore; but “How does it look – HERE & NOW?”)

AND

  • “What does the book of Acts tell us about ‘doing church’?”

And a few other, “light and easy” questions such as these.

Will we have Sunday Night church again?

I honestly – at this point – do not know.

But I can guarantee you this: Whatever – if anything – we do plan on Sunday Nights in the future, it will have a specific reason and purpose that fits into our vision. It WILL NOT be because the numbers are good/bad & it WILL NOT be because we used to do it here.

Let me “Throw This Out There” –

I truly believe the God of FBC El Dorado wants its members to nobly dare, in the Spirit’s power, to make known Jesus’ commanding claims here and everywhere. He does so because knowing or not knowing these claims affects one’s joy and life – now and forever. Therefore, everything we do must move us to that end.

Will Sunday Night church help us do that? We’ll see.

Until then – nobly dare to make Him known.

 

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Throw It Out There Thursday!

  1. Rodney Wimberly says:

    As much as I enjoyed Sunday night services as a child, I have come to learn that the most important thing that went on Sunday night was BTU (Baptist Training Union) where we learned what we believed as Baptists and more importantly, why.

  2. Libby says:

    I have mixed feelings about Sunday night.

    By Sunday night, I am usually exhausted and need to rest & prepare for Monday. I probably attended about 50% of the Sunday night services in the last two years.

    On the other hand, Sunday night might be a great time for some unique worship or discipleship opportunities. For example, the Daniel Plan. It does not fit well into the Sunday School hour. You need more like 90 minutes. Or maybe some other more intense small groups. And maybe some small group leadership training programs. Or a new member class. Or a new believer class. There could also be some old fashioned “Sunday Night Church”, with a specific theme and purpose.

    I do not think it has to be one thing or the other. Maybe a number of different things for different people with different interests and needs.

    I also believe that the number of people that attend should not be an indicator of success or whether something should continue. So only 130 people attend an event… I say ONE HUNDRED THIRTY people joined together in God’s name! Praise the Lord!!

    I know what I am thinking requires a lot of planning and group leaders and effort. If we started small, say four concurrent small groups for 12 weeks, it could grow to six the next 12 weeks.
    The Daniel Plan
    Run for God
    Beth Moore Study
    Men’s Book Study
    Children’s Bible Study Time
    Student Study Group
    Sunday Night Large Group Bible Teaching Group
    Small Group Leadership Training
    Experiencing God
    Grief Recovery Group
    Parenting Class
    I think the possibilities are endless.

    I also think that what people say they “want” does not equate with what they will actually do, or should do, or need to do, or is exactly what God wants.

    Just sayin…

    • Libby says:

      It would also be a great time for an intense prayer group. Where there is a large amount of time devoted to actually praying and not talking about prayer needs. Focused, intentional, intense prayer.

  3. As a child, my small church had Sunday night services until the same issue occurred of dwindling attendance. Then, that became the time that my parents took us to visit grandparents and we spent time as family doing things that we did not have time to do during the week that were enjoyable to us all together.

    I must say that I do not think that we should have a Sunday night service just for the sake of having it on the checklist of things we offer as a church. However, I do believe that there is a place for Sunday night activities. But, as Matt pointed out, it is difficult to know that exactly those activities should be. As a mother, I must say that Sunday night activities do not work well for my current family as there are stressors of getting prepared for the week that always occur on Sunday evenings and sticking to a routine is what is best for my family at this time and that prevents me/us from attending Sunday evenings. I think, and I know it is just my opinion and because of my current circumstances, that we as a church body must be careful not to make someone feel guilty because they do not attend those Sunday evening services, activities, or options whatever they are that do get offered. Yes, some people won’t go just because they want to sit at home and do nothing that requires any energy or commitment, but others have valid reasons for not attending even if they really want to so we must be careful not to judge why people to not participate. No, I don’t have an answer but I know that if we are intentional in what is offered by our church God will be served and will be pleased with the effort and work we do. That’s just my 2 cents!

  4. Brad says:

    I didn’t know FBC had Sunday evening church!!!
    Does Sunday evening service have to be at church solely? Why couldn’t we break bread together, sing a few songs, share a prayer concern (local or international) for the congregation to pray for that week, and then break out into small groups for prayer and bible study.

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