The Session is moving forward with a plan to begin Evening Worship Services at CPC. We are looking at starting on the first Sunday of March. In this brief article, I’d like to address some questions I’ve heard and answer some objections you might have.
What? We’re having an Evening Worship Service?
Why haven’t I heard about this?
Well, we’ve mentioned it up front several times and the Reflections articles in the bulletins have been explaining the biblical, historical, and practical reasons for an Evening Worship Service for the past 6 weeks. I encourage you to read those Reflections. Pastor Chris and I put in a good deal of effort to use that space as an additional and important way to teach and instruct you in the faith. Humbly, I believe some of them are quite good. But if you’ve read this far without being prompted, you probably already know that.
Is it going to be the same worship service as in the morning?
The Evening Worship Service will be a different service. There will be different hymns, prayers, and sermon. After we finish our series on the Ten Commandments in the Morning Worship Service, we will begin a series on the Book of Mark. In the Evening Worship Service we will begin preaching through the Book of Joshua.
The Evening Worship Service will be a little bit more stripped down than the Morning Service. It will be shorter. We won’t do the Lord’s Supper during the Evening Service (perhaps on occasion). Some weeks we have planned to incorporate an evening Hymnsing for worship. It is designed to be a time for us to gather to sing, pray, and hear the Word preached as we conclude our Lord’s Day.
Will there be a nursery or childcare?
That’s a great question, and we need to hear from you about this (particularly if you are a parent of little ones). We believe that the membership of the Church consists of all those who profess the true religion, and their children (WCF 25.2). Since children are members of the visible church, it is appropriate that children (all of them) are in worship.
Now, I get that sometimes Momma and Daddy need a break. That is right and good. And sometimes a nursery is necessary for some of our littlest ones. We have to find the right balance in training our children how to worship (they learn by watching and they can’t watch from a nursery) and in being gracious and caring for the needs of our parents. I would encourage you to consider having your children with you in worship. If you know you’re going to need a nursery or assistance, then please let us know. We want to work with you on this.
This is going to be so disruptive to my regular routine.
That’s not a question, but I know what you mean. I’ve gotten into a regular Sunday habit. And this will change it. But I have to ask myself this question, “Is there a better way for me to spend the end of the Lord’s Day than being with God’s People and hearing His Word preached?” I get that Sunday evening is a prep time for getting your week started. It is going to require some shuffling of your weekend. But this is good for you. It will pay of dividends for eternity. You know you need to exercise. You know you need to eat your veggies. You know this is good.
I like to use Sunday as a time for fellowship. Will this interfere with that?
Maybe. If your commute to church is long, this might curtail some of the hospitality you like to do on Sunday. But I think it also offers some great opportunities for fellowship in the church. I think of the conversations and connection that happened even after Pastor Chris’ ordination service. I saw the crowd and thought, “This is what Sunday Evening Worship will look like.” It got me excited. I hope we’re able to work in some potluck or chili dinners after worship. In the coming years, I believe we’ll see a growing need for a youth group that could meet before worship. I think Evening Worship opens up more avenues for fellowship.
I hear ya, but I gotta be honest, I’m still not sold on it.
I’m sympathetic to that. This is new. It is different. It is going to require something from all of us. But I challenge you to give it a try. Give it a couple of months. Once you get it into the rhythm of your weekly routine, I think you’ll realize that it just fits. It makes sense from so many different angles.
That’s all well and good, but I am not going to do it.
As we’ve mentioned in our previous articles, there is no explicit biblical command for Evening Worship. We believe it is implied throughout the Scriptures. We believe that wisdom would lead us toward this decision. But coming to Evening Worship is going to be on you. We will hold you accountable to your membership vows if you neglect coming to worship at all. But we will not formally discipline anyone for neglecting Evening Worship. We will encourage and try to persuade you to do so, but ultimately, the Session views this as a wisdom issue, not a “right or wrong” issue. We think you should attend. We do not require it as part of your membership vows. We hope you will want to attend.