Monday, December 31, 2007

PM Worship Service

I submit for your approval a sermon I preached yesterday for New Year's. I wouldn't necessarily call it a homerun, but I feel safe saying that I thought it was an extra-base hit. Its not too late to challenge your church for the New Year. If there's anything in there that helps, or even if you just want to preach from that script, have at it.

I want to ask this question: where did PM worship service come from? Who was the first guy to say, "One worship service on Sunday isn't enough. We need two."

I love Mike Cope's joke about PM worship service. He calls the AM service the "Varsity" service, and PM the "JV" edition. Varsity comes out in the morning; they have the nicer uniforms & the bigger audience. JV comes out at night. To most folks, they care about the Varsity team, but they could care less about JV. I even recognize that most of my better sermons are the ones I preach Sunday AM.

I fail to understand why someone once felt the need & decided for the church to come together, worship, leave, then come together again, and rehearse from the same script what we did on Sunday morning. If its the Lord's Supper people need an extra chance to take, we could have a dedicated Lord's Supper Service. However, I've just gotta say that the church's antiquated system of PM worship service is redundant (and so not attractive), inconvenient, and (frankly) ineffective on many levels.

I love the idea of coming together on Sunday for a 3-4 hour block of time... having bible study, having worship, sharing a meal, and then going home. Or having worship Sunday AM & having cell groups in homes at night. Those ideas make sense. Can we say the same about the idea of PM worship service?


Mark said...

Hey! Glad you found some usefulness in the daily Bible posts. I did my first reading today for 2008. So far, I'm batting 1000 :-).

Regarding the Sunday night thing, brother, I can totally relate. I used to get so frustrated some times because I felt like I was expected to preach a LONGER sermon (which requires more prep work) for FEWER people.

Then again, the nice thing about sunday nights is that the people who are there are generally very seriously dedicated. I found that many of them have greater attention spans, providing me with opportunities to teach about things the Sunday morning crowd wouldn't have the patience for.

I've gone through some similar feelings about Wed. night devotionals before class. I do one every week here, and at first it just felt like I was using up all my good sermon ideas for lessons that no one is ever going to respond to.

But my thinking has gradually changed. I still wish I didn't have to do them every week in some ways, but in others, people have given me some really positive feedback. I've tried to prepare each one from the angle "What does a Christian need to hear in the middle of a busy work week?" People have contined to pull me aside and tell me, "Man, I really love your Wed. devotionals...they always give me what I need to make it through the rest of the week."

Not that all my sermons have been good, but I've gotten to a place where I can see some value in what we do, even if I'd rather do it a different way myself. It's easy to feel like Sunday nights don't accomplish anything, but if we give them our best and don't preach Diet Coke sermons (as it is very tempting to do), God can still use it.

Thanks for your post about this. May God bless your ministry.

Mark <><

III said...

Thanks for your comment, Mark. I can tell that you feel my pain ;)

Yeah, I usually do appreciate the sense in which the Sunday night crew are the dedicated & really tune in to what you have to say. It's not so much the smaller audience & expectation to preach more for me, but it's the general lack of efficiency and energy in trying & failing to replicate Sunday morning each Sunday night.

I'd love to split my PM crowd into small groups. I'd get real excited about that!

Jordan said...

Not being a preacher and coming from some successful groups, I am all for Sunday nights.

Growing I always liked them because that was when the youth group hung out. In college they were great because it was an informal sermon where audience input was highly encouraged (more of a class).

I find the informal setting to be a very ripe environment for learning and answering questions. Sunday nights are not as intimidating as a formal sermon to people who have questions and such.

Also, I am thoroughly addicted to Wednesday night small groups. There are a great way to connect and refocus during the week. Highly recommend them.

Mark said...

Jordan...that's a neat idea. It's too bad that more of our churches don't cater to environments where honest inquiry is treated respectfully. If people feel comfortable asking what's really on their hearts, that's a sign of a healthy church to me.