Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Three to Thrive

  • Jim Townsley
  • Jan 27, 2009

The traditional schedule for fundamental churches for many decades was to hold services on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. In addition, Sunday School for all ages has been the norm. Though conducting these three services is not specifically commanded in the Bible, the matter of meeting regularly and faithfully is expected from the Lord. Heb 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. The first day of the week provides a special emphasis to the New Testament church where members can give tithes and offerings to the Lord, as well as meet for preaching and encouragement. Meeting weekly was a practice of the early church. But, the early church met together more than once a week. In the book of Acts the Scripture suggest they met daily. Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.

The leaders of each church must accept the responsibility of setting the meeting times and schedules so that the church can meet the needs of its members and the commitment of the great commission can be fulfilled. Fundamental churches have traditionally held these three services on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. In addition to these three services, churches have held special services for revival, family conferences, soul-winning conferences, mission's conferences etc. Also, soul-winning programs and children's meetings and youth meetings add to the number of days faithful members are at church. Whatever the pastor and or leaders of the church set as the times to meet should be followed by the members and each one should endeavor to be faithful to all of these services and functions.

We live in a busy society and every pastor is conscious of the demands upon his members. It is important to consider people's work schedule and family time. However, no matter what the pastor does with the church schedule, people will be extremely busy. Pastors must accept the challenge of balancing the church programs with people's personal lives. Setting a priority upon certain activities will help the pastor to best fulfill the needs of every church family.

A mere forty years ago the Wednesday night prayer meeting was well attended. In fact, many towns would never hold a school function or sporting event on Wednesday night because the leaders knew that most people would be at prayer meeting. I have asked many leaders in our fundamental movement the question, "How many churches in America will have 200 or more in their Wednesday night service?" I believe the answer is approximately 100 churches, many of which are college churches that require students to attend. If this is true, and I believe it is, it is a disturbing development. Though I have less empirical data for forty years ago, I am confident the number was several hundred. What has happened to the Wednesday night crowd? Should we throw in the towel and give up? I believe not. It requires many years of faithful teaching, but I am convinced we can still develop a faithful crowd of people to attend the mid-week services.

There is a trend in our fundamental Baptist churches to hold junior church in the morning for the children and teen church for the teens and Wednesday to conduct a children's program separate from the Wednesday regular service. I know I am in the minority, but I am a strong believer in families attending all the services together. I want children and teenagers to learn to listen to the preaching of the Word of God. If a child or teen attends a morning junior church and a Wednesday children's club, they would seldom hear the preaching of the Bible from the pastor. They may have more fun at a Bible study accompanied with games and recreation, but why would they ever want to attend the preaching if they grow up thinking church should always be a lot of fun?

When churches provide a children's ministry on Wednesday night the Wednesday service loses its importance and the main auditorium attendance is decreased. Many faithful adults will be required to miss the main service to teach and monitor the children. Many times this begins a downward spiral. Children and faithful members are missing and sometimes their spiritual walk is hindered due to missing the preaching of the Word of God. This in turn means additional leaders must be solicited from the ranks of the Wednesday service who may repeat the process. Eventually, pastors may discontinue the Wednesday service as a preaching service, so the Wednesday service develops into an informal setting until eventually no one sees the need to even hold this important service at all.

Children should enjoy life, have fun, and experience life appropriate to their age. However, when it comes to the church services children will learn a number of vital lessons by being in the main church service.
1. They learn to worship as a family.
2. They learn God is important to their parents and that worship is a serious matter.
3. When God moves upon the hearts of those in attendance children will recognize the important of God in their lives.
4. They learn to respect the pastor and to hold him in high esteem.
5. Children learn to sit quietly in church.
6. It should be a time of challenge and commitment encouraging reposes through the invitation.