As we seek the build believers to the glory of God, the elders of Immanuel Bible Church are focused on leading our congregation toward growing deeper in fellowship, worship and the Word. That’s why this fall we will launch a Sunday evening service that will provide our church with more time to spend together in prayer, praise and study. It’s our hope and expectation this new service will lead to deeper relationships with Christ, and with each other.
While a Sunday evening service is new for many of us, the concept is actually quite old. Bible churches throughout Christian history, including IBC many years ago, have valued church attendance on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings. Bracketing the Lord’s Day with corporate worship is an effective way to anchor our week through the church. But in the 1990’s, many American Bible churches gave up this practice. The idea was that Sunday nights should be reserved for family … and sports.
But the last 20 years have shown that this was not effective. If we’re being totally honest, the separation of Sunday evenings for family time seldom actually works out that way. Often, sports – which had traditionally been confined to Saturdays – now dominate much of the day Sunday, from morning through evening. For many of us, church has become a task to “get out of the way” on Sunday morning so we can focus on other chores, errands or personal pursuits the rest of the day.
We believe it’s important to challenge this status quo. So, starting September 8, we will go back to offering this kind of service. The service will start at 5:15 pm, and take place in the Atrium. I want to be clear that this evening service will not be a repeat of morning worship. To start, I’ll be preaching on what the Bible says about contemporary issues (such as gay marriage) and theological issues (such as the end-times). Many nights will feature testimonies, and we will often do Q & A sessions where topics raised in the Sunday morning message can be addressed with more depth. Eventually, we’ll start a series in an Old Testament book, so that the kind of focus we have in Mark in the mornings can be matched in the Old Testament in the evenings.
We are not launching this service to broaden our attendance – though we pray God continues to bless us by drawing new members into our community – but to deepen it. We are encouraging members to attend both services, and take advantage of this opportunity to get to know each other better while growing deeper in the Word of God together.