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Multiple Church Services

August 25, 2005 by

Question: When should churches add another service?

Answer: When the pews are full.

Wrong.

At least according to Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan of Granger Community Church in Granger, Ind. In their Rev magazine article (adapted from their book Simply Strategic Growth) they argue for a number of ideas for drawing crowds to your church (which I’ve already summarized), and one of them is adding multiple services regardless of how full your church is.

Let’s take a look at why…

  • Multiple services give churchgoers a choice. More choices means it’s more likely your church will fit into their schedule. Not everybody works 9-5, Monday-Friday. Some people work Sunday mornings (gasp).
  • Multiple services means more opportunities to serve. If you have more opportunities and more needs, you’re likely to get more volunteers. That’s their logic anyway. Frankly, I think this is positive spin on a bigger issue: Multiple services are more work.
  • Multiple services let you be creative. God forbid anyone should mess with the Sunday morning service. But there’s more freedom to experiment with an extra service and try out something new.
  • Multiple services maximize space. What good is empty space on Saturday night? You get the most bang for your space if you use it more than just Sunday morning.
  • Multiple services create unity. Well, not really, but let me explain. 800 people in one worship service aren’t getting to know each other, so why insist on having your entire church meet together? Instead realize that church unity happens when members get to know one another on a deeper level, often through small groups, sports, classes, fellowship groups, etc. Multiple services force you to be intentional about creating unity in your church outside of the main services, instead of relying on that main service to do it (which it probably isn’t).

Of course the downsides aren’t really mentioned. More services are more work. They may eventually pay off when more members equal more volunteers, and more offerings equal more budget—but that’s a pay off churches might not see right away. Multiple services also increase the importance of having all the right infrastructure in place, from staffing to branding to communication—it’s more an obstacle than a downside, but not every church is prepared to offer more services.

But I still love this idea because there’s less emphasis on filling every last pew. Forget about whether or not we’ve reached building capacity, throw open the church doors and let the people come.

The book on church visitors: Unwelcome: 50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time VisitorsMore:

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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8 Responses to “Multiple Church Services”

  • Michael Rew
    August 25, 2005

    I would like more churches to have more services for people who work at odd hours, but the logistical problems are formidable. However, what if multiple churches with the same doctrine, vision, and mission (which should be the case in any case) offer services at other times while advertising each other’s services at the other venues? The staff at First Baptist, for example, could handle the Tuesday night service while Second Baptist could handle Thursday afternoon, etc.
    This would require non-competition for seatwarmers, of course.


  • Jason Silver
    August 26, 2005

    That’s our strategy as well. In our ‘language’, “More Services Mean More Connection Points”
    Thanks Michael,
    ~Jason
    http://www.getChurch.org


  • Are Karlsen
    August 30, 2005

    Yes, I was there, worked with these challenges. I feel pity for the management in corporate churches. I think they are out of touch with Gods vision for his church on earth.


  • Nebari Longjohn
    January 7, 2009

    I commend you for your call to search the scripture, expounding it to us, please keep in Jesus Name.


  • Stephen Tipps
    November 24, 2009

    Does anyone know of a church that stagger starts their services? Our church meets in a theater and we are currently doing three services but need to add a forth but are in a time crunch. Last easter we had six services that we staggered but now we are needing to add the additional service on Sunday. Do you know anyone that is doing this?


  • scott
    February 7, 2011

    This is bad advice. It’s better to have 1 service of 140 than three services of 35, 70, and 35! The question to answer and use as a guide is: How many people inside a worship service does it take for you to feel like you are fully worshipping with others.

    Too many choices are bad for an organization.


  • joe
    March 12, 2013

    I think you missed the point scott. It’s not about dividing up what you have but reaching more. So in a 150 seat church have 2 services till a hundred or more are attending then add a third so eventually all three have 100-140 attending. When you squeeze people into one service it’s exciting for a month or two, but the 80% theory comes in and attendance normally drops significantly if more space is not available.


  • Gordon
    July 3, 2013

    Kevin,

    I liked your article and the arguments you have made. You lost my attention when you used God’s holy name in a way that it is not meant to be used. You used His name to express a point of disagreement or even discuss for those who are traditional in regards to Sunday service.
    I again want to emphasis that I was in agreement with the premise of your article. Nobody else picked up on the misuse of God’s name, so I might be wrong, or perhaps our spiritual discernment has become weak. I’ll let you decide.



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