Why aren’t we having church on Sunday?

Hey, thanks for sending in questions. As you know, we are approaching Christmas and we’re having a Christmas Eve in person service on Saturday evening, and then we’re having a virtual only service on Sunday morning, which is Christmas Day. And a couple of you have asked why aren’t we having service on Sunday morning this year on Christmas Day? And so I would like to modify the question just a little bit to ask why are we having a virtual only service on Christmas Day? We’re not completely eliminating Sunday service, but the reason why we are having only one in person service on Christmas Eve.

There’s a couple of reasons actually. First, we can understand our logic behind this approach, both in terms of what we’re trying to achieve and in terms of what we’re trying to prevent. So in terms of what we are trying to achieve, we’re trying to have more of our church body all be together at the same place at the same time. We’ve done a lot of intentional efforts to try to build community among our congregation over the last couple of years. Then, especially at Christmas, we want people to physically be together.

And by having one in person service instead of two in person services, we believe that that will provide the opportunity for more of our congregation to be together. If we had two separate services one Christmas Eve and one Christmas morning, undoubtedly some people would choose to come to one, some people would choose to go to the other. Probably a few people would choose to go to both, and then we wouldn’t all be together. So in order to have more people together, we’re having one in person service. That’s one thing we’re trying to achieve.

Another thing we’re trying to achieve is really reach our community. If we wanted to have only one service but put it on Christmas morning and maybe not have a Christmas Eve service, for instance, we likely wouldn’t reach as many nonchristians with the message of Christ. The last time we had an in person service on Christmas morning, a few people showed up and we had exactly zero guests, not even one. And that’s really normal across the country. Christian dumb at large, at least in the US.

Non Christians attend Christmas Eve services in far greater numbers than they attend Christmas morning services. And so if we are prioritizing getting the message to people who have not accepted it, then we will prioritize Christmas Eve over Christmas morning. So that’s what we’re trying to achieve, have people together and reach non Christians with the message of Christ in terms of what we’re trying to prevent. The last time that we had a Christmas morning service, especially right after a Christmas Eve service, it was very difficult to get the manpower required here for both of those services. You think about all the aspects that have to come together for a service, from lights to sound to slides to nursery workers, to musicians, even if we have a really scaled down version of a service, all of those elements still need to be in place.

And it was really, frankly difficult to pull all of that together both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning because that’s a time when people really want to be with their families and we celebrate that. We’re like, great, be with your families. And so in order to prevent putting a strain, an extra strain on all of these amazing volunteers who do so much for us and our amazing staff who does so much for us, in order to prevent that strain, in order to prevent stretching ourselves really thin. In order to pull this off, we’re saying we’re having one service, which is on Christmas Eve. So hope that helps.

For those of you who are still wondering how we came to the conclusion that we did. The New Testament, of course, does not mandate the day that churches need to gather. And so we as Christians have freedom to pivot when we need to in order to be as effective as we possibly can be. We want to maximize our effectiveness to get the gospel message out there. And New Testament gives us freedom to operate under a wise counsel which our entire leadership is on board with this.

So if you have any further questions about that, always feel free to ask. Again, clarify. We welcome questions, any kind of questions, at any time. We welcome and we thank you for sending this in. So we will see you Saturday evening at 05:00 p.m.

In our worship center for our candlelight Christmas Eve service. And then there will be a replay a of that service on Sunday morning available online. So thanks again, merry Christmas and see you soon.