The reasoning behind a Second
The service will be
called “The Gathering” and it will be described as “A Sunday Evening
Fellowship and Praise Service.” We believe the name “The
Gathering” is catchy and memorable and that the description is accurate.
We are going to gather with the Lord, with one another, with those whom
we are going to ask to come, and with those whom the Lord will lead to
come through advertising or other means. The Gathering is going to
be unique in that it will take place in the Christian Education Center.
It will be casual, creative and informative.
The environment at
the Gathering will be one that fosters fellowship as people come and
gather around the Word with a cup of cappuccino, coffee, cocoa or tea
and a fresh baked good. That’s right; there will be a Café at the back
of the Worship Center. All of the equipment to get the café started was
donated in belief that this will encourage people to stay longer and
minister to one another.
The name for
the Café will be Shiloh Holy Grounds. The logo was created by Amy and
Michael Belovesick. Shiloh Holy Grounds will accept donations for the
various coffees. Premium coffee, such as Starbucks, and cappuccinos,
like Peppermint Patty, Cinnamon Bun, and Fat Free Vanilla, will prove to
keep any droopy eyed loafer awake. Of course, music from one of our
four praise bands, visuals, skits, readings, old fashioned flannel graph
stories for kids, and to-the-point biblical preaching, will encourage
and instruct us in God’s ways. For those who wouldn’t be able to
contain themselves if they had caffeine in their Joe, we will always
serve a premium decaffeinated coffee along with
the old standby coffee which Pastor Scott has called “The Pitts.”
Some of you might be reluctant in coming to a second service. Why go to
church twice on Sunday? Isn’t once enough? I want to encourage you to
carefully consider coming to both services. There is great significance
in our gathering twice on a Sunday.
Michael G. Brown has published an article in the Banner of Truth
Magazine (Oct. 2007). In that article he offers reasons to come to an
evening service. The following points were included in his article in
which I have adapted for our particular circumstances.
worship is Scriptural. While there is no
explicit command in the Bible for us to have two worship services, we do
find a pattern present. We see it in the creation order. There was
evening and there was morning (Gen. 1-2). When sacrifices were made
under the Old Covenant, they were made once in the morning and then
again just before evening (Num. 28:1-10). Thus the Psalmist declares in
Psalm 92:1-2, It is good to praise the LORD and
make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the
morning and your faithfulness at night.
worship helps us to set-apart the Lord’s Day.
It will be wonderful for families, couples, singles and widows to
literally bookend their Sabbath day by beginning with worship and ending
with worship. This literally says to God, “I have set the whole day
apart for You.” After all, it is the Lord’s Day; not just the Lord’s
The Sabbath day is a
gift from God, a time for us to be together without the distraction of
work, a time to feed on God’s words, to bless and be blessed by brothers
and sisters, and a time to really focus on the Lord. Yes, we all want to
rest from the work week; but God knows that true rest comes when we sit
at His feet and meet together as the Body of Christ. So I challenge all
of you to real rest and to reclaim the wonderful blessing of the Sabbath
Day by setting it apart from the rest of the week.
evening worship, like morning worship is a means of Grace.
The Heidelberg Catechism Q & A Number 65 asks, “Since then we are
made partakers of Christ and all his benefits by faith only, from where
cometh this faith? It answers: ‘The Holy Spirit works it in our
heart by the preaching of the gospel, and confirms it by the use of the
Holy Sacraments.” Many churches have decided to have Bible study on
Sunday evening, instead of a sermon. Who wants to sit through another
boring sermon? (Of course you wouldn’t say that about your pastor?) But
if preaching and the sacraments are truly God’s primary means of Grace,
then wouldn’t it be better for us to have two worship services, with two
different messages? “Faith comes from hearing and hearing through
the Word of Christ”- Romans 10:17, and it is the ‘the preaching
of Jesus Christ” that strengthens us. “How will they know
unless someone preaches to them?” - Romans 16:25. The Gathering
will provide another opportunity for us to be encouraged and built-up.
It will also provide another opportunity our community for the sake of
worship is consistent with the historic Church.
Looking at the history of the
church, having both Sunday morning and
evening services were the norm. By the early fourth century, church
historian Eusebius of Caesarea described what he understood to be the
universal practice of the
church: For it is surely no small sign of
God’s power that throughout the whole
world in the churches of God at the
morning rising of the sun and at the evening hours, hymns, praises, and
truly divine delights are offered to God. God’s delights are indeed the
hymns sent up
everywhere on earth in his Church at the times of morning and evening.
Psalm 64, as quoted from the Oxford History of Christian Worship
(Oxford: Oxford university Press, 2006), p. 60).
During the middle
ages, morning worship became know n as ‘lauds’ and evening worship as
‘vespers’. Attending both serves was standard practice for Christian.
At the time of the reformation it was custom to meet both Sunday morning
and evening. The evening service included exposition of reformed
doctrine and was catechetical in nature. Through the centuries it was
the custom of the Dutch Reformed Church, English Puritans, Scottish
Presbyterians, Anglicans, and Lutherans to hold services in the morning
and evening. What the church has experience more recently by holding
just a single service is a departure from the normal practice of the
So I encourage you
to consider coming to both services. And especially invite a friend to
The Gathering at 6:00 p.m.
beginning January 3rd. Many of your friends and family may
have a home church that they attend on Sunday morning but they don’t
have an evening service to attend. This could be the opportunity for
them to personally experience the love of God through the witness and
fellowship of God’s people in an inviting environment that encourages
openness. As Michael Brown so clearly puts it –
“It will be good for the soul!”