Recently I have heard and read a lot of discussion about the Sunday evening service (commonly held in Independent and Southern Baptist Churches–for the sake of discussion , I am only speaking about Independent Baptist Churches). There are two sides in this debate that seems to run full circle every so often on forums like the Fundamentalist Forums.
There are some that believe that the Sunday evening service should not be held and that it is a thing of the past. They feel that they can make better use of their time.
There are also those who feel that the Sunday evening service is a vital part of the Christian life and that it is a good thing to have them.
Personally, I agree with the latter, I have been a member of three Baptist churches since 1987
You may be saying to yourself at this point, “Why make such a big deal about the Sunday evening service?” Well, as you may have read in the previous posts, I have been laid up with an ankle and foot injury for the last several weeks. Prior to my injury, I can count on two hands the number of times that I have missed church due to illness or other reasons. I always cherished my times at church because of the opportunity to worship God, learn the Bible, fellowship with other believers, encouragement, etc. Now being laid up, I have not been able to attend church for three weeks now and even though I am able to listen to the services via the radio (WCTS AM 1030).
Nothing takes the place of personal contact, it is one thing to listen to a church service, but it is another thing to be present.
Recently, while I was in seminary chapel last year (2004) a speaker came from a mission organization and right now it slips my mind, but I will never forget something that he showed us during his presentation. He had a picture of a group of Russian believers who were gathered in a forest somewhere in Russia and they were meeting to partake in the Lord’s Supper and the weather did not look very inviting, they did not have building to meet in. They were huddled closely together to worship the Lord, knowing that if the KGB or military discovered them, they would have all been arrested. When I saw this picture, I was immediately struck with the thought of, “How important is God to you?” and I also thought of people that I knew who did not give much thought or priority to church services at all. Then I was struck by these people, who I did not know, but how they were WILLING TO RISK THEIR LIVES IN ORDER TO WORSHIP GOD! And then how we here in America take the opportunity to go to church with such glib and sometimes disrespect.
Would our church attendance habits change if there was a change of laws in this country and it was illegal to gather together for worship?
Seeing this image and going through my accident has given me a greater appreciation to attend church and to understand the importance of religious freedom in our great county..
Please think about those believers who risked their lives and gave up their comforts in order to worship God. Think about this the next time you are tempted to skip church and stay home for no good reason (I am not referred to illness,etc. but just pure selfishness and laziness)
I welcome your comments