Six Reasons Why Church Members Choose One Worship Service Over Another
My church has four services on Sunday: 8am traditional, 9:30am contemporary, 10:30am en Español, and 11:00am blended. I preach the three services in English, and our Hispanic pastor preaches the service in Spanish. With four services on a Sunday morning, why do people choose one service over another? I’ll give you six reasons from the perspective of my church. However, I believe these reasons apply to many churches offering multiple services.
- Language preference. This reason is obvious. If you speak only Spanish, you’ll likely choose our Hispanic service. However, it’s not as simple as you might think. Children and students of those who attend the Hispanic service often end up in our children’s ministry and student ministry.
- Time preference. Some people choose a service because the timeslot works well for them. I have a friend who goes to the 8am service simply because he’s up early and likes that time.
- Style preference. Some pastors and church leaders believe style is the driving factor for service selection. It’s important, certainly. A monastic chant service is not likely to grow. But we should not fall into the trap of believing one service is more highly attended than another simply because of style.
- Group preference. A worship service is often the “front door” to a church, meaning people will attend a worship service before doing anything else in the church. However, once people decide on a church, a small group preference can dictate which service they attend. In our church, some attend the 9:30am service because their preferred group meets at 11:00am.
- Family situation. We do not offer programming for children for our 8:00am service. The main reason is demand—simply too few children would be present to warrant year-round programming. Therefore, if you do not want to have your child in the service, then 8:00am at our church is not an option for you. I know of other churches that offer student ministry only at one timeslot. Therefore, families with students end up picking a service based upon the ministry availability.
- Week-to-week decision. Believe it or not, there are some who select a worship service based on what is happening in their lives that week. If they want to sleep in, then they go to a later service. If they want to get somewhere before lunch, then they go to an earlier service. Personally, it does not bother me so long as you are faithful.
Let me share with you two lessons I’ve learned from these six reasons: 1) Don’t assume people are attending a service just because of style, which is often the argument. 2) Having more options can benefit your church. In our case, we have four services mainly because of parking problems. We fill our parking lot long before we fill our worship space. But having these options enables us to reach more people and keep them.