Tuesday, May 28, 2024

What Ever Happened To Sunday Night Church?

by Bob Gray Sr.

I feel sorry for Sunday night church. It has been cut back, cut out, moved forward, redefined, replaced by some groups and just about every other thing that could be done to something, which at one time was so precious to us all. I grew up going to church on Sunday night and not once did we think about its inconvenience to us or how we can make it adjust to our lives to make them a little easier.
Canceling Sunday night would have been akin to canceling Sunday dinner or even worse for that matter. It had almost an equal billing with Sunday morning church. It was the costar of a good Sunday. It was the desert of the Lord’s day. The question “are we going to church tonight?” didn’t exist in our lives.

However, the mighty often fall and Sunday night church is no longer the glamorous costar of Sunday morning. It has been relegated to optional and asked to adjust itself so as to make our lives more convenient. No longer do we build our lives around the Sunday night church service, but we ask that it build its life around us. I miss Sunday night the way it used to be and I long for a day when it returns to its glory.

Why was Sunday night so special? It was special because it was another time to meet with the church family. Unlike Sunday morning when we had visitors sit at the table with us. Sunday night was just dinner for the family for the most part. An occasional guest would join us, but mostly it was the family enjoying a time of hearing the preaching together.

It was special because it concluded the Lord’s day with the Lord. Sunday night we would go to church and arrive home just in time to eat a snack and go to bed. It was usually too late to turn on the television or watch a ballgame. No, it was the end of the Lord’s day, it was dark outside, and we went to bed with the fresh thought of the preaching of God’s word in our minds.


  • It was special because we were able to hear the preacher again. Sunday night wasn’t like Sunday morning. The preacher cut loose a little bit more on Sunday night than he did Sunday morning. He spoke directly to us. He challenged us more. He exhorted a bit more. Sometimes he even scolded a little bit more.
  • It was a family meeting where he could be more candid with the members of the family. We laughed more, cried more, shouted more, loved more, relaxed more, listened more, responded more, hugged more, sang more, fellowshipped more, shook hands more, etc.
  • It was another chance to become closer to one another. It was another chance to shake hands. I love the old gospel songs we sang in church. Sunday mornings we sang pretty good, but Sunday nights…well we cut loose on Sunday nights. After all there was no one there that we were trying to impress.
  • It puts sports, football in particular, in its place. Never saw the ending of the second football game or golf tournament on Sundays because we had to leave for church. As far as we were concerned the second game on Sunday night football didn’t exist, but if it had we would have missed it, because we were in church.
  • It gave us another chance to do something for the Lord. A group that couldn’t sing on Sunday morning could sing on Sunday night. Soloists who couldn’t sing Sunday morning preformed Sunday night. People that were working during the service in other services Sunday morning finally were able to come and be with the rest of the church family on Sunday night. Just more chances we all had to do something special for the Lord, made Sunday night important to us.
We knew we were different. Lots of cars were pulling out of their driveways on Sunday mornings, but not too many cars were going anywhere on Sunday nights, unless they were going to church. We walked out to the car looking like most people looked on Sunday morning when they went out to their car. People stared at us wondering if that’s all we ever did was go to church. We were peculiar in our neighborhood, because we were one of the few that went back on Sunday nights, in fact we were one of the few that had services that we could go back too on Sunday nights.
Oh, how lonely Sunday night church must feel even in some fundamental circles. Constantly being changed to accommodate, constantly being altered, constantly being shut down for Christmas, feeling like a red headed step child, shut down for New Years, July 4th, Memorial Day, and lately the Super Bowl. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” has a big hole left in it’s nuance meaning nowadays with Sunday night church being disrespected and in some cases vacated. I can almost see a tear leaving the corner of the eye of Sunday night when the preacher announces there will be no Sunday night service this week.

by Bob Gray Sr.

Original article can be found at http://www.bobgraysr.com/2014/01/what-ever-happened-to-sunday-night.html

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  1. Loved the article. Typo tho at “It was the desert of the Lord’s day.”, one of my favorite thoughts, dessert of the day, good thought there.

  2. I think Bob Gray Sr. has some decent points he makes in this article. However, I believe some of the ideas are flawed. I do not view my church family any different on Sunday morning than I do on Sunday night. I am myself no matter which church service is going on. I really think a lot of this has to do with emotionalism and traditions of men rather than anything else. The Lord does not command believers to gather for three services a week, much less a second one on Sunday night. I am not opposed to the idea of three services a week, but I am not going to allow the traditions of men to be the plumbline for my faith and walk in Christ Jesus. Contrary to the popular statement, it does NOT take the to thrive. If a Christian wants to thrive they must be in the word daily themselves, and they must be in prayer as well. Yes, it is sad Sunday night becomes a tragic victim of the times, but whose fault is it when the service is cancelled? What yellow-bellied dog is unwilling to preach to himself if necessary? Lack of ability to attend Sunday evening church service due to health issues, lack of funds for gas, or some similar legitimate reason is different than choosing not to go because the football game is on, you do not want to go, or so forth. I think three services a week can help strengthen the Christian and build up any family that continues in the practice, but I will not contend it is the best service because the majority of the points Brother Gray points to are based on emotional aspects rather than spiritual. And, I was not at all unprepared or found alarmed when I found the emotional, and totally out of context, appeal made to “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” We are not commanded to meet three times a week. We can meet as many times a week as we wish as believers. So, do not let anyone guilt you into this idea you MUST attend some service just because it is a tradition of men. If you choose to go to the service then do it as unto God, and to please God rather than men. 🙂

    • It is unusual that I find myself both completely in agreement with an article, and also completely in agreement with a commenter that takes a different slant on the subject than the author. Well said.

  3. Actually, many churches now meet in homes with “small groups” on Sunday night, so we are still meeting, just not at the church building, and not with just the church people. Small groups have really help MORE people “attend church” on a Sunday night. There is bible study going on, prayer going on and ministry happening all over the city. So…the traditional church service at the church may be no more…but church is still happening, just in a different form!

  4. My church family does meet twice on Sundays, as well as on Wednesdays, either morning or evening for Prayer meeting. It seems to me for the church building to sit empty is not much of a testimony to the “world”.

  5. I just can’t wrap my head around not having Sunday PM service, we all know that the closer we get to the return of JESUS the more pressure we are under so what is our rational for thinking we don’t need Sunday nights anymore? It’s sure not a drudgery to me

  6. I think this article has some good points. However a lot of it is flawed by the opinions and emotions of one person, not necessarily what God has commanded. It is this type of thinking that allows people to believe us to be cultish. How dare someone judge some one else by their church attendance. You have no idea what is going on in their life to prevent them from coming to church. I am fully tired of hearing ind baptists harp on about 3 weekly church attendance. Is it really necessary to guilt your church members into church attendance. Is this what Jesus would have wanted?

    • A hit dog yelps. Sounds here like someone got hit by this article. By the way, here is what Jesus wants: And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25


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