Columbian.com: Some churches shorten services
Move gives families, busy young people a worship option.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Struggling with shrinking attendance, some churches are shortening their traditional Sunday service, promising to get a generation with limited attention spans out the door in as little as 30 minutes.
These abbreviated ceremonies are aimed at luring back the enormous numbers of young people who avoid Sundays at church. With distractions such as the Internet and a weak connection to the faith of their childhoods, many are steering clear, to the dismay of religious leaders who desperately want them back.
"We are increasingly aware of the time pressures on families, and they have been telling us that the traditional service is too long," said the Rev. Chip Stokes of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Delray Beach, Fla. "We recognize that things are changing, and we have to be more adaptive without losing our core."
St. Paul's recently introduced a 30-minute service designed for children up to fourth grade and their parents as an alternative to the church's 90-minute traditional service. Stokes said he is thrilled with attendance: About 40 parents and children have attended each week since the service started in September. ...
This comment got my attention.
But not everyone supports the trend.
"The Lord gives us 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Karen Turnbull of St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach. "And he's asking us for only one hour to come to church."Uh, I don't think that was God asking. I think that was your tradition talking. The idea that if our one hour service was good enough for Peter and Paul, then it is good enough for us, is misguided. I doubt First Century Christians would recognize much of what we call traditional worship. I'm not making a case one way or the other for shorter services but let's not confuse "the way we've always done it" for a biblical mandate.
The church I attend has a slightly abbreviated service at 8:00 am that is 45 minutes long instead of one hour. I've wondered how it would work to have a couple of 30 minute services at times during the week other than on Sunday morning.
Does your congregation have shorter services? Short services outside of Sunday morning? What are the benefits and downsides of going with shorter services?