Why Thursday worship?
Leveled my direction numerous times since our leaders began openly chatting about our new weekend worship gathering this spring has been this inquiry: why Thursday worship? It seems folks can wrap their heads (and hearts) around Saturday worship or an additional service on Sunday evenings, but the thought of gatherings to adore Jesus with His family on a Thursday evening seem to some the height of absurdity or to a few borderline blasphemy. I’ve had copious conversations surrounding this topic and I will no doubt have several more; but with our third weekend worship gathering launching this week – on Thursdays at 6:45 PM – I believe now would be a good time to address the issue in print.
No, we aren’t pitching Thursday worship because we are hip or edgy or trying to achieve cool points (whatever any of that means). Neither are we doing so because we hate “the Lord’s day” and want to gradually lead devotees of Jesus into small compromises that will ultimately deteriorate their souls and transform them into doctrine-denying, church-history-hating modern liberals. Rather, our purposes for Thursday worship are clear – and I contest – strong:
- Thursday worship creates another option to gather.
More than 30% of the American workforce labors on the weekend. Late Saturday or early Sunday shifts prevent countless believers from worshipping or seekers from attending consistently on Sunday mornings. Add to this the frequent weekend travel of those living in the burbs (for business or leisure) and you find an entire collection of folks who routinely or at least occasionally need an option to gather with the church to worship and learn outside of Sunday mornings.
Just last week one of our faithful members informed me that he and his wife missed 6 Sundays last year to attend out of town weddings alone. He stated that for this reason – and others – they are thrilled for Thursday worship.
A half dozen other families or individuals have informed me in the past month that their work has altered forcing them to work on the weekend and miss Sunday service; so Thursday worship is an answer to prayer. Thousands around the Bay Area serve in hospitality, retail, law enforcement, the medical field, or various other professions every weekend. Why not provide them an alternative to Sunday morning?
- Thursday worship serves as an evangelistic opportunity.
Already I have heard from several young people who have told me that their non-Christian friends – who either work or party on the weekends – have stated that they are willing to check out church on Thursday evenings. A few weeks ago – when we first broadcast the idea of Thursday worship – I received an email from one of our members informing me that her sister, who is an ardent atheist, stated that she feels like Thursdays will work well for her to attend church in search of answers to questions that haunt her mind.
While our gatherings are primarily geared to edify and equip believers, we do circle back to and are bolstered by the Gospel of Jesus each week which is not only the power to sustain the saint, but, as we know, the power to save the sinner.
- Thursday worship declares to a watching world that Jesus is worthy of more than Sundays.
Since the first century the church has gathered locally for worship and instruction on Sundays. The reason for this was two-fold: (a) because it was on this day that the Lord defeated death securing resurrection for all His people and (b) because it was the day upon which Pentecost occurred. However, while the early church typically gathered to worship on the first day of the week, this behavior was descriptive and is no where Biblically prescriptive. In other words, we can follow the example from church history of worshipping corporately on Sundays, but if we choose to gather with the church on another day of the week we can authentically worship on that day in the stead of Sundays without any doctrinal compromise. If you are a believer who is convinced that Sunday stands as separately sacred from the other days of the week then I strongly encourage you to act on that conviction and commit to corporate worship in all of its beauty on Sundays (Romans 14). If however, you are willing, or even feel compelled to worship Christ with His church on Thursday evenings then I say “Amen” and stand with you to declare to the world around us (and even to the church itself) that our King is worthy of far more than just Sunday mornings.
- Thursday worship provides additional worship space.
For any growing church hard decisions must be made. BLDG 28 was planted seven years ago and over the past four years has experienced remarkable growth. We have moved from one worship gathering in a smaller room, to two gatherings in that room, to two gatherings in a new, larger space, and are now out of room in those two gatherings. We earnestly desire to reach and minister to increasingly more folks, so that leaves us with a decision to me made. A Thursday service gives us to the opportunity to create more room while ministering to more people all for the glory of Christ Jesus.
If you are a part of BLDG 28 please be looking for ways to serve the family of faith and press hard against dissension and disunity in the body. God is doing remarkable things in His church and we should safeguard and cultivate His movement. If you are a friend of BLDG 28, please pray for our leaders, our members, and our mission as we launch Thursday worship and strive forward in faithfulness on this mission to which He has called us.