Well, could it? People have wondered this.
We started an 8am worship service a few months ago, in addition to our 9:30am service. We did not need to have another worship because lack of space necessitated it. We have plenty of room in our sanctuary for our current attendance on Sundays.
People wondered if starting the early service was a bad idea. Some even cautiously speculated that the devil might be at work in the process. The reason they thought this is that adding the extra worship service can give the impression of disunity. There are now two groups. The 8am people and the 9:30am people. It seems that this is not a good thing, especially when our sanctuary could fit them all at the same time. Is this not division in the church? A kind of church split? We know the devil loves those.
This concern was part of the reason that we balked at the idea of two services as long as we did. Since I’ve been at Faith Church, we have been discussing this at least as far back as 2007. We want unity. We have asked people to give up their worship style preferences so that we can have a visible expression of unity, worshiping together on Sunday mornings. As a result, starting in 2007, we decided to hold one blended worship service, half traditional, half contemporary. I don’t feel it went very well. (And yet, look what I wrote here. Interesting the change.) You set out to please everyone a little bit, and you end up pleasing no one. 20-25 people left the church because they felt it was too contemporary. Others visited and never came back because it was too traditional. Unity?
I wish we would have started a second traditional service years ago. The heart behind our decision to do so earlier this year was love. Express love by ministering to people in their language. For some in our congregation, that language is traditional worship. We have 15-20 people that attend the early service. Could it be the work of the devil that we are reaching out to them in love?
And what of unity? Some people from both services have legitimately expressed concern that they miss seeing and talking to the people from the other service. That is a great concern! The issue is not how the new service broke unity, but instead how we will pursue unity in spite of the new service. What do you think you could do to be unified with those who attend the other service? Is there Scripture that might apply to this? We’ll talk about this more on Sunday, but feel free to start discussing here now.