Discontinuing Saturday Night Service
During our weekend services on June 22-23, it was announced that our elders have made the decision to discontinue our Saturday night service and that our final Saturday night service will be August 31, 2019. While the transition away from this service carries a level of sadness, we truly believe what we will gain in spiritual health and margin is worth it. If you were unable to be with us, here is a quick overview of what was shared.
Spiritual Health vs. Seating Capacity
Over the past 18 months, our leaders have recognized hosting services across multiple days on the weekend is taking a toll on the spiritual health of our staff and volunteers. Staff members were unable to have a proper Sabbath with their families. Volunteers in Children’s Ministry, Worship, and Production were gladly giving up their entire weekends, but often having to go an extra mile to just be faithful attendees to a worship service. While Saturday service was an amazing opportunity to create more seats, it was also rivaling against the desire for margin and spiritual health we desire for our staff and volunteers.
Strengthening Our Volunteer Rosters
Related to the health of our volunteers, we saw an opportunity to strengthen all of our times by adding the Saturday volunteers to the Sunday teams. Now the volunteer base is deeper, creating less work for any one individual.
Often when churches discontinue a worship gathering, it is because that service is struggling and floundering. That was not the case with Saturday. We had seen growth over the past two years in all of our services including Saturday night. However, when we looked at our attendance, we realized we had space to incorporate Saturday into our Sunday services and still have room to grow. Numerical growth coupled with spiritual health and the unity and energy provided by combining Saturday night with our other services seemed like a can’t miss opportunity.
As we navigate this transition, pray with us. We recognize that Saturday nights carried some unique values such as the time to connect over tacos. Over the next few months, we are thinking and praying through ways to incorporate some of that same community that made Saturdays unique. Pray that the Lord would take these humble attempts to prioritize margin and spiritual health over seating, and use them for His glory and the strengthening of our church.
Frequently Asked Questions:
When is the final Saturday night service?
Saturday, August 31, 2019.
Was Saturday night failing? Are we in trouble as a church?
Quite the opposite, Saturday night had grown by about an average of 25 people over the past two years. We just never want to sacrifice health for setting capacity. This wasn’t in response to something bad, but rather a pursuit of something better.
Can we really fit the Saturday into our Sunday services?
Conventional wisdom is that any service with attendance of under 40% of its seating capacity is considered empty. At the opposite end of the spectrum, any service over 80% capacity is considered full. If you even dispersed our current Saturday attendance across the services at Torrance at 9 and 11 a.m., we would still have room to grow.
What happens if we grow past the 80%, will we go back to Saturday night?
We will pass that bridge when we come to it, but it is unlikely. We would first consider adding another service on Sunday. Because the highest priority is to preserve margin and spiritual health, going back to Saturday is not preferable.
Did the elders consider having another pastor on staff take over Saturday night as a development opportunity?
We did, but ultimately we found two concerns- a) that staff member would either have to work both days or be isolated from the body on Sunday and b) to give an entire weekend service away to another staff member creates a separate congregation. It places our body in a position to select their favorites as opposed to being shaped by the Word in the same way across all of our services. We would be more amenable to using this strategy to plant a church, but it is not a strategy for one of our services.
Saturday night had a cool opportunity to stay after service, eat tacos, and build relationships. How will we replace that?
We are brainstorming some ideas but nothing definitive has been decided. We will keep you posted.