Is Once-a-Week Church Too Much?

The habit of weekly worship attendance has already taken a hit among American churchgoers. Now a move is afoot to offer the Sunday morning routine just once per month.

Even people who describe themselves as regular churchgoers are attending less frequently these days. That’s one of the factors that is contributing to shrinking church attendance on any given Sunday.

“People don’t have time for the model we’ve offered,” says Seattle church planter Jim Henderson. “It seems that when it comes to attending a Sunday church service, people have determined that once a month just about covers it.”

So, Henderson recently launched Once a Month Church in the Seattle area. He said the concept emerged as he and friends brainstormed about how to reach a changing culture. “We asked ourselves what it would take to get people to go back to church,” he said.

The frequency of the worship service is not the only distinctive of Once a Month Church. The Sunday morning experience departs from the dominant status quo. There’s no lengthy sermon. Henderson or an associate may speak for only three to five minutes. Then the speaker does a live interview with someone who’s “living an ordinary Christian life.” Questions from the congregation are welcome.

Relationships are intentionally encouraged. Everyone gets a name tag upon arrival, to provide people an easy way to approach each other. “We introduce people to each other and let things happen,” Henderson said. Participants are invited to join a small group that may meet one other time during the month.

Henderson reminds everyone that this is an experiment. With a refreshing lack of hubris, Henderson says, “We aren’t sure if God thinks this is as great of an idea as we do. We don’t know if we’re ‘ahead of the market,’ or maybe there is no market at all for Once a Month Church.”

This will be an interesting experiment–one that may resonate with a hyper-busy populace that is already showing waning interest in a weekly commitment.

Canadian church officials discovered that more people were avoiding any church involvement because they sensed an unspoken expectation for weekly attendance. Since they felt their family schedules would not allow for church attendance every week, they chose to avoid church altogether.

What do you think? Is Once a Month Church a case of less-is-more?

114 Responses to “Is Once-a-Week Church Too Much?”

  1. … Henderson says, “We aren’t sure if God thinks this is as great of a (sic) idea as we do.”

    So, you didn’t talk to God? You just decided to change the commandment of “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God” (Ex 20:8-10) all by yourselves?

    The Bible gives the answer, sabbath (worship) is every week, not once a month. I don’t want to speak for God but I am pretty sure He would have told you what He thinks of your idea if you had asked.

    • I am sure that Henderson talks to God in prayer all the time…but if the Bible only always has all the answers, then why do we pray at all? Times have changed dramatically and I think a once-a-month church is most likely a spot-on answer. Whenever people gather in community and love, there is the church! It does not matter how often….

    • I think Sabbath = rest. Yes that the day of rest is a good time for community worship but I don’t think God dictated this. Only a false God like allah would say, “Worship me or die!”

    • How about worship is 24/7, times 52? Jesus in John 4, etc… In any case, he is the fulfilment of the sabbath, check out the Letter to the Hebrews some time. OT is shadow, Jesus is bright sunlight.

      • Jesus also said he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Are we to ignore the Ten Commandments because Jesus came? Jesus Himself said no.

      • Check out Jesus’ take on the greatest commandment, Mt. 22:34-40. Dear follower, I think you’ll find that most serious Bible students would dispute your view re the Sabbath. But hey, we can differ in love…

      • Nailed it errollmulder. Hebrews also says not to forsake assembling together. In the church building IS important, but not more important than homes, etc.
        I was removed as an adult bible teacher in my church because I only attend two teaching/preaching services a week and only visit my class once a week. I still attend there but its no wonder people are leaving organized church in droves with this sort of Pharisaical attitude.

    • Just an(opinionated) follower: I think you might have misunderstood the meaning of Sabbath, especially as you seem to have conflated it with worship.

    • Where in Exodus 20:9-11 is worship commanded on the Sabbath? “[9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
      [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
      [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

      When it comes to worship and service of a god, God is the only one we are to worship and serve. God did not set a time, place or how often but only in spirit and truth. Obviously God wishes worship and service that comes from the heart and not robotically as some repetitive heartless act done out some weekly duty that needs fulfilling. Yea, and where one goes home from church with the feeling they ‘did their time’.

    • Am I reading you correct, you have conflated Sabbath with Sunday, and then because Sabbath comes once per week, you jump to an interpretation that suggests that the meeting of the church in the New Testament was once a week? Help a follower out here?

    • Are we to determine spirituality by the observing of days…such as the Sabbath, or any other holy day? Are we to regard each day as belonging to the Lord? Just a question.

    • “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
      ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬.
      Seems clear to me, we are not bound by the sabbath of the law. Also if you feel we are under the law and should keep the sabbath do you personally keep it? Including all of the regulations that go along with it, which includes when it is , which is Friday sundown to Saturday Sun down, not Sunday.

    • And if you get technical the seventh day of the week is Saturday. So several are breaking that. Look at your calendar. The Catholic Church had something to do with changing that. Read history.

  2. The weekly church was never necessarily so bad if all you did was attend. It was after I had gotten involved in the Sunday morning production that Sunday became the 7th day a week of work. I had my Mon-Fri regular job, Saturday, catching up on home, laundry, shopping cleaning . Then I had to be at church early and stay late to take care of church going morning and evening. On top of this the week night church activities. This is what burned me out. You don’t ever get a day of real rest. Even if the church gives you a week off each month, it still wears you down. The once a month would have been better for church volunteers. I really don’t see the once a month thing working and I can see the the argument about working 6 days and resting the seventh each week. Everyone gets that day of rest except those who work for their local commercial church.

    • Ryan, your last sentence really hits a key idea. Is it that people are tired of once a week church or are they tired of, as you put it, “local commercial church”.
      Millenials I talk to go with the latter, they see most of the churches today as something that are not doing what Jesus told us to do. We are not making disciples, we are not helping the widows and the orpahns, we are spending way to much (in both time and money) to try and be the best show in the neighborhood.
      A good example is an unnamed mega church in Illinois that spent $10 million (!!!!) on a magnificent (their term) center to help the poor, but wouldn’t a $500,000 building be just as good, and spend the other $9.5 million on ACTUALLY HELPING the poor?

  3. It’s a very sad commentary on our society if we can’t set apart an hour or two on Sunday morning to worship collectively. It seems to me that Scripture is pretty clear about doing that. “Don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together as the habit of some is.” It’s always been my experience that people will find time for the things that matter most to them and that should include church attendance if those people are believers. It’s a matter of setting priorities and making a commitment. I think it’s also sad when the church lowers the standard to meet the culture, rather than being set apart from culture and showing the culture another way. I think it’s great and necessary to be innovative and creative; I think, however, that there are standards we should adhere to and those are God’s. Jesus went into the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach; I suspect we need to be there a whole lot more than He did and I think that we are meant to follow His example.

    • “Jesus went into the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach”. And Paul preached to the heathen on Mars hill, concluding they were too “superstitious”. Lets preach the Gospel wherever people are, and on whatever day we can. If that’s only Sunday to you, then do it on Sunday. Go to church, study, listen to the preaching, then put feet to your faith and take it out to the Mars hill where you live. On Sunday. I have noticed that many SUNDAY only Christians only attend church on Sunday, and never reach their community on Sunday or any other day. Not necessarily meaning you MJ, just an observation.

      • Sunday church is not to evangelise the unreached, it is to reach the saved with the word of God so the people of God can be equipped and encouraged sufficiently to get out there in the big wide world to evangelise the lost and reach the unreached in their life call community. Church on Sunday is a training headquarters to equip the troops for the weekly mission.

  4. In today’s world what does “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy ” look like? How would we define a “day of rest””

  5. A study of Jesus remarks in the Gospels makes it clear that there is no Christian Sabbath. EVERY day is a holy day, ALL ground is holy ground. I am in favor of reaching any group of otherwise unchurched people with the Gospel. Lets forget about the American model of Christianity and go with the Jesus model, in which every day that you can witness, any where, is honorable to the Father.
    Having said that, I fear there will be no end to the headlong rush into secularism in America. Attending church once a week, three times a week, once a month, wont stop that. The pulpits first, then the congregations, must return unto God with all our hearts, souls, and minds.

    • What is the Jesus model? While Jesus was alive, Jesus obeyed the Law. He was a perfect man and lived without sin. Are you trying to live perfect?
      Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
      This verse comes from the Sermon on the Mount?
      I am not trying to be facetious, but we love to pick and choose scriptures we choose to obey and let the others go.
      Let’s let Jesus talk about the sabbath.
      Mark 2:23-28(KJV)
      23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
      24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
      25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
      26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
      27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
      28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath..
      Incidentally Apostle Paul was given the way people worship. Incidentally Worship goes beyond singing a few words. Worship is who you are. Paul mentioned about laying aise on the First day of week offerings. Would not you think he would be referencing when you have church.
      Also churches were held in houses and small buildings in those days.
      As someone pointed out you have the megachurches, but they are not really discipling anyone. It is the small churches.
      Think about this. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
      Those that believe you should not work on the Sabbath, Should you enjoy the things that are produced, because someone works o a Sabbath are are those workers Sinners?
      I personally think that you need the fellowship of the believers weekly and I am one of those 2 on Sunday and Wednesday night. I find what time you set aside for the Lord to be with His People other areas of your life will come together. You should never sacrifice being with God’s people to do some secular activities. I believe in putting God first.
      When you give up something like going to a church service, are you spending that time with God in His Word and Praying. If not you have put secular activities ahead of God. No matter how you analyze it, God is not 1st in your life if you allow this time to be robbed.

  6. We just started a bi-weekly format. This is in the early stages, but we are simultaneously developing house churches that meet throughout the month. Our bi–weekly gatherings are geared to developing house church leaders who in turn, impact their neighborhoods. We consider our ‘building’ as a Training and Resource Center. Honestly, we are not purposely trying to adapt to the culture, but rather we are endeavoring to train leaders who carry the Gospel of the Kingdom into our cities.

    • Good for you Tim, that’s what is needed. We spend too much time (and way too much $$) in America building buildings instead of building people.

  7. Tying worship to a building (great pic Thom) and a specific time or meeting is about as unbiblical as it gets. I did the former for 38 years as a senior pastor, almost 10 years of being church incarnational style. And yes the ekklesia does gather from time to time for edification and corporate worship.

    • I am not sure what you are saying. Are you just referring to the New Testament? Because the Old Testament specifically states that worship is a specific day and place ( the Sabbath, the seventh day, and and the tent of meeting in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers).

      So do you believe the Old Testament is “unbiblical”? If so, do you also think Creation is “unbiblical”?

      • Just a follower, here is a scriptural truth to ponder. In the OT, God resided between the cherubims. In the NT God resides in our hearts. You don’t have to go to God, he dwells in you. Apply that to this thread and there is no confusion.

      • My dear man, of course the OT is biblical. Please don’t jump to false conclusions. Shall we just move on from here now…

      • I read through the link you sent on the Sabbath and it appears the worship was something added by the Jews and became a tradition of theirs. It wasn’t something God added and commanded. Face value of the Sabbath in the 10 commandments is that it is a hollowed day of rest only.

      • Wow you guys are really fundamentalists or literalists…..old testament mentions chariots….should we scrap our cars?

  8. Just a follower,
    I don’t think the article says they didn’t talk to God. It just says it’s an experiment and they’re not sure. I’ll bet they prayed a lot.

    I’d love to think God would always be crystal clear on exactly what He wants in every situation. He doesn’t work that way though. At least not in my life. He sure seems okay with a journey whereby I walk by faith and often times discover His will in hindsight.

    These sound like godly men looking for ways to reach a lost culture. I applaud them.

    As for the sabbath…the law was given to Israel at Mt. Sinai before they spent years in the wilderness. What does doing no work one day a week have to do with a church in Seattle having services once a month?

    I also noticed they encourage people to be in a small group. Is that not also the church?

    • Well, I was looking at it as they had not asked God since they have “aren’t sure” if God thinks it is a great idea. God is usally pretty clear in what he wants you to do, especially if it goes against His Commandments.

      As far as the sabbath, it is pretty clear in the Ten Commandments that the Sabbath is to be once a week, not once a month. (Ex 20:8-11)

      Small groups are essential to the health of the church, and a vital, part of worship. But it is not the total of worship. Corporate worship is vital, for the health of your spiritual life in that you get strength from worshipping with others. It is also talked about in the Bible, that worship is to be public and corporate. Hebrews 10:25 and 1 Timothy 4:13.

      Just my opinion, YMMV.

  9. ‘almost’ now almost…

  10. My mom encouraged us as youngsters to set aside a change of clothes which she referred to as our “Sunday best” outfits…as we aged, it was not only our clothing that was so designated, it became our way of seeing things, our attitude, and our approach not only to the sabbath, but to life, ritual, and a new week…there’s a reason boot camp takes as long as it does, weight loss is a process (crash diets are not for the long term) and a crock pot does more for beef stew than a microwave can. Third grade took soooo long—but I learned alot!

  11. Interesting idea. I was recently at a church planting conference and heard of Messy Church movement that I s taking place in the UK. Other models were shared, all for the purpose of finding ways to connect or reconnect people to Jesus.
    Phyllis Tickle shares that every 500 years, the church goes through a significant change, we are living in this season of change. Some see this as scary times for the church, but I believe this is a time of incredible opportunity.
    Church is not going to look the same. I have a friend who has started a new faith community with women who are strippers at night clubs. 10 women from her church go to the night club to watch them perform and build relationships. Now they have a mini new faith community that has helped women transition into other employment. It’s messy, it’s risky, it’s not traditional church, but it IS the church doing incredible things in the kingdom of God.

  12. God is seeking for true worship in John 4 and we are contemplating if we should worship every week? What a joke? We ought to repent and worship Him daily in our lifetime.

  13. Seems to me that people can already go once a month – and do – when we have it every week. If you pick a week to do once a month – first, second, whatever – that still won’t work with every person’s schedule. Do you then add it on the third, then the fourth? then you are having it every week. What we need to do is make sure our every week people don’t shame those who come less. And then we have to gently challenge people to commit themselves more.

  14. Who knows, out of this people may begin attending more often if they enjoy the once-a-month gathering. So much of what’s done in the Church takes on a life of it’s own, why couldn’t this?

  15. I looked at the home page for OAMC. The welcome page includes the following:

    “As our consumption of religious goods and services (as well as authentic spiritual relationships) via smartphone has increased, our need to “go to church” has decreased.”

    This seems to anchor Christian community squarely in modern consumerism. The Church as corporation so many are fleeing does also, but OAMC seems to merely change the angle of approach to the same destination.

    John 13:34-35 might suggest that community is something that is (or ought to be) inherently relational. If OAMC is a front-end for developing something like house churches via their small groups their approach might work.

    But what is on the website strikes me more like a pit stop on a race track than anything that might develop actual community.

  16. I love the idea. As a future church planter I am considering the concept of doing church twice monthly and small groups on the off weeks. It keeps people connected and in vital fellowship without everything having to center around the “Sunday morning event” every week.

  17. Our lives will be what we fill them with. I know that if I stay away from services for a couple of weeks I find my tanks are low. I need to stay engaged to really keep the fire burning! Weekly worship and regular small group meetings have really allowed for God to take hold and transform me.

    Maybe going once a month works for some people, and there’s nothing stopping anyone from just attending any church once a month, but for me, I’ll take weekly services.

  18. Wow. Being a Christian is NOT about “mandatory attendance at ‘church.'” It is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which in turn leads to the DESIRE to gather with fellow believers to worship and honor God, hear from His Word, and encourage one another. It is about being in “community” with others. Wow. We have so individualized faith that our community of faith is virtually unimportant in our lives. We have made “church” another activity in our lives, not the center of our life, witness, and service. Wow. Christians in the 21st century haven’t the foggiest notion of what real Christianity looks like. I long for fellowship, worship, the Lord’s Supper, studying the Word, encouraging my brothers and sisters, and working together with them to witness to the grace of Jesus Christ and move together as the Holy Spirit leads to serve the poor and dispossessed, work for justice, and make disciples. I long for this as often as I can get it. Because I can’t get along in this world as a Christian without it.

  19. How do we build community and relationship in this model?

  20. Thom, as we say in Farsi, “This is still the same donkey with a different saddle.” It seems to me that we’re still banging our heads against a dead horse—sorry, I’m a foreigner and get my metaphors mixed up.
    The issue isn’t with the frequency of attending church. The issue is with the format of 3 songs, 2 announcements, one more song while taking up the offerings, having to listen the pastor preaching something I’ve heard over and over again, and then go home thinking I’ve done my christian duty. If the monthly church stills offers the same format, I’d much rather spend the time at a homeless shelter offering hope to the hopeless.

  21. Vicky commented on Facebook: “Canadian church officials discovered that more people were avoiding any church involvement because they sensed an unspoken expectation for weekly attendance.” So true. In many churches we attended the expectations were often spoken out loud, shaming those who failed to attend–and not only weekly. Many times people expected members to be there every time the door was open. And why? To hear even more shame-based messages about how they weren’t doing enough, giving enough, etc. Eventually, people decide they don’t need that type of influence in their lives. God really can be found on the “outside.”

    • I think it’s not just the expectation of weekly attendance but also the expectation that you’ll sign up to do something that will take even more of your time.

      • Faith without works????

      • I should have elaborated, Jay. It’s not that I think people shouldn’t do anything, but the time-consuming nature of some church activities. I don’t know that the original intention was for people to spend all of their time doing church activities, but increasingly in a lot of churches, more and more of one’s time is expected to be spent on those activities. Some even have been known to tell their people that they should be there every time the church doors are open. That sounds pretty heavy-handed to me and not something that many people would be drawn to. If one isn’t careful and doesn’t set boundaries, they can easily find their time filled up with church meetings and other activities, to the neglect of their family or personal time. Even in setting boundaries, people can often be met with disapproving looks. Maybe no one comes out and says it outright, but the feeling is there that you really should be doing more. I think as more and more people get this impression of churches, that is the reason for shying away. Plus, the strong-arm tactics, “Did you sign up for X yet? When are you going to sign up?” How about giving people time to find their footing and decide where they’d most like to plug in?

  22. Lots of good thoughts expressed here. I just wonder if the trend will be: 2015 Church once a month, 2020 Church every other month and dispense with the Bible, 2025 ? Once a person arrives at their own interpretation of what God expects from them, should that change to accommodate popular culture? If people are too busy, is it because their priorities are wrong, or simply the by-product of a culture that requires couples to work six days a week in order to buy groceries and pay rent?

    • The Bible does not change, so the Message should not change, the Method however can and should change to reach your generation.

  23. Thanks for writing about our experiment Thom and for looking for the best in my motives. There are too many side trails to go into in the comments but I’d be happy to answer any clarifying questions regarding our tactics. I don’t have time to respond to questions about our motives however – especially since none of us has to look the other in the eye. Thom – Id love to see what happens when you highlight that the leaders are paid:-)

  24. Doesn’t it somewhat depend on one’s definition of ‘church.? I discover there are many people who attend Christian meetings and gatherings outside the ‘normal’ parish routines – isn’t that church? For centuries many congregation/assemblies met at most once a month, in fact the original ‘obligation’ for a ritual gathering to remember the last supper was once a year – Easter, ( a continuation of the Passover ), to celebrate the Resurrection.
    I wonder, are we too hung-up on mass gatherings once a week – and in many cases to sit in huge cold barns and attempt to participate in dull tired liturgies and be subjected to meaningless rants from ill-trained preachers?
    For vast numbers of remote country dwelling believers, a once a month liturgy – church – is their norm, and very often they get along without the ‘paid leadership’ – and are probably better for it. They attend by faith, not a ritual Sunday obligation.

  25. Right I meant to say “aren’t” paid 🙂 and I did that right in front of an editor:-)

    “A major criterion for judging the anxiety level of any society is the loss of its capacity to be playful.”
    ― Edwin H. Friedman, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix

    • As you can see, the leaders make mistakes. Probably not worthy of pay.

      • hi jim, yes I wondered about that ha ha… it shouldn’t be all doom and gloom, I think you have wonderful idea and who know what will blossom out of this, I myself find small groups of great value, as an inbetween way to connect in fellowship that and prayer,, change is in the air… when people share about their own experience , I can listen and receive, but when the whole tone of the post is, shaming/blaming, narrow-mindedness phew no thanx, rather than an open and LOVING ,exchange, I cant belong to a church that spends large amounts of money just to pay the priest and their buildings, it just doesn’t seem right, it seems so far removed from the early church, and far from simple…thanx kaz

  26. Edwin Friedman’s quote – excellent! I see very little joy in the majority of services I attend.

  27. It seems as if we are allowing culture to dictate how the Church operates. If sporting activities prevent people from coming to worship, it must be the church’s fault. In that light, the first question that came to my mind was relatively simple: “Does culture define the church or should the Church seek to define the culture?”
    Of course, that question is not so simple, is it?
    Personally, I am incredibly blessed to gather each week with others to worship and praise God. If I am unable to do so for a week, I feel a void from missing that gathering. Likewise, I miss the sharing of thoughts and encouragement from others as we seek to understand God’s Word.
    Not to rabbit trail, but I imagine how blessed it was for the believers in Philippi to gather weekly by the river for prayer, discussion, and fellowship. And then one of those days, the Apostle Paul and his crew appear to share with them…

    • We are not allowing culture to dictate how we operate. Long before this article was written, as far back as 2006 we were being moved by the Lord to empower the people. What we found is that our current structure of churchianity was not found implicitly or explicitly in the Word of God. The first century church was vibrant and powerful. What we have found is that many believers are more in tune with a weekly format rather than a relationship with Jesus Christ. We gather weekly, but from house to house. We look forward to these times of fellowship. Our time together is spent edifying, encouraging and strengthening one another. From there, we are intentional about impacting our community. We pray to be like the apostles who ‘turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6).

      • @Tim – I’m not basing this on your experiences from “as far back as 2006.” (I have no knowledge of those other than what you just shared.) Isn’t it possible that a Church that meets once a week – whether in a “building” or a home – could have a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ where people edify, encourage, and strengthen one another? If we look towards spiritual disciplines and the proper development and exercise of them, it would seem as if there might be many ways to develop these. (ie – one person goes to a gym while another person exercises at home while another person meets with a group.)

  28. I think that each country and each geographic location has its special needs and possibilities. In my own church our congregation is composed of many busy professionals and self employed. We don’t want to work as well as being on “call 24/7, it is just the nature of the employment. We still gather every week but have a very early service at which brekkie is offered.
    During the Communist persecution in China the church was not only purified but grew without paid preachers or church buildings. My point is that in the final analysis, it is God who builds His church, not the pastor, the massive buildings or the time schedule.

  29. Acts 20:7 says, ” On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.” This was the practice of the 1st century Christians as recorded in the book of Acts. They came together for the purpose of celebrating the Lord’s Supper and fellowship and, in this instance, long-winded preaching from Paul (until midnight). They were committed to regularly getting together. I’m all in favor of changing methodologies to reach those who are far from Christ. We’ve got to share a timeless message in a timely manner. That being said, I believe that we can bend too far in the wrong direction when it comes to trying to appeal to those who are far from Christ. How can we tell people that they need to commit to a fully-surrendered, fully-devoted relationship with Jesus if we can’t even ask them to commit to four hours a month for corporate worship? The church has given ground time and again when it comes to committing to Christ and His church. I have a heart that burns with passion to see people come to Jesus and believe that short of watering down the Gospel, nothing is off-limits to get people into a committed relationship with Jesus. The key is commitment and I think that the Bible teaches us that fully surrendering to the lordship of Jesus Christ is what makes one a follower or disciple of Jesus. What we win them with is what we win them to. If OAMC means once a month gatherings of many house churches that are meeting regularly (not necessarily on Sunday mornings at 10:00), then that’s a great idea. I am just leery of ideas that water down Jesus’ expectations (regular gathering with the saints for worship and the Lord’s Supper) for His followers. We are called to deny and die daily to the things of this world and to our own selfish desires. We are called to commitment and surrender. We are called to follow Jesus…no turning back.

    • Shawn, “A good place to start a conversation about this verse then is the beginning of the story in Genesis. (As an aside, we should work hard to break the bad habit of quoting verses to prove points.) The first couple and their visits with God in the garden is a picture of “ecclesia.” The creation of a nation from other nations was a picture of an “ecclesia.” The choosing of the 12 was a picture of “ecclesia.” The day of Pentecost was a picture of the “ecclesia,” but surely not the beginning of the “ecclesia.” The story in Acts was the expanding of the “ecclesia” beyond the boundaries of Judaism. Much to the chagrin of some, the book of Acts does not present one model for “ecclesia,” nor does it present a specific day for “ecclesia,” to meet or the frequency of which the “ecclesia” meets as Luke tells the story about its expansion. An off used set of verses is Paul telling the Corinthians to set apart some of their income on “the first day of the week” for an offering for the Jerusalem church (1 Cor. 16.1-4). It is often assumed that this means to “give in the Sunday meeting.” That surely is reading into the text a meaning that is not really there.

      In one story in Acts (20.1-12), there is a mention of meeting on Sunday, but it is all together possible that it was a special meeting and not an attempt to state a specific day to meet. Some years before this story, Jesus followers had met on a daily basis (Acts 2.46). Meeting on a Sunday was most likely done to avoid conflicting with synagogue gatherings on the Sabbath, i.e. Saturday. The celebration on Sunday is thought to be in remembrance of the resurrection (Luke 24.1). Luke shares stories about eight meals in his Gospel. The last one is the first one after his resurrection. We should not overlook the significance of what a meeting on Sunday means: it was the birthday of the new creation.” (© Winn Griffin. FB post. October 1, 2015)

      • @Winn – Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not seeking to be confrontational but I have to ask for clarification. What do you mean by: “As an aside, we should work hard to break the bad habit of quoting verses to prove points.”

    • “This was the practice of the 1st century Christians as recorded in the book of Acts.” Whoa, hold on just a second here. You’re basing this on Acts 20:7? Context context context. Here’s the whole verse (NASB): “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.” The situation of the church at that time was completely different, as not only were they under constant persecution but they were also expecting that they would never see Paul again (read verse 36 to 38). I get the point of your post, but to say that this verse indicates a “regular practice” is stretching the meaning of the verse. Whatever their practice was, as you stated, this was the 1st century church. The concern is that the church TODAY bears little resemblance to that church, which is, IMHO, why people are having difficulty making that weekly commitment.

      • layrenewal, you asked about “As an aside, we should work hard to break the bad habit of quoting verses to prove points.” Verses are an addition to the text arriving in their present form in the 1500s. The addition of such was then used by it creator to create a concordance to make it easier to find something. They appeared in the Geneva Bible in 1560, then in the KJV in 1611, which became the standard Bible for the public. KJV stood for hundreds of years as the standard Bible. In popular books verses started being used to reference a point that was being made, that seems to have turned out to be an all-out scheme of proof texting. The fragmentation of reading and quoting verses has become an epidemic in the present world. Now, there is some turn to produce a Bible without chapters and verses in order to give folks a book that is more like the original documents before the addition of verses. We often quote verses without any reference to their context, with no sense of their place in the story that is being told. They end up on plaques and art. Without their context, they really have no meaning of their own. By themselves they have gained meaning apart from their contextual meaning. How many Jesus followers has been told by a leader, “Touch not mine anointed…” and supplied the meaning, “don’t criticize me as your leader,” which has nothing to do with the actual meaning of the text itself. Thus, “we should work hard to break this bad habit of quoting verses to prove points.” In short, “Stop quoting Verses | Start Reading Stories.”

      • I will answer…!!!!! thats not just you, but many many people on here.. and else where, it comes across as lecturous , not to mention literal, please know I love the bible but, I do not believe that every word is from god… inspired yes, changed around by humans you bet ya,!!! not all but some… let other people be drawn in, let others have their personal understanding you cannot force anyone to have YOUR understanding its a big turn off when you all do this…its a personal relationship born of time and experience, let that person have that experience..please…bible thumpers scare me… and whats more they scare many many people away, things like my version is the only true version..oh really… god bless and keep your heart open….

  30. “We are called to deny and die daily to the things of this world and to our own selfish desires. We are called to commitment and surrender. We are called to follow Jesus…no turning back.” Amen – which is why we have chosen to follow him in our experiment

  31. I disagree with the concept of having Worship Services monthly. The Church fellowships to exalt God and to edify and equip the Saints. Most importantly the Church should be witnessing, evangelizing, teaching, and serving the community. God should be the number one priority in our lives. We should possess to desire to grow in the knowledge of Him and His Word. God is not too busy to grant us grace and mercy daily. How are we too busy to gather in His name weekly? I would question the priorities of those who indicate that they are too busy to participate in a weekly service. Are they truly walking with God, have an active relationship with God, or is church attendance an escape plan from Hell versus true Salvation?

    • Agree with you Donna!

    • I can understand where you are coming from, but I would like you to possibly see this view:

      What is commonly called 5 fold/ or 4 fold ministry in some circles are no more than gifts and mentors to the body. Not ranks and ecclesiastical positions.

      Worship should be neither in the “Mountain or in Jerusalem” but in Spirit and in Truth – in every aspect of your life. Your life becomes worship. Gathering together is only to express your worship…you life is the worship….singing and such are only expressions.

      Study is supposed to be conducted individually and collectively with everyone being participants – no passive listeners.

      Now when saints gather….regardless is its 2, 3, or 1000….they encourage each other and edify each other (I know churches with only 3 members – should they shut down and move to a bigger church…is there something wrong with their fellowship because it’s not big enough?)

      Look at this – are we placing more importance on the meeting place than the point of meeting and encouraging each other (regardless of the place – we could meet at a home, Walmart, a coffee shop etc.). How many times do you meet a fellow saint in Walmart and encourage each other? Believe it or not – The Church has just assembled – God is in the midst of you.

      It’s a paradigm that God is breaking – Stephen had a vision of it in Acts 7:48 and was stoned for his sayings – not because he spoke against God, but because he spoke against a building. God is breaking this paradigm again as we are the temple of God. If we look at things this way – its possible to assemble everyday….it all depends on your mind set and the particular paradigm we have regarding worship……Selah………..Just something to think about.

      • If you get a moment, google “steepleless churches” to understand how to move from museum to mission.
        Secondly, group dynamics theory says basically that those who are there are the ones who need to be there, those who show up are the right ones.
        finally, if one scans scriptures it is evident that the spirit seems to work best in in groups of people where there is interplay and interchange which is why the church throughout history has exalted the use of the Synod

  32. Let’s make all the Cheasters happy and have services only twice a year (Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday). But, you know, that’s really too much, to. I mean, so many Christians are away during those times of the year. How about we just don’t have church at all? Let’s replace it with a monthly email or maybe a video post that never exceeds three minutes and fifteen seconds?

    Having now expressed my sarcasm… this is serious: does this seem lazy on the part of church leadership? Does it take more frequency than once-a-month to develop a sense of community among like-minded people? I am happy to invite people to join us at church whenever they can – if that’s bi-monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, or twice a week… or if they can only make it on holidays. That doesn’t mean that we only offer services on the Sundays when our projected algorithms predict highest attendance. But… then again, it’s a church plant – I’m thinking about my own context: in our 150-year-old + church in which some in our congregation remember all 150 years, cutting services to monthly would be suicidal. Maybe it will work for him. I still wonder if it isn’t lazy, though. From a pragmatic standpoint, I could understand the church plant offering the same service every Sunday for a month with the premise that most of their families will connect on Sunday mornings only once every 4-6 weeks.

    But MUST we base our ministry always on the lowest common denominator? Is less ALWAYS more? Is frequency of worship services and an unspoken expectation to attend weekly REALLY what’s driving a plummeting public worship service attendance? Could it be instead that people aren’t coming to church because they don’t see it as transformative in their lives? Could it be that people stay away because they see churches as too wrapped up in their own “success” or self-preservation to make a Gospel-centered difference in the lives of the people they “serve” or the communities in which they are located?

    Here’s a Once-A-Month Church I would get behind: once a month the church meets on Sunday morning for 15-20 minutes of worship-singing and prayer, and a quick “pep talk.” Then the congregation is mobilized and motivated for a couple of hours of community service or (shudder…) out-and-out outreach activities. The other Sundays (or weekends) of the month, the church meets together for worship, instruction, and fellowship.

    Okay, enough of my rant…

  33. Tim makes a very good point: “many believers are more in tune with a weekly format rather than a relationship with Jesus Christ.” And I think that is how church has become for many people – simply attending a gathering once a week, or when they choose, to have a bonding with like minded people, ( in its own way that’s fine ). I guess however one should never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to work, to ignite a spark, even in the person who pops into church once a year. I have known many a person who for several years has attended a traditional Christmas service, “because it’s what you do at Christmas,” and eventually something clicks and they have become devout seasoned worshippers.
    I can think too of one person who attended a funeral “out of duty” and was so moved by the priest’s homily he converted the very next day, ( he had never been Baptised ). A few years later he was ordained, and is now an Anglican bishop. God the Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways – ways that I am never prepared to question.

  34. @Winn – Thank you for the clarification. When I read your original comment, I was befuddled as to how you would suggest we stop using Scripture understand and act. Now I see how I misunderstood you.
    Yes, I am familiar with the addition of chapter/verse numbers. I find them useful for reference but barriers for studying. (My favorite happens to be when couples wish to use Genesis 31:49ff for weddings!) I might add that we should be sure to include CULTURE with CONTEXT for the best reading and understanding of the Word.
    I wish we did a better job of knowing and living God’s Word. I often tell people “Jesus spoke Old Testament” to try to get them to understand that when Jesus shared part of a passage, the original hearers would have been drawn back not just to a “verse” but to the entire text. (Psalm 22 as an example.)

    • layrenewal, I think we are close to being on the same page. I have often suggested to students that we really can’t understand the NT without first understanding the OT. I wrote once that when the NT quotes what seems to be a verse from the OT, that would really be impossible, because the OT did not come equipped with verses when the NT authors were writing. Because the primary way in which the OT was transmitted until it was written was oral, that what they were doing was something akin to using the text as a “keyword” (akin to googling) to help the folks they were talking to to remember the story that they were referring to. I agree that Culture is important, for me it is included in the idea of context, which carries the baggage of culture. Sometimes that nuance gets lost in the telling. 🙂

      BTW: looked at the LayRenewal website and saw that Bear Creek Community Church is listed in WA state. That just a stone’s throw from where I live. Small world, huh?

      • how come air-one is talking about what the bible says? no seems to want to move into the deeper discussion of what the bible means?

      • Amen! We can look at the tapestry of the Word, but if we fail to understand the threads that are woven throughout it, we really are missing out.
        It is a small world. I haven’t been up to WA in a few years. Beautiful around Seattle and so many other places. (The flatness of the apple area is nice, but I prefer the mountains!)

  35. “Go and make disciples” — the charge Jesus gave to His followers seems to be missing in this discussion. That’s what troubles me a great deal about the typical church in America, no matter how often it mets: we are not very good at being and making disciples. Instead, we focus too much on the church meeting, and how to make it more attractive to people, and how often it should be held. Then we focus on various and sundry “programs”.

    In my times of most intensive ministry — such as intercessory prayer, working with sexual trauma survivors or reaching out to victims of human trafficking — I find myself filled with the most intense longing to meet with fellow Believers for worship, encouragement, edification, and prayer. There is something powerful when the church begins to function as the church should, when the Holy Spirit is at work, and when we equip one another for good works.

  36. Henderson reminds everyone that this is an experiment. With a refreshing lack of hubris, Henderson says, “We aren’t sure if God thinks this is as great of an idea as we do. We don’t know if we’re ‘ahead of the market,’ or maybe there is no market at all for Once a Month Church.”

    What a surprising bit of candor referring to church attenders as the market. That is the mindset of the leadership of many churches, get them in the seats and get their money, never mind the model given for the meeting together of believers given in the Holy Bible.

    Why wouldn’t the leadership know what God wants? Aren’t they supposed to be the under shepherds of Christ the Chief Shepherd? Aren’t they supposed to be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit? Aren’t they supposed to preach the gospel and teach the Bible?

    This is why so many people are not attending church. It’s because the leadership has made church biblically irrelevant and spiritually dead. They have no clue about the truth because they don’t believe the truth. They are passe to unbelievers and deadly to believers. Maybe they should repent before our Holy God, seek Him, preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and teach the truth of the Bible! Maybe then they would have a clue about the nature of church.

    • Eliza, leaders are not superhuman beings. We attempt to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in everything we do. When God calls us to move into uncharted territory, we move by faith. Like many in the Word of God, He points us in a direction but often does not fill in the details. Think of Moses. He was told to go to Egypt and free Israel from slavery. Did you notice that God did not tell him what Pharaohs reaction would be? It had to be somewhat disheartening to have those he came to free become critical of him (Exodus 5:21-23). Nor did he let Moses know that the first five miracles he did would be duplicated by the Egyptian sorcerers. Think of Noah. He built something he had never seen, for a time he had never been in. He had no clue as to what an ark was, how it would function, or the concept of rain. Leaders in the New Testament at times struggled with demonstrating what they believed God was saying. Peter admittedly had a hard time with Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:11-13; 2Peter 3:15-16). Yet, both Paul and Peter considered apostolic leaders that we embrace today. If Brother Henderson is like many true leaders, he most likely has an element of fear of the unknown on his back. The idea of once a month gatherings goes against the norm. Ironically, what we consider normal ‘church’ today cannot be validated by scripture. Yet we call it normal to gather weekly in dedicated buildings. As for Jim Henderson, I see a man who is bold enough to step out courageously, knowing possibly that the price he may have to pay will be high. Criticism, misunderstanding, attacks against ones character is the life many true leaders live. Anyone can follow tradition and hem people up in a building once a week. Corralling people once a week has not been as effective in maturing believers as some would want to think. Implicitly, weekly gatherings are less about the gospel, and more to do with keeping warm bodies in the pews to pay the bills. I applaud Brother Henderson for stepping out in faith. I will pray for him. I take the position of the Gamaliel, if what brother Henderson is doing is a fad, time will reveal it. However, if what he is doing is of God (and I believe it is), I won’t be found fighting against God in order to preserve a man-made tradition (Acts 5:34-39).

      • And let’s not forget that Jim has been “on the edge” of evangelism for years. From “I Sold My Soul on Ebay” and “Jim and Casper go to Church” to “Evangelism without Additives”, he has been trying to reach people with the Gospel. I don’t always agree with him, but I appreciate what he has done and is doing.
        Don’t throw out the ideas without prayerfully considering what God might be doing through him. (@TimKurtz – Gamaliel is a good parallel.)

  37. Thank you for your (temporary) trust. I’m an explorer but one who prefers making a map along the way. Id like to provide Christians (actually anyone) that fears exploring but likes to travel a document they can use to visit to new places in their relationship with Jesus.

  38. How sad that you quote the Scriptures to show what God-called men did, but don’t quote the Scriptures to show what God has to say about His Body meeting together. You are trying to excuse this man’s wickedness by not going to God’s Word as the resource to expose his wickedness. Nobody expects perfect men, just humble obedient men who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, who obey what He has told us in His Word through the apostles and prophets by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus commands us to meet together often as we see that day approaching, the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He commands that we meet together on the first day of the week. He commands that God’s word is preached and taught to all, not some man-centered unbiblical exhortation. Our meeting together is to be about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us and what He is doing through us. It isn’t about listening to some fleshly mind-numbing recitation that has nothing at all whatsoever to do with Christ and His Word. Our coming together is about serving one another faithfully following the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because we are His beloved children, and must exhort and encourage each other daily.

    Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Timothy 4:2; Ephesians 4:15; 2 Timothy 2:16; Galatians 5:14; Hebrews 3:13

    • Eliza, what is also sad is Christians who take little care in how they handle the Scriptures. We should always use a great deal of caution when we proof-text in order to validate our opinions.

    • How many and what constitutes a meeting?

      • Where two or three are gathered together in His name, then Christ is in our midst. We can minister to one another individually, but God has specifically placed under shepherds in the church to preach the word and teach the word to His flock on the first day of the week. This meeting is for strengthening us through the sound teaching of the Bible. It isn’t for entertainment, to make us feel better, to distract us from our problems, to bring money into the coffers, or for touchy feely emotionalism. Edification of the saints for the work of ministry is the goal of the meeting. Ephesians 4:1-16. If there isn’t a church in your area doing this, then perhaps it is better for you to stay home and read the Scriptures for yourself. Sadly, must of what passes for the church of the Living God is actually a gathering place for sinners under the guidance of the devil.

        In 1 Corinthians 16, God’s Word specifies at the beginning of the week, or on Sunday we should get together. The first day of the week is also given as the meeting day in Acts 20:7. Paul essentially preached to the gathering for a whole day, 24 hours approximately. We don’t know how many were present. One thing they did was to take communion and listen to godly exhortation. This is something that is sadly lacking in most churches today.

      • Matthew 18:20 King James Version (KJV)

        20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

        You do not need a mega, large, normal or small church building to have a meeting with God.

        But the scripture does command us to fellowship and I believe that is with people outside the bounds of our immediate family.

        1 John 1:7King James Version (KJV)

        7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

  39. Before conducting the Once a Month “experiment”, we need to find out why is it that people are dropping off from weekly attendance. They rather go to the beach? I live in an island, so that is an obvious question. They rather go to the mall, sleep in, work in the house, farm, or their own self (aka exercise). Was the decision done under fasting and prayer, seeking God’s guidance? After the first service, (and most likely they don’t call it service, but more like “gathering”), what feedback are the Pastor’s receiving (or they don’t even call themselves Pastors). Are they serving communion? Are they baptizing? Are they discipling?

  40. I do not think this will work at least not for me and I write as one who often only attends once per month. If church services were once a month I’d end up attending only 4 times a year. I like it being every week because it varies from week to week which Sunday is a problem for me either because of other commitments, or I’m just tired and want to stay home or whatever. The more the church offers the more I am likely to be there weekly. I was never so active as during the time in my life when I was a member of an episcopal church that had services Monday through Friday (each day of the weekday) as well as Saturday evening, twice on Sunday morning and once on Sunday evening. Because if I did not feel like going on Sunday I would go on Tuesday or see if I could make time Saturday evening. I ended up going more than once a week because I would go to a weekday service about every other week. I probably did not attend on Sunday morning more than once a month though. Whenever I had “free time” there was often a service going on. The problem with this model is that you need a really really large congregation because everyone’s attendance is diluted and there is no point in having a service for 3 people. Plus it’s hard to build community. I’m often surprised that more mega churches don’t offer more services because they have th numbers to do it. There are sacrifices and trade offs regardless. Now I attend a church that only has services on Sunday’s so my attendance has dropped off.

    • But one doesn’t have to limit themselves. At my last church, we had a Saturday night service and we would have people attend that service who were members elsewhere. They just enjoyed our Saturday night service.

    • Thank you for your pragmatic honesty. I think many Christians would agree with you that more is better. They want a church with a lot of small groups or services they just dont want to have to attend them.

  41. Once a month church is a terrible. I know the weekly gathering is supposed to be the norm, and I support that. I attend a United Methodist church that actually has a Wednesday evening service which has been tweaked but now closely runs even as a Sunday service. Since our church has a Free Store, a 30 minute service is offered prior to the store opening. A church should not cater to the needs of members who decide they don’t want to be there every week, period.

  42. Once a month church is a bad concept, because it could become, once every 2 months, and continue to years, maybe decades.

  43. This article certainly hit a nerve for many people, based on the responses. I wonder though what people are truly upset about. Is it the idea or that the people trying Once a Month Church recognize that there is a problem with the current model – whether that be the expectations, how things are communicated, or something else. I suspect that those who are taking a stern opposition to the idea feel like they are being attacked, yet, I doubt that the pastor of Once a Month Church would be targeting people who worship every week. I’m guessing he’s trying to reach out to those who have left church because it felt like a burden. My follow-up question would be this – why did church feel like a burden to these people? What gave these people that impression? Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away and scolding people for not attending doesn’t work either – it only drives more people away or further away. Maybe we’re too stuck and have too much invested in an organization rather than the Gospel message.

    • dear Laced up ( love the name) your comment was refreshingly humble “I’m guessing he’s trying to reach out to those who have left church because it felt like a burden. My follow-up question would be this – why did church feel like a burden to these people? What gave these people that impression? Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away and scolding people for not attending doesn’t work either”

      For starters – we do not call our selves pastors – were refer to ourselves hosts (more red meat for religionists:-) . Of course we pastor people but the title has become so “burnt” (ill let you guess how) that it has more negative overtones than positive -since Jesus seemed essentially disinterested in titles (as well as all he had to say about misuse of power) we feel like we are on solid biblical ground making this small adjustment – no one complained

      Secondly – you raise a good point. In spite of the fact that our movement was founded by THE biggest risk taker in history it has become one of the least risky movements in history. I find that boring as well as unbiblical. Our motto ought to be Safety First! Jesus Second. Thats why pastors first responses (I’m guessing that most of the people reading this kind of blog are people who are paid to be Christian) first response is fear. We’ve been trained to be afraid and we are doing a great job at it.

      Like you – I also wonder where the curiosity has gone- Im amazed at how much people seem to already know about something they’ve never done. I myself am just getting started with this experiment – I myself don’t know how it will turn out – nevertheless people seem quite astute about the outcome – It wont work! – Lets check in after a year and see what we’ve learned – At least I’ll actually know something at the end of the experiment while others will still be talking about knowing something

      • Jim, Thanks for the response. I appreciate all of your points. The fact is words matter and I see you certainly understand that in how your refer to yourself. I’m sure that makes a big difference to the people who go to once a month church. Your second point or observation is so very spot on. I spent a year in Finland last year and studied about the church there and came away with several conclusions that I suspect many of the commenters to this article would not appreciate hearing, but I suspect you already understand. I’d love to talk some more with you about your “experiment” and keep track of how it progresses and changes. And if you are interested, I’d be happy to share with you some observations I learned from Finland. Send me an e-mail I’d love to connect with you.

  44. Worship …Sabbath worship, believe it or not is not legal for Gentiles. As a matter of fact – a Gentile practicing Sabbath keeping is worthy of death. Even when Christ mentions the Sabbath being made for men and not men for the Sabbath – he’s actually referring to the Jewish people. Gentiles or Goyim, are referred to as dogs (even as Christ referred to the Phoenician woman) in saying that the children’s bread shouldn’t be given to the “dogs”.

    There’s a lot of depth in the scriptures, but there’s a lot of depth in being led by the Spirit too. We can have a great dialogue as we learn to understand each other. Let us live in faith toward Christ and get a picture of the invisible Kingdom….where God rules and has his domain…or living place….that’s something to think about too….Selah…..

  45. Once a month or Three times a week matters little if we do not disciple members/attenders into a praying-for, caring-about, sharing the Gospel with neighbors lifestyle. @PrayCareShare

  46. This constant idea that “less is more” when it comes to the length of services and amount of involvement in church gatherings/activities is contributing to the slow but sure decline of the modern American church. I remember as a teenager, our family went to church three times a week and no one complained about too much church. Today people are way overextended in their commitments to all sorts of things outside the church. It is the result of the pursuit of wealth and success and buying into the lie of the culture that they need all sorts of things to be happy. To people today, less preaching is more, less Bible study is more, less practice of the spiritual disciplines is more. It is worldliness and idolatry and misplaces priorities. It involves the demand of comfort and convenience. People will only go to a church now that is driven by the demands of a new generation to do church their way. Compare that to the early church that met daily from house to house and in the temple courts and they devoted themselves to the apostle’s doctrine, to prayer, to fellowship and the breaking of bread. Their identity was that of “disciples’ and the Lord added daily to their number. The goal of the church is to meet as much as possible to grow in the knowledge of God. The rest of the time they are to be giving witness of Christ to the lost. What happened?

    • Monte, if people are reducing worship services to accommodate culture, then they are reducing services for the wrong reason. We all were ‘trained’ to go to church, and our ‘faithfulness to the Lord’ was too often measured by the number of events we attended each week. Yes there was good preaching and many times good spiritual entertainment, but the focal point was ‘being there’. Discipling was limited, if even existent. In some cases, discipling was a multi-week course culminating in a certificate. No, we didn’t complain, because we knew of no other way to do church. You got up Sunday morning – got dressed – to go to a dedicated building designed for you to do church. We had little or no concept of the fact that we were the church. We did not understand that the church was not an event – it was a people innoculated with the DNA of the Kingdom of God. With this as a backdrop, I will now tell you that our fellowship now meets corporately twice per month. The remaining time we meet from house to house. By raw numbers, we have quadupled the number of gatherings we traditionally had. Winning souls and discipling is our top priority. We are believing God to plant 120 gatherings in our region that reflect the values and structure of the first century church. Whereas I understand your sentiments, please understand that there are some out here who are reducing the corporate gatherings in order to do the work of ministry. Blessings!

      • wonderful to hear from a practitioner. This is the future. Im not hopeful that people will be that curious about your project. Keep going

  47. What happened? Man’s way has been substituted for God’s way, and man’s word is preferred above the Word of God. Wolves and false brethren shoved their way into the visible church and replaced godly faith and fear of God through reliance upon the Spirit and the Word of God with accommodation with the world and adherence to the lies of the devil. Until genuine men and women of God through repentant faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God expose the lie and preach the truth this corrupting influence will only be magnified throughout the visible church. Maybe we need to listen to the Spirit and come out of her as the people of God. Amen!

  48. This is not a new idea. I live in the rural south, if you go back 120+ years you find that most Churches around here had what they called “preaching service” once or twice a month. If you wanted to go every week, the only choice you really had was First Baptist, where the majority weren’t subsistance farmers and they could actually pay a full time pastor. It’s funny our lack of historical perspective. We cut our Sunday Evening service a few years ago b/c it was just wearing our people out, and from the response of other pastor’s and churches in the community, you’d think that we changed religions or something. It’s funny how we can get so attached to our idea of the way we think things have always been.

  49. Yep, the ending of the evening service in a previous church was anathema to members who just thought it unconscionable to not have it. Even in the face of a dwindling attendance. Didn’t matter. They were like a dead person doing anything they could to cling to life.

  50. Holy Soup?….. Holy Crap! Are you kidding? Perhaps, just perhaps, we need to focus more on worship and praise. We need to be in the Word daily and in prayer without ceasing. The Lord God established a day of Sabbath, the Lord’s day.

    We have reduced our time of participation and reduced our churches toward a business plan emulating a corporation with over-sized staffs and places of political platforms and entertainment. The demographics of the “church” parallels those of the world. We have allowed the world to influence the church, rather than the “church” influencing the world.

    The modern “mega” churches succeed because they submit to a formula of offering an a la carte remedy to a community filled with societal symptoms rather than reaching the spiritual heart. Perhaps the revolution in church attendance should be directed toward worship, instruction, fellowship, and praise.

    The modern church leadership is the root of the problem focussing on the need of convenience rather than the necessity of obedience!

  51. It takes so much effort to get a Sunday service going, and considering there is nothing in Scripture that says it has to be like most churches function, except to not to forget to gather and to rest, that I think once a month might be a good idea. If we did this, we might have opportunity to be in community more often with our brothers and sister in the Lord and minister to our family and friends and neighbors or co-workers. Then they would see our love in a more genuine way. Isn’t that how Jesus would want us to live??? Community groups could get together on Sunday once a month and Really worship together !!!!!


  1. Weekend Links | Worship Links - November 13, 2015

    […] Thom Schultz shared about a new church that only meets once a month. I’m not too sure about this: […]

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