A Brief Theology of Two Services

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As you no doubt know, you are worshiping God this morning in one of two services. Thinking about this, and as you discussed with your families which one you would attend, it would be easy to reduce the whole question to a matter of logistics. We don’t really have room to fit everyone conveniently into one service, and so two services it had to be—as much as no one really wanted to.

But there are some larger theological issues involved. These are not suggested so that you might think that such practical decisions have an “absolute right answer” from the heavenly standpoint, but rather to show that we always have to be thinking of the larger objectives.

For example, the Lord allowed a persecution to break out against the church at Jerusalem, and one of the results of this was the fact that disciples scattered everywhere, preaching the Word (Acts 8:4). They could have all stayed in Jerusalem, where the fellowship hour was no doubt stupendous, but God had larger objectives in view.

One of the accusations made against the early Christians is that they had filled Jerusalem with their teaching, and they had (Acts 5:28). That is the kind of thing we are after. The planting and building of congregations is not like building your own private nest egg. The point is not to gather enough to live on, and then retire comfortably.

When we do that kind of thing, for the sake of fellowship, ironically it starts to erode the very thing we are trying to preserve—and we should be trying to preserve it. We love the koinonia fellowship when we are all together, but if we push being all together past an appropriate point, we begin to grow a culture of get here early for dibbies on seats and parking spots rather than a culture of giving to one another. Loving one another is a heart attitude, certainly, but it requires more than that. Loving one another requires good government, for example (Acts 6:7). Loving one another requires an architecture of love, and as we grow, we are seeking to cultivate that kind of architecture in the decisions we make about issues like services, service times, and so on. Logistics are involved, yes, but much more is as stake.

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