Are our Worship Services too long? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Are our early Morning Services (8:00AM) and Morning Services (11:00AM) longer now than say 20-25 years ago? Now with my multi-denominational background (Baptist & COGIC) staying in church late is nothing new. However, I do recall in my earlier days that AME churches in the inner city were envied not only because of organization, committment to education and attractive women (well at least in DC :-) but also the ability to have an early benediction. In fact, during the early 80s I could visit my ex-girl friend's church (AME) and travel across town and still catch my pastor's sermon. It seems to me that the early Morning Service is no longer an abbreviated Worship Service but one which emulates its alternative time schedule resulting in a benediction being given at 9:30AM, 9:45AM or even 9:50AM. A delayed benediction only encroaches on the time for Church School. The 11:00AM Service for many AME churches I visit across the Connection seem to be giving the benediction anywhere between 1:30PM -2:00PM. I'm not suggesting that we should kowtow to the football fans who want to get home early to watch their favorite NFL team or "quench" the Holy Ghost, but the longer church services imply we are doing something different from our recent past. What time does your church normally end? QED

-- Anonymous, September 08, 2003


The early service is one (1) hour ends at 9:30AM. The High Noon worship begins at 11:00AM, the goal for preaching is 12:00 and the Benediction at 12:30 - 12:45. The early worship is designed to accommodate those football fans for this reason: If you don't see them, they will never change.

BE Blessed

-- Anonymous, September 08, 2003

Bro. Dickens,

I attend a church that's growing by leaps and as a result, we now have a 7:15 service, a 9:30 service, an 11:15 service, and a 6:00 pm service.

Wanna know how that work? Let's take communion Sunday (that experience is fresh in my mind). Yesterday, I arrived at church at 9:15 hoping to get a seat for the 9:30 service. Usually this works, but yesterday, there were no empty seats cuz they were still in the middle of a full communion service.

Of course, the 9:30 service began late, as soon as 7:15 communion was over. The service was abbreviated, as it is every Sunday, to consrve time -- no full choir, just scripture, prayer, limited songs, limited pastoral remarks, and limited welcome. Communion was very abbreviated -- people picked up the pop top communion kits during the offering and had a brief communion ceremony after the offering was collected (before the sermon). We finished by 11:10. The 11:15 service started on time, and people who arrived as late as 12:00 got a "full" service and full communion.

I am frequently invited to visit for worship with other AME congregations, and having two services before 11:00 gives me an opportunity to visit (if I want to) and get a double blessing I like the timing and length of the 9:30 service (not because of football), but I try to avoid this service on communion Sunday cuz I miss the beauty and sacredness in the communion service. Comments?

-- Anonymous, September 08, 2003

Interesting question! We have services at 7, 9 and 11. The 9AM service seems to be the most popular because it is not too early and is supposed to get out by 11AM. I say supposed to because the Spirit takes over the services and we move to His time. Occasionaly, the 11 may start at 11:30 or so. The 7am service is a "compact" service with no choir but a musician and many of those attending stop for service on the way home from work. This year we will have combined services, combining the 9 and 11am, at 10am. These are for special occasions and special services like Men's day, Women's Day, Church Anniversary and Pastor Anniversary services. They are to be held at out Christian Life Center. These services bring the church into fellowship with one another. This will help with unity. The 11am is open ended. First Sunday can go through to 1:45pm or so. One Sunday, the Service was taken over by the Holy Spirit and church went to 2PM and we never got to the Sermon. The service was the Word. To God be the Glory Bro Bob

-- Anonymous, September 08, 2003

I tried to avoid this question but here it goes.... Our morning service is suppose to start at 10:30 AM, however for whatever reason it starts around 10:45 and sometimes 11:00. We are never told why it's just CP time if you know what i mean. We spend anywhere from 12 to 18 minutes with the church secretary reading the same announcements printed on the programs. The spirit is real high and then comes the announcements mostly about MONEY. Rarely is there some spiritual announcement. Finally about 1:15 to 1:30 the Benediction. This makes for a long day if you bring children to Church School , which begina at 9am. However, all Praises are still given to God.

-- Anonymous, September 09, 2003

It is interesting that the First Disciple of 1817 addressed this issue and made recommendations for solving it. It was also addressed later by persons such as Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne. Yet, from time to time we seem to forget or even ignore the suggestions and warning they made.

Another problem is that we forget the Order of Worship we have. We think that by becoming everything to everybody our membership will somehow increase. Thus, we ignore our own Order of Worship and adopt others not belonging to us. A classic example of this is the Pre- Praise and Worship Services many congregations now do. This is borrowed from congregations where no specific Order of Worship exists. So Pre-Praise and worship is necessary to prepare them for the preaching of the word. To do this in a Methodist service is a redundant waste of time since Praise (to put a price or value upon) and Worship (to ascribe worth) is built into our Order of Worship and included in all that we do. In fact we begin by singing, "Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow" and before the Benediction is given by repeating the same.

You might notice, as I have in my District, that because of this practice of Pre-Praise and Worship many members are now showing up late for church in order that they might not be put through this ordeal and arrive when they feel the prescribed Order of Worship has begun.

Additionally, original church architecture placed the choir loft high up and far in the rear or to the side or behind the altar hidden by a screen, so that the choirs were heard, not seen. In some of our churches in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Charleston this placement of the choir is still retained. Thus, they focused on the ministry of leading the congregation in singing and less on the need to entertain. Alas, we now put them in the front so they sometimes hold us hostage with the singing of their 20-minute songs. [Lest you think I am against the choir, I was a member and director of several choirs.]

Perhaps we need to go back to the style of many European churches, which were built before the invention of the pew, and even after the pew was invented decided there was no need to purchase or include them. If we too were required to stand on every occasion we meet, we might then begin to direct our total attention and devotion to God. We might also stop attributing to the Holy Spirit what is contrary to His nature to do. Namely, the wasting of precious time and the stroking of personal egos and emotions of the preacher, the members or choirs, rather than directing our focus on Jesus and the Most Excellent wonders of God.

-- Anonymous, September 09, 2003

Eva -

When is Church School at Reid Temple? Is Church School and one of the mid-morning Services conducted concurrently? QED

-- Anonymous, September 10, 2003

Church school is at Reid Temple is still at 9:30, but that means that there's a lot going on between 9:30 and 11:00. People can still have full service at 7:30 or 11:00 and go to church school at 9:30.

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2003

We have two services at Mother Bethel beginning promptly at 8:00AM and the second at 10:45AM. I attend the second service and we are out around 12 noon, so it is not long at all.

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2003


i'm in the Kansas-Nebraska Conference, attend Trinity A.M.E. Church, Rev. Fran Carey, Pastor. We have two services, 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m....The 8:00 a.m. is the short service for those who work the afternoon or looking at the foodball games w/a choir. The 10:30 a.m. service is our full service. We are out by 12:35 p.m. and if the holy spirit is there depending how the spirit hits, we conclude with the Benediction. Praise God from Whom all Blessing flows.

Bro. Dickens, at one time you asked if I was in California, when will you come to Kansas to service with us.

Margaret From Kansas City

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2003

Hi Margaret -

Are you located in Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas City, Kansas. I know there are only a few miles from one another but there is a difference in the BBQ :-) I just need a good reason to fly out and visit. QED

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2003

Another timely thread----

Bro. Bill, are you from the DC area too? My old stomping grounds-- Howard U. and Metropolitan AMEC (Bishop DeVeaux was my Pastor when I was in college).

anyhoo--at the Met, we were out of there early--it was like clockwork. but at home, Georgia, 11am worship hour can end at 1:30, 1:45, or 2:00p. I'm in shock--some of the members have even commented that we are getting out at the same time as the Baptist churches in our area. so it does seem like the services are somewhat longer but I attribute this to the same issue raised by Sis. Linda, the infernal church announcements.

the announcements go on and on--they are repetitive, boring, and sometimes downright inappropriate.

We have tried to change the placement of the announcements in the order of service. announcements come at the end of the service but it still seems to drag the end of the service.

how does your church handle the announcements? is it the same person or does the duty rotate? would love to hear any new ideas.

B Blessed kc


-- Anonymous, September 21, 2003

Hi Kim -

Yes, D.C. is my home (not birth city). If you were a student @ HU when Deveaux was Pastor our paths did indeed cross. I was a frequent "guest" at Metropolitan's Daughters of Sarah Allen Christmas Fellowship functions. Let's just say the sisters at the Met treated a Baptist Brother with the red carpet response :-) Now concerning those announcements. Announcements were originally designed to be oral because many of our members simply were not able to read. The Church Clerk was typically designated to read announcements and depending on the voumne of announcmements it could take a long time to cover the "church mail". However, with near 100% literacy in most of our congregations there really isn't a need to read the voluminous announcements anymore. All that is needed is to publish the relevant announcements in the church bulletin and refer members to read the items and "govern yourselves accordingly". It seems to me the bigger problem now is the habit in many of

our churches to allow soooooooo many folks to make oral announcements about a special program, i.e. choir anniversary, usher board anniversary, church building fund campaign, etc., etc. This practice is condoned by many pastors because they believe that without "special emphasis" many of our members will be reluctant to support a particular church function. The assumption at work here is that most of us DON'T READ so we need to hear about the event from someone else. I flatly disagree with this thinking because in addition to the practice being condescending it contributes to our worship services being prolonged when we can all read and decide whether or not we will attend. We really need to do exactly what Bob Matthews points out and focus on the essential matters relating to worship and eliminate the superfluous activities which hinder our relationship with Christ. QED

-- Anonymous, September 21, 2003

Bill, my daughter licentiate Danielle Rogers is the co-founder of our small church. I used to do the announcements, but I went on to long. So Danielle does all the announcements and make appropiate comments such as the one she made today. "Next week is men's appreciation day and we will have the district attorney preach who is also a lay preacher in his denomination, men please do not embarass me and all men are to be here next week" It was all I could do not to laugh.

As the men were leaving they came up and said they would be there. Danielle is called the engine of our church. She keeps all of us on task. She looks at her watch and then at me and I know move it along. I was about to go on about how exciting storehouse was, when Danielle looked at her watch and then me. I concluded by saying "please look at the storehouse brochure that is in the bulletin. One of the reasons we have to stay on task, we have several member who have to go to work on Sunday.

-- Anonymous, September 21, 2003

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