5 Reasons Your Church Needs to Do (At Least) Two Services Every Sunday!

“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” – Jesus (Luke 10:2)

It is a fact that doing one service every Sunday is easier than doing two. There are a lot of complexities involved in duplicating your ministry and eking out how to execute across multiple services in a day. However, prevailing churches make a conscience choice to offer multiple services every Sunday to their community. Why?

One of the common traits of growing churches is that they all have at least two services on a Sunday if not many more. It is so common that it makes it easy to overlook that one of the dividing lines between churches which make an impact and which don’t is the number of services they offer on a weekend. Typically, churches with a greater impact have multiple services while churches on the decline have just one.

Why is this the case? Below are five reasons why prevailing churches choose to have multiple services every weekend. If your church hasn’t made the jump, these are some of the reasons you should!

  • Attend One | Serve One // At the core of all the churches which make an impact are thriving volunteer leaders fired up to make an impact in their city. Prevailing church leaders constantly look for ways to inculcate more people into service rather than trying to figure out how to do a service with as few people as possible. When you have multiple services on a Sunday morning, it gives your volunteers the opportunity to attend both the services as well as serve during another time slot. This removes a major barrier that people have to volunteer at a church with only a single service on a Sunday morning. It also has a reverse effect by communicating to volunteers that they are valued as a member of the church.
  • Multiplication Instinct // Healthy things grow and multiply. Multiplying your services in the same location is a step towards further multiplication down the road. Some church leaders resist adding new services because they feel overwhelmed with the task of finding new volunteers. However, recruiting and training new team members are at the core of what a church should do in order to make an impact in their community. Of course it’s not easy, but it is healthy and necessary for the life of the church by motivating a group of people to be committed to the life of the church. By not adding more services on a Sunday morning, one is limiting the opportunities for people in your church to join in the life of the church. When services are not added to the church, there is a decline in the growth opportunities for those attending the church!
  • An Honest Reason // Can we keep it real for a second? We all say that every service we do is done with excellence and care. However, typically the first service on any given weekend has a few kinks to be worked out. This applies to your church as well as the largest “brand name churches” in the country. I attended the first service of a “super mega large church” recently and it was obvious that the band’s lead singer did not know the lyrics to the opening song. Having multiple services gives you the opportunity to work out some of the kinks before guests arrive for later services. In an ideal world, these problems are solved in the rehearsal itself but sometimes they are not. There is something about the intensity of the guests actually being in the room which gives us a heightened sense of clarity about how the services should roll out.  Having only one service every Sunday results in a service which is not 100% perfect. I wish that wasn’t true … but it is.
  • More Options // People’s lives are complex and difficult, therefore, it is not possible for everyone to attend the singular service at a certain time in your church. If the timings are moved around even by an hour, more people in the community might be available to be a part of the good things happening in the church. By sticking with only one service time, you are adding a limitation on the time people can connect with your church. In an era of “on demand” everything, it appears to be a total disconnect to not offer more options for those willing to connect with your church. I have seen this work successfully when a church adds new service times and they grow as they open up new times for people which they can actually attend.
  • It’s Not About Us // When you listen carefully to what we say when we stay with just one service in our churches it usually is about some form of selfishness. We’re smart enough to not articulate it in those terms plainly but when you carefully try to understand what the people who want to stay with one service mean is that they would rather not put in the extra time, effort and energy into making a second (or third!) service a reality. This is a dead end for your church and your leadership. God wants to bless those churches which aren’t inward focused. Pushing through the pain of multiplication is at the core of expressing to people that it is all about the people we’re trying to connect with. The aim of adding an additional service is to reach new people rather than keep the people who are already with us. The essence is selfless and I believe that’s a part of what God uses in the community in order to draw more people towards Him!

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  1. Agree! Even with our upcoming move into our first facility, we are not reducing the number of services we’ll be offering (3).

    In 2003, when we launched our second service, our promo line was “Worship One; Work One,” and we have seen that play out for 14 years now: high engagement in serving.

    And while it is true that two services requires more effort than one, the amount of effort that is put into having one service (sermon prep, worship rehearsals, children’s min prep) can have double or triple impact for very little extra work.

    All in here.

  2. A great word, Rich. We moved to two services a year ago, because we had outgrown our facility and parking. It’s been a challenge, for sure, but we are seeing growth continue, especially in the number of people getting involved, stepping up into leadership and ownership in the mission. I’ve passed this article on to my leadership, and our church FB page, as a way of encouraging our folks to keep up the good work!

    1. Hi! We are exploring going to two services at our church, because we are outgrowing our facility. With a full facility, we have no space for a bonus room for kids whose parents sit one, serve one to play and not attend kids classes twice. Did your church have the same issue with a full facility? What did you do for your kids whose parents serve?

  3. I worship with a congregation that averages 65 any given Sunday. We share the building with another congregation, so finding time for a second service is a little complicated. We offer a service, fellowship time, and Sunday School for all ages every week.

    A significant portion of our congregation is older retired folks, so volunteering to serve is difficult for them. We deal with visual and aural disabilities as well as walking and overall strength. Thus, the number of people who can serve is greatly reduced.

    These same people who already serve on Sunday usually attend our mid-week service, our prayer services, and are members of one or more committees that meet on yet another night during the week. Oh, and some of these same people clean the building and mow the grass.

    Could you give us a plan for a second service that won’t fatigue our congregation?

    1. You already have multiple services. Just move them to Sunday. Also, sit down with your vision team and see what can be cut out but still stay on point with making disciples. A good book to read for all your leaders is thom rainer’s book titled “simple church”.

  4. I am saddened, because our church went to one service on Sundays. I am a 2nd shift person. I have much difficult attending church (9:30 am). We used to have 2 services (8:30 am & 10:45 am). I was able to make the 10:45 service. Just that 1 hour and 15 minutes made a difference to me. At the 9:30 service, I cannot concentrate, because I start to fall asleep. After the service, I am so tired that I have to go home and sleep more. I worked 2nd shift for over 20 years. Some people do not understand how this affects your sleep pattern. I feel that our Pastor only wants one service, because two services wears him down. Due to this time change, I notice that other activities at my church, that they used to do, have been eliminated, changed, and shortened. For example: The choir used to sing every other week; now it is down to once a month. The songs we sing now are mostly modern and repetitive; there used to be traditional songs included . Many older parishioners do not know the tune or words. There are 4-5 songs in a row, when church starts and then the Pastor starts his Sermon. It is difficult for some to stand longer. There are other things at my church (I feel) that are not being done to the full extent like they used to be. We were able to volunteer, due to more flexibility. I believe volunteering for me is basically out of the question or very little. I am able to do outreach to children, and am a mentor at a school (through our church). The good thing about this, is you can choose what time to meet your child at the school. There are 2 members I am close to; they both work 2nd shift. They too, are having the same dilemma as me. I believe that due to this one service, some members are affected. It is hard to know how to make a suggestion to the Pastor about going to 2 Services. I enjoy seeing others at church. It was so nice to go to the 10:45 am Service. Many times, I do not know what is happening at church. My husband is able to attend, because he is up at 5 am. He is able to go to a Men’s Group at 7:30 am on Saturdays. The majority of meetings or activities are scheduled in the morning. I am quite stressed due to this one Service. I feel I am being selfish for not going, but honestly it is too hard on my body. Some people do not understand how
    a 2nd shift person’s brain works. It is extremely hard to change after many years working 2nd shift. I have always been a night person. I have tried different methods to change my brain’s sleeping mechanism, without avail. At this time, I am very frustrated and feel sad that I am unable to attend church with my husband. We have also lost members due to this. I am wondering if anyone else has this experience?

  5. More services also opens up more opportunities to serve, which provides a way to plug more people in. People need to be needed. (And want to be wanted.)

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.