Two noteworthy developments in church services: new times and new locations.
Mid-week redux: The summer slump prompted the rebirth of Wednesday services in some congregations this year. Some mainline churches in New England and the Midwest shifted their Sunday worship services to mid-week to accommodate weekend getaways.
A New Hampshire church drew 50% more attenders. And Lutheran congregations in Minnesota and Iowa report Wednesday worship drew younger people—especially at Burr Oak-Hesper Fellowship, where the pastor lit a bonfire on the church's front lawn and served s'mores.
"It is becoming more common for churches to experiment with different times, days, and venues for worship gatherings," Elaine Heath, associate professor of evangelism at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University told USA Today.
Cheers: As for locations, the new hot spot is the local bar. The trend is popping up in several states.
"There really is not a focus on drinking," insists Rodger McDaniel, a Presbyterian minister who organized the weekly gathering at Uncle Charlie's in Cheyenne, Wyoming, more than a year ago. As many as 45 show up for Bible and a beer. "If I held this in my church, I don't think we would have five or six people."
Joe Beene of the Drunk Monkey Tavern live-streams services from Tulsa's Celebration Church into his bar. "The people who come in here on Sunday mornings want to hear the Word but won't go to church."
Consider these locations and topics for Bible studies:
- The Zoo: Genesis
- County Jail: Exodus
- Butcher Shop: Leviticus
- Courthouse: Judges
- Burger King: Chronicles
- Dairy Queen: Esther
- Hard Rock Café: Psalms
- Aquarium: Jonah
- Doctor's office: Luke
- Community Theater: Acts
- Stadium: Romans
- Synagogue: Hebrews
- The Beach: Revelation