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Riding the Worship Express

Time-conscious church goers on board for shorter service.

The sign outside Family Bible Church near Orlando advertises "45 minutes, guaranteed!" The guarantee is working, drawing visitors and a lot of attention.

"I'm as surprised as anybody that it really works!" says Pastor Allen Speegle.

The congregation of 450 tried an early service once before, a copy of their 90-minute 10:30 a.m. service. It failed. This service, begun in March with 70 attenders, now averages 120. Speegle is pleased that more than half the worshipers are new to the church.

His newspaper ads show a shackled convict and ask "Is this your idea of church?"

"Some people aren't ready for an hour-and-a-half worship service," Speegle tells Leadership. "That's not where they're at spiritually. Religious people have the mindset that God can't work in less than an hour, but some of my deepest worship moments have been brief." The pastor says the short service whets newcomers' spiritual appetites. "Several ...

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