Bible Study: Think Beyond Sunday
Sunday is the day for many leaders of the education ministry of the church. In fact, it has often been said that "Sunday morning rules." That is absolutely true for many, if not most, churches. Bible study groups meeting adjacent to worship services are not only convenient for the participant, but also provide opportunities for the entire family to experience a group as well as corporate worship in one time frame and location. There are many advantages to having group Bible studies and worship together.
While Sunday morning usually gets priority in church, the present culture is now demanding that leaders expand that mindset and look at opportunities beyond the "one-time-a-week" offering.
When I was growing up in Arkansas in the 60s and 70s, businesses were governed by the "blue laws." Today, many younger Americans have never heard of such. These laws regulated what businesses could and could not sell on Sundays. While the blue laws originated in response to the demise of prohibition, the laws went far beyond simply the sale of alcohol. In fact, very few businesses could sell much of anything on Sunday's in those days. Therefore, few businesses were open.
Today, what is not open on Sunday, besides Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby and LifeWay Christian Stores? Almost every retail chain is now open on Sunday. Restaurants find Sundays to be one of their most profitable days. Manufacturers are operating weekends.
What does this mean? It means that a sizable number of people in our communities cannot attend Sunday morning Bible study and worship even if they wanted to do so. In discussing this over the last couple of years, most church leaders believe 20 to 25 percent of their community population has some type of work or other obligation on Sunday morning. Think about this. Offering Bible study and worship on Sunday morning only, eliminates the possibility of one out of every five people attending.
What should we do? While I am not advocating we change the Sunday morning opportunities, I am encouraging leaders to add to it. Think about your community. If people cannot come on Sunday morning, when can they come? Sunday evenings? Wednesday evenings? Saturday mornings? Consideration should be given to providing groups and worship at additional times.
But there may be another, even greater consideration. If a percentage of people in your community cannot attend on Sundays, could you go to them? Consider having a Bible study class at the local hospital at 6 a.m. for those who work the 7 a.m. shift. What about a class for restaurant workers that meets an hour before clock-in? Could Bible study classes be held in the fire station? Department store? Food court of the mall? Manufacturing plant?
The reality of today's culture is that many people cannot come to us on Sunday morning. Can we provide opportunities for them at times and locations when they can attend?