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Dear brother pastor,

I hope it’s not too late to make you reconsider your decision to cancel church on Christmas.

I know that December is crazy busy--for you and for everyone else.

I know you probably have Christmas Eve services, maybe even one that bumps up against midnight.

I know that families like to gather Christmas morning to open presents.

I know that many of your people may be traveling, and others won’t come to church on Christmas after coming on Christmas Eve.

I know that canceling church for one Sunday will not send all your people slouching to Gomorrah.

I know that getting volunteers for the worship team, and for the sound system, and for the nursery may be challenging.

I know that you’d rather not have to work on Christmas when you already had to work on Christmas Eve.

I know that you may have places to go and family to see.

I know that when Christmas falls on Sunday it’s an all-around big pain (why couldn’t Leap Day do us a favor and skip over this problem?!).

But don’t do it. Don’t cancel all your services on Christmas. Scale back on the nursery perhaps. Take the week off from Sunday school. Make things closer to an hour than to an hour and a half. Skip the life groups or even the second service for a day. But don’t close the church up on Christmas.

You need reasons? Here’s a few.

1. Most people will come back. Even if half of your people don’t show up (and I imagine far more than half will be there), that’s still a gathering of 25 or 50 or 150 or 400 or 1,200 people. In most churches, most of the people will still come to church on Christmas. And let’s not kid ourselves to think that we can encourage everyone to have a meaningful, thoughtfully prepared do-it-yourself service at home.

2. Visitors will be looking for a place to worship. Family members from out of town, neighbors, non-Christians, twice-a-year churchgoers--they may venture into your church on Christmas out of habit, out of curiosity, or just to hear some Christmas songs. Will anyone be there when they show up?

3. Family is a gift, not a god. I love, love, love waking up on Christmas, doing the Advent wreath with the kids, having a big brunch, and opening presents with the family. Yes, it will be hectic to get everyone out of the house for church (thank you to my wife!). Yes, it will mean a delay in all the normal festivities. But maybe the normal festivities should not be deemed more important than the Festival itself. I want my family to know that we rearrange our schedule for corporate worship; we don’t expect corporate worship to be rearranged for us.

4. It’s Christmas for crying out loud! It’s the day we celebrate the incarnation, the birth of the Messiah, the entrance into our world of the second Person of Trinity. Don’t we want to sing? Don’t we want to celebrate? Don’t we want to preach and praise and pray?

5. It’s Sunday for crying out louder! I don’t have a problem with Advent and Christmas. In fact, I love this time of year. I’m not a huge church calendar guy, but I’m not bothered by focusing on the incarnation once every twelve months, especially when the world around us may, by God’s kindness, be tuned in to some of the same spiritual realities at the same time. But I’m enough of a Puritan to think that December 25 is Sunday before it’s Christmas. It’s the Lord’s Day. It’s a resurrection morning. It’s the day on which Christians have gathered for 2,000 years to sing the Bible, preach the Bible, pray the Bible, and see the Bible in the sacraments. It’s the day of the week given for rest and worship. Why would we cancel church on Sunday just because that Sunday is extra-special?

Maybe you’ve already printed the Advent schedule. Maybe the plans are already set. But it’s not too late to change your mind. Will your church’s ministry crumble without church one Sunday? I doubt it. But might it say something good and healthy about your convictions and priorities if you gather for corporate worship on December 25 just like you do every other Sunday? Something to think about.


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Comments:


100 thoughts on “A Plea to Pastors: Don’t Cancel Church on Christmas”

  1. Roger says:

    This year our church is having our Christmas service on Saturday night, but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up on Sunday. We have decided to celebrate each Christmas from now on with a community breakfast for disadvantaged people and also families in our neighbourhood who have nobody with whom to share Christmas. This helps us to make meaningful contact with our neighbours. As a side benefit we are finding that many of our congregation who might not normally come on Christmas day are volunteering to help out. Win/win.

  2. John Morgan says:

    Don’t make excuses!
    If your fellowship does not have its own building, have a joint service with one that does.
    If there are a lot of preparations to make, make them on Christmas Eve. A Christmas Eve service should be for those who genuinely cannot come on Christmas morning.
    If you’ve got family staying, bring them along.
    If you’ve got a lot of children in the congregation, make the service suitable for them as well as the adults. Don’t have a separate children’s meeting. Allow the children to bring a toy along and show it to the congregation.
    Going to church on Christmas morning should be one of the highlights of the day, not a chore or burden. For those without families, it may be the only highlight.

  3. James says:

    Well, if a lot of these pastors chose a thrice-divorced, potty-mouthed, *alleged* serial groper to represent their “family values,” then why *wouldn’t* they cancel Christmas — on a Sunday, of all days? Once the moral high ground has been waived….

  4. Curt Day says:

    Kevin,
    Do you mean that I have to wait to play with the new toys I am going to get? Isn’t that idea communist and anti-capitalist?

  5. Adam Estep says:

    And here we have an example of making an idol of Sunday. Jesus worshiped on Friday or Saturday evening. Is he violating the bible? No. Why? Because the bible doesn’t say to worship in Sunday.

    We will celebrate the incarnation many times over on Saturday evening. God will be honored. Jesus glorified. That’s aces in my book.

  6. Brad Harris says:

    Roger, that is great! Yet, I see many churches who don’t have Sunday Service is not because they are reaching out like you are. They close the doors because it interrupts Christmas plans. Your idea Roger and what your church is doing is awesome but that is not the case why other church’s may close their doors for Christmas.

  7. Bill says:

    A rub for me: “for crying out loud” = a euphamism and is therefore using the Lord’s name in vain.
    “for crying out louder” = is a more intensified of the same

  8. Tony says:

    Really? If a pastor leads several Christmas Eve services for the church and community, but doesn’t lead a Christmas morning service he is being lazy? He voted for Trump? He’s abandoned the faith? He’s making excuses?

    Why is it that churches that hold such strong convictions about Sunday morning will accommodate what they’re providing, i.e. no Sunday School, no Nursery, cancel one of their two services, and cancel all typical or regular activities, but it’s not okay to accommodate by moving the service to the day before? Seems like mere preference to me. If being with the church body on the 25th ih so important, why not extend the service to all day and celebrate the Incarnation of Christ together.

  9. Rene says:

    As a non-American it is bizarre to me an article like this even has to be written….. the idea that you wouldn’t have church on Christmas Day seems crazy and because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year even crazier! I hope people take note and celebrate this day with their brothers and sisters all over the world doing the same :)

  10. Scott says:

    I struggle with this particular article. Partly because I agree that it is Sunday and we hold church on that day. It’s a day of celebration, especially this particular Sunday. However our church did some research on our people, our community and our demographic. Our decision, thus far has been to make Christmas eve a huge event for our people and our community. Why? Because that really meets the needs of our people. Let me explain… Many of our people work in retail. They themselves will have limited time this year and have asked if we could help them. If we as pastors have been paying attention we will have all notice the long shift in our culture. It used to be on Christmas Eve stores and businesses all shut down early. Typically between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. People could go home prepare for family, do a meal and then get to church for Christmas Eve service. Time was much slower. In today’s culture one is lucky to get off by 6:00 pm. Even though I am a pastor I also worked full time as well for Biglots until this last year. A few years ago the company experienced a significant change in leadership and they began to stay open on Christmas Eve later and later. Last year the company made a decision to stay open until 10:00 pm on that night. By the way, that is the plan this year as well. Their store hours will be 7 am – 10 pm. For two years I did not get to attend Christmas Eve service because I worked basically until 8 pm. I would arrive at the church to see the final few minutes. I also had to work very early on the 26th. That made one day to for me to spend with my family. Fortunately Christmas Day being on a Sunday is rare. There are a ton of Pastors like me who are bi-vocational and many in our churches who work in retail. I get frustrated by the lack of empathy for any of us. We are lazy, and disrespectful if we think of canceling on a particular Sunday. I have 20 people who come to my house on Christmas Day including a former pastor who was so beaten by his church and the expectations of the congregation that he left ministry. I believe he still has some faith in God, but people… that’s another story. We also open our home to students in my church who have no family. It is a ministry of a huge kind. This is being the hands, feet, and voice of Christ. It bothers me that I should be shamed so. We are reaching out we are doing great things for God. Rest is also important. Please think a little deeper when you make such blanket statements. I truly appreciate what you are saying in the article, but often get so frustrated that decisions are expected to be easy and straight forward. The issue is not a service but how are we aerving our community. That should be the focus. This year we are holding a large production for Christmas Eve. I will get no extra sleep or rest for the next few weeks at all leading up to Christmas Day. Our Senior Pastor is so wigged out by the appearance of being chastised for wanting to spend time with his family, that he is now contemplating an abbreviated service for all who might be offended by not coming in on one Sunday. that means that I will also not be allowed a day of rest which is also a day with my family and a day of service to several in my community. Oh by the way I also am a full time student, I work part time outside of the church and I help with missions in the Brethren denomination.

  11. matt says:

    “For crying out loud”, how about we quit being so divisive about issues such as this one? Could we value and honor different perspectives and remain unified around our celebration of the incarnation, regardless of what day it may happen? When you leverage your voice and platform in this manner, it will be divisive. I respect those who choose to have a Christmas day service every year (not just this one). I respect with those who choose to focus their attention and energy on Christmas Eve celebrations every year and cancel the following Sunday morning gatherings. We’re on the same team. Let’s stop dividing ourselves out of personal convictions…

  12. Mitch says:

    I can’t believe you’re (in effect) shaming our already overworked pastors to work all night Christmas Eve plus all morning Christmas Day, prepare two messages, and make their families have to postpone their celebrations just in case there is a visitor. The stats say that most visitors on Christmas come with a friend or relative anyway, so they would know church is closed.

  13. Nell Parker says:

    Hmmm. My church has a services on Saturday night and Sunday all year long. I attend the Saturday evening services every week. So, if I go on Christmas Eve, a Saturday, must I also go on Sunday? My church has services both days on Christmas. I think we can make this too hard on everybody.

    Figure out what works for your family, especially very tired Moms who must make a large dinner, open gifts with the little ones, and try to keep order in a day that flies by. I think God smiles on families together opening presents and remembering that the reason we give presents is because He is the ultimate gift. The reason we have lights on the tree and in our yards because He is the light of the world. Remember this and rejoice.

  14. Clark Bunch says:

    I’m looking forward to preaching a Christmas Day sermon! We don’t normally have a service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day so this will be a rare occasion on which I get to light the Christ candle in our Advent wreath. We’re not having Sunday School or an evening service but we are looking forward to church on Christmas.

  15. Ken says:

    I generally enjoy the posts on this blog. This one feels guilt laden and I believe unnecessary. We don’t worship a day, we worship the Lord Jesus. Our church will corporately worship him six different times on Christmas Eve. I am fine with people choosing to have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services, let’s just refrain from these kind of posts that introduce an unnecessary division amongst us.

  16. John says:

    Kevin,

    I’m assuming your Reformed view of the Sabbath plays into this?

    For my part, it does.

    Thanks.

    John

  17. Seth says:

    I am a pastor. I love worshiping. My spiritual family- my church- is doing a Christmas Eve service and I am very much looking forward to it. I will be with my wife and kids on Christmas morning and I am very much looking forward to that. I asked the church if they preferred a Christmas Eve service or a Christmas Sunday morning service and they overwhelmingly preferred the former. I don’t feel in the slightest bit guilty but and I think the author of the article needs to take a deep breath and dump his legalism in the trash heap. Also, before writing such articles you may wish to google “pastor burnout rates in North America” and see if that alters your thinking a bit. May you have a blessed Christmas.

  18. Edward Walker says:

    While i appreciate the reasons for your plea i must ask the question why you want to continue propagating the myth surrouding the Lords birth? We all know He was’nt born them so why not tel the truth and give up pagan practice’s so people might take is serious.

  19. Chris says:

    The visceral and demeaning comments this article has produced do not make the name of Christ more valued nor the love of the church more evident. It is no wonder why more and more people avoid the man-made ‘rules-driven’ church and instead seek a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through His word and prayer in a community of humble followers where Christ is King, the church is family, and the world is in desperate need of love, grace, and the gospel displayed by His people.

  20. Tim says:

    I wish I could say I can’t believe the tone of the comments, but I can. One person lamented that since this is on Facebook, who knows what non-Christians are thinking. It is so similar to some who posted about Trump getting evangelical votes. I can’t remember what Kevin DeYoung wrote concerning those who voted for Trump, but I remember a lack of love on behalf of thegospelcoalition.org writers to those who voted for Trump, saying that we don’t care what the world thinks of our beliefs because we were voting for such a horrible, terrible person. We said we were voting pro-life and they couldn’t get past their own biases to understand, to give grace.

    Many of those who have commented aren’t much better-a lack of love where there should be grace. I liked DeYoung’s article. I agreed with it. He wasn’t as condemning as those who claimed he was. He just presented an idea, encouraged others to it, and gets slammed. We shouldn’t be surprised from worldly politicians speaking this way. Some of you are more concerned about your feelings getting hurt because somebody disagrees with you than you do with your speech on an open website.

    I’m close to not using this site anymore, along with another popular Christian magazine. If a friend hadn’t posted it I don’t think I would have gone to this post. The lack of love and lack of grace as seen in these comments and thegospelcoalition.org posts of Trump sadden and dishearten me. And I’m guessing that most of these come from pastors. It has been said that the Christian army is the only one that shoots its own wounded. That is true at least on this website.

  21. Dan says:

    I always attend the “Mass of Christ” on Christmas (which is what the word means), whether December 25th falls on a Sunday or on a Wednesday.

  22. I am the pastor of a Baptist Church and we are having a Sunday morning celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas morning.but Kevin you have to honest and admit that it will your age group that wl not come Christmas morning.my older members will be there.but the 25-45 age group won’t.some may come.but as a whole,that age group won’t be there.because family stuff is more important that worshipping God.they miss a whole week of VBS to play baseball.i pray that age group comes christmas morning.what a blessing it is going to be.

  23. Meg I. says:

    So many reasons why I appreciate you, Kevin. The denomination you are now a part of, I left because I felt the churches I was a part of were making secondary and tertiary issues (thank you, David Platt for that verbage), into primary issues. You write this with a sense of lightness but also seriousness as true worship is the issue.
    The last straw for me with the PCA was when I was challenged by a pastor to give Scripture to back up my stance on worship – I went to John chapter 4. I did not mean to be disrespectful but when he thought about what I was saying, he quickly got a migraine and had to go to bed. We never discussed it again. This pastor could quote the regulative principle of worship but I could quote the Bible. This whole “do we worship on Christmas Day this year or only on Christmas Eve?” has nothing to do with John 4:23 and 23, and your response is solid. My Biblically solid SBC church will not worship on Christmas Day, but I pray that all of us a Christians this Christmas Season will worship in “spirit and in truth.”

  24. Since I took up ministry in Wren’s Cathedral in 2001 we have always held a service on a Sunday even when Christmas falls on that day. This Christmas we are inviting guests from the Estate’s hotel to join us on this special day.

  25. Amanda Pelicano says:

    I’m so grateful for the Catholic Church. Knowledge and comfort that Mass will be held every single day, that the Church is there, waiting to celebrate with you, because that is it’s purpose. Mass is ALWAYS held on Christmas morning, because it is a Holy Day. It is a joy that this Christmas will be on a Sunday, which is also a Holy Day. Double Holy Days! :D How glorious to worship the birth of Our Savior. Those who serve in the Church are answering their calling. One would hope they wouldn’t place aside their calling (especially during this important time of year) because it might be an inconvenience. Family time is important, but God is most important and Christmas is about Him, first and foremost.
    Our children learn patience, anticipation by going to Mass on Christmas morning. They are not being deprived. It makes Christmas SO special when you celebrate the Birth of Christ on a beautiful Christmas morning, singing hymns of praise, greeting those around you with smiles and “Merry Christmas”, and then going home filled with His glory to share in the day.

  26. Rob says:

    Thanks for this. I agree with everything in the body of your letter. A friendly reminder, whether or not PCA ordains women, many of your pastor colleagues in the Body of Christ around the world are women and your salutation spoils your following (good) points when you share your message more broadly than your own context. May the hope, peace, love and joy of the season be with you and yours.

  27. Duane Anders says:

    I get it. In December we have 37 worship derives in 24 days celebrating Jesus as Lord. 9 on xmas eve with the lady one ending on Christmas morning. Normally we would have about 17% of the worshipping body attend on xmas day. So after much prayer we are giving God our best 37 times. We are offering folks rest and worship at home or in another church Xmas day.

  28. Greg Jobe says:

    I would take it a step further. I think that churches should have services every Christmas, not just when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Many churches do just that and it works just fine. The attitude of “we can’t have church because that’s the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth” is so silly, it’s really beyond having a serious conversation about. It’s like celebrating your anniversary without your spouse.

  29. Tim says:

    What are we supposed to do next year when Christmas Eve is on Sunday?

  30. Lydia says:

    Meeting for worship on Sunday, even when it disrupts celebrations of Christmas or the Super Bowl or whatever, is important because it prioritizes God over family and fun. And it demonstrates to a watching world that he is worth doing that for.

  31. M.G. says:

    I suppose I’m not opposed in principle to not holding services on Sunday morning, but I do find it mystifying that churches will hold “candlelight” services at 1:00, 3:00 and 4:30 pm on the last day of Advent.

    It seems much more sensible to either have a Christmas eve services on Christmas eve, say at 7:00 and 11:00 pm, and if you want to have a family friendly service, have that on the Christmas morning, regardless of whether it’s Sunday or not. But for pastors to spend the entirety of the last day Advent working their tails off, only to turn around and not want to work on the actual feast of the Nativity strikes me as getting things backwards.

  32. Jeanie Johnston says:

    My husband is a Pastor. The idea of skipping Christmas Day never occurred to him or to his congregation. You just do it. However…..this year we will be spending Christmas alone because we cannot leave to celebrate with our adult children. Pastor DeYoung does not have this problem as he as young children…..I can’t wait until they grow up and he has to decide between his job and his family on Christmas. I always thought family came first….

  33. Chris says:

    Thank God I’m Catholic and don’t have to worry about Mass ever being cancelled for such a silly reason.

    In the words of the a recent Cuban priest when asked to cancel Mass to mourn Castro’s death: “Kill me, jail me, but we are not going to suspend Holy Mass.”

  34. Paul says:

    The only thing I would add to this is, if the church as a community is the body of Christ, it becomes more important that Christmas be celebrated as the body of Christ rather than as one’s earthly family. The church body is one family in Christ, but I feel that a true sense of that community is indeed lacking in the American church. There is a difference in America between church family vs one’s own family unlike any other country. And though I don’t want to speak for every pastor, if indeed the service is set aside for family time together, whether Christmas is celebrated on a Sunday or not, it should be celebrated as a church more than as individual families, because in heaven we are going to be one family of believers and not based on our earthly families.

  35. Aaron says:

    This is also my reaction when I hear people say they do not want a service on Christmas morning…”It’s the day we celebrate the incarnation, the birth of the Messiah, the entrance into our world of the second Person of Trinity. Don’t we want to sing? Don’t we want to celebrate? Don’t we want to preach and praise and pray?” Thank you Kevin for putting words to my thoughts :)

  36. Robert Wilson says:

    And our choir is there too, singing their hearts out.

  37. David says:

    If stores can stay closed on Thanksgiving so that families can be together, then they can also close on Christmas Day so people can go to church!

  38. Mark Roberts says:

    During my sixteen years as a parish pastor in Southern California, Christmas fell on Sundays three times, I believe. Each time, I found myself struggling with mixed feelings beforehand. I loved our family traditions on Christmas morning and didn’t want to change them. But I loved being with our church family on Christmas. I wanted to honor the Lord on the day we celebrate his birth, but had done four services the night before and felt rather exhausted. Our church chose to have one Christmas morning service rather than our usual three. The service was festive and family oriented, somewhat shorter than our usual 75 minutes. After the service was over, every time I thought to myself: We should gather on Christmas morning as the church family and worship every year. We didn’t do that, but my negativity fell away as we celebrated together in worship. I remember those mornings with gratitude and joy.

  39. Jen says:

    You tugged at people’s heartstrings. Did I miss the part of this article where you backed up each point with Scripture?

  40. Paul says:

    I had no idea other Christians didn’t celebrate the nativity of our Lord. In the Catholic church we have Christmas eve celebration and a midnight mass, then a morning mass on Christmas day and another mass for, well actually we have for the entire 12 days of Christmas tide.. and then there is daily mass. 365 days of worship! Praise God for centuries and centuries!

  41. David says:

    My pastor talks about not missing church to stay home to watch football but then said we are not having a Christmas Day service because we had a Christmas Eve service and because he wants to spend the day with his kids. Maybe he should tell his kids that next year they will only be celebrating their birthdays the night before from now on.

  42. Agnikan says:

    Church on Sunday? Rank heresy.

  43. Stephen M says:

    Great article Kevin.

    I think this a decision for each local church to make for themselves and how to best serve their local church. As pastors I believe we have to make pastoral decisions that help our local church members to navigate this chaotic season theologically as teachers first, then secondly practically to best serve members and guests.

    As an eldership team we concluded that we would we have services on Christmas Day for the following reasons.

    1) Christians all over the world are gathering under much persecution.
    We should gather too.

    2) What do we say to our people when we cancel service on Christmas Day?
    Not sure, so we’ll go ahead and have service.

    3) What about people that are suffering deeply during this season.
    They too need to hear the sanctifying power of the Gospel again.

    4) We made huge compromises to help ease the stress.
    a) We cancelled our Christmas Eve Service so that people would not feel pressure to attend both services. b) We are choosing to have 1 one services and make its time the most convenient for everyone so that everyone that does have a young family spend the morning with their loved ones and also eat breakfast. c) We also decided to make the service memorable and brief so that volunteers and others can eat lunch while is it still lunch time.

    5) We didn’t want to prioritize demographics.
    What do we say to our folks that don’t have kids or are single? What do we say to empty nesters that have their kids in college? If we were to cancel Christmas on a Sunday, that may send a message that we only serve young families with children.

    Again, I think this decision is up to the local church leadership, but I hope our reasons may shed light on your church’s decision.

  44. Dennis marroquin says:

    I pastor a small church in Derby ct. About 50 members. We will have our Chritmas service on the Sunday prior so that all memebers can be present, being that Christmas day most will spend time with family. The Friday before Christmas we will have a kids service where we will have a teaching on the birth of Christ along with some gifts from the Church. Chritmas Sunday we will be congregating as normal, always celebrating Jesus as any other sunday, less those that wish to stay home with family. God bless those that wish to stay home I have no problem with that. We will have service for those few that wish to be in the house of the Lord. Lets be real my brother and sisters, we celebrate Jesus 7 days a week, and God gives us the strength. Ill get my rest and family time on monday, everything is closed that day anyway. For each his own as long as God comes first. Let me add also that if Jesus is your Lord, if Jesus is your Savior, if Jesus is your everything, THEN EVERYDAY IS CHRISTMAS!!

  45. Dawn says:

    I think maybe this Christmas, instead of encouraging pastors to work, we should encourage Christians be like Jesus and be a blessing to an unchurched person or family. This is a great opportunity to put into practice what they have been taught. Every person knows at least one unchurched person/family. And that person/family is more likely to go to their friend’s house then to church. It is less threatening.

  46. Frankly Frank says:

    I have children who grew up in church, but don’t go to church often as adults. That is sad of course. But, this Christmas, they will come home with the intention of both celebrating Christmas as a family and they want to go to church. I’m so glad our local church is having a casual worship service that my children can attend on the Lord’s Day and the Lord’s birthday!

  47. Katherine Johnson says:

    Personally I find the selfishness and “consumer mentality” reflected in these comments very disheartening. It takes a village of volunteers to pull off a church service, child care, ushers, music, etc. The only people who don’t realize this are the ones who never actually volunteer themselves. Perhaps all those volunteers might want a break to spend xmas with their families.

  48. Ex-pastor says:

    One of the many reasons I left vocational ministry is the demand of the holidays. Many people don’t realize how awful the holidays are for those employed by the local church. I was forced to abandon my family for the holidays to keep the doors open and because volunteers scattered over the holidays the church staff has to carry the load and go above and beyond. Christmas is the loneliest time of year for pastors.

  49. Brian says:

    We should add another point that many don’t want to admit:

    6. We should hold worship services on Christmas Day because we need the offering to pay our mortgage.

    While we quibble about worship on a day Scripture never commands, we have ignored clear commands against incurring debt. While we complain about those canceling services because of capitalism, we need the offfering to pay for the gym, new coffee bar and sweet new digital sound system.

  50. Oak says:

    In honor of Christmas, we will not be worshipping Christ on Sunday.
    And other silly things church leaders have thought.

    When you don’t have a strong reformed view of the Lord’s Day, practicality sets in and ministry decisions are not based on theological reasons but “what works for your family”. We feel defensive and say that our staff is “overworked” and list all the worshipping and works we do throughout other times of the year that should offset not worshipping on the first day of the week.

    Then in order to deflect thoughtful consideration, phrases like “guilt-laden” and “rules driven” are used. This is the same reaction from congregants who don’t want to be bothered with your view of Scripture as a basis for ministry decisions. Why not let our congregants live and let live instead of causing “unnecessary division”, right?

    I think it would profit our churches if our leaders did a serious biblical study of the Lord’s Day, and taught church officers and staff on these views. Then make some tough decisions that may go against the practical wishes of their congregations.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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