There was a day when schools and communities guarded Wednesday night as “church night.” Rarely were school sports practices or evening events scheduled. And then there wasn’t that day. Maybe the practice was more of a Bible Belt thing—most common in the south and midwest states.
Growing up in the DC area I have no memory of Wednesday night reserved for religious reasons and it certainly wasn’t the case for my children. We all know about the gradual erosion of Sunday morning as “sacred” time. About 20 years ago, our soccer club ruled that no game would start prior to noon. Helpful, but irrelevant if the coach required the players to show up 90 minutes before a game and if it took 20-30 minutes to drive to the field. Not to mention the morning scramble to find the uniform and equipment. I don’t know if that “rule” still exists.
The issue is larger than protecting days of the week. It’s more about the loading on of stuff to do. And for the most part all good stuff. The creep of over-scheduled children and teens was first recognized (in my best memory and with no research) in The Hurried Child by David Elkind. Though the premise of the book was to caution parents about “hurrying our children through life” what I remember most was the need to allow time for play and leisure for children.
Perhaps there was an earlier cry for this need but the book was published in 1981 and I had my first child in 1986, so books and articles on parenting had my full attention then. Elkind’s words deeply impacted my thinking and parenting. Not that I always got it right (I didn’t), but the research and conclusions factored into decision making about choices of after school and summer activities for our sons. It seems there’s now greater pressure to do more or maybe there are more opportunities available. “We’re so busy” seems to be the rallying cry for all ages.
I recently read an article from the Star Tribune of Minneapolis Minnesota, “For many overbooked Christian families, Wednesday is the new Sunday.” It’s a description of a “recent” trend for churches to experiment with Wednesday night worship (identified as a trend that started about 10 years ago) to accommodate the schedules of families. Interviewed parents named general busyness on weekends, weekend sports teams, attention to the farm, travel, weekend jobs, and parents with shared custody of children as reasons why Sunday morning was a challenge to get to church.
Besides convenience, the article shared that the advantage of midweek church was providing more time for both education and worship (rather than either one or the other). Also, one person interviewed said of their Wednesday night gathering, “If I had a bad day at work, I like to come here. It just kind of settles you.” So rather than a jump start to the week, it means church as a break within the week.
For over 50 years, GenOn Ministries has lifted midweek as a good time to gather to provide the time for multiple generations to build relationships while learning and practicing the Christian faith. This approach—which we call LOGOS—also includes an intentional connection to corporate worship. And the whole family can be a part. The whole church family.
Families’ schedules, fewer churches with Christian education staff, and fewer available volunteers with time, has meant that most churches do LOGOS more creatively than 50 years ago, or than even 20 years ago. Churches shorten LOGOS, some rotate which week they offer recreation time, many run carpools directly from schools, and all cite the importance of flexibility with the coming and going of participants. We counsel churches to gather for enough time to grow relationships and to provide enough programming to offer a balanced approach on a regular basis.
Why? Why do we continue to believe that offering something in addition to worship and that draws more people than Sunday school is worth the effort? Because churches tell us that this approach is transformational—for individuals and for the faith community as a whole. And we believe that it is this transformation that goes hand-in-hand with an abundant life-giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If that relationship is important (we believe it’s the most important thing) then we want to equip churches to do what it takes to nurture that relationship for people of all generations.
We recently asked some church leaders to share why they do LOGOS.
“LOGOS has changed our church completely. LOGOS is the church being the church in a tangible way in a world that often doesn't slow down to even say more than hello to one another.” Tara Dew, Director of Children and Youth Ministries
“After a few weeks of LOGOS, one of our adults, who worked as a "table parent" sat in church as the children's choir was singing and was overheard whispering to his wife, ‘The one on the end is one of mine, the one in the front row waving is one of mine, and so on...’ LOGOS allows you to build relationships—intergenerational relationships. These relationships are what grows the church and even inspire leadership! Our church has changed and grown because of LOGOS.” Rev. Merideth Sprigler
“LOGOS changes our way of thinking about the reason for the church. It is where we practice what it means to treat others as a Child of God.” Rev. Keith D. Strain
“Many members of our congregation believe our LOGOS ministry was instrumental in changing our church culture. LOGOS has helped our members live out their belief that building relationships with the children and modeling faith with them is the responsibility of everyone. And because LOGOS is about nurturing Christian relationships, it has strengthened the relationships not just with the children but between the adult volunteers, too.” Rev. Suzanne Stout
We enjoy engaging in conversation with church leaders about how to make intentional intergenerational ministry work for your church. In fact, we are a nonprofit organization that exists to do just that. Look around our website and if you like what you see, if it resonates with what you also believe, then let’s talk!
Reach us at 877-937-2572 or info@GenOnMinistries.org