Advice on "Church Night"

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Hi, everyone, I'm posting this in the Youth Forum because my guess is that if churches are doing this, youth ministries are probably part of the equation!

Our church currently has been holding various ministry programs on different nights of the week: High School Youth Group on Sundays, GEMS/Cadets on Wednesdays, Middle School Youth Group on Saturdays. For adults, we have "Life Groups" with different groups meeting on different nights of the weeks, typically we will have groups each day Sunday to Thursday evenings.

We are considering a simplified ministry schedule where various programs meet on a single evening during the week, possibly including all the above youth programs as well as options for adults on the same night. What would be helpful is to hear from other churches who have a "church night" with multiple ministries meeting concurrently.

  • Does your church do this? What ministries are included? What makes it run well that you would recommend?
  • Do you have experience starting or transitioning to a "church night"? What challenges did you face? What advice can you give?

Thanks for any advice and suggestions you can offer! 

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Hi Rebecca! 

This is such a great topic to dive into, though I'm afraid that there isn't really space to unpack it here. I guess a few reflections and thoughts can contribute, though:

1) I will start by saying that our church doesn't currently do this, though we've considered this specific transition in the past. 
2) My primary concerns with doing an evening like this becomes primarily segregation. I believe that a part of our objectives as leaders is to include different age groups into our ministry, and if you tie everyone else up at the same time during the same evening (parents in one classroom, students in another, children in a third, and elderly in a fourth) you're creating distinct and specific divisions amongst age groups. I'm more about intergenerational ministry that contributes as a whole to the church, and doesn't like to see division. 
3) Finally, you could run into volunteer issues when trying to include everyone at the same place at the same time. 

I know it's not an ideal model, but the division of programs could actually contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive ministry in terms of others (beyond youth). It's definitely not as convenient, but it is a more inclusive approach (in my mind). 

Shane, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Our church is definitely considering all sides of this issue, so your thoughts about segregating rather than integrating different ages are helpful, as is the comment about volunteer issues trying to have many ministries at one time. The prompting for asking these questions at our church was based on the observation that we have 4 different ministries (all serving students/kids) that are meeting on 3 different nights. The question that started this for us was, "Can this be simpler?" Naturally, one simple question has given way to many more questions, but it's been good discussions so far. Thanks again!