The psychology of Sunday – a "questionnaire"

To start things off, I have a few questions that are designed to get a broad idea of how the readership views Sunday church services. I’ll answer my questions, of course, but I invite you to contribute as well.

1. When do you most often attend your local church? (morning, afternoon or evening services at various times of day – indicate what time your service starts)

2. What generally takes place at the service that you go to? (singing, corporate prayer, Bible readings, sermon, announcements, Communion, etc. )

3. How long do your preachers speak for? (If you have several preachers who speak on various weeks, give a time range)

4. How long does a typical service go for from beginning to end?

5. What elements of church services do you “enjoy” the most?

6. What elements of church services do you “enjoy” the least?

7. Does the length of a sermon dictate your level of interest in the sermon?

8. What would it take for you to consider leaving your church with regards to the service that you attend?

My answers:

1. I generally attend either the morning or night service at St Thomas’, at times depending on whether or not I am involved with music ministry on a given Sunday at either or both services.

2. All services will include singing, Bible readings, a sermon, corporate prayer (confession, thanksgiving or the like), intercessory prayers and church announcements. Every 4-5 weeks, there will be an observance of Holy Communion.

3. Our senior minister will generally speak for up to 45 minutes (sometimes up to an hour), and our lay preachers will rarely exceed 30 minutes (they’re usually in the 25 to 30 minute bracket).

4. Services can range from either an hour to 2 hours. Naturally there are several variables that dictate the service length, but the longer services are the once at which our senior minister preaches.

5. All of it – a gathering of believers is meant to be a time of encouragement and edification, and the manner in which our service leaders structure services is very conducive to such attributes. Our preachers are gifted in faithful Bible teaching, and those involved in the ministries of Bible reading, praying, music and the like are faithful in what they do.

6. Seldom do people whisper amongst themselves, but if/when they do it can be quite distracting to those sitting near them and shows a lack of respect for whoever may be communicating at the lectern. It’s a bit of a school rule in terms of the way that I say it, but when someone is speaking you owe them the duty of listening.

7. It’s not so much the sermon length as the characteristics of the preacher who may influence whether or not I can “get into” a Bible talk. I think that it would be difficult to argue that a preacher could get away with having the charisma and expression (or lack thereof) of comedian Steven Wright, who is known for his slow, monotonous, almost mumbly speech. Sermon length and mannerisms/enthusiasm can work hand in hand – if a preacher can be engaging and present God’s work in an interesting and vigorous manner, they’re going to hold their audience much more effectively for 45 minutes to an hour than a preacher who seems to be reading a sermon out in a staid manner and may even not speak for half as long.

8. Lack of clear Biblical focus is pretty much it for me. If Christ and the Scriptures are central to the meeting of God’s people, I will happily fellowship, regardless of how long the meeting goes for.

Over to you, if you wish…

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5 Responses

  1. 1. morning St Thomas nights somewhere new i get to church when work lets me
    2. all services will include singing, Bible readings, a sermon, corporate prayer (confession, thanksgiving or the like), intercessory prayers and church announcements.
    3. Our senior minister will generally speak for up to 45 minutes (sometimes up to an hour), and our lay preachers will rarely exceed 30 minutes (they’re usually in the 25 to 30 minute bracket).
    4. 2 hours 30min to long
    5. sermon and talking to poeple
    6 mobile phone on
    7 no
    8 Lack Biblical focus

  2. This answer is taken from http://poess.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/kristian-wants-to-know-the-psychology-of-your-church-sunday/

    1. When do you most often attend your local church? (morning, afternoon or evening services at various times of day – indicate what time your service starts)

    10am and 6pm

    2. What generally takes place at the service that you go to? (singing, corporate prayer, Bible readings, sermon, announcements, Communion, etc. )

    Our one hour services contain 4 songs, bible readings, prayer, sermon and announcements, with occasional mission spots, activities and other elements from week to week.

    3. How long do your preachers speak for? (If you have several preachers who speak on various weeks, give a time range)

    20-25 minutes. (No longer than 20 in the evning, by LAW! Okay we arent that anal, but its tightly arranged)

    4. How long does a typical service go for from beginning to end?

    Morning 1 1/4 hours maximum, evening 1 hour maximum. If we go over, the staff team has made a blunder somewhere

    5. What elements of church services do you “enjoy” the most?

    Subjectivley? Well, for me I enjoy the talks, (though being the preacher, I rarely get to hear others, but when I do I like that the most)

    6. What elements of church services do you “enjoy” the least?

    Nothing which is regular, I just dislike it when someone is obviously unprepared for something they are sharing with the congregation.

    7. Does the length of a sermon dictate your level of interest in the sermon?

    It can, Phillip Jensen could speak for 2 hours and I wouldnt fall out of the window. Its a preachers capacity thing I think. I cant stand the sound of my own voice for more than 25 minutes, so I try to get out of there before I make the ears of my congregation bleed with agony from the sound of my voice. The preacher really has to see what his audience can handle in each particular context.

    8. What would it take for you to consider leaving your church with regards to the service that you attend?

    This is harder for me as a clergyman. As a clergy there are other issues at play, like the fruitfulness of ministry, whether people are accepting my ministry or not and so forth. But as a lay person it would take false teaching on a regular basis (ie not just one slip of the tongue so to speak) or a significant issue in me which was hindering others from hearing the gospel.

  3. 1. Sunday 10:30 AM & 4:30 PM, also Wednesday 7:30 PM (it’s called Bible study, but it is a more meaty sermon)

    2. All services begin with singing and prayer, and then a message from the word. Sunday mornings are topical sermons, sunday nights are more doctrinal and wednesday nights are series.

    3. Most sermons go for about 40-45 minutes. Some have gone for an hour praise God! If it’s a good sermon, then the longer the better. God convict my heart!

    4. Sunday morning – hour and a half. Night – an hour. Wednesday – 2 hours, including group prayer at the end

    5. Preaching

    6. Umm.. not much really. Myself? Sometimes, my heart is not right for worshipping God, but I go to church then because it is the right thing to do.

    7. I have listened to sermons by Sam Gipp and Peter Ruckman for hours, but other times, I can’t listen to five minutes without getting edgy. It all depends on the content (delivery isn’t that important, content is).

    8. I would leave my church on the following conditions
    i) They became “purpose driven” as in, rick warren garbage
    ii) They used a modern version of the Bible instead of the KJB
    iii) They introduced rock music
    iv) Became calvinist (my church teaches eternal security, but not perseverance of the saints – we are not arminian)

    Those would be the main reasons I would leave. I almost left earlier last year, but I came to realise that the problem was hardness in my heart, and not the church or pastor.

  4. 1. 10am and 6pm – soon to be 8:30am, 10:30am and 6pm

    2. yup all you said, singing, preaching, communion, offering etc.

    3. usually 35-50 mins. If i preach it’s about 35 – i do about once a month.

    4. 80-100 mins

    5. Don’t have a fave… love it all. I suppose i crave the word but love leading worship so that’s key too

    6. Gossip – yeah ok not a part of the service… in the service our announcements are usually read off the newsletter by elders that have little public speaking background – needless to say it’s prob my least fave part when that happens!

    7. Not generally… though if the speaker’s a little boring it may not matter how long at all, as Steve points out. But generally my attention span is good…

    8. A word from the Lord… as Steve said though false teaching on fundamental issues would be a no-no. However I’ve been planted here for 20 years and I think I’d take the leader aside first and gently rebuke. If it kept up I’d prob leave.

    Blessings…
    Drew aka LivingWorship (heya Kris 🙂 )

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