We are wrestling through whether or not to start a second service. For most people it’s a no brainer. If you have enough people, start a second service! Or, follow the 80/20 rule–if 80% of the seats filled, then start a second service because the other 20% will be intimidated by the lack of space. I don’t like either line of reasoning. Here’s why…

  1. Just because you max out seating capacity doesn’t mean your church is ready for more people. How many of the people in our services really get church the way we are trying to be the church? How many understand and embrace that we are trying to raise the problem of mission, solve it with the solution of the gospel, in the context of community? If they get it conceptually, how many of them are actually living this way practically? If there is a gap between concept and practice, is this a product of consumerism, poor leadership, or brevity of time? If there is a significant gap between our theoretical and functional ecclesiologies, then why add more people ignorant of your ecclesiology into a service that isn’t church to begin with?
  2. To start a second service is to commit more resources to an event, not a gospel-centered missional community. Will the demands of a second service so tax our spiritual, emotional, and physical resources that we end up reinforcing church-as-service, instead of church-as-gospel, missional community? Will a second service propagate discipleship anonymity, not missional church tenacity?
  3. Who cares about the 80/20 rule; it just reinforces individualistic comforts. I say “squeeze in”; meet your neighbor; love the church, swallow your individualism and take a bite out of community. Sit on the floor, just don’t fall out of a window.