Here’s the other side of the coin in considering the addition of a second service:
1. Why turn away people from hearing the gospel of Christ? If more people will come to our gatherings to hear the gospel preached, who am I to turn them away? Jesus went out of his way to keep the unregenerate masses around to hear his sermon on the mount. He went out of his way to feed them and broke them into small groups to share his provision. Peter addressed thousands. Paul packed out houses with people falling out of windows (acts 20:9). As Jacob Vanhorn said, “The first century church didn’t get to put their finger in the dam when God added 1,000’s of new, clumsy believers. I don’t think we can either.” The challenge is to keep preaching the strong gospel of Jesus, and to not accommodate increased consumerism that people bring with them.
2. See the second service as another gathering of the church during which people can be discipled into gospel-centered missional community. Daniel Montgomery once asked me which form of the church was most pure, missional communities or Sunday gatherings? It was a loaded question. He avered that, if done well, both can be “pure” expressions of the church, and I tend to agree. The challenge, however, is to spend as much time recalibrating gatherings as we do recalibrating smaller communities. Austin City Life is in the process of trying to develop a more intentional “liturgy” whereby Sunday gatherings become more of a discipleship experience, not just a service. Missional, steady state, gospel-centered community should happen through public and private gatherings.
3. A second gathering will increase business for the coffeeshop in our building, enabling us to futher support local business. The unoffical slogan of Austin is “Keep Austin Wierd,” which is multivalent. One of the things it means is keep things indy, support local business. We like to do that when possible to be a blessing to our neighbors and city.
4. A second gathering will enable volunteers to serve and to worship every Sunday.