Why Many Churches are Abandoning the Once Beloved 11 A.M. Service Hour

If you think that 11 a.m. is the still the most popular church service time, guess again. If you guessed early Sunday morning or even Wednesday night–you’re on to something.

Lifeway President and CEO Thom Rainer says many churches are abandoning the once beloved 11 a.m. hour as it no longer fits their needs. When churches move to multiple services, the 11 a.m. doesn’t work well with their schedule for traffic, flow and length of service.

Rainer says that millennials are not likely to choose the 11 a.m. time and that many people, including young parents, want a mid-morning time because they’re already getting up early. Rainer cites multiple congregational surveys that show people choosing a worship service time beginning between 9 and 10:30 a.m.

He also notes growth in services starting between 7 and 8:30 a.m. and says it appears to meet the needs of empty-nest boomers.

Many church leaders are also looking beyond Sunday to other days of the week for services. “Wednesday is the new Sunday,” is what clergy in Minnesota are calling their new trend.

A StarTribune story says many families are opting out of Sunday services to accommodate children’s sports schedules, week-end work shifts or out-of-town travel.

The report cites mainline denominational churches in Minnesota that began experimenting with Wednesdays in the last decade.

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Heather Sells

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