The habit of weekly worship attendance has already taken a hit among American churchgoers. Now a move is afoot to offer the Sunday morning routine just once per month.
Even people who describe themselves as regular churchgoers are attending less frequently these days. That’s one of the factors that is contributing to shrinking church attendance on any given Sunday.
“People don’t have time for the model we’ve offered,” says Seattle church planter Jim Henderson. “It seems that when it comes to attending a Sunday church service, people have determined that once a month just about covers it.”
So, Henderson recently launched Once a Month Church in the Seattle area. He said the concept emerged as he and friends brainstormed about how to reach a changing culture. “We asked ourselves what it would take to get people to go back to church,” he said.
The frequency of the worship service is not the only distinctive of Once a Month Church. The Sunday morning experience departs from the dominant status quo. There’s no lengthy sermon. Henderson or an associate may speak for only three to five minutes. Then the speaker does a live interview with someone who’s “living an ordinary Christian life.” Questions from the congregation are welcome.
Relationships are intentionally encouraged. Everyone gets a name tag upon arrival, to provide people an easy way to approach each other. “We introduce people to each other and let things happen,” Henderson said. Participants are invited to join a small group that may meet one other time during the month.
Henderson reminds everyone that this is an experiment. With a refreshing lack of hubris, Henderson says, “We aren’t sure if God thinks this is as great of an idea as we do. We don’t know if we’re ‘ahead of the market,’ or maybe there is no market at all for Once a Month Church.”
This will be an interesting experiment–one that may resonate with a hyper-busy populace that is already showing waning interest in a weekly commitment.
Canadian church officials discovered that more people were avoiding any church involvement because they sensed an unspoken expectation for weekly attendance. Since they felt their family schedules would not allow for church attendance every week, they chose to avoid church altogether.
What do you think? Is Once a Month Church a case of less-is-more?