Empty Pews on Sunday: A Good Thing!

It was 10:30 on a Sunday morning—time for church—but the sanctuary was totally empty. Not one person. Not the worship team, not the pastor, not even one member of the congregation. Where was everybody? Empty pews on a Sunday might normally be a bad sign. But on October 30, 2016, everyone was where they were supposed to be.

More than a year ago, Pastor Don Billey was engaged in conversation with Pastor Trey Oldham of Pendleton Church of God. He explained to Pastor Don that he’d come up with a way to do something for the community without having to clutter the calendar with additional church activities, as well as without having to add programming or staff.

“As I pondered his words and the impact that this idea could have with Main Street,” Pastor Don explains, “Serving Sundays began to take shape. It went through a few iterations before implementation but, in the final analysis, it came down to this: every month with five Sundays we would use the ‘extra Sunday’ as an opportunity to do local ministry and mission work. Small things. Simple things. Simple opportunities that would allow everyone in the church, from the youngest to the oldest, to participate, while having high impact on the community.”

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Photo: Multi-generational project for the homeless.

So, you see, everyone was right where they were supposed to be. Out in the community. Serving in a variety of capacities—distributing rolls of quarters at the Laundromat, praying with men and women at McDonald’s, donating supplies and/or time to women’s and men’s shelters, blessing the local fire station with gift cards and resources, and visiting nursing homes. Back at the church, those who needed less physical projects and the children wrote notes of encouragement to church members and their families. Admittedly, canceling the usual Sunday morning routine a few times this year for the sake of the community was a bold and risky move, but one with eternal dividends.

“We thought we would make an impact on the community,” Pastor Don reflects, “but the blessings came back to us in major ways as people began to experience what it was like to get face-to-face with strangers and share the love of Christ, expecting nothing in return. In essence, on Fifth Sundays, we help people BE the church.”

Come see for yourself what Main Street Church of God is all about. Our worship celebration services on Sunday begin at 10:30 AM at 4211 Main Street, Anderson IN 46013. Contact us at 765-644-6555 or info@mainstreetcog.net.