DISCUSSION: Church Services that Only Last 15 minutes

DISCUSSION: Church Services that Only Last 15 minutes May 24, 2024

Churches in Europe are coming up with more bright ideas to bring people back to church.  On Monday we blogged about the Protestant Church of Germany in Heidelberg with its Taylor Swift church service.  Now an Anglican church in Wales is offering a service that only lasts 15 minutes.

Angela Youngman reports on the project in her article Are ‘Micro Services’ The Cure That Can Help Church Attendance Grow?

The Rev. John Gillibrand, vicar of St. David’s Church in Swansea, has launched the initiative as a way of helping busy people fit prayer into their daily lives. By offering this type of micro-service, he believes that it helps the community since individuals and families are increasingly pressed for time.

[Rev. Gillibrand says,] “The service is simple: a Bible reading, reflection on the reading and then prayer. Roughly five minutes each.”

Youngman says that other churches in the UK are trying something similar.

A UK paper tells more about it, making clear what Youngman does not, that the 15 minute services, which meet on Monday evenings, do not take the place of the regular service on Sunday mornings.  Rather, this is an extra outreach ministry.  The first such service drew 22 worshippers, a mix of regulars and new people.

Offering such brief devotions might be a good idea, though actually praying Compline–one of the traditional services, like Matins and Vespers, that used to be held throughout the hours of the day–wouldn’t take much longer.

What do you think of this kind of pared back “micro-service” as a way to get busy people into church?  If not as a substitute for an actual service, how about as an outreach strategy?  Do you think it would be effective?  There are less extreme examples of truncating the traditional liturgy, which Anglicans normally follow.  When might that be justified and when is it not?

Rev. Gillibrand also leaves out singing.  Should he squeeze in some music, or is Bible reading, 5-minute-sermon, and a prayer enough?


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