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In 2020 (who could forget?!), COVID-19 interrupted our corporate worship, in several ways. Initial online sermons, as we were sequestered at home, were eventually (thankfully) replaced with corporate, albeit reduced, gathering, which was eventually replaced with outside Sunday morning services. My wife still speaks fondly of those days when we all gathered on the grass, singing with our neighbours listening, and church members fondly greeting one another. I, on the other hand, also remember the frustration of sermon notes being blown hither and yon by the gusting winds that seemed to be perfectly timed for the service!

But in addition to changes of occupancy and venue, we also were faced with how to maintain the biblical elements and aspects of corporate worship when we met. For example, most of us remember how Communion was, for a while self-serve, with pre-packaged, nasty-tasting juice and styrofoam “bread.” We then moved to passing the elements, but with the use of tongs to pick up the bread. Interesting, to say the least.

But another change in our corporate worship was that, once evening services were reconvened, there was no longer an opportunity for people to give an offering. If someone arrived prepared to give, there was no opportunity. For some reason, once we reinstituted evening worship, this former practice remained dormant. I don’t recall having any substantial discussion about it as an eldership, but with the evening service being in abeyance for so long, when we eventually recommenced evening services, it just was not on our radar.

Giving to the Lord is an act of worship, as I touched on a few Sundays ago in a sermon from Philippians 4:10–20. When we give our tithes and offerings, we do so bowing in thankfulness and acknowledged dependence upon our gracious God, who sustains us through his bounty. New covenant saints are as privileged as old covenant saints to express our worship by giving. The early new covenant church gave to the Lord as a means of furthering the gospel as well as meeting the needs within the local church (Acts 2:44–45; 4:34–37). It seems that this was a regular practice each Lord’s Day (1 Corinthians 16:1–2).

For perhaps nearly five decades, Brackenhurst Baptist Church has “bracketed” the Lord’s Day with morning and evening worship. Though the structure of our evening service is different than the morning service, nevertheless, it is a corporate worship service. Though there is nothing in the Bible prescribing an offering in a Sunday evening service, nevertheless some members have missed an opportunity to give in the morning and so the evening presents another opportunity. For those who arrive Sunday evening prepared to give, there is now the opportunity to do so, commencing this Sunday.

It is important to note that we are not doing this to increase the church’s income, and neither is the purpose to compel people to give above what they are already contributing in worshipful stewardship. Rather, we are doing this for those who may have missed an opportunity to give but who would like to. In short, we are doing this because giving is an aspect of worship and the Lord’s Day is especially focused on worship. And all who desire to express their worship through giving should not be hindered from doing so.

As always, feel free to engage with any of the elders if you have any questions about this, or questions about any other aspect of our church’s corporate worship.

Looking forward to our worship together,