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Night Church at The Gap. Photo: Supplied

Night time is the right time … for church

We traditionally tend to think of church attendance as a morning activity but The Gap Uniting Church has introduced Sunday night worship sessions catering for older youth and young adults. Emma Holmes writes about her experience attending “Night Church” and what newcomers can expect.

“What does a dream worship service for young adults look like?”

Eighteen months ago, this question was put to me, as discussions began on creating a new service for young adults and older youth at The Gap Uniting Church. I must admit, it was difficult to come up with a simple answer.

Having been part of The Gap’s church family for as long as I can remember, I have been blessed to have many opportunities to grow in faith and community. During school, I “did” church life with an awesome cohort of teenagers, where we had many adventures.

Reflecting on the numbers over the past couple of years, it became apparent only a handful of us were still hanging around. Unless we were serving in various ministries, there weren’t opportunities for young adults to be spiritually fed. We knew we were missing something, but we weren’t sure what that “something” was.

Perhaps what was missing was a new service with our age group in mind? The conversation gained momentum as the decision for a new service was made. So returning to the question; “Emma, what does a dream worship service for young adults look like?”

My initial response was, “Cats leading worship” (obviously), but aside from that, where to start?

It turns out that the “start” happened in August 2017 when Night Church was launched as a service for older youth and young adults at The Gap Uniting Church. God’s hand was clearly evident, as this service was so much more than I could have imagined it would be.

Night Church is challenging and relevant, with guest speakers from a range of ages and perspectives. There’s no shying away from tricky or edgy topics, nor are we too afraid to ask the tough questions. The music is fresh and vibrant, and the service the perfect length—which makes a huge difference when we are time poor and hungry!

The space is warm and welcoming, with a coffee cart and friendly faces at the entrance. The relaxed and comfortable atmosphere is created by the lighting and seats. There are so many small details that make it an inviting, safe space.

Night Church has enabled me to make new connections as well as seeing old friends again. It is not just a one–hour session on Sunday nights, it has become a central component of a community journeying together with Christ.

Even though it is shiny and new, with different ways of doing things, and with wrinkles still needing to be ironed out, at the very heart it is a community of God. It’s my church, my family and I can’t wait to see how God will use it. Is it the “dream worship service”? Well, there’s still time to bring in the cats. 

Emma Holmes is the Queensland Synod’s Easter Madness Project Officer. For more information about Night Church, visit thegapuca.org.au

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