“We may dose but we never close” – Canceling Church Services

In the nine and a half years I have been at Main Street I don’t think we have ever cancelled a church service. There have been times where we have had maybe nine people show up but we have never, to my knowledge, cancelled a service because of inclement weather. This is pertinent in my mind because of all the cold weather that is coming our way this weekend. I am not sure what it is but people in the South get crazy when the threat of snow or freezing rain happens. People flock to the grocery store to get all the bread and milk they can so that they have the groceries they need for the half inch of snow that will shut down the roads for 24 hours. I think much of it is media driven but also fear-based. What happens if we don’t have power and our house gets shut down for a week? I am thinking it is a good thing and I get to hang out with my kids for a week! I also get to save on my light bill too!


The point of the blog post is that when it comes to cancelling services many churches refuse and their reasoning is that as long as two or more can gather then we need to offer a service for them. Of course, what’s ironic is that this same logic is thrown out the door when it comes to small groups but that is another post for another day. When told that we do not cancel services they offer this halfhearted, pithy statement:

We may dose, but we never close!

Collectively we give courtesy laughs and then move on. Apparently it is better to sleep through a service and not worship God than to skip a service and not worship God. Great logic there right? Insert prophetic utterance about “in vain do they worship me” here.

But seriously, what is the big deal, when there is a serious threat of weather, with cancelling a service? Is it unbiblical? Could it be that we are keeping services more for our pride than we are offering God worship?

“But Robbie, the [insert denomination here]‘s always look for a reason to cancel a service and we don’t want to look like them do we?” Ah yes, you’re right. Valuing the safety of our members is clearly a denominational issue.

Look, I am sorry for the sarcastic tone but rarely do these things happen and we don’t need to overact every time there is a threat of wintery weather but when there is a serious threat we definitely don’t need to be afraid to dismiss services for the safety of our members. Some ideas to help:

  • Have a winter contingency plan to hold services. Could you stream a message for people to access at home?
  • If you do small groups by location maybe you could hold services that way.
  • What about the Lord’s Supper? Make that part of the contingency plan where families always have emblems in their house. Wouldn’t it be a horrible thing for a family to hold worship together in their own house? OK…I will stop with the sarcasm.
  • If people can make it to the building then make it more about looking for homeless people in the community to let them stay in the building until weather improves.

Something else that needs to be said is that we do need to appreciate the heart of people who want to meet with the saints as much as possible. There is much to be commended about this and I am thankful for people who love to worship with 1000 or with 5.

What are your ideas?

PHOTO CREDITS: Sunrise Artists on CC


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  • Rusty Pettus

    We didn’t cancel for a long time then one icy night we had two wrecks in the parking lot. One slide into to sign the other a power pole that then shut the power out in the building. After this we decided maybe in time of ice and snow we should cancel services.

    • http://www.missionalyouthministry.com/ Robbie Mackenzie

      Yep, that would just about do it.

  • Heath R. Pickard

    Great post. But next time you need to tell us how you really feel.