Recently a portion of our congregation (approximately 30 out of 110-120) started meeting at a separate time from the normal time, but in the same building. On Sunday we meet in the morning for Bible classes and worship and then in the evening again for another period of worship. This group began meeting in the afternoon instead of worshiping with us during our normal times. The first time that they did it we were all surprised, then they did it a second Sunday, and finally on the third Sunday we met them after their service was over and told them that we could no longer allow them to do this. We should have one worship service together at our regular hours, and that they should come back to our normal worship hours. The group refused to do this, and we informed them that we were going to change the locks on the building to prevent this second service, that all worship services will continue at normal hours, and we want them back with us.
The reason for the second worship service was not due to space in our building, as we have seating for upwards of 180-200 and our regular attendance was only 110-120. They have now claimed that we kicked them out and told them that they were not welcome at our church, which is totally untrue.
My question is: Did we do the right thing? Should we have continued to allow them to meet at a separate time from us? Our church does not have elders, so it was basically just the men of the congregation handling the situation. The group that separated from us did not have a preacher, the preacher stayed and worked the normal worship hours. Maybe we intervened too quickly? Iím worried that we might have handled the situation incorrectly. We want them to worship with us at normal worship hours, but they have refused, claiming that we kicked them out of the church by locking the doors. What is your advice?
You had a group that wanted to start a second church while making use of the congregation's building. They could not be considered the same congregation since they were not worshiping with the rest of the church. Worship is when "the whole church comes together in one place" (I Corinthians 14:23). If a collection is being taken, somehow I would suspect that it is not being added to the congregation's funds.
What was done was correct. The claims by the rebel group are meaningless. They left the church to worship separately. The only difference in what they did and going off to a new location to form a new church is their making use of the original church's facilities. I'm surprised they thought they could get away with it.
I am curious as to why they thought they could nor worship with the rest of the church, but that is really a side issue in this matter at this point.
No, nothing wrong was done.