Watch Night Services


The new year is upon us and that means fundamentalist churches are gearing up for the annual ‘watch night’ service extravaganza. Out with the old…in with the equally old.

Watch Night services have served a multitude of purposes over the years. They have given fundamentalists an excuse not to go New Years parties with likker and rock-and-roll. Preacher boys get a chance to preach in front of folks who are so tired they don’t care whether the preaching is even intelligible. But most importantly, it’s historically the one night a year when the old reel-to-reel projector is pulled out of storage and MOVIES are played in the church.

Let not your heart be troubled, these are not evil Hellywood movies. They are granted special dispensation because they come from sacred places like Bob Jones.

How fundamentalists hearts have thrilled to films like Red Runs the River and Thief in the Night. No reveler in Times Square has ever come close to this kind of excitement on the eve of the New Year.

10 thoughts on “Watch Night Services”

  1. We showed Thief in the Night once on an old projector and sheet-for-screen in Grenada. I remember it was nighttime (probably a watchnight service or a revival), and we showed it outdoors. It was scary in the dark! I had nightmares for years afterwards.

  2. I saw all those movies…twice! You are so, so funny. I LOVE this blog! I’ve been showing other people it all the time, and everyone thinks you are hilarious! Keep up the great work, you’ve got fundies pegged!

  3. Thief in the Night scared the bejeebers out of me when I was a kid. I was already a Christian, but I prayed every night for at least a year that God would please not forget me when the Rapture occurred.

  4. Bill : For the record, Thief in the Night is not a Bob Jones production.

    Even more for the record, it was released by Billy Graham ministries, and BJ hates BG.

  5. Red Runs the River was the best! As a boy I wanted some good ol’ fashioned violence in my movies. But Sheffey won top honors for the scene where Sheffey stages “hell” for a drunk wife-beater. The guy who played the drunk attended my home church and was a city councilman to boot.


    I grew up terrified that i was going to be “left behind”. I remember several instances of calling my parents, them not answering and me rushing to see if they were gone.


    It is nice to have grown up and realized that none of that mental terrorism is actually scriptual.

  7. I remember watching a good number of BOJO films during watchnight services during my time as an IFBx. Sheffy was probably my favorite but also remember “Flame in the Wind” and some others I guess I have forgotten.

    The “Thief in the Night” trilogy was not BOJO. The only place I remember these movies played or mentioned was in IFB Churches who obviously disargeed with the evil “Drums” used in the sound track!!!

    But how about those watchnight services with marathon preaching (lots of bad preaching from all of the “Preeecher Boyz” in the Church) going on?

  8. Our SBC church in our mountain town in Colorado back in the late 70’s packed our lunches and went on to Park County High School to watch a running of Thief in the Night. That was fun at the time…in the ignorance of my youthfulness.

    Ah, the fond memories. Thanks Darrell! I’m looking forward to reading every cotton-picking single post you’ve ever done posted since the beginning of SFL. I’m feeling better already.


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