70 thoughts on “Watch Night Services (A Video Summary)”

  1. Whoever shot/edited this video was obviously suffering from a lack of sleep. The music pastor must have a lot of pull in this church. The music sounds great (at least technically) while the speaking/preaching is muddled.
    I remember plenty of New Year’s Eve services like this, except we usually watched “A Thief in the Night” or “Sheffey” or something. New Year’s Eve is the one night of the year it is OK to watch movies in church.
    “This is your last chance to catch up on your tithes for the year.” Wow. The pastor isn’t joking.
    There is nothing like a string of novices trying to outyell each other to end the year on a good note.

  2. Sometimes watchnight services can be really fun! I remember at my old church, we had food, singing, testimonies, and usually a movie (Fundy-approved, of course, but it was neat turning the church into a theatre!). The most fun we ever had at church was during these services lol.

  3. Whoever shot/edited this video was obviously suffering from a lack of sleep.

    I didn’t shoot it but I am guilty of doing the the very quick and dirty editing to highlight the “good bits.”

    If you would like to sift through the 3 1/2 hour original to put together a better compilation, feel free 😀

  4. Watch-might services–giving every grandma and momma called “preacher boy” his 5 minutes of glory. At least that’s how they were at the churches I grew up in.

  5. I confess I listened to the whole thing. I made my sons leave the room to preserve their innocence.
    The crackhead who equated Gods words and standards with his was especially blasphemous, but the one who really pissed me off was the last, who was “so disappointed” with the young man, “Eric” for actually getting a job. What a dillweed. The worst part is that he used his name. I can only hope it opened Eric’s eyes and he got his family out of there!

  6. Following the recommendation of Steve Brown I will now confess my sins about watchnight services. I admit that I was once the preacher boy spouting who-knows-what trying to outdo the other two Ambassador guys from my church – BJU’s honor was on the line! – and I believe I did use a real name once. A wiser older woman in the church came up to me and convinced me for about 30 seconds that the guy was her nephew, just to make sure that I never did it again.

    My church at the time finally graduated from an all-night vigil to deacons hosting other families in the church for…coffee, pound cake, and the occasional game of Uno. Thankfully, though my dad was a deacon, we lived too far out from the church (and in the middle of the third-largest city in the state, to boot) to have people over. I can’t remember more boring NYEs.

  7. I attended one of these about a year and a half ago. I preached. But what was sad to see was the young kids afterwards gathering in a circle discussing their preaching.

  8. Our church wasn’t cool enough to have a watch night service when I was younger, so we went to a church across town a couple times. Later, a family in our church started hosting get-togethers involving lots of food and lots of adults talking while the kids tried to amuse themselves.

  9. Our watch night services always involved a BJU movie–that’s how long it has been since i have been to a watch night service! So much easier just to be in bed by ten in order to get to the great sales on new Year’s Day. After all, the “New Year” point of demarcation is our invention, not God’s clock, unless it happens to fall on a new moon.

  10. I’ve never been a real reveler since I became a Christian. When I joined the IFB church in Australia, I spent one NYE playing board games at the pastors house with a few other guys and girls. It was actually quite a good night, although that Pastor in Aus was too cool (and also like a father to me, so most of the stuff I say about IFB’s does not apply to this guy in Australia – just in case anyone reading recognises me or knows him) . I think he only enforced some standards because of his fellowship with other IFB’s.

  11. This couldn’t have actually been a true IFB church. If you watch carefully, the couple performing a duet were using handheld wireless microphones. A true IFB knows that holding a microphone in one’s hand instead of using a stand is the gateway to allowing Satan to bring in pre-recorded accompaniment tracks and possibly even a guitar into the church.

  12. I can’t watch anymore. After a full minute of this nonsense, and the comical video cutting, I just can’t take anymore. I’m having too many flashbacks. Those memories need to remain repressed. I remember one year it was held at my granddad’s house, who was the preacher at the time, I was about age 11 or so. Not only was it during the Y2K scare, but after a few videos on the tribulation and rapture, and then some deacons speculating about aliens and government conspiracies, I don’t think my mind has ever recovered from that and the 15+ years spent in that church. Particularly when it became downright cultish after my granddad left; at least he had some sense of the true Gospel.

  13. Some years my church would have open gym/fellowship night some years they didn’t. Never had to endure one of these miserable preach-a-thons. I can’t imagine how bad that must be. Just these clips are horrific enough. The dude that went “and listen here” and clapped twice to make sure everyone was paying attention. I know that’s a pretty standard thing to do in fundyland, but I’ve long since learned if you have to 1) tell people to listen, and clap to make sure they are listening, whatever it is you are saying isn’t as important as you think. If it’s that great of a point it’ll stand on it’s own, dufus.

  14. @Darren. My ex IFB church was about the same or worse on the “catch-up offerings”. Catch up on tithes and missions of course! Trust me. I don’t think they ever joke.

    First off, why do they always say it will be a “treat”?? I’ve always found that peculiar. More like pure hell if anything.
    And wait. It’s rebellion to not be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there when the pastor tells you to be there?? It’s really sad to see all of those men give fully in to a dictatorial “pastor.”
    And ah yes. Nice analogy of comparing the “preacher” to Abraham.
    Although I must say that the little girl singing Amazing Grace was quite the comic relief in all of this!

    After somehow bearing through all of that, I’m glad that my old IFB church never did these.

  15. Ladies and gents, I give you: Trinity Baptist Church in Arlington, TX. http://www.tbctexas.org/

    (I don’t normally just out churches like this but I was convinced this was a church I’d been to in Winston-Salem, NC. Guess it isn’t. Maybe there’s some guy running around that has only one floor plan for an auditorium.)

  16. @Nathan: You must have a pretty short memory (that or you’re really good at suppressing memories), because they definitely did services like this, if not nearly as long. Left Behind also made its appearance a year or two in there.

    @ mounty: This will kill whatever anonymity I have left on this site, but Trinity Baptist is quite active in their “outreach” efforts in the Arlington area. I know; I’ve been “blessed” to have them in my neighborhood on numerous occasions. Maybe next time I can scan/photograph the stuff they leave on my door when I refuse to answer. 🙂 Seriously – who the heck goes knocking on random doors at NIGHT and expects people to actually open the door for them?!?!? I’ve also heard a number of stories about their basement Bible “college” from someone I know who went there.

  17. I suppose I got lucky. NYE was an excuse for us to break out the junk snack foods and play video games and board games. (The Risk table got pretty hardcore.) Then at midnight we’d ring the bell and the pastor would pray and we’d all go home.

  18. Wow! This was truly “a joy and a privilege!” I could sing along with almost all the songs!

    Other than that, quite sad and depressing and predictable.

    Darrell, I don’t know if you’ve done something on preachers’ pet phrases yet, but “a joy and a privilege” has got to be one of the top ten!

  19. @Fred: I’m right there with you.

    I grew up in the 60’s, so my Watch Night memories include viewing Moody Science movies (especially the one about bees), taking communion exactly at midnight, then hearing my dad pray we wouldn’t be hit by a drunk driver on the way home.

    Good times…

  20. Wow – ours were never that long – I’d go stir crazy.

    Lot of OT prophet books being preached – I love the “let’s use a curse put on a totally different people or the Children of Israel, twist it out of context, and apply it to us today” trick.

  21. NYE was an excuse for us to break out the junk snack foods and play video games and board games.

    That was most of them for me too.

    Although I have a very vivid memory of being home from college right before Y2K and sneaking around without my parents knowing to rig up a makeshift antenna to the “Used for A Beka Video Only” TV we had in the house so I could watch the ball drop.

    I was mostly curious to see if the lights were going to go out and the end of the world would happen as so many fundies had predicted.

  22. Come to think of it the church I grew up in had phones on the platform and the pastor/staff members who sat up there *did* frequently talk on it during the service.

  23. Midway through the video, the featured screecher tells us to “get on the wheel”.

    Does a hamster immediately come to your mind here?

    That is what Fundamentalism, along with other works-based religions, is!

  24. We had WatchNight services growing up, but they were usually pretty good. We had a potluck, of course, because we are baptists and that’s what baptists do. But we also had an auction one time, bidding fake dollars for real items that people from church wanted to get rid of. We also tended to have a lot of skits, and most of them were pretty funny. Then we always had communion at exactly midnight, and that was all pretty good. My church now tries to do a good NYE service, but they fail miserably in the whole “have fun” portion. 🙁

  25. To parody an old beer commercial…”It doesn’t get any better than this.” Come to think, it probably doesn’t get much worse either…

  26. A wireless attatched to your lapel – OK. A microphone that you must hold in your hand – an absolutely no-no, a sure sign that you’re a compromising worldly liberal. An elderly lady chewed our my husband (the youth pastor/choir director) in front of the whole choir because he’d asked a soloist to hold a mic during one verse of a song.

  27. Ah… classic…

    interesting fact about two of those “preachers” pictured in the video… they are no longer fundies. One guy is one of the Pastors at a Gospel driven, Jesus centered, theologically strong church and the other is a covenant member in the same church.

    Thank God for his grace!!

  28. My old fundie church did their “Watch Night” services in the basement / fellowship hall, where we all gathered to eat, play games, watch a scary movie (BJU or Left Behind style), and then stop to “pray in the New Year” starting at 11:45 PM. It really wasn’t too bad compared to what some of you have had to experience. My current non-fundie Baptist church doesn’t do anything on New Year’s Eve, but I wouldn’t attend anyway, since I meet up with some of my Christian friends from the small group study in which I participated in college. We just eat dinner, have fun, and watch the ball drop (with champagne) … [note to self: remember to never reveal my identity on here]

    Oh, and my current church also has a telephone jack on the platform, but the phone was removed several years ago.

  29. “What is this continual mention of wireless microphone all about? Those things cannot be that big a deal.”

    I guess because of Ephesians 2:2.

    (Wresting scripture is a staple in fundyism).

  30. The microphone thing depends heavily on which “camp” your church is in.

    PCC affiliated churches tend not to care.

    I’ve been to some others that practically made it the 11th commandment.

    Like so many other things in fundyland it’s not monolithic.

  31. Just the title of this video presentation gave me flashbacks. No way was I listening to any of it. NYE service is the thing I am happiest about leaving behind in fundie land.

  32. Ah…..New Years Eve in a fundy church. My favorite memory was during the Y2K scare. Our prankster assistant pastor flipped the main breaker for the building right at midnight. The pastor was not amused.

    I attended and even participated in these preacher boy marathons. After a few years it occured to me that NYE services were a waste.

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