This is a guest entry from Cyn--Thank you Cyn for your post!
Marybeth has graciously allowed me to post this over here as a stand along blog thingy instead of just putting this in the comment section. I saw this on the other blog but my answer was and is just WAY to long to post in a comment section so I didn't even bother trying. The commenter was making the comment that the numbers made the Duggars seem all high and mighty... I took it completely the opposite way and here is my response below.
Why do we care that the two families have logged 10,000 hours of church in 20 years?
I haven't seen the show so I didn't get to see the blurb. If those numbers are right (for the Duggars and the Bates) I am appalled, they are too LOW.
1 hr Sunday School + 1 hr Sunday Morning Service + 1 hr Sunday Night Service +1 hr Wed Night (mid week service) = 4 hours a week.
This is typical of your ‘core’ church goers. (more later).
4 hrs a week x 52 weeks a year = 208 hours a year.
208 hours a year x 2 families = 416 hours a year x 20 years = 8320 hours.
8,320 total hours for both families, TLC only says 10,000. Reality numbers should have had it closer to 24,000.
Each church has several kinds of members attending: Christmas and Easter only, Sunday morning service, Sunday school and Sunday Morning Service, Special speakers, ect ect.
‘Core’ church members are the ones that are there for most services, sometimes helping out as well, but unless on vacation, or sick they are in service when services are offered.
Then you have the 'backbone' people, the ones that are there every time the door is open; they usually have a key cause they are opening the church, and locking it after everyone is gone. Those people have closer to 20-30-40 hours a week in the church (higher in the summer lower in the winter but it averages out). These were the kinds of numbers I would expect for the Bates and the Duggars. Smaller churches are built around these types of families (350-2500 member churches). In most of your smaller churches, this takes more time than a second job would. I always assumed the Duggars and the Bates where somewhere in the middle of ‘core’ and ‘backbone’ leaning harder to ‘backbone’
The ‘backbone’ people are there from 6:30 AM (turning lights, heat, and air on) to 1pm (regular Sunday) and are back again by 3:30pm for 6pm dinner (someone is cooking, setting up the tables, doing the dishes,…) and not leaving till 8-9pm that night. Some are setting up the choir room, checking the sound systems, dusting, cleaning the nursery (you get the idea). Not everyone is there the entire time some come early others stay late. These were the people I was expecting in the Duggars and the Bates.
They portray being the "backbone" people in a church. It doesn't make them better or worse than anyone else just who they are.
Every church needs them it’s what makes the church run, and most do it so quietly, and efficiently you don’t even think about it.
I remember as a child spending entire Sundays at the church going home only long enough to change out of “Sunday Morning Best” into other clothes (taking them with me on picnic days) and going back by 2 for choir practice, Sunday dinner, Sunday services, visiting after and home again by 8:30 pm. That’s 8-10 hours. But that was also only me, my brothers rarely attended church because they simply didn’t want to they had other friends, nor was I forced to it was where MY friends were.
VBS was 1 week at our church but if you did it right you could go to all your friend’s VBS too. So K-6th grade we spent our summer nights in VBS for 2 out of the 3 months of summer. We also didn't care if you were Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, or what, you came listened to the story, made crafts, had snacks and played in the church yard (the more kids the better the games) for 2 hours a night (Our town’s churches spaced them out, on purpose as a way to keep the kids occupied in the summer time)
Maybe it’s small town and it’s not like that everywhere, maybe it’s just being in the Bible belt, I don’t know. All I know is those numbers looked WAY to low for me. The Bates live in the same general area I grew up in, I’ve grown up in the smaller to mid size churches (for that area). Their numbers alone should have been MUCH higher as they attend church outside their home, and maybe they didn’t count the Duggars hours in their home church…
I think someone just did rough and dirty math and was way off.... Which TLC is famous for anyway.