Thursday, April 22, 2010

Duggars and Bates in Worship: 10,000 Hours in 20 yrs--That's All??

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.


  1. ROFL it looks even longer here than it did in the comments section.... I do rattle on and on don't I...

  2. I thought I saw somewhere that the Bates drive 40 minutes to attend on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. I'm sorry I can't remember where I saw that but that would fit with 3-4 hours a week.
    I guess you're basing this on church life in America - in the UK I attend an Anglican/Church of England church and Sunday school is what happens with the kids during the service. A typical family service is 1 1/2 hour, the early morning one would be 1 hour and the evening service (not always on) is 1 hour. And an average church has perhaps up to 150 members - we do things smaller.
    But do you then count in home groups, toddler groups, prayer meetings etc? I rarely make it to Sunday morning worship because of health issues but spend about 10 hours a week doing weekday church things.
    I would think that where the Duggars have a home church that would be rather more difficult to define. They have daily family devotion time and did Michelle say that about 100 people come to them for home church on a Sunday morning followed by a shared lunch.
    What do you think - how long would that be?
    This is something that i'd not thought about before and is good fun. I'm not sure that number of hours spent in church is important apart from for fun for this blog.

  3. i often find that different churches or religious groups often meet at different times for different lengths. the church i grew up in, our service was about 2 hours long. catholic mass is only 1 hr (maybe a little more if the priest goes into overtime with his homily). i heard recently that a lot of people are actually attending churches where its just one service for about an hour. the church may have multiple services but its usually the same sermon repeated throughout the day and so people don't go. i also agree that the number seemed a little low, but i also am curious as to what exactly was TLC counting? because they count the family unit as a single unit, and are only counting their home church then perhaps its about right. but when you include their personal family bible studies (which most Christians tend to not count as church time) then it would seem about right. a bit lower than i expected but about right.

    blessings to all!

  4. Jews spend a fair amount of time in temple...

    a good Orthodox and/or Chassidic man will go to prayers every morning before work and every evening (sorry women don't count for a minyan--10 men make up a minyan)

    Shabbos starts Friday evening with candle lighting prayers by the women and then services...the kiddush for the wine...the hamotzi for the bread....the meal...the prayers after the meal.....then saturday morning services....the mid-day meal...with the wine and bread again....prayers again....and of course during and after the meals there's always discussion over the week's Torah portion....then saturday at sundown is havdala--the end of Shabbos, prayers to welcome in the new week

    sunday is Hebrew school.. during the week there is Torah study...Wed is Hebrew school for the kids (again)...

    and you're also supposed to say the set prayers, if you don't go to temple to make the minyan morning, noon, and evening---women and children say them at home

    then of couse you have the holidays, the festivals, the beginning of the month....

  5. I do think it has a lot to do with the South and the Bible belt. When I was in Yankee Land (northern part of the States for those that call us all Yanks) they attended the same types of services, but they had people that came in and did the cleaning, and the setting up. That church was also bigger, and had more paid staff. Where as the story I'm about to tell you happens in churches with just the pastor, and good families.

    The smaller churches have Sunday School between 9-10, then services at 11-12 then off to Shoney's For lunch (Big Boy in the north and I have no idea what that would be in the west).

    But my point was the BATES and the DUGGARS portray being the backbone type group.

    Those are the people that are there setting up, dusting, cleaning.

    As an example I lived with a family one summer (me and my kids went to go visit theirs). Sunday morning Sunday school started at 9:00. We got to the church at 7:30, to turn the lights on, air on, dust, clean the nursery, check on the sound systems, ect. We would leave church around 12:30, locking the doors behind us.

    In the winter time they would get an earlier start to get the heat on. 7:30-12:30 is 5 hours, and they went back again in the afternoon around 5 for services at 6 to turn the air on, and get set up. They would leave of a night around 8:30. That's another 3.5 hours or a total of 8.5 hours on Sunday alone.

    MOST people do not do this, but your church can not survive with out these 'backbone' people.

    Those same people I was talking about before, also went on the weekday night (it was Thursday)starting around 4 in the afternoon for choir practice starting at 5 (again lights on, air on, light dusting, sound checks) Choir from 5-6, dinner 6-7, services 7-8, leave church 8:30-9:00. That's another 5 hours there. Still not covering any thing these people did at home or on other days at the church.

    I'm just disappointed with the numbers, being the HOME church, and being leaders of that home church The Duggars should have WAY more hours. The Bates should to regardless of the drive itself they should have hours like I described maybe not EVERY Sunday, but more than that stupid blurb kicked up on screen.

    AGAIN though I did not see it, so it could have just said hours in the PEW, would would make the numbers closer to the 10K mark.

    And as long as every one understands I do NOT think church attendance OR helping out at the church makes anyone better than anyone else. It's just what is.

    PS and just for the laugh it should bring, between the two families we LOOKED like the Bates or the Duggars, they had 5 and I had 5 and she was preg with #6.
    AND we spent the summer with 2 working toilets and ONE working shower... we survived and had a ball.

  6. Ok now I've seen the blurb.

    "The Duggar and Bates families have logged about 10,000 hours of church over the past 20 years"

    PLEASE just let it be TLC not being able to do math and not the Duggars and the Bates NOT going to church.

  7. I wasn't sure where else to leave this comment--here or the "Bates the New Duggars" ....but did anyone else notice that during the episode last season when the Duggars were visiting the Bates and went to their church....the Bates' church seemed empty? And it was Mother's Day? Do you think it was because people didn't want to be filmed or because people weren't there? I'm leaning towards people not wanting to be seen on camera....since there was apparently a huge potluck (or potfaith as Jim Bob calls them) afterwards that they all went to with what I assume was the church....that also didn't show any church members, just the 3 families working on house plans....any thoughts?

  8. You have to sign agreements to be on TLC's shows.

    I'm betting it was early morning shots, and then they just concentrated on the ones that had signed the papers.

  9. It was Mothers Day so many could have been out of town that day/ weekend of filming.The Im leaning toward Mary anne's guess about members not wanting to be filmed. Between the Bates and Duggars inlcuding, Grandma, Amy, Josh, Anna, and Kenzie thats a total of 40 plus people which is almost as many as the small church I went to growing up

    Concerning the 10000 hours our typicla service was around 2 hours on Sunday then one hour Sunday night, one hour on Wednesday 4 times 52=208 The Duggars and Bates have been married over 20 years The 10000 doesnt quiet fit unless you add travel time

  10. Having now seen the episode and thought about things I really think that tlc just came up with a ball park figure, based on pew time. They have been known to get these numbers wrong before (sq footage of the Bates' house before extension).
    I don't know whether tlc or congragation chose to be out of shot (make a mental note to go and watch that one again) - or possibly the church put restrictions regarding times they could film, on tlc.

  11. I would come at this from a slightly different perspective. I would think that they are only counting time spent in Sunday morning services. You could also count Sunday evening and midweek prayer meeting times but with the Bates so far out of town and the Duggars doing their home church this probably doesn't happen. I wouldn't count time spent cleaning and setting up as church time. I do the Video part of our Audio-video portion of each weeks services and I certainly don't count the eight or so hours a week I spend on that as church time. My daughter cleans the church to help with her kids church school tuition but I wouldn't think she counts that as church time. The heat and air are set to come on automatically and their is a rotation of Deacons in our small church (200 members) so the burden only falls on my husband about once a month and then it isn't too time consuming. Of course TLC is probably not even aware of their being anything but Sunday morning services so that is probably where their "bad" math was coming from. Millie

  12. Does anyone else get really annoyed with TLC's math 'facts' and spelling mistakes!? ARGH!

  13. I get annoyed that they don't stay on the screen long enough to read--but now that I know that they are usually wrong, I won't sweat it anymore!

  14. I think It's weird... that they rarely show them going to church etc. except when they were in little rock,and they went to friendly chappell. which was different from what they ever experienced before.. they normally listen to classical music and hymns right... well to me the music there was praise in worship (my fav style)