I have heard lots and lots of churches say that church is more than just Sunday morning. I have said it, others have said it, it’s been blogged, tweeted, facebooked, preached, and taught. We agree, church is more than just Sunday morning worship service, right? So why do we do everything on Sunday Morning during the worship service?
Let’s take Rick Warren’s five purposes, it’s a pretty established and a good place to start. If we say that we exist to fellowship, worship, evangelize, disciple and do ministry, we should be doing those things in every day life, together as the church. We should be witnessing together on Mondays, we should be praising God together on Thursday, we should be having fellowship on Friday, but instead we cram it all into Sunday.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Sunday mornings. I enjoy the time together in fellowship and worship, but so often we attempt to do everything at one time. We come together to worship, and we do preaching/teaching time, then we give and we have fellowship time, do the alter call for evangelism, and try to make sure we get everything done in one day. Why?
People act and behave in the way they are use to. We have been doing the Sunday morning thing for so long, that just becomes church day, and people will continue to do everything on Sunday until the culture changes. We have to change the culture.
Here is my thought. We have to plant churches with small groups, or in house church settings, some way to create a small cluster group that does things together. We need to give them scheduled opportunities to serve, minister, fellowship and evangelize. We need to move some of what we do to small groups during other times and focus on Worship on Sunday morning. Ditch the announcements, lose the alter call, focus on worship through song, and focus the sermon away from teaching to exaltation. I know this is radical, and many out there will immediately bristle. Why? First, because it’s change, and we know how many Baptists it takes to change a light bulb. YOU CAN’T CHANGE THAT LIGHT BULB, MY PAPPY DONATED THAT LIGHT BULB. Change is not easy.
I am sure there are many that will say “but we will miss people who won’t come to small group”. That may be true, but currently we are missing people who don’t come to church, miss Sunday School and would love to be in a small group.
There is no perfect solution, but we live in a Post-Christian era and people aren’t just walking into worship services anymore. How many non-believers have walked into your church of their own accord (not being invited by someone who did outreach) and become part of your church? Have people joined your church by letter, or Baptism? Have they been previously churched? You may be one of the churches that is baptizing people every Sunday morning (maybe you should try baptism in a small group), but if you are reaching mostly unchurched, you are not in the majority. Churches are in decline because our methods are outdated.
Maybe it’s time to begin to shift the culture as a whole and move away from the Sunday Morning Entertainment Spectacular where people are more spectators that participants. Perhaps the culture of the church needs to move people into an environment where it meets in many different venues, many times and does the work of the church. Maybe meeting daily, house to house, breaking bread and having favor with all people? It seemed to work in Acts 2:46 & 47.