Sunday, September 19, 2010
Early Morning Rant
One of the few downsides to my job as an air traffic controller is the crazy schedule that I work. I did a swap with one of my co-workers that had me working the mid shift on Friday night/Saturday morning--not a big deal but I find myself wide awake at just past midnight. I slept from 8 to 12:30 earlier today, spent a few hours at Silver Dollar City with Chris this afternoon, took a little nap when we got home--now I'm awake. After laying awake for more than 45 minutes, I just decided to go with it and get up for a while.
Lately, I've been thinking about how we do church--not just at Hopedale, but Christian churches in general.
Back in 1995, Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Church. In it, he named five purposes of the church: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry and Mission (Evangelism). These were the five keys to successfully growing a church.
One of the things that I've noticed is that we try to accomplish all of these things--at the same time on Sunday morning. Sunday morning church has become a "one stop shopping" kind of venue so that we can satisfy all of the requirements in a few hours and check all of the boxes for the entire week with a single visit to the church of our choosing. The problem is that it doesn't really work that way. By taking the time that is set aside for worship and trying to roll everything else into it, we may do all of those things--we just don't do them well.
What should be all about worshiping our great God has turned into a time of fellowshipping with one another, teaching (discipling) from the Bible, evangelizing (that is our pastor's job, right?) and ... well, let's face it, ministry isn't really our strong suit. If we can't find a way to take care of it on Sunday morning, it just isn't going to happen.
Oh yeah...and worshipping. Don't forget that. It is why we do Sunday mornings, isn't it?
What would happen if the only thing we do when we get together on Sunday mornings is to worship our God? What would happen if the pastor never made an altar call or shared the plan of salvation from the pulpit and that became our job as followers of Jesus (evangelism)? What would happen if we really started meeting each others needs and the needs of the community around us (ministry)? What would happen to the church if the people of the church became committed to learning about the Savior that we claim to be following (discipleship)? What would happen if we became a true family of believers that met with each other and shared a meal once in a while--away from church (fellowship)?
What would happen if we came to church and didn't expect to receive one little thing? What would happen if the only thing that we wanted to do, on any given Sunday morning, is to worship--truly worship--our God?
Honestly, I have to say that our church attendance would drop off dramatically.
And since butts in the pews or cars in the parking lot equates to dollars in the offering, we don't want to do anything that will keep people away. We would rather have a church full of people that are happily checking off the religion box each week (and throwing a few dollars our way) as they travel the broad road to hell than to worship God and to follow the teachings of Jesus.
It's almost 1:30 in the morning now and I doubt that many will read this before going to church on this last Sunday of summer. If you are one of the few readers that read this before church this morning, I want to encourage you to set everything else aside and just worship God. Don't ask Him for a single thing. Give to Him. Paul writes that we should be living sacrifices. That we should live for Him. Paul says it's our reasonable act of worship.
Maybe you're reading this and you don't go to church. Maybe Sunday morning is past and you missed the opportunity...for this week.
Find a way to worship God. Find a fellowship of believers that you can learn from and work with. Be purposeful in your daily walk with God. Don't wait for next week. Begin by worshipping Him now.