Wednesday, May 03, 2017


Church Myths: The Sunday assembly is not the most important hour of the week

I am not sure I have ever heard any church leader proclaim that Sunday morning worship assembly is the most important hour of the week.  In fact, they all deny it.  We all claim that the hours outside the building are much more important.

And I think our actions absolutely proclaim that Sunday morning worship is more important to the church than anything else.

What does every new congregation do as soon as they can?  Build a building.  And the main focus of that building is the sanctuary/auditorium.  A lot of money is invested in those worship centers.  And how often is yours used?

The first hire is a preacher.  And what is his main job function?  To preach -- maybe only once per week.  How is he evaluated?  By how many people are showing up on Sunday morning.  If the crowds are going down, better look for a better preacher.  If the crowds are growing, give him a raise.
Listen to us talk about the great things going on.  Building programs, satellite campuses, growing crowds.  We even think the great accomplishment in some churches is to do something different in the assembly.  Change worship (or be sure it stays the same).  I even hear churches talking about women's ministry and I realize in almost every case they are just talking about what happens in that one hour on Sunday and not actual ministry by women.

Most of us pick our churches based on what happens on Sundays.  Do we like the worship style?  Do we connect with the preaching?

Because the truth is that most of our leaders and members like it this way.

Preachers like it because if the worship time is not the main focus it might get very difficult to justify the paycheck.

Elders like it because that is something you can see and measure.  Real shepherding is hard and exhausting -- and does not happen in an assembly.

Members like it because it is easy.  Evangelism gets reduced to an invitation to come to church.  Bible study is handled by the guy we pay to talk for 20, 30, or 40 minutes.  And all you really need to do is show up, shut up, and pay up.

But it does not have to be that way.  Members can -- and some do -- live, serve, and make disciples outside of that one hour.  Preachers become evangelists.  Elders become shepherds.  Deacons serve people.

Maybe our assemblies could become a way for all of us to be inspired and motivated to go out and do real church in our communities and families.  

But all of that would require radical reordering of our lives and churches.

Let's just stick to buildings, and arguing about one hour worship and who can lead it.

Our actions really do speak louder than our words.

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