I have previously suggested that one of the best things a pastor could do for their church is cancel all church services. The reason would not be to shut the church down, but liberate the church to actually be the church in the community. People are so busy attending church, they don’t have time to be the church. So cancelling the services would free up their time.
But it is easy to predict what would happen if your church did this. Most of the members would go down the street to another church. And then the pastor would get fired by the few who remained.
So before canceling everything all at once, some small steps toward freedom might be necessary. For example, a church could cancel one Sunday service per month. And initially, to really surrender control and give the people freedom, nothing should be scheduled to replace the canceled service. On these Sundays, the people are simply given permission to not attend church. The pastor could tell the people that they are being given the Sunday off. They can sleep in, go golfing, or have an enjoyable morning with their family.
When that Sunday comes, the church doors should remain locked and a sign can be posted which says, “Church service cancelled today. Enjoy your day and see you next week!” Later, if the leaders feel they must plan something for the people do, they must first ask themselves if they are having control issues.
Then, once they are assured they are not, they should take a deep breath, and schedule something unchurchy. Tell the people that there are no requirements, but if they want to join you at the beach next Sunday, they are welcome. Or fishing on the lake. Or watching football. Or whatever. Just don t do anything with the Bible, singing, sermons, and prayer. Whatever you do, don t take attendance or an offering.
Cancelling a church service, of course, is done with purpose. It is to show the people that attending church is not what church is really about. Cancelling a service or two per month provides the church the opportunity to put the service back in church service. I’ll post about this later.
What do you think? Is this doable? What would happen if your church tried something like this?