In a previous post about cancelling your church service, one person commented that there were six other days for serving the community, and we should leave the Sunday church service alone.
I understand this concern, but the sad reality is that Christians do not use those six other days to love and serve their community. And another sermon series is not going to change this. Church leaders need to proactively show their members how to serve and who to love in the community, not just preach and teach about it.
Could this be done on Tuesday night instead of Sunday morning? Sure. But as we all know from decades of experience, less than 10% of the church will show up for a Tuesday night community service project. So once again, to get people out of the pews and into the community, the best time to do this may be on Sunday morning. Doing so is not really cancelling the church service; it’s putting service back in the “church service.”
Let’s look at this from the spiritual perspective. I’m fairly convinced that Satan doesn’t care too much if Christians have faithful church attendance. The more services we have, and the longer they are, the more delighted he is. Of course, he is just as happy if Christians don t get together with other believers at all, and just sit at home watching television.
And if that is the way Satan feels, God feels just about the opposite.
Just as God did not call us out of the world so we could sit at home watching television, He also did not call us out of the world so we could sit in a pew at church watching a sermon. The one thing God wants is the one thing Satan doesn’t: followers of Jesus who actually follow Jesus into the world.
So the reason for cancelling church services is not to just give people a break from church. It is to get followers of Jesus off the warm, padded pews in church, and out onto the cold, hard, concrete of the world where the people are.
How? Well, there is no one right way to do this. We have the freedom to be as creative and flexible as we want.
Maybe a good way to begin this is to have a regularly scheduled Sunday service where a service event is planned and announced in advance. Churches are notorious for having special Sunday events to get people to come to church. We have special speakers, choirs, and concerts. We schedule “Friend Day” and “Back to Church Sunday.” I recently saw one church in my area inviting people to attend “Orphan Sunday.”
I’m not fond of such special Sundays, but maybe if we can avoid the gimmicks one or two Sundays a month could be planned where the church does not try to get people into the pews, but out of them. You could call it “Back to Work Sunday.” This might show people that the point of church is not to come to church, but for the church to go to the world.
If Christians are really concerned about orphans, rather than have a Sunday where we talk about orphans, we could have a Sunday where we go play with children in an actual orphanage, go participate in a fundraiser for adoptions, or host a family-fun day in the park for foster parents and their children.
If the leadership of a church was serious about reaching the people who don t come to church on Sunday, maybe a good strategy would be to find the places where these people already are on Sunday morning, and go join them rather than ask them to join us. Yes, you might end up tailgating at the football coliseum, fishing at the bass lake, or hiking mountain trails.
One church I am talking with, Mercer Island Covenant Church, cancelled their church service last March to either run or volunteer in the annual Rotary Club’s Half Marathon Run. They got a lot of positive feedback from the church members and the community, and met several community leaders in the process. They plan on doing the same thing again this year. That’s what I’m talking about!
I believe that if we genuinely participated in some of these things during the hours we were usually in church, more relationship building would take place in one month than often happens in an entire year of church services.
Do you know of any other churches that participate in community service or activities on Sunday morning? I would love to hear about them in the comment section below.