Why I won’t be at church next Sunday
I've decided to become more involved with the local cycling club. Most of the blokes around here aren't much interested in church. Instead of waiting for them to change or thinking that church can be reformed to suddenly be attractive to them its much simpler if I go out to them. I want to mix with blokes in the real world. I can't lead evangelism in church if I'm not doing it myself.
There is a problem though. The only club rides here are on Sunday mornings. Saturdays get filled with kids sport so Sunday morning is the Dad's lycra & coffee slot.
So I'll need to skip early morning church from next Sunday. I can make it back for the family service (just - may be few minutes late) but the Seniors service will be starting at the same time as coffee.
That's ok - I'll get student ministers to cover that & come once a month (maybe when it's raining) to do the Lord's Supper.
To those who have problems with this I'd remind you of some important truths:
1. Following Jesus is a 24/7 thing not just something that happens on Sunday morning,
2. you are not a Christian just by coming to a church meeting,
3. we need to go to the world around and not wait for it to come to us,
4. other people will be able to step up and serve,and
5. we are committed to the ministry of all beleivers not some special and distinct priesthood. If its ok for others at church to be involved in Sunday Nippers or Golf or Rugby then why not me?
If you've got this far let me assure you my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek. Sunday sport decimates Sunday attendance on a scale matched only by the winter flu season.
Why does this matter? When you see a movie it doesn't matter if there is one other person in the cinema or 500 - you are just there to watch. Church shouldn't be like that - instead we meet together in relationships that matter. Often people think just of the 'vertical cost' of missing church - I won't get to meet with God. Less counted is the 'horizontal cost' - I won't get to meet with you. Ironically, sporting clubs understand this. We wouldn't dream of skipping the kids soccer for a week unless they were sick. We'd never put other things on at this time. We wouldn't want to let the team down. We've made a committment. We know it makes a difference if we're not there. Wouldn't it be great if we believed these same things about church?
Before this sounds too self righteous and legalistic let me say we also need to recognize that life is messy. You won't find a verse in the bible that says church must be on Sunday morning or that you mustn't be part of Sunday morning sport. Instead there is wisdom and freedom about how it is we will keep meeting together and encouraging one another in relationship. Some churches have recognised the culture they're in means meeting on Sunday morning makes no sense & have shifted service times- I'm thinking especially of those ministering among the nippers culture. If church is going to genuinely reach outsiders then you have to expect that there'll be lots of people who see the demands of church in direct competition with the demands of their club. When that happens, what do you teach them?
Feature photo: Team Traveller