Most of us, in a regular and personal pattern, have the part of Church attendance confidently mastered. Our Butt in seat, smile on our face. It’s, for sure not wrong to have such a pattern. I personally think it has worked for the Church over the past 20 years or so. I think everything has phases. I’m curious to know what will happen to the Church, that has as their key strength, a focus on pretty much only Church attendance. Those who don’t attend Church look at that pattern and see Church people show up, talk to their friends, sing some songs and take notes as they learn from what they are sitting and watching. Repeat next Sunday. Those who don’t attend Church truly believe they do the same thing, just not on a Church campus or building. They show up to their local hang out, like a great coffee shop. They talk to their friends, listen and even sing some songs playing over the speaker system. They take notes as they surf the internet looking for information, current stories, and realistically get more information through 30 minutes of web surfing than they would listening to one speaker make at least 3 points. Repeat at least twice a week. They could argue that they are more productive in accomplishing more while at a coffee shop, doing the same things Church people do, when attending Church.
I’m not being cynical or rude, just wanting to converse on this subject. Don’t be offended. I think Church Services will continue in the phase they are in. The more we try to do Church differently, the more we realize Church is the same and has been the same. Church really hasn’t changed much…even from Jesus’ day around 2000 years ago. Church is Church. Always will be. It’s a good thing.
But…Some things…some very little tweaks…could make a big difference in the mentality of those outside the Church, watching us and wondering if its worth it, to even show up some Sunday and try it.
Church Attender…Showing up and taking notes isn’t your job. Its your practice. Its your good habit. Keep it up. While you do this weekly practice, please don’t forget your job. Your job, while completing your weekly practice, is to surprise and delight others that are around you, while you honor God, who lives in you. Your job is to raise the bar of personal encounter, open your circle of friends so that there is a space where you surprise and delight a stranger because you invited them to fill the space, yet never closing the circle. That job cycle must never end. Your job is to create encounters with people who have expectations of what their experience will be while attending a Church service. Your job is to shatter their low expectations with your love and verbal curiosity about who they are. Your job is to make your spiritual leaders so grateful that they have people like you teaming up with them to impact lives and work hard in Church. Do your job and the eyes of the Lord will lock in on you and you will be proven as faithful. That’s your job. That our job.
Just attending is overrated. Necessary, but not nearly what you ultimately desire.
I can’t wait for Sunday.