A church leader I respect who has a thriving ministry says, “Pastors should have offices adorned with signs saying, ‘It’s About the Weekend, Stupid.’” I understand the heart of the sentiment: the Sunday service is a main attraction for a church; therefore, most of the staff’s time (75% according to the church leader) should be spent planning and implementing the Sunday service.
I believe in the Sunday service. It has tremendous potential to encourage, equip, and empower Jesus followers while providing an opportunity to introduce and engage those still considering the claims of Christ. Therefore, let’s take it seriously and do everything possible to ensure each person is seen, cared for, invited to take their next step of faith, and followed up in a timely manner.
However, do we ignore the rest of the week? Of course, not. But if we put so much emphasis on a weekend service, we run the risk of unintentionally developing three bad habits:
1) Ignore the other 166 ½ hours in the week
Assuming a person is on your church campus for ninety minutes for a church service, what are we communicating about the rest of the hours in the week? Certainly, pastors can encourage congregants to invite friends to church the following Sunday, but what if that friend has a question about the Bible, or a prayer request, or wants to hear about their friend’s faith?
Responding by saying, “I’m so glad you’re interested in Jesus. Come with me to church next Sunday,” is an answer, but it’s not the best response because it leads to the next bad habit.
2) Leave ministry to the professionals
There will always be moments you don’t feel qualified or have an answer to someone’s question. And if that’s not the case, perhaps you’re not having enough conversations outside your comfort circle.
Viewing pastors and other church leaders as the only ones who can act or respond is short-sighted and will limit what God wants to do in each church.
3) Grow Christians and not Disciples
This is the most common bad habit found in the US Church because it continues to adhere to the “bigger is better” mindset established decades ago during the church growth movement.
When our ministry goals are limited to creating opportunities for as many people as possible to begin a relationship with Jesus, it is the same as encouraging people to have babies but ignoring their nurture once they’re born. No healthy, caring parent would do that, nor should the church.
What’s the solution?
Create a disciplemaking culture at your church. Simple, right? Not a chance. Plus, that’s not the end goal. Stay tuned to learn more about our church’s journey towards that first goal and our pursuit of the following goal.
QUESTION (leave a comment below)
What has proven effective at your church for building a lasting impact in your community?