I made a whiney post the other day about a worship service the youth and I did. And Dr. C pointed out, as she always does, the root of the matter. So I went back and reread my post and it did seem really whiney, short-sighted and results-oriented. I’m definitely not a “results” man (at least in the popular church usage of the term), so I guess I should say some more.
I think about most things as existing on a continuum. On one end of the continuum is something completely irrational, and on the other end of the continuum is something else completely irrational. We usually live life somewhere in the middle and argue about where we draw the line.
I use that line of thinking when thinking about worship services. So, on one end of the continuum, you have a church holding worship services once a year. That would probably be a bad idea. On the other end of the spectrum, you have a church that meets every single day, seven days a week for worship services. That also probably wouldn’t be a good use of time. So, it looks like this:
once a year<———————————>every day
So where in the middle should we fall? Since the beginning, the church has gathered together on the day of the week Jesus was resurrected, so once a week works for me. Now, please note I am talking about worship services, not worship. Worship could be one of those “catch-all” phrases to describe the life of a follower of Jesus. The obedient life of a Christian is always worshipful.
Our church recently decided to offer a Sunday evening worship service in addition to our two Sunday morning worship services. We are a small church. One hundred and fifty people total attendance on a Sunday morning is pretty much a full house. Many times it is in the 125-ish range. Offering this extra service is not a practical necessity. One of the initial thoughts was to offer it in order to expand people’s ideas and imaginations about what it means to worship God.
So, the big question: Was God pleased with our worship? I’m not so sure. In many ways the youth service is a bit of a spectacle for friends and families of the youth group, like a school play or something. Additionally, we put in a lot of time and energy that could be spent elsewhere. Now, this time and energy might not necessarily be spent on a worship service, but it could easily be worshipful. And, as I said, it’s not as if we really need to offer this evening service in order to make sure there are people in our church who have the opportunity to worship corporately; that happens adequately on Sunday morning.
There must be balance in the lives of Christians and the church. You can’t literally pray on your knees every waking hour. You can’t be in a worship service every waking hour. You can’t work at a soup kitchen every waking hour. There must be balance between the various facets of a healthy Christian life. We can argue over where we should fall on the continuum, but the extremes are obviously not healthy.
So, that is sort of the nature of my whining the other day. It sounded a lot like I was just bummed people weren’t showing up. It’s not that. It’s the question of are we spending our time wisely as the people of God. And if we aren’t, then I would expect God would not be pleased. In fact, he could just be hearing a resounding gong.