I'm Sorry for De-Valuing Sundays
May 20, 2017 | by: Chris Francis | 1 Comments
Posted in: Our Vision
When I first got into church-planting back in 2009, there was a lot of talk, trainings, and workshops centered around how Sunday morning gatherings had been too overly-emphasized in past decades. I was taught and reminded of the other important vehicles for community and discipleshi
So when we started True Life, I talked about Sunday mornings sort of in the negative: “our church is not all about Sunday mornings….if you could pick one thing it should be life groups….my sermons can only be a catalyst for growth indirectly, but don’t directly change anyone…..”
Therefore, if someone is not around for a while, I have been timid to ask them where they’ve been, to challenge them to get back to Sundays. After all, they are just going to think, “Oh he’s just getting on me cause he’s the pastor….”
But God has used other people and circumstances to convict me of this. Of course, the other things we do -- mission endeavors, life groups, one-on-one relationships - are important. But so are Sunday mornings. We wouldn’t do them if they were not important. And I am a pastor because I believe in the local church, not the other way around. I didn’t go to career day at the University of Miami and decide it would be a good fit; no, I was changed by the local church and gradually ended up being a pasto
According to 3DM, a leading mission-focused organization, Scripture shows us that Jesus’ ministry happened in four different kinds of “spaces:”
- Intimate Space: 2-3 people who are very close, like a marriage or best friends (Luke 9:28)
- Personal Space: small groups of 6-12’sh people, like a life group ((Luke 6:13)
- Social Space: mid-sized groups of 20-50 people, like a houseful or an extended family (Luke 5:29)
- Public Space: large crowds of hundreds or thousands of people (Luke 8:4)
**For more on this concept you can click here.
Now the public space does not have to be a Sunday morning service, but we believe they are still a good expression of this, especially in our area of the country.
Here are a few benefits of Sunday mornings:
- Sunday mornings activate and push forward the other aspects of community & discipleship that happen during the week.
- Sunday mornings are a time to connect with new people in our community who we can later engage with in more depth.
- They are the only regular time for the entire church to gather together to worship God corporately.
- It's a chance for our entire church to hear about our vision and where we're going.
- The Holy Spirit can use the preaching of God’s word to make an impression on a soul that can change someone’s trajectory.
- It’s the only time that our kids get intentional and explicit teaching from the Bible together as a group.
- It’s a time for guests and strangers to connect with our community (the intimate space is often a little too...well, intimate).
- It’s a time to serve each other in various ways.
Now, it’s important to note that these aspects have a cumulative -- and often subtle -- effect on our growth. If you are one who expects a once-per-month “high” that will keep you going, you will be often disappointed (although it does happen, those who are more regular will experience them more often).
When I used to be a fitness trainer, the consistency was better than the duration. If someone worked out once per week for 3 hours, it had a much smaller effect than working out for 15 minutes 5 times per week. Likewise, 3-4 Sundays per month will have a greater impact on our souls than 1-2 times per month (the same goes for life groups and one-on-one relationships as well, by the way).
So here’s my encouragement -- if you don’t make Sunday mornings a priority, start doing so. They should not be elevated above the other importance spaces, but their value should not be diminished, either.
I apologize for giving the impression to the contrary.