I’ve personally been following Jesus for more than 30 years and in full-time ministry now for more than 20 years and there are still times that I get frustrated and wish the Bible gave us more answers than it really does. The New Testament is notorious for being way more descriptive than prescriptive in its approach. It describes much of what happened during the early stages of this new movement called the Church getting off the ground but it shares very little about how we should be doing Church today.
For instance, even the idea of having deacons was a pragmatic response that the Apostles had in Acts chapter 6 to meet the need of running a feeding program so they could focus on what they were supposed to focus on. And churches have been mimicking this practice ever since.
That being said, it’s really interesting to me that the modern church has fallen in love with a practice that the New Testament doesn’t actually prescribe anywhere, weekend worship services.
Now don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m a big proponent of churches providing meaningful, engaging and relevant weekend worship services. Not because that’s the mission of the church, but because it’s the most effective strategy in North America to expose people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In other words large weekend worship gatherings are a strategy, not the mission.
The Mission Is the Goal, Not the Strategy
When you love a strategy more then you love the mission you’ve got the right recipe for a declining church. When the strategy stops working it’s not time to give up on the mission, it’s time to employ a new strategy. The mission of the Church is not to get a bunch of people in a big room at one time for a great show. The mission of the church is to help people meet Jesus. Don’t get those two things confused.
Strategies Are Designed to Serve the Mission, Not the Other Way Around
Strategies are fine as long as they are effective in moving you towards the mission Jesus has already defined for His Church. The moment a strategy becomes a lid or a hindrance to accomplishing the mission, it’s time for it to go. If your weekend worship service is no longer effective, it’s time for it to change. And the easiest way to measure the effectiveness of the weekend worship service at your church is by measuring life-change. Are people meeting Jesus and are their lives changing as they get to know Him and follow Him?
Photo credit: Laura Wielo via unsplash.com
Read the Other Articles in the “Panic at the Church” Series:
- Panic at the Church: Dealing with Less Frequent Attendance Patterns
- How One Church Leans In to Less Frequent Attendance – Panic at the Church (Part 2)
- Church Attendance Decline? There’s a Problem with Your Product. – Panic at the Church (Part 3)
- Why You Might Not Want People In Church Every Sunday – Panic at the Church (Part 5)