Monday, October 8, 2007

Every Time the Doors are Open

I don't know who else grew up with this expectation, The one that says you should be at church, "every time the doors are open". But it is still true in my life. If you were to ask what I would do different, I would bury this expectation.
Under the good intention of doing "outreach" stronger and further then we ever have before, the church I am staff at (less than 500 average Sunday morning attendance) has an activity calender that I think rivals Willowback and Saddlecreek. We have weekly men's meetings during Monday night football, monthly prayer breakfast on Saturdays. Volleyball league on Tuesday and Softball on Thursdays. Small groups for everyone Sunday nights, student groups on Tuesday afternoon, and ladies group on Thursday mornings. This doesn't include multiple weekend services and an all family night mid-week complete with kids club and youth ministry. We offer services in three languages and have a monthly outreach service for young people. We also strive to do monthly outings for each fellowship group and service projects like Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree, Food for the Needy at Thanksgiving, Adopt a garden and on and on and on.
I know there was a time when all of these would be like merit badges on the chest of an over zealous scout, or even round patches going up and down the sleeves of the church's letterman jacket. Points if you will, that made us better or not as good as the church around the corner. I don't mean to suggest we've become a total consumeristic christian culture (ok, maybe I do), I just mean to ask, is all this neccesary? It seems like to me that maybe the folks in our church would have more time to do "outreach" further and stronger if they weren't spending so much time at church!
Beyond outreach, I often wonder if the solutions to some people's money problems, marriage problems, or personal problems, would be found in attending church less. This is backwards to the church culture I grew up in, but I guess it's safe to wonder. What do you think? How often do you "go" to church.

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