As I continue to consider the methodology of doing church in the Western world, I have come to realize that, for many ministers, the Sunday morning service is the goal. (or Sunday school attendance in the Southern Baptist churches) All the work that is done throughout the week is geared to bringing people to the building in order to present the message and hopefully an invitation to salvation in an altar call. I remember when I pastored in Florida, I suffered from that same mentality. Sunday attendance was the ultimate test of the success and health of the church.
What I am beginning to realize that Sunday attendance is not the end game but a small part of our measure of success. The real success of those of us who consider ourselves ministers is the impact we are having in the lives of real people on a personal level. Today, pastors hold their congregants at arms length and see their job as primarily filling a pulpit. Speaking for my self I remember that preaching was the main focus of my Florida ministry. I missed the big picture and the church failed.
I am embarking on a new exciting journey with God realizing that the end result is impacting people's lives by investing time in them and then getting the privilege of teaching them the Word. We,the believers in Chirst, are the church, not the building or a specific congregation. The church we see in the New Testament met together, ate together and worshiped together throughout the week, not making the "church service" the end all get all of it's existence.
We are not reinventing how we do church but rediscovering God's design for how church is done. Our commitment to serving and gathering was never meant to be a Sunday event, but a lifestyle of fellowship, sharing and worship each and every day. I notice as I embrace this concept, I am more open to sharing my faith in the workplace and not being "sensitive" to those who may not believe, in the sense of remaining quiet so as not to offend or be controversial, but instead having a new, truer sensitivity to the true needs of those around me, namely, salvation through Christ. Understanding this new concept has helped free me to fulfill the great commission in a new and exciting way.
As I write this, our family is attending a fellowship in South Knoxville, but as we continue to seek the Lord, we are praying for a worship leader that we might plant a congregation in North Knoxville and parlay our Thursday night Bible study into a Wednesday night worship gathering. An added benefit to this new adventure is the enthusiasm my family has shown in being involved in church again. God is truly good and we have been praying for this for a long time!