We’ve been going through a series on Sunday evenings called, “We Are the Church.” In this series, it’s my aim to talk about what we’re doing as a church and why we’re doing it. Additionally, I want us to see where we’re going as a result.
There are many reasons I felt compelled to do this series, even though we have already spent several months going through the book of 1 Timothy and discussing some similar content. One of those reasons is that I don’t want us to get complacent.
Our church has been revitalizing for almost one full year. By that we mean we have been bringing in some new leaders, new members, new energy and even some new looks to the building. In one sense, we’re doing what our church has always done and in another sense, the church has started over. It’s a new season.
In this new season we have kept our services at the same time but have given them a new purpose. Maybe a better way to say it is we have given each service a single purpose. We derived the purposes of each service from a well-known yet simple verse about the early church:
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
I understand that Acts carries ideas that sometimes are more descriptive than prescriptive. I also understand that there is no chapter and verse on how to accomplish the things listed in Acts 2:42. It seems every church agrees on having a Sunday morning service but many, including two I have worked at before, accomplish the rest of the verse through means other than a service in a building such as community groups, classes, events and so forth. All great stuff.
For us at Griggs we accomplish these things through four opportunities held at our building throughout the week; Three are on Sunday, and one is on Wednesday.
10:00 – 11:00 – Sunday School
11:00 – 12:00 – Preaching service
6:00 – 7:00 pm – Testimony service
7:00 – 7:45 pm – Wednesday night prayer meeting
There are a few reasons for these service times. One is tradition. Like many churches, we have always done it this way. Another is mission. This model works well in our neighborhood and helps us reach the people we believe God would have us to reach. The side of town we are on is home to people in many different places in life. Meeting at the building is easy to get to, comfortable and serves as somewhat of a second home. In that second home, here’s what we’re doing:
Sunday School- Breaking of bread
We want everyone to have a family. Sunday school is a good chance for us to practice being family – talking, sharing, and laughing over something to eat, typically donuts and coffee. We meet in the dining room downstairs from 10:00 until service. We find a place to sit and talk or, if you want, just listen.
Sunday morning - Continuing in the apostles doctrine
We want everyone to encounter truth every week. The Sunday morning service is our chance to focus on Jesus, who is the truth, through singing and preaching. During this service we preach line by line through books of the Bible a few verses at a time.
Sunday evening - Fellowship
God filled the Bible with stories of people who walked with him. Since we’re walking with God, we have some stories of our own. Sunday night is a chance to see what Jesus is doing in his body through sharing our stories whether they're small, big, good or bad. That’s why on Sunday nights we give you a chance to say what’s on your heart. You can come and listen to these stories or share one of your own.
Wednesday evening - Prayers
We want to see the power of God. We see the power of God through prayer. Wednesday night is our chance to pray with and for each other. You won’t be asked to pray out loud if you’re uncomfortable with that, but if you wish, we will pray for your request. Usually, we take a moment to sit in the quiet and talk with Jesus silently as well as corporately.
So if you’re a part of our church, or become a part of our church, do we expect you to come four times a week? The best way to say it is that we welcome you to come four times a week. We understand that not everyone can come to everything, and we don’t want to put a legalistic pressure on you. What we mean by that is that we don’t want to imply that God (or us) will give you more or less favor based on what services you attend. Our favor with God is based in the blood of Christ and that alone. My advice as a pastor is simply this:
1. Pray for our services
Whether you can make it or not pray that God would work mightily in everything we do. I believe that revival isn’t something that just happens when you put an event on the schedule but can occur any time we gather for the sake of loving God and neighbor. Pray that we regularly see redemption taking place in our midst.
2. Prepare for our services
Come as ready as you can to engage with the church and Jesus. Come willing to have conversations, to share your life, to greet visitors and learn the Bible. The ride or walk to church is an excellent time to get your mind ready by listening to gospel-centered music and praying that God uses you during your time with us.
3. Plan for our services
Ask yourself how you can most strategically utilize our gatherings. Look at your schedule, think about the coming season and consider your options.
Maybe you can serve with children at one service and worship in another. Maybe you can attend one service regularly and the others you can make it to once a month. Maybe it’s that you always bring friends to one, and at another simply sit and worship by yourself. It could be that there is a season of the year where you commit to coming to a certain service regularly. For example, coming to Wednesday nights during the summers when the kids are out of school.
Our hope is that the people Jesus leads to our church will feel compelled to participate as much as they can in each of our services because each one has a specific goal that we believe is healthy for the souls of our church family. We are the church! And each time we get together we can remember what Jesus has done for us and what we're now called to do for each other.