Thursday, February 22, 2007

question:


How do we teach our people that it is NOT all about Sunday mornings, when we spend all of our time, energy and money on Sunday mornings?

The question pops up in my mind from time to time. Often, the answer comes quickly. At other times, however, no answer seems sufficient. And in those moments, the search for an answer carries with it the feeling that all I am really doing is compounding the sin of wasting the church's resources with the sin of sheepishly attempting to justify it.

How do we teach our people that it is NOT all about Sunday mornings, when we spend all of our time, energy and money on Sunday mornings?

Any thoughts?

6 comments:

The Anonymous Human said...

Good question. I think for me, the answer has partly been to make sure I treat everything I do as church. When we go out to the casinos and bars, when you start to think of that as an opportunity for church, I think it changed my mindset. To remind me that, one, I represent Christ...even if I am the only one there representing Christ. And two, everything we do can glorify God. I've heard that Spurgeon said he could smoke a cigar to the glory of Christ. I like that. Not that you have to break out in song and prayer on the hour, every hour, but it also shouldn't stop at the church door. When people come to my house on Thursdays, whether we have bible study or not, I still consider it a house church. And I think others do too.

Dustin said...

I don't think you can teach people that point IF you are pouring all your time and effort into a Sunday service. At the root, i just don't believe it's possible. This has what has led me to stop believing Ed Young Jr's crap about "It's the Weekend Stupid". I think his philosophy is stupid. Church is MUCH more than about the weekend. That is also why I will not have a "big production" for a Sunday service with multi-thousand dollar lights and equipment. I believe that's one of the mistakes we made at Mosaic. We bought 150,000 dollars worth of equipment when we could have had just as healthy a church with 5,000 dollars in equipment. The fact we spent so much on this "show" was a message to the people and not a good message. All the money we spend on technology and paying someone for 40 hours to cut a video is a waste of money that could be going to something that helps people in the community or missionaries in other places. I've started realizing a few years ago how much money we (the church) waste on such trivial crap. So anyway, that's my long answer for it!

greg said...

Good questions and thoughts.

Dustin, while I totally get where you're coming from, I have to disagree and take exception.

Let me preface this by saying that I am on staff at a church as a tech director so yeah, I'm the guy who gets paid to spend 40 hours on a video (Although I've never spent that long...)

Church is of course about more than the weekend, but that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the weekly gathering and doing it up big. There's nothing wrong with spending $150000 on equipment as long as it's just a tool and doesn't become the focus. I'd probably have to hear your description of a "big production"... if you're talking about fog machines and lasers then yeah, I'm right there with you... but if you're talking about nice stage lighting, excellent sound (which can be very expensive), and video production then I just don't see a problem with that.

When you say "all the money we spend paying someone to make a video should be going to something that helps people in the community or missionaries" it makes me wonder if you're willing to slide on down the slippery slope... why have a building? Give it to a missionary (so they can have a building). Who needs a sound system? A Dude downtown needs a sandwich.

I don't think the two are mutually exclusive and there are a lot of examples in the old testament of God asking for his house to be built extravagantly, employing the best craftmanship and artistry. I think in our culture with the language of media that is spoken today, you can make a pretty strong case that God can be honored by having an excellent multi-media setup. There are a lot of great churches doing these things with excellence whose members are out meeting the needs of their community.

Of course this can go too far... of course places do it for the wrong reasons... of course there are churches who spend money on this that they really don't have and end up not spending enough money on other more important things... but I felt the need to defend that a bit. Sorry to get on a rant there.

Bill,

I think your question sounds like the kind of a question that people in full time minsitry ask and worry about all the time but that 99% of people wouldn't give a second thought to. I could be way off about that, but I just don't think people are struggling with this. I could be wrong and I don't mean to say it isn't a good question... I've asked myself that same question many times, but my answer is usually that it's a catch 22 that most people don't really care about. I've certainly never been asked that by a person attending a worship service and don't expect that I ever will be. And really when it comes down to it, any basic knowledge of Christianity would tell someone that it's not all about Sunday morning. I know people often live like it is, but it's not because they don't know any better... I think they just decide it would be too costly to live for Jesus all the time so they don't.

It's late and I'm almost sure I'm not making any sense and probably just pissing everyone off so I'm going to sleep. No offense anyone.. just talking it up.

- Greg

The Anonymous Human said...

Greg,

I appreciate where you are coming from. I do agree with some of what you say and some of what Dustin has said. I disagree with some of what you say and some of what Dustin has said. I'll try to explain in a way that doesn't just jumble everything up.

Hmmm...where to begin...probably with where I agree. I think that you are right when you say 99% of people probably don't think about it but I disagree with the reasoning. I think if you asked churchgoers (I'm not even talking about the attenders, I'm talking about the members) what church is and I think 99% of them will say it's what happens on Sunday morning. And I think it is because that's what we pour all of our energy into. Of your work week, how much work do you (or to make it fair, your entire staff) do in the week that doesn't have to do with Sunday mornings? I would imagine the bulk of that would be your small groups guy. But at a church like Bill's I'd say probably 90-95% of what they do goes toward Sunday mornings. (bill, feel free to correct me there...) I remember when I was in "full time" ministry and when my pastor would talk about giving, he'd say, "your checkbook will tell you where your heart is." I think the same could be said about the church as a whole, both with our checkbooks and our time. It seems there is a tipping point somewhere. I agree money (and time) need to be spent on a service. The worship needs to be excellent (as an offering to Christ) and able to be heard. The speaker needs to be seen and heard. Lyrics need to be posted in some form. If a video clip or some sort of video media enhances the service, it certainly isn't wrong to do it and do it well. But I think we could all agree that we've seen excess. I've lived excess. And I think that is wrong. And I do think in most cases it doesn't live in mutual agreement with community involvement. As for cases in the Old Testament of excess...well yeah, it's where the God of creation lived back then. But not now. So I don't think it's necessary. And I do think it's possible to exist without a building. Saddleback did it until they were a giant church. (I'm not arguing for or against a building, I'm simply stating it can be done and done well for the purpose of saving money).

Now, I do think it is a catch 22. If you spend your money on advertising the you won't be able to build that community center, but if no one knows you exist, you probably won't be able to build it anyway. I think maybe that's why were called the body of Christ. Maybe we're not all supposed to do it the same. Maybe one is supposed to have a "big production" and one isn't. I don't know. I know I stuggled with this (and still do).

What's funny about all this is the meaning of the word "church" this word actually isn't found the bible. I know, I know ecclesia and all that. But we get the word "church" from the german word "Kirche". This is derived from a greek word "Kyriake" which means "what belongs to the Lord". The interesting thing about this is that the word first started being used to describe the buildings the "ecclesia" met in. So really, the use of the word "church" actually does mean the house of worship, not so much the people of God. Just thought I would add that for fun.

There's a test on tuesday, so study hard!

bill said...

Wow guys. Thanks. These are some long comments. I'm not sure anyone will ever get all the way down to this...but I'll write it anyhoo.

I think ultimately, I agree with everything you all said. And that is my problem. I go back and forth. There is probably no right or wrong answer. The root of the issue is not money or time...but the focus of our heart.

I don't know. Maybe there is no easy or pat answer that universally applies to every body of believers. Ideally, that would be nice...but realistically...because of geographic location, social and financial status, etc...it comes down to conviction.

And maybe our job, as the leaders of these congregations, is to ask these questions, wrestle with the answers, and seek God's heart on the matter.

The Anonymous Human said...

Bill,

Actually, I think there is a right answer. It's mine. I'm right. Always.

Jake