4.10.2011

Sunday?

I am unsure of myself...

Some of the things we do take so much effort. We don't mind the effort if something fruitful happens because of it.... but what about when there isn't much positive result?

This is a constant concern when it comes to some of the things we do as a church. Even more specifically, corporate worship gatherings. It just seems like it isn't all that important to people. ...is it?

It takes quite a lot of effort to make a Church service happen. Setting up, and tearing down; selecting music, practicing it, playing all of the various instruments, setting up the PowerPoint so others can sing along, running the sound board and the projector; preparing lessons for the kids, teaching the lessons, training people to teach; preparing a sermon and preaching it...

But what is the fruit of all of this effort? Dozens of hours of labor that involves at least a dozen people to pull off, and what is the result? Do other people value this? Is God honored? Are people committed to participate, or even show up?

Here is where I am unsure of myself. Is this question only arising because of my own self pity? ...my own sense of personal worth? ...my own ego? Is it just that I don't like preaching to a sparse house?

If this is true, then shame on me. ...but being as honest with myself as I can, I don't actually think those things are what causes me to ask these questions.

What I want to know is this: Is all of this effort producing the results that we all say we want? If not, why are we continuing to spend all of this time, energy, and money? If it is producing results, is it possible that we could produce the same results at the cost of significantly less resources? In short, why do we have a worship gathering if people don't value it? Why do we have a worship gathering if it isn't causing our church, and the neighborhood, to draw near to Jesus, His people, and His purposes?

4 comments:

Josh Hopping said...

Reading your post reminded me of the time I visited a local Greek Orthodox Church. Through out the service the priest was focused solely on glorying God - it did not matter to him that no one (or very few) people was there when he started...nor the fact that most of the people came in near the end of the service (right about communion time). All his energy and focus on on worshiping God.

Guess what I'm saying is that when asking the questions you are, you first have to answer the question of what are the results. Is it enough to spend time and energy hosting a worship service for God alone? Or are you wanting something more? Something from the people in the service perhaps...

If the results you are look forward is from the people...is that 'right' or 'good'?

Steve S. said...

'Is it enough to spend time and energy hosting a worship service for God alone?'

You betcha! But then, that doesn't need to be anywhere particular, or any time in particular, and it doesn't require music practice, or sermon prep, or bulletins, or PowerPoint, or childcare, or paying for heating bills, or buying toilet paper, or any of the literally thousands of other things that are required to have a corporate worship service where God is worshipped but lots of other things happen too!

So my question is, if it isn't producing transformation, why do it? I can worship God, and I can study, and I can engage in fellowship, and I can serve, and I can fast, and I can pray, and I can confess without all of that energy expenditure, so why do it?

It is, actually, a question I have been wrestling with for years...

Kyle Stevens said...

I am wrestling with you friend. This is probably one of the biggest questions we are asking since returning from overseas. Because of this isn't producing fruit, what is an alternative that produces the kind of fruit we are hoping for? We will keep wrestling and wait for God to give us direction.

steven hamilton said...

i've wrestled this one for years now, and have some trajectories that we will follow in Pittsburgh...but I'd love to sit down and have a meal (and a few pints) and wrestle with you over this one, my friend...