A friend visited the
large, famous church on a typical Sunday. The worship band
performed with precision. The lighting and fog effects were state
of the art. The pastor presented a polished sermon amidst specially
Later in the week a pastor from this church shared their
ministry secrets in a seminar. He described the staff's
single-minded emphasis on excellence-for the Sunday worship
services. He shared their internal mantra: "It's about Sunday,
I get the point. For many churches, the Sunday service is the
initial introduction for the uninitiated. It's the main conduit for
new members. It's the only time most churches ever see the majority
of their people. It's the culmination of a week (or more) of staff
planning and rehearsing.
I get it. But I fear this laser focus on the Sunday service is
slowly anesthetizing the church and clouding its real mission. It's
no wonder that many people come to worship for an hour on Sunday
and then fail to live their faith once they leave the church
I'm afraid it's too easy for an It's-About-Sunday-Stupid (I-ASS
for short) church staff to begin to shade its mission toward merely
filling seats on Sunday morning. That's not the same as a clear
mission to bring individuals closer to Jesus, to transform their
lives, to provide relational support for the Body of Christ.
Instead, the I-ASS mentality can send the unfortunate, subtle
message that the ministry is really all about the show-and its
I pray the church is not about the show. I pray it's not about
Sunday. It's about God-working in and through people-Sunday through
We numb our people's sense of mission and ministry when we imply
it's all about what the staff performs on Sunday morning. The
weekly worship service is not the main event. It may be a
reflection and a celebration of the main event, which is God at
work every day in and through his people. On the job. At home. At
school. In the car. On the bus. At the store. On the field.
We need to expand our idea of church, of ministry. We need to
shift more energy and emphasis into other, broader ways to be
faithful to our calling-as the church.
Church is not an hour on Sunday. Faith is not a staged show.
Evangelism isn't the act of parking backsides in pews. Discipleship
isn't the process of dispensing oratory to passive spectators.
We don't "go to church." We are called
to be the church. Every day.