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I declare – No Church Sunday

empty church

Another idea I’ve been tossing around, is the idea of intentionally not gathering as a church on sunday.  Being the the church that scatters.  Really, we’re not even suppose to be going to church, we are the church.

We’ll be experimenting with physically not meeting up together and being the church on a Sunday morning in a month or so.  Here’s what I’m hoping for people…

Getting out of their Sunday routine

Knowing that they are intentionally being sent out as a community

Making time for those outside the faith – on a day we often exclude them

Being the church where there is no church.

Another silly, unreasonable idea?  Got better ones?

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • tony sheng November 7, 2007, 8:49 am

    I like this idea a lot. I think we have to impress upon some of our communities this idea of being intentionally sent out. In #2, yes, sent out on a Sunday, but also sent out as a mindset and lifestyle.
    Good stuff.

  • Sam. November 7, 2007, 3:12 pm

    Spot on in my book! We tend to hang out at Starbucks on Sunday mornings and just meet up with friends and use the time to build those relationships.

  • dt November 7, 2007, 5:45 pm

    I think the intent is right on, but the exercise may not turn out like you’d like. I think you’re attempting to challenge core level attenders, but you’re sending fringe, marginal and even non-believing attenders away. People come to church for any number of different reasons on any given Sunday. The woman who just lost her husband, or had an abortion or randomly shows up won’t be able to connect. Every Sunday may seem tedious, but it is crucial. We do not know on which Sunday God will choose to work, but coming with an expectant attitude is one of the seven characteristics of a model church. Sam (comment above) may argue that a conversation may be more of a ministry to those people, but that is questionable and hypothetical. I believe in scattering the salt, but not scattering the sheep. dt http://www.davetilma.com

  • Lon November 7, 2007, 8:59 pm

    thanks for the feedback guys.

    yes, part of the practical struggle was why cancel a sunday service rather than making time elsewhere in our schedules for people/mission.

    part of it was to really challenge our own routines/traditions and the other was to challenge those around us of what church really meant, and maybe even what might be more important to us.

    Dave – I really appreciate your insight. Maybe I do need to make an option or a space for those who are in need of healing and rest. thanks for challenging me on this. One of our advantages as a church plant right now is we’re a relatively small community so I think now’s the time we can pull this off, without disconnecting people. I’ll definitely be reporting back what we do and how things go!

  • dt November 8, 2007, 9:49 am

    Lon–Have you already planted? I guess I didn’t realize that. FYI–I’m on staff at Hill Country Bible Church in Austin, TX. Our goal is to plant 100 churches int he next 9 years. We’ll be at 17 in September! Praise God.

    So, I agree that in a church plant situation the rules are a little different, but I think the need for consistency still wins out. Consider more of a directed “field trip” time with a leader remaining at the typical meeting space to connect with late comers. Or have them leave the service with homework, or end early and assign “homework” for the next 30 minutes. I guess it all depends on how small your group is.

    Big picture–way to go! Pastors who think outside the boring box will always have a leg up in engaging people with the LORD. God’s peace for you as you see God work in your midst. dt http://www.davetilma.com

  • Barbara (Xerraire) November 8, 2007, 12:58 pm

    Recently, due to a health issue my niece [goes to church every Sunday] didn’t go to church. She in fact, was in the mall looking for something there to aid in her pain, I can’t remember exactly what, but she made an emergency trip to buy something for comfort.

    She couldn’t believe how crowded it was, how many people.

    First thing she told me was, “There’s a whole ministry out there!”

    Provocative words really. I thought about it.
    The lost souls are out THERE and not in the church BUILDING.

    I suppose there is a happy medium to witness to them without losing our regular fellowship, but it was interesting what she said.

  • Lon November 8, 2007, 8:37 pm

    Hey Dave, no I haven’t personally planted yet, though I’m helping lead a plant at the moment for my internship. It’s around 40 or so people. We’re definitely going to integrate some type of reflection exercise around it all as well. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Barbara – that’s a great story, there’s like a whole world out there we’re routinely disconnected from!

  • Shawn November 8, 2007, 9:15 pm

    Great idea Lon, one we practice regularly. One aspect that I find refreshing about doing this is family time. If we’re honest, our western church models are based on English ‘children-are-to-be-seen-not-heard’ eras and church for our 3 kids can be the most family disrupting thing I can think of.

    One thing I’m interested in hearing from Dave is why ‘the need for consistency still wins out’. We see in Isaiah that the Lord sometimes gets tired of our ritual consistency, as well as in Corinthians where Paul says that sometimes we gather and it’s for worse instead of better because we’re on auto-pilot, not discerning the Lord’s body. So I’m just wondering what you meant there.

    Good topic and discussion guys!

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