warning: minor rant below. Would have been a major rant, but frankly, I'm tired.
I've been watching...
For about eight years, I've been watching churches who focus almost entirely on their Sunday morning service. In fact, I planted one..populated almost entirely by excellent people who loved God with all their heart. Too bad it went phhhht around the third year. Like the rest of you, I'd like to think I've learned a few things in eight years. Here's one thing I'm sure of:
If you make Sunday AM your focus, you're going to get the church you deserve.
Don't write me off here. I like quality. I like production. While we were planting and had sixty people, we were producing a Sunday experience that looked like we had a thousand or more. In retrospect, I owe all of those people an apology, because I wasted a whole ton of their time and effort. They might not look at it that way - they're pretty gracious about stuff - but I think it's true. I was learning at their expense.
If Sunday AM gets most of your money, your attention, and your energy, you will build a crowd that is addicted to your money, your attention and your energy...and when you enter into a season where any two of those three are on the down swing, prepare yourself for the Great Sucking Sound mentioned a few days ago...because there are people with more resources, better ideas, more energy and better looking than yourself who are waiting in the wings to plant the next great Church of What's Happening Now.
Unfortunately, most of the folks in this trap fail to see it because - at least for the time being - it's still working. How ironic that those who would think themselves on the bleeding edge of what's happening fail to perceive the change that is destined to come. Tell me what happens when the economy tanks, or some sort of cataclysmic event cancels your weekend celebration. Tell me what you've built...and tell me if it's standing.
Church. It's not just for Sunday mornings anymore.