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Are Sunday Mornings Inconvenient?

By July 7, 2008August 7th, 2019Church, God, Jesus, Missions

My mind started racing Sunday afternoon. I tried to take a nap, but I couldn’t get these thoughts out of my head.  I woke up with the same thoughts again this morning.  I’m trying to figure out how best to reach people in today’s culture.  These thoughts began with a game my family plays each Sunday after church.  Perhaps your family plays the game. It’s called “Name The Missing” and the object of the game is to list as many people as you can who you didn’t see at church that day.  I hate the game personally, but I seem to fall into it and actually win quite often.  If you can name the person and where they were you get extra points.  The most common response lately has revolved around dance competitions or sporting events.  I’m wondering now if there is a better game we should be playing. 

We are living in a culture where Sunday morning is not necessarily reserved for church. It used to be and we could wish it still were, but it’s not.  For years I have tried to figure out how to stop this cultural shift, but I’m beginning to wonder if that is the correct response.   I wonder if we should be considering how we interact with the present culture.  How do we reach people who no longer have the mindset that to find God they must free up their Sunday morning? 

Jesus said, in Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”  Does that command include the dance competitions and the baseball diamond, even if those places are occupied on Sunday morning?  What about the restaurant I passed on the way to church this morning?  Does the absence of a person from my organized time of service mean they have no interest in God or no desire for Him in their life? I’m not sure it does.  I’m wondering if we as the “church” need to rethink our strategy to include those absentees in our outreach. 

I’m not suggesting Tuesday night visitation.  I don’t want unannounced visitors at my house and I’m a paid professional.  I am, however, talking about finding ways to reach people within the schedule the culture is setting for them.  That could mean alternative scheduling of our services or it could mean alternative type of “services”.  I think it definitely means taking the message of God’s love and grace, which is only available through the person of Jesus Christ, (I added the Jesus qualifier just so someone doesn’t think I’m talking about a new “religion”) to them in a ways that intersect with where and how they have currently chosen to live their life, even if that is just through personal relationships.   I guess I’m also wondering if thinking through ways to accomplish this should be occupying my thoughts as much or close to as much as thoughts about how to improve Sunday mornings at my church. 

I don’t have all the answers. I’m just thinking.  I welcome your ideas. 

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Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • karyn says:

    I will keep that in mind as I tend to get hung up on words and details of a story. Which is why my husband has trouble letting me “proofread” his work. (I can relate to your wife here.) I am way too analytical. Thanks!

  • Ron says:

    Good call Karyn. No argument there at all. You are right. God has made Himself known in many ways, even outside of Sunday mornings. Romans 1 makes this clear. Worship is the right word. Thanks for the clarification. We are on the same page.

    One word of caution in reading my blog. I’m not a word-smith most of the time and go more for the overall big picture intent of the post and not the close individual detail. My wife has trouble reading my devotionals sometimes for the same reason.

    Thanks for reading!

  • karyn says:

    Hey Ron, I really like your thoughts on “Are Sunday mornings inconvenient?.” I found myself pondering one of your comments though. Please don’t take this the wrong way as your recent blog on intent was well read too, and of course don’t get angry with my proofread, (referencing your recent blog on anger, which I thought very well timed as well), but your question of “How do we reach people who no longer have the mindset that to find God they must free up their Sunday morning?”, is perhaps the wrong question. I don’t think one needs to free up their Sunday mornings to FIND God as it is clear that God doesn’t need any finding, but I do think they need to free it up to Worship Him. (I am sure that is what you meant though.) After all aren’t we designed for worship? As for our culture I think we all share a nature of hunger and look to the church for satiety. Ravi Zacharias says “Our greatest hunger, as Jesus described it, is for a consummate relationship that combines the physical and the spiritual, that engenders both awe and love, and that is expressed in celebration and commitment.” He goes on to say that this hunger is worship.. “worship as a posture of life whose primary purpose is to understand what it really means to love and revere God.” (His book I quoted from is ‘Jesus among other Gods’) . Perhaps the question is, How do we reach people who no longer feel relevant to God? Is this the real task of the church? (Coincidentally, it is the name of your student ministries, right?)
    Thanks so much for the time to respond and hope we all can find time to worship Him this Sunday.
    God’s Grace to you

  • Ron says:

    Pete, you’ve been playing a lot of “games” lately according to your blog. (j/k)

  • Pete Wilson says:

    Oh Ron. I thought I was the only one that played that Sunday afternoon game!

  • Renee Garcia says:

    First, I have to say, I am VERY thankful for the 11am service at GCC. Ever since I was a little girl, Sunday mornings have been SO stressful. I remember my mom getting my brother and I up, dressed, and off to Sunday School by 9am… I usually ended up crying about my hair or fighting with my mom over clothes or my brother would pull one of his many antics and by the time we got to the car we were all mad, stressed, irritated or whatever.

    This continued into my junior high years and into our next church where our pastor told us that the devil will do ANYTHING to keep us from church on Sunday mornings, and if that means making us all cranky basket cases, that worked just beautifully for him, because then even if we DID make it to church we were too flustered to open our hearts and receive God’s Word.

    Once Frank and I got married, we found Sandals in CA (where Carlos Whittaker used to be music minister) and they, being geared towards college age, only met on Sunday nights! I have to tell you, the difference was amazing. We were able to sleep in, go to lunch, and then go to church… then after church we usually went out with some friends from church. Our Sundays became much less tense and we looked forward to Church every week. Once we started having kids we appreciated it even more because it gave us extra time to get them ready to go.

    So, now here we are, Frank’s in Afghanistan and I have FOUR kids to get ready every morning. I admit I’ve had those mornings when I’m ready to pull my hair out because I just KNOW we’re going to be late and WHY won’t Kameron get dressed already?!?! But I try to remember what my pastor said all those years ago and spend my drive to church in prayer or singing Bible songs with my kids, so we all enter church with our hearts ready.

    All that to say, if you were to start a Sunday night service, that’s the one we would probably go to… as long as it was exactly the same as the morning service :).

    We weren’t there this morning obviously, but we miss you all and can’t wait to come home! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for praying for Kennedy.