Look at the picture above. I want y’all to notice a couple things about this picture: notice how many folk are there and how few of seats are empty. Something I observed Sabbath at the Saddleback Church was that people were there early and how few people came in late. If folk wanted to be there, then they were there are on time! Not 10 minutes late or 20 or even 30, but on time! This observation obviously forced me to face the reality that this is not what happens in my church. Maybe not in your’s either? So why not? Is this an indictment against our members or against our worship services? Or maybe both?
Some questions to think on:
Do people not come on time because what takes place at the beginning of our worship services is not worth being there for? I have heard myself say, “everything is a part of worship so people need to be there.” That is a really DUMB statement! Just because we planned it, doesn’t make it worth anything and us planning something doesn’t make it divine worship either.
Do people not come on time because of their own Spiritual apathy? Church is not of priority enough in people’s lives for them to make sure they are on time, like they would be for work or school or a movie? Would this mean that the folk at Saddleback have their Spiritual priorities more in line than we do?
Do people not come on time because of the actual TIME we have our worship service? Saddlebacks service started at 4:30 p.m.. There is nothing sacred about the 11 o’clock hour yet we have made it a sacred cow that if anyone touches they are chastised and sent out to be shot. Should we rethink our start times for worship, would there be something that would be more conducive for families and more importantly for those we are trying to reach?
Do people not come on time because our worship services are to convoluted? Do we need to simplify and only focus on the necessary? I noticed that Saddlebacks service was very simple. 1 song, announcements, 2 songs, sermon, prayer, dismiss. It wasn’t that the service was short. Pastor Rick spoke still for 45-50 minutes, but the service seemed very simple.
I would love your honest and frank perspectives on this!