Tell me why you don’t like Sundays?

(Apologies to Sir Bob Geldof and the rest of the Boomtown rats). But I want to shoot Sunday mornings down. The issue rose it’s head again yesterday and attending a sunday morning “service” and QandA with a potential minister, reinforced what I had been thinking for a long time. That Sunday gathered worship is one of the main stumbling blocks facing the organised/mainstream churches. We know that one size fits all is a myth, that learning rarely happens in large groups, that worship is more than singing, that church is gathered and scattered, that what happens in small groups, youth groups, house groups, mums groups, toddler groups, etc etc is as much church as anything else. BUT the medium of gathered sunday mornings sends a different message. The person from the front may communicate that church is more than this, the elders may believe it and even have it in their strategy documents, vision statements and business plans, but no matter how hard you try to say it, the sunday morning medium sends a different message. We know that sociologically sunday mornings are difficult for people to gather, that people are more dispersed, visit friends and families on Sundays, more people are in patchwork families so weekends can be a difficult and precious time, that with easy of travel, and different social strata, that practically it is hard for people to gather at this time, and near impossible to facilitate something that could possibly reach such a diverse group even if we could get everyone in the same place at the same time.

We know, but continue to persist in the myth and fool ourselves. So the mainstream churches continue to gather on Sundays at about 10.30 but split off the children, the youth know it so most have voted with their feet, and if they do attend are again split off, BUT because we have believed, the message that the medium of sunday mornings has communicated for the past few hundred years, and we have become indoctrinated into an approach that simply doesn’t work, we keep going.

I am not saying gathering across social strata, across different groups and ages is not important, but do something simple that works, eat breakfast, have a BBQ, have a party. Why sing a particular genre, why have the stuff people don’t get, why try to encourage learning when the majority of evidence suggests that people don’t learn much from an upfront approach, why try to exhort one another from a distance rather than across a table, and why pray generic prayers that are at best pat on the back rather than the reality of the hug that person sitting in the balcony needs.

Do the world a favour and stop. Change the medium so the real message of hope can be heard.

The method of the kingdom will match the message of the kingdom. The kingdom will come as the church, energised by the Spirit, goes out into the world vulnerable, suffering, praising, praying, misunderstood, misjudged, vindicated, celebrating…Surprised by Hope, Tom Wright pg 123

3 thoughts on “Tell me why you don’t like Sundays?

  1. Having been brought up in the brethren movement, notions of from the front don’t sit easy with me. The gathering round ‘the table’ with a congregation of less than fifty for ‘ Breaking of Bread’ with the intention of no hierarchy is appealing. If we had added the participation of women, a meal, and a commitment to social justice I might never have left. The mutual hospitality and commitment to evangelism, through a range of methods often in collaboration with others were signs of the Kingdom.
    However just like the more recent house church movement the copying of mainstream denominations have lead to both of these movements becoming denominational.
    The bringing together of morning church with Sunday school. And even the youth group work against any thought of a missional community.
    We have all become gathered communities reflecting our consumerist society rather than agents of the Kingdom, offering radical alternatives to the status quo.

  2. Good rant Richard – ‘the church is dead – long live the church!’
    I am biased I know – having not been to a church service for 15 years now – but that old form of church has got little to do with following Jesus – it has always been about socialisation, indoctrination, dogma, exclusion and psychological self soothing.
    let go….. and let god….

  3. it still exists and people still support the Sunday morning service as its a non committal conscience cleanser lead by a majority middle class congregation who hold the power in decision making due to their financial input. To paraphrase Roy Walker from his catchphrase days… “I’m just saying what I see”

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