When someone says “church”, what immediately comes to mind would be a traditional Sunday Worship Service. I believe that`s why most folks (about 50 percent of the entire population in many local churches) find it easier to miss weekly services. Services like the Prayer Meeting and the Bible Study Meeting record such low turnout from members. Members don`t feel so bad when they don`t come to church on those days, but will have guilt overshadowing them when they try to miss a Sunday Service.
The atmosphere is different on Sundays. Everyone somehow looks tushed up on a Sunday. Even the members who attend weekly services will dress better on a Sunday. In other words, no meeting that occurs weekly in any local church equals the Sunday Service in importance to the average church-goer.
The controversial topic of service structure is one that I really try to avoid, but is also one that I have been unable to. What should be part of a service? How should a service be ordered? What should come before what? I`m sure you must have asked some of these questions before, except if you have not been attending church services. Now, I have friends who speak against services with such rigid structures that there actually is no space for spontaneity. They Holy Spirit, they argue, can be restricted in such services. Everyone will have their unique views on this. But what really makes a service complete?
Interestingly, no structure is revealed in Acts by the early Church. This has given us the freedom to define how we would run our churches. So, while one church has provision for the singing of hymns, another does not; and while one church has a Sunday School, another doesn`t. All through Acts, we see two major components of their meetings – the study of God`s Word and prayer. There is no record of drama ministrations, special numbers, etc. in the early Church. That must have boring, don`t you think? How on earth did they survive? I believe that I can attempt to present a perfect answer to that question at the end of this post.
While many church-goers would readily argue for the inclusion of so many things in a Sunday Service, ranging from special presentations to dance and drama ministrations to comedy sessions, the truth remains that what many 21st century believers want is to be happy and entertained during services. This is why church leaders like myself try to keep the crowd coming by including so many “wonderful” sessions in our services. In our minds, they would surely come back if the music is nice, so we buy the best and most sophisticated instruments and employ the best musicians in town. If the music is what really brings people to our services, then I wonder what makes us better than the club houses in town.
“The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of. Our attention would have been on God.”
I have been longing for a perfect Sunday Service for a while now. I believe that what the early Church enjoyed was God in every part of their meetings. There was such a strong Presence in their meetings that they couldn`t stop coming back. Well, I don`t see that a lot these days. I see a lot of entertaining and fun. We tell ourselves that in His Presence is fullness of joy. Mind you, joy doesn`t come from one being entertained, else Paul wouldn`t have had joy – the entire first century Church would have been joyless. Joy comes from His Presence – joy (or what is actually fun) does not bring His Presence, else the guys at the party houses right now would be basking in the splendor of the Most High.
What we do in a service doesn`t matter as much as Who is in control of the service. What we come to do in church doesn`t matter as much as Who we come to meet. Do you think your Sunday Service was boring today? If yes, why was it boring? Was it boring because the preacher spent over 45 minutes blabbering on a topic? Or because there was no part of the service that made you roll over in your seat with laughter? Was it because the emphasis was on the fact that your life wasn`t in conformity with Christ? Or was it because it didn`t appeal to your flesh?
If a Church service will be considered boring, let it be because there was no God in it. Let a boring service be one where we saw men in their beauty and regality throughout the service and never had a glimpse of our Savior. If Jesus wasn`t glorified, then that service was boring. If all we had was fun and no God, then that service was boring. If there was no glimpse of Heaven in our hearts and a renewed consciousness of the Holy Spirit`s work in our lives, then that service was boring. Let the perfect service be one where God reigned and moved among us and no man made a display of himself in our midst – and that is what I long for right now.
I`d really like to hear from you! Don`t forget to comment in the comment box below. What do you really think makes a service boring?
May the Lord bless His beloved Church, now and forevermore. Amen.
© Eleazar Maduka, 2017