In April, I visited friends and family in Abilene. I found out that our friends’ church is planning something called “You are the Sermon.” Instead of having a regular worship service, they are doing service in the community. And that got me to thinking…why can’t my church do something like this? Why isn’t this what we do all the time?
First of all, I need to do a bit of language analysis. Why do we even call what we do on Sunday mornings a worship service? Who exactly is being served? I sometimes feel like we are the consumers, taking in God in little cracker-sized pieces (no disrespect to the Lord’s Supper). I know that I have frequently acted like someone in an audience, letting “worship” wash over me. Many times I go to the church building so I can get something out of it, but I really think our idea of what we do at church should be different.
So, why don’t we do actual service to others during our worship service? There are those who would say a Wednesday night or even a Sunday night is a more appropriate time for that kind of thing. It is a good thing, to do service, but that’s just not what we do Sunday morning. Sunday morning is for worship. But can’t service be worship to God, maybe even the best kind of worship to God: obedience and loving others? He desires obedience and practical love, not hymns (though I think praising God in song is a great, good thing).
We could start out small – not even venturing out from the building — at first. Everyone could write a note to a kid at the Village of Hope. It would take about 10 minutes of our worship service. Maybe we could do something once a month, helping 12 organizations or 12 current projects of our church — during service, when all of us are gathered. Just imagine how powerful it would be if we all committed to doing something for others, together, on the day we have set aside for worship.
It would be a big undertaking and I couldn’t do it alone, but I think we would all be blessed by service in our worship service or even instead of our worship service.
My church has recently begun the process of dreaming about what kind of church we want to be and what we want to do. I’m encouraged that something along the lines of what I am mentioning here is also on the hearts of others in my church.
What do you think? Has anyone else ever done this in their church?