Here’s an article about "downsizing" the Sunday service for the sake of mission. It’s about a conference a guy named Steve Timmis (who wrote a book called Total Church and who oversees a church network called "Crowded House" – what a great name).
He’s talking about reducing the time and effort that needs to be put into the Sunday service in order to allow for more time for leaders to "rub shoulders" with non-Christians during the week, reducing the Sunday service to the sustainable essentials, so people stop expecting to be "wowed" by the service and start expecting to be formed as missional people by their participation in it.
A quote from the article:
Steve argues that many ministers need to face one of the ironies of
their role: ‘that their eye-ball to eye-ball, shoulder to shoulder
contact with non-Christians is limited’.
“Even rarer is those of us in supported ministry actually hanging
out with the dregs of society… When was the last time we were accused
of being drunks, drug addicts and pimps because of the people we
hanging out with… Jesus was.”
This is similar to the advice David Fitch gives in creating services that form us rather than entertain us. He says services should be structured in such a way that even if everyone who was supposed to lead the service fell suddenly ill, the church could still figure out how to have the service in a few minutes, with new people filling in the roles.
What do you think? Is a whiz-bang church service incompatible with the kind of missional engagement Steve and David are talking about?
(ht: Matt Stone)