Cover 2017-11-12

Ron Writes

Unplug and Reboot

It’s a familiar solution. Our washing machine wouldn’t start. I unplugged it. Plugged it back in and it started perfectly. Sometimes, for whatever reason, things need to be rebooted.

For some time, I’ve been concerned about our Sunday night services. Why do we meet on Sunday nights? Too often the answer is so that those who weren’t able to be there Sunday morning can take the Lord’s supper. That’s not a good answer. And if you were to say that the main reason we meet on Sunday mornings is to partake of the Lord’s supper – that’s not a good answer either. There’s a danger in turning our assemblies into rituals in which we focus on sacraments and performing acts of worship. It’s easy to fall back into an Old Testament mindset.

The term “worship service” isn’t found in the Bible, but instead we read of “gatherings,” “assemblies” or just “fellowship.” Hebrews 10:24-25 exhorts the church not to forsake “assembling together” (“meeting together” NIV). What reason does he give? Is it so we can perform certain acts of worship? The reason Hebrews gives is to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” and to “encourage one another.” The reason he gives is so that we can build each other up. The Christian life is hard. There are challenges. We need all the help and encouragement we can get.

Sunday nights began as a time for “building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). Our goal is to be like that first church “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). This is not describing a Sunday assembly, but what happened every day. Our TWO42 groups are meant to try to recapture some of this sense of fellowship. It’s inspiring to hear the next words in the text, “Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe” (Acts 2:43). Is it possible to recapture the “awe?”

Mostly the awe I’ve heard is “ah, do we have to attend Sunday nights?” If everyone was being built up and encouraged, then you’d think the attendance would reflect that. What can we do? We will unplug. (Many of the upcoming Sunday nights would be canceled anyway because of holidays). The elders will be listening to your ideas. What do you think? What is encouraging for you on Sunday nights? Or, what is not? Are there hindrances for you in attending? Would a schedule change be helpful? Should there be a format change? Are Sunday nights a remnant of a bygone era? How do we encourage one another and get that sense of awe back? It’s time to unplug and reboot.