Maybe you’ve heard of Back to Church Sunday. In the UK it’s scheduled for Sunday 29th and the idea is that you invite someone you know to attend your church. It’s a good idea and I’d suggest you (and your church) try it. Who knows how many people don’t come to your church because no one invites them?
Speaking of people who don’t attend your church, I have another idea. It doesn’t have a website and it might sound like heresy.
What about a Stay Away from Church Sunday?
Before you start scrambling around for verses you think I need to be aware of, I am aware of Acts 2 and how the new believers were committed to seeking God together and committed to sharing life together. And I know about Acts 20 and the disciples coming together to break bread. And Hebrews 10:25 with its warning about neglecting to meet together.
But what about having a Sunday morning where you skip the service? (You can always make it up on Sunday night or at the midweek meeting).
Here’s the thing.
No matter how many people gather in your church on Sunday morning, there are plenty of people who don’t. It doesn’t cross their mind. They’ll play golf, walk the dog, take the kids to sports’ practice, drink coffee, plough their way through the Sunday papers, head out to the carvery for a bite of lunch ahead of settling down for the latest iteration of televised football’s Super Sunday. Oh, and shopping (at least when the shops open at noon.
For many of us, our Sunday is different (at least some of it). We are part of the worship of God in the context of a church on a Sunday morning – and that is a good thing. Sunday morning, done well, is an opportunity for recalibration; we are reminded of what is true and important. It ought to be a priority for followers of Jesus.
But while we are closeted away in our buildings, we may be quite unaware of what many of our neighbours, friends and work colleagues are doing. And we don’t stop to ask ourselves if we are doing enough to connect with them and to help connect them with the gospel.
I wonder if a Stay Away Sunday might open our eyes and might help us to take a different look at a mission field that we may not really understand but that calls for fresh thinking if it is to be reached effectively.
What if 3 or 4 Christians skipped church and walked prayerfully through the park with the other walkers? What if 2 or 3 sat prayerfully in a coffee shop, praying for the staff and customers? What if a couple of believers prayed their way around 18 holes of golf, all the time asking the Lord of the harvest to help them see the harvest the way he does?
You can be the judge. But if it is, make sure you don’t forget the 29th.