One Sunday morning, almost 17 years ago, my husband and I were driving home from church. In the car we were having a discussion about our experience of the service. The church we attended had vibrant worship and a wonderful message. However, we got to pondering on the term “church” and felt that naming any Sunday morning service “church” was not accurate.

To better understand where we were coming from, you’ll need to know more about our background. Rob and I had met on the mission field where we had been active servants of the Lord. Coming off the mission field and getting married brought us into a season where we visited churches in our area. We became frustrated with the importance that people placed on a Sunday service, as if this was the real deal.

When God called believers to gather together and to fellowship with one another, it did not look anything like a typical church service of today. The Bible states that the word must dwell in us richly for teaching and admonishing through the sharing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16). This verse was not meant to be an exact list, but rather an example for the believers to follow. If you are an artist and God has given you a spiritual picture to paint, then share your painting and explain its meaning. The point of the verse is to make it clear that we are all meant to participate, not just stack the chairs or serve the tea at some venue. If we don’t participate, then we don’t grow. Growth comes by sharing with one another what God, by His Spirit, has taught us.

The Sunday service is only a small slice of the pie. It should not be viewed or taught that this once-a-week event is the main event of a Christian’s week. This gathering, no matter how wonderful, is hardly what real church is all about. A better name for this type of gathering would be to call it a “Celebration Service.” Think of it like going to a concert. When lots of people are gathered with the same heart and mind, there is a dynamic happening. The vibes are good.

The Sunday gathering should not replace Church, because Church is when the family of believers gathers together. If you base your family experience on a Sunday morning event, you don’t have a true family experience. The reason is that there is no time for good fellowship. You don’t really get to know one another in a meaningful way. You also don’t have time to share what God has been teaching you and to hear from others. Also, a family should share each other’s joys and sorrows. We need to make time for all of what Church is meant to be.

by Tina Morley

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