The greatest challenge to the church is not other churches. The competition is not another congregation, denomination, worship style, or even online website church. The greatest challenge the church has every week is everything else we have to do.
I do not mean to make it sound like the church is in competition with everything else, but sometimes it is. Today more than ever it seems that our schedules are as important as our wallets. We only have a finite amount of both time and money. How we spend those minutes and dollars matter.
As a pastor I have heard many reasons why people have not had time for worship. In the 52 Sundays every year, I even miss some of them. Sometimes I have an event that takes me away for work. Sometimes I am on vacation. Very few people have perfect attendance. But I am not writing about perfect attendance. I am writing about priorities.
There are many things that want our time. Companies that run social networks, television stations, advertising, and other forms of media all want our attention. Our employment and work require much of our time. Those who own their own businesses, from farms to restaurants, all have much to do from the office to the field. Family requires much time to raise children, keep their schedules, and remain in relationship with extended family. On top of work, education, family, friends, and media, the church also asks for your time.
Sunday morning is undoubtedly the most popular hour of the week for worship. We do have activities that extend beyond that time. Every week we meet for Sunday school at 9:30. Every week our children’s ministry gathers on Wednesday nights during the school year. We have men’s breakfasts on Friday mornings at 6:30. That is only the start of the opportunities to grow, learn, and serve in the church.
Yet the church often finds itself at the bottom of the priorities. Again, time is like money. We spend it where we find importance. Priorities dictate how we will spend our time. Look at your spending and your schedule. What are your priorities? Actually take a moment and list them now.
As the church, I hope our congregation is a community where you can grow in faith and become a better disciple of Jesus Christ. That only happens when we invest our time in our faith. Our faith doesn’t grow deeper on accident. It happens when we spend time in God’s Word, encourage our faith in fellowship together, and worship together. We must prioritize our faith. The best place to grow that faith is together. The best place to live it is in the world.
If Sunday school is good enough for our children, why isn’t it good enough for our adults? Many people see Sunday school as a children’s activity. Yet our adult Sunday school should be packed as well. As a family, lead your children by showing them that church is important.
The same goes for worship. If God is willing to give his own life for our sin, can we dedicate ourselves to prioritize worship over the other things in life? It is not so much that these other things are bad. Most of the time they aren’t. Yet when we prioritize anything over God, that thing, activity, or person becomes an idol.
I want to invite the church to a challenge: Worship + 2. You are challenged to spend an hour in worship plus two other hours: one hour in nurturing your soul and an hour serving others. For example, an hour in worship on Sunday, plus an hour in Sunday school, bible study, or other small group, and an hour serving in a ministry, a community organization, or personally with someone you know. In the 168 hours we have in a week, I challenge you to spend at least 3 on your faith.
Many of you may already be doing this and going far beyond 3 hours. Some of you may find this is a great challenge. The Worship + 2 Challenge is meant to grow our faith, not limit it. See this is as a starting point to where you can grow in your faith.
As with most things, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. The rewards for spending more time focused on faith will be great! Get into worship, a small group, and serving others and find how God grows your faith!