It’s about what we’re for, not what we’re against.
Yes, we really have decided not to have a Sunday morning service. And even though there are some things about the typical, modern Sunday morning service that are clearly deficient, our decision to not have one was based primarily on what we are for, not on what we are against.
Back in 2005, when we were still called Community Bible Church and still had a Sunday morning service, we developed a list of “core values”. A list of what we considered crucial aspects of our faith that we wanted to drive our decision-making: The Bible, community, prayer, worship, outreach, world missions, the priesthood of believers, innovation and cultural relevance, spiritual growth and stewardship.
It was these core values that drove our thinking and the decisions and changes we’ve made since then — including the decision to not have a Sunday morning service at this time in our history.
- We are for the Bible, so we are working hard to “hold firmly to the traditions” and “patterns” the Apostles “delivered” to us (1 Corinthians 3:2; Philippians 3:17). We’re teaching the Bible in discussion form because we believe this best helps people to learn to think Biblically.
- We are for community, so we are focusing our attention on the Sunday evening gathering. We believe homes are the best environment for building authentic community. We believe celebrating the Lord’s Supper as a meal with “glad and sincere hearts” has much more potential for building family-like community than the somber, Roman Catholic-style, eucharist ceremony. We believe discussing the Scriptures — with a well-equipped teacher — is one of the very greatest ways to build a community of believers that is “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
- We are for prayer and worship and the priesthood of believers, so we are inviting everyone to come to our Neighborhood Church gatherings prepared to share prayer requests, to “speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts to the Lord,” to use your gifts to build up the body of Christ as described in the most extensive passage in the New Testament about the worship gatherings of the church: 1 Corinthians 11-14.
- We are for outreach, world missions, innovation and cultural relevance, so we are recommitting ourselves to the example of the earliest church in the Book of Acts. They demonstrated what Jesus meant when He gave the Great Commission, and their patterns, methods and forms were a key reason why the church expanded so rapidly throughout the Roman Empire. We believe there is a direct connection between the meetings of the first century church and the growth of the first century church.
- We have moved into our community with a clear gospel proclamation and by God’s grace, we will evangelize people to Christ, planting simple, local churches that can expand into every neighborhood of our community in a network of churches — the pattern given to us by the Apostle Paul.
- We are establishing believers in the teaching of the Apostles, using a biblical theology approach — emphasizing what the writers of the New Testament emphasized — to encourage spritual growth.
- We are entrusting ministry to all who are pursuing the good works God has prepared for them — and we will continue to invite others to come and be equipped, fulfilling our individual and corporate stewardships by doing ministry together as the body of Christ.
“But (I hear some asking), can’t these things be accomplished on Sunday mornings?” Of course! We serve an awesome God and “nothing is too difficult for Him”! He can do whatever He wants with whomever He wants in whatever forms He wants. The most unbiblical meetings with Him are infinitely greater than the most biblical meetings without Him.
But, hasn’t Christ given us a Great Commission? Hasn’t Christ instructed His first disciples to “make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I’ve commanded you”? And shouldn’t we continue that legacy? And shouldn’t that include attempting — to the very best of our abilities — to be faithful to the patterns and traditions and methods and examples and teachings given by Christ through His Apostles? Shouldn’t that include a prayerful, faithful attempt to develop the 21st-century equivalent of the 1st-century church? And shouldn’t every follower of Christ insist upon leaders who are willing to risk their popularity, reputations and financial security to faithfully walk in the way of Christ and diligently work for the progress of the gospel?
We think so. And that’s what we’re for.
Now, this doesn’t mean we’ll never have a Sunday morning gathering ever again. It simply means that right now, we believe this is best.
And, we invite you to join us on a Sunday evening to see for yourself the enormous difference between our meetings and the typical Sunday morning ser ice most American Christians are familiar with.
Posted by Shaun LePage
Bonus: What to do on Sunday morning