An evangelical pastor writes, "Moving Beyond Church Services," an article worth reading, in which he makes some very candid admissions about the contemporary emphasis on Sunday worship services, contributing to the ongoing debate regarding an attractional (come and see) approach to ministry versus missional (go and tell) approach. Posted on the Allelon blog, Darryl Dash writes:
Close to half of my week as a pastor is spent preparing for services. Most congregations structure their buildings around space for services. When we say that we're going to church, we're really talking about attending a service. If we cut back what we do as a church, the last thing we'd ever cut is our regular church service. For a long time, many of us thought that the world needed better church services. We produced services with better music, drama, and practical sermons. We built our entire evangelistic strategies around getting people to come to our church services. It hasn't worked. We have tried to build better services, but they still haven't come.
Dash is interacting with a quote from Dallas Willard who maintains that people are not becoming more Christlike as a result of attending church services; in fact, Willard states that our overconfidence in church services is "one of the greatest contemporary barriers to meaningful spiritual formation in Christlikeness." He goes on to say,
I've come to realize … that most people are not staying away from church because of the seating, parking, preaching, or music. We're not even on their radar. Perhaps our efforts will be better spent on equipping ourselves to be salt and light, living the gospel in our schools, homes, and workplaces, rather than hoping people will come to us. The attractiveness of Christianity is ultimately not found in a church service. It's found in a group of people who are living the gospel. Churches can be more than a service. They can be alternate communities that exemplify the Kingdom of God and its values.
Amen! But are there other pastors out there who are willing to be this transparent, this honest, this willing to challenge the status quo? Hmmm. I'm not sure. What do you think?