By Jack Wilkie
There are 168 hours in a week. Factoring in sleep (and pretending everyone sleeps 8 hours per night), that’s 112 waking hours per week. Calculating one hour for Sunday morning worship, that leaves 111 other hours in the week, but sadly for many Christians that one hour constitutes their entire engagement with the church each week.
Most congregations still hold to the Sunday morning-Sunday evening-Wednesday night schedule of worship and classes, and it’s no secret that those churches struggle to get even 50% of Sunday morning’s attendees back for any of those sessions. I understand that some are elderly and can’t make it back out at night, and I understand that some are at a place in life where their work schedules don’t allow them to make every assembly… but those two cases certainly can’t account for all of the empty pews. Why do so many only gather with the church for one hour a week? Is it too much to instead give God 4 hours out of every 112?
The root problem is that “church” can be a feature of our lives but not the central focus. If being part of a church means nothing more than having a one hour Sunday appointment on your weekly calendar, we’ve misunderstood the entire concept of belonging to the body of Christ. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 all discuss the idea that the church is a body made up of a number of different parts and that it is built up by what every joint supplies (Eph. 4:16). Additionally, those who are part of the church are under the spiritual guidance of the elders who set those times as they look out for the best interest of the members under their care (Heb. 13:17).
But, instead of viewing themselves as a useful part of a body, many view themselves as spectators whose only duty to God is to be there on Sunday morning. Christianity is not a checklist religion where certain duties have to be performed to secure one’s spot in heaven. No one should be asking, “Can I still get into heaven if I only come on Sunday mornings?” That completely misses the point. Instead, we start with the fact that Jesus went to the cross and gave His life for us, and so in turn we should be giving our lives to Him. We should be committed to living under His headship as a part of the church, and that includes building a bond with our church family. Giving God one hour a week just isn’t going to cut it if you want to grow spiritually.
As often as possible, be with your church family for the other services. Sunday morning class and Wednesday night offer 2 more hours of opportunity to study the Bible with your Christian family. Sunday evening gives us the chance to sing more praises to God and hear another sermon from the word. Beyond those times, make it a priority to be there for special events like Gospel meetings and fellowship meals.
But don’t just let your church participation be limited to being there when the doors are open. Have your fellow Christians into your home or go to lunch with them after worship. Build friendships with them. Be a part of their lives and let them be a part of yours. The company we keep has a massive impact on who we are as people, so we must put the utmost importance on surrounding ourselves with people who will help us along this Christian path. The Christian life was never meant to be a solo journey, but when we deny ourselves the opportunity to study, worship, and fellowship with the Christian family God has given us, we take on all the risks that going alone brings.
Nobody has ever regretted spending too much time focused on God. If you haven’t yet, make a commitment to be more than just a “Sunday morning only” Christian.