Who is church for?

As Jason and I began to think about planting a church, one of the most frequent things we discussed is what our Sunday morning service would look like.

Now I think we can all agree that church is more than a building or what happens there on Sundays. The truth is, though, Sunday mornings constitute a huge part of a pastor’s job. Naturally, we wanted to be careful to design our Sunday morning service in a way that was consistent with the response we desired to see from our congregation.

We read and re-read Acts trying to uncover clues as to how to disciple people so that they would go out and disciple other people. One of the major things we noticed as we read was that believers regularly met together.

Not believers and and a bunch of other people who weren’t sure what they believed.

Just believers, meeting together. Encouraging each other in their faith.

There isn’t a wrong way to meet together as believers; some churches use small groups to accomplish this, and that’s a model that works for them. Eventually we will incorporate small groups at Life360 Ozark, too, both as a way to be discipled and as a way to reach out to the community.

But the more we prayed and thought about the niche our church would occupy in the community, the more we felt compelled to gear the Sunday morning experience toward believers.

A friend of ours recently came and saw our building, and as he was talking to Jason, he said in passing, “I bet it would break your heart if there weren’t any unsaved people at your church every week.”

We understood what he meant by that, but the thing of it is, that wouldn’t break our hearts. We would be devastated if no one was being reached by the truth of the gospel through the people of our church, but we don’t think that has to happen on a Sunday morning.

What would break our hearts was if the people in our church thought it was mine and Jason’s responsibility to win their friends to the Lord. It would break our hearts if they weren’t sharing the love of Christ themselves. It would break our hearts if people weren’t committing their lives to Christ during the week and then coming to church to learn more about the decision they’d already made. It would break our hearts if our church wasn’t making disciples.

But on Sunday morning, we will preach God’s word as it applies to the life of someone who already believes it to be the truth.

We will worship God with abandon.

We will not apologize for the Holy Spirit, now matter how He chooses to move in our services.

Some curious onlookers will probably show up anyway. They might find our style of service off-putting. But here’s what we are praying will happen most of the time:

Suppose all of you are prophesying when those unbelievers and outsiders come in. They will realize that they are sinners, and they will want to change their ways because of what you are saying. They will tell what is hidden in their hearts. Then they will kneel down and say to God, ‘We are certain that you are with these people.'” 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 CEV


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