I once jokingly said to a couple friends that if their Sunday services take less than two hours, then they are doing something wrong. Each had expressed that their total service time was about an hour and fifteen minutes. At the time, I made the statement mostly jokingly, but have since come to think that maybe congregations that do spend, what to me seems to be, such little time worshiping God are in fact missing something. Both of my friends marveled at the three hours my congregation, at the time, typically spends in Sunday worship services, as if they wondered why one would give-up so much time for church. This is exactly the Sunday-itis that is running rampant in the body of Christ.
We must all first realize that we are not “going to church,” because church is not a place, building or even a specific congregation of believers, but that we all, across denominations, nationalities and creeds are The Church. So, we are “in church” anytime we fellowship in Christ with brothers and sisters of the faith. Therefor, being in church is not a distinct time separate from the “rest of our lives.” This subject alone could fill tomes, so I digress until a later time.
The greater issue of concern in this attitude of fitting God into our schedules is that in our modern culture we want to rush through our obligations so that we can return to feeding our selfish desires. We’ve put God in a box labeled “Sunday obligation” on our weekend chores list. Mow the lawn, visit Grandma, drop-by church, wash the car. And we better get it all done before kick-off of the big game.
Spending more time “in church” should not be a contest, and doing so certainly does not make one more righteous, pious, sanctified, justified or holy. The issue here is not about how much time one spends in worship services, or even in prayer, reading scripture or whatever else might bring one closer in his or her walk with God, but the motivation behind doing any of it. If one feels obligated to any of this from a place of guilt or, worse yet, out of the need for outward demonstration, then his or her motivations are not genuine. The only reason to draw near to anyone is love for that person. Those with a deep, abiding love for God will desire to be closer to Him–commune with Him in worship and in prayer.
Answering the question, “why do I go to church?” should settle this issue in anyone’s mind. If we go to church to serve our own needs, then we can give God as much or as little time as we like, but if we pray, worship, and attend services to glorify, honor, and raise the name of God, then we should consider how much attention God would have us give Him.
Those wanting a drive-by experience with God on a weekly basis (or less) might want to consider whether to install a drive-thru window in their local congregation to best serve their needs. However, those wanting a true relationship with God might want to inspect their motives behind why they “go to church” and how much time through-out the week they devote to the All Mighty, their Savior.
Worship in the Fast-food Nation