It's Okay to Have an Awesome Time at Church
I recently read a well intended tweet of encouragement from a pastor I respect. He said: “Most likely your worship gathering tomorrow will not be awesome or epic. But there's a cumulative effect to all our ordinary Sundays.”
This statement might describe the present reality of your church – but sure as heck don’t let it define your future. Run like crazy if this makes you feel good because you wouldn't like yourself if you took a hard look.
In my opinion, this mentality is establishing a low bar – expecting mediocrity is the best way to achieve it. The statement also attempts to justify a series of leaders who are afraid of making the hard decisions to push for greatness in their churches. Why shouldn't I have a [genuinely] awesome or epic experience every Sunday? Is that untenable? With the inordinate amount of money spent each week on maintaining Sunday morning services across the nation, I can’t imagine that everyone is happy with oatmeal when they know that the Denver Omelet is on the menu elsewhere – and that some people actually go to a church that cares enough to shoot for awesome.
Here’s some practical advice on the road to this awesome of which we speak:
Identify where people have memorable [awesome/epic] times in their lives. Are there any attributes of these places and experiences that we can transfer into the church without losing any of our integrity? Maybe it’s music like a concert they liked or maybe it’s as simple as having food and drinks with them during service since they are used to doing that at every other fun thing they do (movies, ballgames, concerts, airplanes, road trips, holidays…you get the idea).
One of the biggest complaints of people who live in rural America is that they give up a lot of experiences and quality of events because they live outside major cities. Is it because the church thinks they are doing ‘good enough’ to reach the rubes they think won’t notice the lack of excellence around them? Here’s a secret: we have TVs, the internet, smart phones, and every other commercial store. We've gotten out, and we've seen what is going on. A halfway job at church shouldn't satisfy you as a pastor, because it certainly is not going to satisfy the unchurched in your communities in the 21st century.
Sure there is merit in every baby step. But why spend thousands of dollars and man-hours digging the tunnel with a spoon? Figure out what your dynamite is, and light the dang fuse.