Jul 292014 6 Responses

What If The Church Honored Sunday?

For as long as anyone remembered the tournament had been held Thursday through Sunday. The first day was a practice round and the competition was the next three days, culminating with the final round of golf being on Sunday.

But when the new committee met, someone asked, “What if we held the tournament Thursday through Saturday?” They suggested moving the practice round to be played whenever the participants wanted and to move the competition to Thursday through Saturday. By ending on Saturday, Sunday would be free for players to spend the day with family and in the habit of many of the new committee members, attend church. (See: Three Lies Christians Tell Themselves)

It had never been done that way, but the committee was willing to give it a try. And it was a roaring success. A few people grumbled, but a few people always grumbled. Most of the participants appreciated the move and the tournament field was as large as it had ever been.

A simple switch, few complaints, and anyone who wanted to attend church on Sunday was free to do so.

What if every Christian charged with putting on an event on the weekend considered how Sunday morning could be protected for the sake of worship and the family?

The Church Often Curses Culture

I could probably get a thousand Facebook likes if I posted something about the demise of culture. It’s become the church’s favorite past time—to curse where we are headed. While culture isn’t any worse today than it has ever been (and in many ways it is better), if you listen to many church people, things have never been worse. (See: Why I Can’t Say ‘America’s Going to Hell in a Handbasket’)

But the Church Often Follows Culture

Even as the church curses culture, we also follow it. We don’t just follow it when culture is being dictated to us, but we sadly follow it when we are in charge. It’s one thing when a committee filled with unbelievers, unknowingly or without concern for the Bible, schedules an event for Sunday morning. I wish it didn’t happen, but it does. However, it is a radically different story when Christians lead organizations or committees and we mimic the culture by booking the events at the same time an unbeliever would book them. When an unbeliever isn’t concerned about protecting Sunday morning worship that is one thing, but when Christians equally fail to protect it, we have a different problem. (See: Jesus Isn’t as Conservative or Liberal as You Think)

What If We Shaped Culture?

What if we took a different approach? What if Christians used their influence to protect Sunday morning? What if we brainstormed new ways to hold events?

What if we started with us? If unbelievers plan events, they will obviously hold events on Sunday morning. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. However, what if believers planned differently? What if we did everything within our influence and power to show a different way? (See: 6+1, The First Math Problem We Should Teach Our Kids)

If Sunday must be used, why not consider the afternoon instead of the morning?

If Saturday isn’t enough for the event, what about using Friday night instead of Sunday morning?

If court or field space is limited, what about partnering with another school or neighboring town?

What if the church protected Sunday morning?

Sadly, it is never considered.

A few years ago our Mother’s Day attendance was not as well-attended as it usually is. I was confused. Mother’s Day is traditionally the second-most attended Sunday of the spring, but this particular day did not see a spike in attendance. Noticing who was not in attendance that day, I researched where they were. I discovered there was a youth baseball tournament.

I wasn’t surprised. Our culture has lost its ability to show respect and value in nearly every area so it only made sense that Mother’s Day was no longer set aside for mothers. Yet what shocked me was the location of the tournament. It was being held at the Church League baseball fields.

Consider: church attendance was hurt because of a baseball tournament at the Church League baseball fields. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. (See: Parenting, Sports, and the Gospel)

We curse the direction of culture, yet the church acts no differently.

What if we started to make different choices?

What if the golf tournament was held on Sunday afternoons?

What if the marathon was run on Saturday instead of Sunday?

What if the baseball tournament fielded less teams in order to take Sunday morning off?

What if the church, just the church, made a little effort to protect Sunday morning?

It might just remind us that our faith is important.

It might show our kids that some things are more important than their activities.

It might put sports and fun in their proper context.

It might show our culture that we take our faith seriously.

We can’t control everyone, but we can control ourselves. The church can choose what we do. What would happen if we started valuing those things which we claim are important?

 

6 Responses to What If The Church Honored Sunday?
  1. Christy Keyton Reply

    AMEN to this one! Our city is “travel ball” crazy. Every type of tournament – volleyball, soccer, baseball is played and Sunday is just another day with these teams. It is sad to me. One of the reasons I love Chick-fil-A so much – they have taken a firm stand on this issue. My husband and I have struggled through what is appropriate – from eating out to shopping on Sundays – but have held Sunday mornings as sacred in our family.

  2. dennyneff Reply

    Oddly enough Beverly and i were just talking about this subject this past week. Bravo for you putting this “grandiose” idea out there.

    I don’t like to air my complaints when it doesn’t concern me because I have no children or grandchildren participating in Church sponsored sports. But what strikes me as wrong are the number of “Church League” ball games and tournaments that are scheduled on Sunday mornings.

    I agree with you and am behind your encouraging believers and followers of Jesus Christ to make a stand. If the parent of the best pitcher on the team and best batter on the team would say “my kids can’t make it on Sunday morning because we have church, I would be willing to wager that the coaches and managers would find a way to reschedule games to accommodate Church on Sunday mornings.

    Keep it up Kevin, you are not a voice in the wilderness but a leader with sound wisdom and influence. God bless you.

  3. Cari Shepard Reply

    The town I grew up in seemed to have a respect for church. By that I mean, it was rare to find an event scheduled for Wednesday night or Sunday (typically the whole day). Sports teams made sure there practices were over well before the time Wednesday night church services were typically held and no games were played until at least 1p on Sunday and over by 5p if they were played at all on Sunday. These days it seems no day or time is sacred. Out of one side of their mouths these organizations (school groups are especially bad) will spout how vital families are yet have mandatory practices that cut into family time. Not sure what the answer is at this point. Longing for the “good old days” or for my boys to be young enough I’m not dealing with these issues.

  4. Bob Collins Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly, Kevin; good job! I’m proud (but not prideful!!) to be able to say our church – East Side Baptist, in Fort Smith, Arkansas – has a long-standing habit of keeping Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings exclusively for worship and study services. And by long-standing, I know whereof I speak, having been a member there for 50 years … something else that is falling to the wayside.

    Whole ‘nother topic, but membership in a family home church used to be taken for granted. Now it’s common to “shop around” for other churches. Stick with your home church, folks! If something’s not perfect (music, a/c, parking), either pitch in and improve or follow the leaders whom God has placed in position. It’s about worshipping God, not you being perfectly satisfied! … sorry, soap box put away.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Bob, what I often notice is that someone has a passion for an issue which they see their church missing so they leave. But sadly, God probably gave them that passion to help their home church rather than desert it.

  5. Bradley Reply

    I went to high school in a small town in the mid 80’s. We had a show choir performance to prepare for & agreed to practice (on our own initiative) on a Sunday afternoon. We could do so only if it were at someone’s house & not on school property, we couldn’t call it a “practice,” and our teacher want allowed to be there. School rules. I know back then schools respected Sundays & usually Wed nights. Sadly, not so much anymore.

    I have three boys: 2 soccer players & 1 football player. While football typically shies away from Sundays, they dominate every other day & time. Now that my other two are in travel leagues (one at the state level) for soccer, many of our Sunday afternoons are spent there. It is rare that one of the boys misses church because of that, tho. Occasionally one of them has worn their uniform to church & we’ve cut out a few min early. My boys & their coaches know church is a priority in our family.

    Our biggest challenge now are the fundraisers either we or our son are “required” to participate in or sell tickets to for football. Everything centers around drinking & gambling. My son is underage & therefore not allowed to sell tickets for the casino bus trip so WE are required to sell at least four. We refuse to do so…just trying to figure out the best way to handle this.

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