Recently, a friend that I work with wore an interesting sweater to work. What made it interesting is that it had short sleeves. That’s right. It was a sweater, made out of sweater material with a fancy sweater collar, that did not cover her arms. When I asked her why she would buy such a thing, she said, “Because it’s cute.”
That got me thinking about other things in life that we do that don’t really make sense. For my friend, it is pretty much everything she does. But for the rest of us, there are just some quirky habits that actually make our lives more difficult. For example, some people are unorganized and often lose things. Other people are superstitious and engage in ridiculous rituals to avoid bad luck.
What about our churches? Are there things that we do that could be altered or eliminated in the spirit of efficiency? Do we have any habits that are outdated? Here are a few that I thought of, and I am anxious to hear what you come up with.
1. Offering – Is it really necessary to buy fancy offering plates and take ten minutes out of each service to pass them around? Could there not be a special box for offerings? Could it not be collected on the way into the sanctuary or on the way out? And to be really crazy, wouldn’t it be possible for more churches to take online donations or automatic deposits?
While it would be super awkward to adjust to a service without an offering, think about what we could do with that extra ten minutes, and how much easier it would be for folks to give and to remember to give if they could do it electronically. Church offering time is not a huge waste of anything, but it has unfortunately become somewhat outdated.
2. Invitation – Why is there only a 5-10 minute window in each service when a person can be prayed with or talk to somebody about accepting Christ? Shouldn’t there always be folks available for prayer time and to talk with people about salvation? I understand the importance of publicly professing your faith, but I think more people may be open to discussing their relationship with Christ if they weren’t in front of a congregation that they are preventing from going to Cracker Barrel for lunch. So perhaps, in addition to the formal invitation (which I do think is necessary and a great end to the service), there should be an extended invitation for anybody that may not feel comfortable being the center of attention.
3. Communion – Observing The Lord’s Supper is a very important ordinance within the church that should be done regularly. However, in the Bible they took time to commune over actual meals. They ate and drank in remembrance of Christ and spent time getting to know one another. They got to know each others’ interests, their needs, and their experiences with God. This seemed to play a vital role in why they were so effective as the body of Christ. Almost every reference to Christian gatherings in the book of Acts talks about eating together. I believe we should use this time of observance as a time to actually grow together in Christ instead of a time to formally partake in a ritual.
So what do you think? Am I way off base here? Did I cross any lines? Are there any other "sleeveless sweaters" that you believe could be adjusted to be a better use of our time?