Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The fixation with the length of service

I have been pondering a question for the last 24 hours. Where did the fixation with keeping the service to an hour come from? Why do we feel this crushing need to keep it to an hour? Wouldn’t the worship experience be richer and fuller if we said forget this time cap, lets enjoy worship? Have the worship last 3, 4, 5 songs to begin, have the parts of the service that people are attached to, and have a solid length service. Why are we so attached to “gotta keep it to an hour”?

From time to time, Pastors get some intense pressure to keep things short, short, short. I was recently told that three songs is too many. Really? We’re just getting to worshiping at three. To add to that, it seems that praise songs are an imposition, because they are too long. This attitude that praise songs are to long goes hand in glove with the idea that the service must be short, short, short…. And with that, pastors hear, don’t preach to long (we might learn something, or be convicted, or worse, realize that being religious doesn’t equal salvation…), don’t sing to long (the holy spirit might show up), keep it short and safe, a zone that God cannot intrude, so that in the end we can say, “OK, we’ve punched our time clock for God”.

It’s something that’s been bugging me lately. Where did we get this attitude that church should be one hour. Our puritan fore-bearers used to sit in church for hours. Now, we think the sermon should be twenty minutes….max, and the worship should be short, no more than two songs to start, a middle after, and one at the end… and the Holy spirit should leave us alone… Most angering of all is the attitude that it’s MY CHURCH. It’s not your church, it’s not my church, It’s God’s church. we are the body of Christ, He is the head. It’s not our church…

God, send your spirit…. Christ is the head, it’s not our church, it’s not about us. Send your spirit through your church, and give us a love of you.