Summary: The effectiveness of the church is not based on the worship service. It's based on what happens in the lives of its people throughout the week
It’s basketball season. We all have our favorite teams. We get excited about watching them play.
Imagine that you get great tickets at the arena. You’re seated in the lower section a few rows just above the scorer’s table. It’s a great game – back and forth the whole time. The other team is ahead by one point with just under 30 seconds to go. Your team still has two 60 second timeouts remaining. The coach calls the first of those timeouts. You can feel the energy pulsing through the stadium. Everyone knows the next play is crucial. Everybody is wondering what play the coach is going to call.
The horn blows. It’s time for the teams to play out the time left on the clock but your team stays on the sideline gathered around the coach. One of the referees comes over and says that it’s time to get on the floor. The coach calls the remaining timeout. Everybody in the arena is now wondering what the coach is up to. Every person is totally focused on the sideline.
When the horn blows again, your team bursts onto the floor shouting, “What a great play! We’re going to win for sure! We got this!” But then the players on the floor, the team on the bench, and the coaches and the rest of the staff run to the locker room. They grab their gear and go home.
All of the fans look at each other. They can’t believe what they’ve just seen. Everyone is frustrated and angry.
It’s great they huddled together. The irony is that the huddle isn’t the point. The purpose of the huddle is to get the next play. It is designed to strategize for victory and give encouragement to the players that the plan is going to work. It would be ludicrous for a team to huddle together and then just head out the door to do whatever else their lives involve.
Sadly, that very image can be an accurate picture of the church. Once a week we get together to worship. That’s a good thing. In fact, it’s a God thing. Christians should gather for worship. It’s a special time.
The problem is that we see this gathering as an end in itself. We measure how effective our church is by the number of people coming to the huddle each week. We talk about how inspiring our huddle is and then we break and disappear until next week. Our perception is mistaken. As followers of Christ, the game goes on through the entire week, not just on Sunday.
Worship is a time for us to huddle together on Sunday and be encouraged and trained on how to make an impact for Jesus Christ but the effectiveness of the church is not based on the huddle. The effectiveness of the church is based on what happens in the lives of its people throughout the week.
Jesus said in Matt. 5:13 – You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.