Many well-meaning Christians would write off a statement like this to insincerity or lack of seriousness, but I think it is a very fair comment and would go as far as to say it is such an important point the onus is on us to re-devise church. When it comes to deciding between church and family God never said you have to choose between the two!
Biblically there is no command to meet on a Sunday and certainly not at 11.00am. Before we rule out Sunday completely though it should be born in mind that a good number of churches offer very early services and not a few late ones too. On the lawn at St. Michael in Shefford I joined an excellent service one Sunday evening. It was well thought through with a number of folk involved, wasn’t too long and you soon forgot there were cars whizzing by just yards away. Many churches run great Sunday evening services, but I do accept that for some Sundays are just not ideal at all, so let us move on.
Most winning clubs meet mid-week and most people develop their skills mid-week too, with no detriment to their families at all. No one ever suggested that to be a top Judo contestant or win the best wine prize you must practice on a Sunday morning at exactly 11am. Despite this people are made to feel they must attend church on a Sunday even if that is the only day they have available for quality time with families and friends. Aren’t people’s relationships, in particular their family relationships, more important than being in a particular building at a particular time? As a young pastor I soon discovered a number of people who attended each and every Sunday service and every all night prayer vigil etc. had the most miserable marriages and dreadful family lives, so why ask someone who has a happy home life to trade it in? I’d almost go as far as to say more people who are in church should consider this comment too, but God still commands us to fellowship, learn his Word, break bread together and to praise him as a group, so just how do we do that?
Most people will make an effort to go to the pub or a club with some sort of activity midweek. Although a bit gruelling after a hard day’s work and travel, it is enjoyable and often much-needed. What they often don’t realise is that many churches run excellent mid-week services and activities. Traditionally these have been geared at the ‘committed core’ of the church and tend to be small, but if you are serious about God and your family, why not find the best mid-week church you can? Without any damage to your family whatsoever you could be enjoying great fellowship, teaching, praise and so forth by simply finding a church that has a good mid-week programme. I think the future for many busy christians is mid-week and far from criticise those who never make a Sunday, I’d pat them on the back. If they can make their Sundays meaningful and keep their families healthy while still doing everything God has commanded them – well done!