A Tale of Two Churches

In a technical aspect, a church is the result and a reflection of the spirit, mindset, goals, priorities, and methods of those who build it. For the average church this is a simple fact with straightforward results. For the outlier churches it is more complicated. These outliers suffer from multiple personality disorder. They are torn between who they are–determined by their spiritual and cultural heritage–and who they want to be–based on their unique spiritual understanding and convictions. The result is a church within a church, or perhaps more accurately, a church amongst a church. This is the root of the “Sunday morning crowd” conundrum that is bemoaned and loathed by the Sunday night/Wednesday night crowd. They disapprove that two thirds of the supposed church only attends one meeting while the remaining third are faithful to all three meetings. This disappointment springs from the failure to comprehend that the Sunday morning crowd is not the same church as them.

The Sunday Morning Church is comprised of people who do not like (or perhaps just don’t appreciate) the open meetings, the weekly Lord’s supper, the half-hour long prayer meeting, and other peculiarities that the Whole Week Church thrives on. For its part, the Whole Week Church puts up with the staid Sunday morning service because they consider it part of the package.That is not an indictment nor even a disapproval, just a fact; if the church was to do away with the practices and preferences of either church, that church would vanish. Institute open meetings on Sunday morning and the majority of the Sunday Morning Church would soon be found at another church. Eliminate the open meetings from the other services and you might as well cancel them since the Whole Week Church is gone as well. As long as a church continues to advance both philosophies they will continue to be two churches.

This conundrum would be moot if the specifics were a Spanish and an English church sharing the same building. No one would legitimately expect the members of one to attend all the functions of the other. Well, the contrast between the Sunday Morning Church and the Whole Week Church is actually more stark than that. They speak the same language but they are not of the same mind and there is no way to reconcile them. Perhaps a few from one side will be won over to the other side, but the shift will be minimal and the net impact will be negligible. Therefore, too much time is invested in an attempt to lure and coerce the Sunday Morning Church to attend the other services. And the disdain that many exhibit is only slightly more reasonable than to disdain all Christians of all other churches for not attending as well.

If a church wants to be one church, they must be one in spirit, mindset, goals, priorities, and methods; and they must accept that this will limit who they can effectively assemble. If they want to muster the less committed, then they must accept that they are predestined to be two churches.

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