I’m going to admit that this post is very much directed at churches, pastors, and other leaders in church-topia. But if you’re not in one of those roles, I’d love for you to still read and hold those of us who are in these roles accountable. Because what we’re doing isn’t enough. I recently heard someone say we’re perfectly positioned to get what we’re currently getting. Or put another way we’ll keep getting what we’ve always gotten if we keep doing what we’ve always done.
So what needs to change?
As church people and church leaders we have big dreams for an Acts 2:47 kind of moment. That’s the moment when God added to their number daily those who were being saved. I mean who wouldn’t want that for the church they serve or even the church they attend!
I’ve been a pastor for over 18 years now and in every church I’ve ever served, we always wanted to reach more people so the kingdom of God would grow. We celebrated baptisms and new member classes. We would hold big welcome events when we brought in a new group of people to the church.
But when we weren’t seeing an increase in numbers we started to wonder what was wrong. What are we missing? Why isn’t God bringing them to us anymore? Why did attendance shrink? Why aren’t new people coming anymore?
This problem is only getting more vivid as we move through this post Covid reality. Churches are shrinking. Less than 75% of church members on average are returning to in person worship. Those who are staying home are saying it’s getting harder and harder to stay connected digitally because the digital time feels like the in person time just without the person connection.
And so many of our churches are pushing to go back to normal. It’s so easy to want to go back to regular in person worship. We want our coffee hour and our fellowship meals. We want to gather the way we used to between services and catch up on what’s going on in life. We want our Sundays back for crying out loud.
But we can’t have our Acts 2:47 moments without living in verse 46 first! Verse 46 is easily overlooked. We love verse 42 where we read how they devoted themselves to breaking of bread, fellowship, prayers and teaching. We expect God will add to our numbers daily in mass quantities. But what did they do with the fellowship, bread, prayers and teaching? Did they do it on Sundays? Did they keep it tucked away for an hour long expression of service and devotion one day a week? Here’s what Acts 2:47 says:
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.
Do you see it? Day by day! They saw something that we have forgotten. Church is not an hour on Sunday. It’s not a building we go to on the weekend. It’s who we are. It’s the people with whom we surround ourselves.
Do you day by day with Jesus and those in your community of faith? Do you day by day in the promise of the temple? Do you day by day around the breaking of bread?
It’s really not as hard as we’ve made it out to be. There are so many ways to day by day! You don’t have to spend hours a day. You don’t have to be a bible scholar. You don’t have to host a small group or be at church 24/7! Two of my favorite ways to day by day are the S.O.A.P plan and the 5x5x5 plan. I’ll explain the 5x5x5 plan more in a future post but the gist is five minutes a day in the bible, do one of five simple tasks with the verses (highlight, memorize, etc), and do it five days a week.
These are just a couple ways that we can day by day with God and one another. I’ll unpack a few more options in the weeks to come. But for now start where you are and lean into God a little more today and soon you’ll be in a day by day situation too.