As I'm checking out the countryside around Rhome, Texas this afternoon, I run across a church in Paradise. In front are no less than six signs, each about 10 foot by 3 foot. All advertised something the church branded "wonderful" about itself.
My favorite? 39 Minute Church. Dot com.
I just couldn't resist running back to the B&B and checking out how accurate the signage/hoopla was. I'm thinking "In the middle of nowhere, I've discovered a church that has managed to downsize the worship service to less than 45 minutes and NOBODY in the metroplex has thought of this? Surely not."
Well, the website delivered. This is, as advertised, church in 39 minutes flat. Starting at noon. Sharp.
They toot their horn with this bit of information: "This innovative service is for anyone looking for something a little different, has limited time, or wants to get a few things done on Sunday morning before coming to church. Plow a field, work some cows, play a round of golf, get in a quick fishing trip or just sleep in and relax on Sunday morning."
Now, when you figure that, in the number of minutes in a given week, the 39 Minute Church will take up about .003 percent of your time, this is a really efficient way to do church.
But, I couldn't help but wonder, is this what church has been reduced to? Is this the church of RIGHT NOW, for those who spend too much time in the car, with too much fast food, and too little family time? Worse yet, does this cater to the crowd that views church as one more thing to check off their To-Do list on Sundays?
Sadly, I'm afraid this is what church has been reduced to. 39 Minutes of your time, when it seems most convenient, and you have done all the stuff you need and want to do first. The focus, it seems, is no longer on God, but on us. What's convenient, when it's convenient. Because, if it's not, we won't show up.
Somehow, driving through Paradise wasn't all it was cracked up to be.