Thursday, December 08, 2005

McChurch plans to be closed on Christmas Sunday

What's new? Fast food restaurants have been closing on family holidays for years. Why shouldn't McChurch follow suit?

"If our target and our mission is to reach the unchurched, basically the people who don't go to church, how likely is it that they'll be going to church on Christmas morning?" asks a spokesperson for the Willow Creek Community Church.

If the target and mission of the church is as simple as these churches state it, who is it really who is being worshiped on the Sunday mornings they choose to stay open?

I'm with Tod Bolsinger who says that "worship on Christmas Day seems, well, right."

And it will be right even if there is not a crowd.

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Kim Traynor said...

Hey, I've been following this story and I have to admit that I'm a little confused at the knee-jerk reaction from otherwise intelligent Christians. I have to ask, do you really believe that God prefers worship that comes out of a church building?

By the way, the mission statement of the church is simple, but Parkinson isn't quoting it here. It actually goes like this; "Our mission is to turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ."

Providing an oppurutnity for the church to gather and worship in honor of the incarnation is a priority and it will happen seventeen times over four days at the four Willow campuses. I don't see how this is insufficient.

Stewart said...

Hi, Kim, welcome to the bench.

The issue is not about buildings but about the gathering of the faithful.

Let me try to explain what I would be missing. Since its earliest days the Christian Church has gathered on Sunday, the day after the Sabbath, to celebrate the Resurrection. Whether they gathered in locked rooms, catacombs, homes large enough to accommodate the community of the faithful, country churches, urban storefront churches, or cathedrals, Christians have been observing these "little Easters" together every Sunday.

Approximately one in seven Christmases falls on a Sunday, giving the community of believers an opportunity to celebrate the Festival of the Incarnation on a little Easter. What a wonderful opportunity to praise God on a day with dual significance of commemorating both the Incarnation and the Resurrection!

Unfortunately, I'm left with the impression that the leaders of churches cancelling Sunday worship this Christmas have simply found a corner to cut, and that it makes sense to them under some rationale that the irreligious finding their way into a church community won't know what they're missing, given that they have not missed it over the years or decades before they finally discovered a church that was opening up the Gospel for them.

I have no illusions that there will be a large crowd here at Central for our celebration of Christmas Sunday, but I know that God will bring the people for whom it will be meaningful, and the intimacy of that service will be an extra blessing for those who come.