Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spiritual Fast Food

     Pastor, are your church's worship services Bible centered?  How much gospel preaching and expositional bible teaching do you accomplish in your church in one year?   Let’s run the numbers and see just how much the average church-goer hears if he attends one service each week for one year.

     The average length of a morning worship (and I use that term loosely) service is 90 minutes.  That adds up to 78 hours per year.

     After greetings and hugging, announcements, singing, special performances, and offerings, there are approximately 40 minutes left for a sermon (some churches go longer but they run the risk of losing those who are in a hurry to get to the restaurant in front of the crowds).  That leaves you just about 34.5 hours per year.

     Thirty-four and a half hours of bible teaching per year.  That’s not bad except for all those "other things".  If yours is a large church with a sizeable music department, there will be approximately three (maybe four) Sundays each year when your preaching will be suspended for a major musical/drama production.  That reduces your preaching time down to about 30 hours per year.  But wait.  What about the children?  Sunday School promotion Sunday with a special children’s program cuts your time down to about 29 hours.

     Are you going to take some vacation time?  If you are ultra-conservative and only take two weeks off, there’s another two Sundays gone.  And if you attend any conferences or if you are called away as a guest speaker in another church, you could easily miss an additional two weeks each year.  By the way, a significant portion of your congregation will use your absence as an excuse to skip church (I’m just sayin’).  The faithful ones will be subjected to a missionary report or a topical treatise by a Jr. guest pulpit filler.  That’s six fewer hours each year.  But that’s okay.  You still have 23 hours for good, solid bible teaching.

     What do you do with Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Grand parent's Day, Children's Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Veterans’ Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, Patriot’s Day, the local high school graduation and the Fourth of July?  If you forfeit even half of your allotted time to do any kinds of special tributes or self-help, how-to, Christian psych sessions, you could easily lose another ten hours.  That leaves you about thirteen hours to really impact your flock with good, solid, in-depth bible exposition if you don’t get sick.

     Thirteen hours a year.  That’s a little over one hour a month or fifteen minutes per week.  But don’t worry.  If they leave spiritually malnourished, they can always supplement their fast food diet with a happy meal from Joel Osteen.

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