Slaves to time

In the majority of cases when people spend time with their family they’re not keeping an eye on the clock. When we’re doing things that we enjoy we’re not making sure that we’re keeping to a strict end time so that we can leave. When we’re in the coming of family and when we’re doing things that we enjoy, we let time go by without much thought. But in a lot of UK church contexts that isn’t the case.

When it comes to many churches in the UK we’re slaves to the clock. There are reasons that we like to stick to time (kid’s groups, etc.), but are we missing something?

I was speaking with a brother the other day who originally comes from Kenya and hearing how services in his town would often go on for 3 hours, there would also be long times of fellowship before and after the service. He spoke fondly of the sense of community and love that it created for him and his church family. There remains, in that context, an understanding that the Lord’s Day is the Lord’s day, rather than the Lord’s Hour and a quarter.

It’s always encouraging to see members stick around after the service to chat to as many people as they can. It’s encouraging to see people get up, leave their coates and chat with others intentionally about Jesus.

I wonder if our churches would be more relationally well-connected if we spent more time focusing on each other than we did on the clock. I wonder if we’d be more spiritually mature and strengthened if we spent more time focused on the Bible passage rather than whether the preacher is drawing to a close or not.

Jesus didn’t say follow me for an hour or two once a week, he said “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Following Jesus goes beyond a Sunday, I know that you know that, but we cannot downplay the important role that a Sunday has in the life of a believer and a church family.

If our view of church is simply that we go for a quick service and then head straight home all the while focusing on the other things that we have to do that day, are we really investing in our church and in our own spiritual well-being?

The church is the body of Christ, for a body to function it needs to be in one piece. A church body is at its best when its members are gathered and invested in sharing Jesus and sharing lives with each other. That’s best done when we forget the clock, forget being slaves to time and focus on being what Jesus had called us to be – disciple making disciples.

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