Why I Never Say, “We’re Not a Sunday Only Church”
I’ve heard it said often, “We’re not a Sunday only church.” I know what they mean. They mean the people of their church get together, fellowship, do ministry, and pray throughout the week as well. Of course, these are important aspects of a faithful church. Pastors should want their people to connect and serve outside of the Sunday gathering. If church members gather together on Sundays, but never show hospitality, pray together, do evangelism, or disciple others throughout the week, then the whole church will suffer. Life in the local church should not be confined to Sundays alone.
Then what’s my problem with the statement, “We’re not a Sunday only church”? Why do I never say it if I agree with it in principle? Because I don’t like statements that have the potential to undermine the significance of the Sunday gathering. Some people speak about “Sunday only” because they don’t think the Sunday gathering is that significant. What really matters to them are small groups or missional communities or more “organic fellowship.” In their mind, “We’re not Sunday only,” really means the Sunday gathering is less important than other ways of being the church.
Others, of course, have no intention of minimizing the importance of the Sunday gathering by talking this way, but I wonder if the negative vibe of “Sunday only” is the best approach. If I inherited a billion dollars, I would never say, “It was a billion only inheritance.” A billion only? Sunday only?
Corporate worship on the Lord’s day is too significant to make it an “only.” When we gather together with believers of different ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities, we display the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (Eph 3:10). When we assemble on the Lord’s day, we represent on earth the assembly of the firstborn in heaven who are gathered together with angels in the presence of God (Heb 12:23–24). When we do not forsake the assembly but join together for corporate worship, we encourage our fellow believers to persevere to the very end (Heb 10:24–25). When we hear the Word read publically, we remember that we are a community created by the Word of God, and our God rules his church by his Word. When we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in worship to God, we also admonish, encourage, and edify each other (Col 3:16). When we hear the gospel preached from every page of Scripture and give our “amen,” we testify to one another that God’s Word is true, Christ is king, and the church will prevail. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we know that we are a people of a future kingdom living in the present and waiting for the Lord’s coming (1 Cor 11:26; Mk 14:25). When we bow our heads in prayer, we collectively confess our sins, intercede for the nations, and praise God for who he is. When we gather together as a church we know that Christ is there in our midst (Matt 18:20).
Sunday only? Corporate worship on Sunday with God’s people is too significant to be an “only.” That’s why I never say, “We’re not a Sunday only church.”