Who are we precluding from worshipWhen I was a pastor, I would think about the numbers of people who legitimately can’t come to church on Sunday mornings: hospital workers, police, firefighters, etc. Their schedules preclude Sunday mornings, and I’m glad for it. I want them to be available for emergencies.

Then there are other people who work to serve our needs on Sundays, like people who work in restaurants. I’ve gone to restaurants on Sundays occasionally, and many other churchgoers do too. (And we should all tip well.) It’s our preferences that make it impossible for people in those jobs to attend church services at the appointed time.

There is yet another group whose lifestyle choices rule out Sunday mornings… those who regularly go camping or skiing on the weekends. We could demonize those choices and say they should rethink their priorities. But the issue made me think. We are precluding people from worship. Instead, why not do everything we can to include?

So we started a Friday night service. We got quite a bit of flack from the ecclesiastical world, especially when we put an ad in the sports section of the local newspaper that showed people with skis over their shoulders walking away. The ad said: “Come to Friday night church and enjoy the rest of your weekend.”

The main objection I heard was that we weren’t worshipping on the Sabbath. Yet, if people are truly concerned about the Sabbath, it runs from Friday night at sunset to Saturday night at sunset. So during the winter months at least, our service was actually more biblical. Yet I would look to Romans 14:5:  In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable.

Prayerfully reflect on when you can cooperate with the culture and when you need to fight against it. Some have convictions that a certain day is the right day to worship. In that case, they will need to fight for it. But if the principle is to gather to connect with God and others, then we need to be flexible for those who cannot or will not gather on the chosen day.