I’m not sure if it happens in everyone else’s social media feeds or if it just happens in mine because I know a lot of pastors. Usually the phenomenon begins on Thursday afternoon and it looks something like this. “You DO NOT want to miss this SUNDAY. It is going to be LIFECHANGING.” It’s good that pastors are excited about what will be happening that Sunday and that a person’s life can be changed through it, but too often we are overhyping what will happen in a worship gathering. If we promise that every Sunday will be a big splash that a person will never forget, when they don’t experience that they will stop believing the hype.
Pastors, stop making so many huge promises about each and every individual Sunday. There are instances where a person’s life will change in an instant because of what they hear in one sermon. What people need more than one huge “life-changing” Sunday is the consistent transformation that takes place from meeting weekly with God’s people to sing, hear God’s word, pray, give, and receive Communion. This is what grows people over time. If our church is built on four to six week sermon series so that something new is always starting, your people will never attain the depth that you desire. You will have them living in constant promotion mode and you will wear them out.
Here is what you can promise your people every Sunday that you gather. They will sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that will point them to God. They will be brought before the throne of God in prayer and their pastor will pray for them. They will have the opportunity to give generously to support the work of the church at home and to the ends of the earth. They will receive Communion to remind them of the death of Jesus for them and of his promise that they will eat this meal with him in his Kingdom. They will hear God’s word read and expounded, knowing that the reading and preaching of God’s word leads to transformation in their hearts, minds, and lives. You can also promise them that God will be there. He will be there and He will be among them. That is enough.