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People That Hunger – A Requirement for a Healthy Church

Sunday is a day like no other, for many of us. On this first day of the week, we do things quite differently than on other days. We start our day, not at work, play, or with a honey-do list, but gathering with others we don’t see all week to worship. Then it’s off to lunch and perhaps an afternoon nap. The day’s events look nothing like what is awaiting us on Monday.

And maybe that’s why it happens.

Somehow what we do on Sunday tends to be left to Sundays. We compartmentalize Sundays. We allow the unique activities and unique group of friends to be, well…unique. By Sunday’s end, when we’ve left the events and people of the day behind for another week, it’s easy to leave the rest of Sunday behind too–Sunday’s sermon is forgotten by Monday, Sunday’s heart of worship is abandoned for job pressures and the more dominating assignments of the week.

Pastors know the frustrated feeling that Sundays don’t often leak into the six days that follow. But our recent emphasis on extraordinary Sunday experiences only magnifies the issue. Pastor puts most of his energy on his one-day opportunity, while the congregation grows beyond his ability or energy to encounter through the week. Sundays are just Sundays, and increasingly they are only for Sundays.

Somebody has to halt this path–and it’s usually the people who can. Every time they open a Bible of bow to pray for something other than food, they open a door for God to impact one of their six days. Each time they pause to worship, to reflect in God’s goodness or engage His presence near them, they strike a blow against Sunday-only faith.

Now Sundays matter, but it seems that in the Early Church, Mondays and Thursdays (and their four other friends) mattered more. The work of ministry (the stuff pastors are supposed to equip us for) is supposed to happen mostly on those days we’re not with the Sunday crowd. That’s why Jesus’ command was to “Go,” not “y’all come.”

How do we worship God on Mondays? Doesn’t it boil down to a hunger to really know Him? Isn’t it really all about wanting His powerful hand stirring up my Fridays? A real relationship with God can’t be contained in a single day each week, and those who want more know it.

When people truly hunger for God, they realize that loving Him takes all week… 

Pastor can’t do a lot to affect that change. Yes, he can slow the Sunday-only focus a bit and seek to equip people for what comes next. He can stop tying Sunday’s message into a neat little bow, and leave some stuff to be done on Tuesday. But ultimately it’s the people who have to want more…not more church services but more of God in their lives off campus.

People who hunger for God don’t quarrel easily. They manage to keep their pride and self-focus in check as well. They tend to lift others up while they look for ways to serve the God they love. In fact, the more they are loving God, the more likely they are to love people–since you can’t really separate the two.

Spiritually-hungry people drive everything that’s healthy about a congregation. So if you want to see God working more powerfully among your own faith community, start letting Him work more powerfully in your own life. Pastor, you can join the hunger as well. Remember that God will always grow His Church by growing His people.  No other strategy can be healthy.

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