The second mission statement in the St John’s Vision is to glorify God by our acts of love and service. As we pray and think about staying on track as a church, now is a good time to reflect on how the past two years might have changed our perspective on our Sunday gatherings. It has shown us that church without a congregation doesn’t feel like church at all. But I also wonder if ‘watching church online’ has inadvertently shaped our thinking about how we are to serve? Does ministry simply happen up the front on a Sunday? Or are there ways for all of us to be involved in glorifying God by loving and serving each other? Let me introduce you to the idea to the second half of church.
The first half of church tends to be a lot more structured; it is the ‘formal part of the service.’ We are led from the front as we pray, sing, and hear the bible read and taught. Now the second half of church begins when the formal service ends and the conversations begin. The beautiful thing about the second half of church is that it is the simplest and largest expression of how we glorify God by our acts of love and service. We love by listening to each other, we care by praying for each other, and we serve by helping each other reflect on the Scriptures and sermon. It is the simplest form of service because there is no need for special training or a leader. It is the largest example of love as all Christians can be involved in glorifying God in this way!
So how might we make the most out of the second half of church? Let me suggest a few things:
- Let’s be available for the second half of church. We can plan our Sundays to spend more time at church. Stick around for lunch, dinner, or coffee (depending on what time your service is) so we might be available to our fellow congregation members. Now I understand that many members of our church have family or work commitments, but even an extra 15 minutes a week will mean 13 hours of loving and serving each other on Sundays each year!
- Let’s be intentional with the second half of church. It’s easy to gravitate to only speaking with our close friends and to keep conversations light. While there’s certainly space for that in all healthy relationships, it’s important not to lose sight of the reason why we gather. Let’s be deliberate in helping each other reflect on what we have learned from God’s word. Let’s be conscious of the opportunities we have to pray and care for one another. Admittedly this will feel foreign and mechanical at first, but over time, this will become more familiar and natural.
- Let’s be outgoing in the second half of church. What I mean is that we can be deliberate with meeting new people. I often hear the sentiment that it’s hard to really get to know others on a Sunday. I often wondered if this a structural issue (is it to do with how we run things?), or a cultural issue (is it to do with how we behave?), and more and more I am convinced that it’s the latter. If we are used to catching up with the same people every week, then there’s little chance of meeting anyone new. But if we are willing to make the effort to meet one new person each week, then we will know most people by the end of the year.
Once again, the second half of church is the simplest and largest expression of how we glorify God by our acts of love and service. The time after the Sunday service ends is ripe with gospel opportunities and moments to minister to each other. So let’s be available, intentional and outgoing in our love and service during the second half of church! And may it all be done for glory of God. Amen.
Nathan Xing / MTS Intern
St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Parramatta
PRAY: Pray for each of us as we look for ways to glorify God by our acts of love and service. Pray that we would be available, intentional and outgoing as we connect with others in our church family both during Sunday services and outside Sunday services.
Join us this Sunday for our Sunday services. We meet at 8am, 9:30am, 11am and 5pm at the Cathedral – and online at 9:30am. Check out out Sunday services page for more information on our face-to-face services.