Sunday I preached a sermon that served as an appendix to my series on Matthew (particularly to the two weeks I preached from the Great Commission). In this message I addressed critical matters for the life of our church and tried to explain how the church, through her simple program exalts God. Here is an excerpt from that sermon (from my notes exactly):
"Our program is simple so that God- not our creativity- is most on display through our church. Creative programming is not bad but should not become the focus of our church nor should it distract from our focus. Having a flurry of activity may seem attractive and vibrant but can inflict collateral damage to the congregation and her mission. Let me suggest twelve dangers to over-programming in the church:
1. Over-programming can mislead people to think the corporate worship gathering is just another program.
2. Over-programming can pull the congregation apart and create separate interest groups.
3. Over-programming can put stress on the church’s finances and leaders.
4. Over-programming can make “sacred cows” out of some people’s preferred programs.
5. Over-programming can minimize the priority of what the church does together.
6. Over-programming can add to the many activities that are pulling at families.
7. Over-programming can risk burn-out and threaten the principle of Sabbath-rest.
8. Over-programming can put over-emphasis on “come see” evangelism at the expense of Biblical “go tell” evangelism.
9. Over-programming can confuse busyness for real fruitfulness.
10. Over-programming can misrepresent what the New Testament teaches is necessary for a healthy church.
11. Over-programming can falsely present the gospel as increased involvement in the activities of a church.
12. Over-programming can reduce the congregation to just the people that exist to maintain the programs.
We can fall into this consuming and meaningless pattern of ‘attract more people to get more money to build more programs to attract more people to get more money to build more programs’, and on and on and on. This feeds pride as we boast to be a bigger and busier church but who is getting the glory? It exalts the ingenuity of some people while reducing most people into widgets. The ministry of the Word must be central in the life of the church and nothing else should distract from that. The Lord builds His church through His Word and by hearing and obeying His Word the church declares the glory of God to the world."