I love following pastors on Twitter and Facebook. In these years of temporarily being outside of pastoral ministry, it gives me great joy to pray for pastors who continue to preach, teach, lead, and serve week after week after very long week.
But Saturdays make me chuckle.
Beginning on Saturday afternoons, the tweets start rolling in. Tweets that sound a bit like a pep rally:
- Stoked about worship this weekend! Don’t miss out! It’s going to be epic!
- So pumped about what God is going to do tomorrow in worship!
- Can’t wait to deliver the message that God gave me for our church tomorrow!
- Get up, get to church, God is going to do great things tomorrow!
- AMAZING testimony to start our service on Sunday! Trust me, you do NOT want to miss this!
A pastor friend and I were having lunch not long ago and he said, “Sometimes, I want to get on Twitter and say to all our church members: I’m super stoked about services this weekend! It’s going to be the most super ordinary Sunday ever!”
There’s something to be said for online enthusiasm for worship services. Would that we be more enthusiastic about gathering with God’s people and hearing from God’s Word! We go to worship with a sense of expectation and anticipation, yes. We attend church services expecting to hear from God, prayerfully open to whatever changes He might make in our lives.
But let’s face it. Not every message, every song, every service will be spectacular.
Brothers, we are not hype-machines.
That’s why all the Twitter buzz wore out my pastor friend with the pressure of making every weekend “an incredible worship service you will never forget.” That’s a treadmill that exhausts the faithful preacher. Where did we get the idea that every worship set has to be more powerful than the week before, that every sermon has to be a home run, that every experience has to be immediately life-changing?
Not only that, but when you really do have a big event going on, it’s hard to top your rhetoric from every other weekend. If all your Saturday tweets are ecstatic escapes into ALL CAPS territory, you’ll have a hard time expressing how super, really, amazingly, incredibly stoked you are that 15 people are getting baptized the next day. Adjectives run out at some point, as do Twitter characters.
God Meets Us in the Ordinary
So, my pastor friends, please be encouraged by a few simple truths.
First, let’s not overemphasize the dramatic results of one incredible worship service and underemphasize the long-term results of faithful, ordinary church-going. The week in, week out routine of gathering with God’s people and listening to God’s Word is not a waste, even if your people walk out the door on a given Sunday and can’t recall the second point in your sermon. It’s the cumulative effect of our practices that matters, not the spectacular experience of the moment. Sometimes, it’s not one sermon that changes a life, but 1000 sermons.
Secondly, be thankful for the days when God performs open-heart surgery on us through His Word. But remember that most Sundays, God is extending health to us through the faithful proclamation of His Word and the fellowship of believers who stir us up to love and good deeds.
Third, let’s not downplay the ordinary Sundays – the beauty of God’s service to His children on non-holiday weekends, the Sundays that don’t stand out on the calendar. After all, it’s the God who meets us in the ordinary means of grace that we can get super stoked about.