Is Convenience Ruining the Church?

In my upcoming book, Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media, I tell the story of a pastor who never preaches for more than 12-15 minutes because he feels that’s all he can demand of his audience.

Today, many churches across the country are slaves to the clock, and wouldn’t think of pushing a service past the hour mark.

Last week I was in Nevada shooting some television segments with Pastor Benny Perez from The Church at South Las Vegas. We started talking about the “convenience” culture that’s rising in churches across the country. I even posted recently on Twitter about a company that’s combined the wine and bread into one disc so Communion services can happen more quickly, and be more, well, “convenient.”

Benny told me about a conversation he had with a new church member a few weeks before. She was a hairstylist and had just recently become a Christian, and her life up to that point could not have been more different. In other words, before giving her life to Christ, she was about as non-religious as you could get.

The subject of length of church services came up, and she gave Benny a surprising answer: “Hey, if I’m going to get up, get dressed and go to something that matters, I’d feel cheated if it only lasted an hour.”

She said, “It’s not about convenience, it’s about an experience. If God is there, what’s the rush?”

Maybe our well-intentioned desire for “convenience” has gone a little too far.

Better yet, maybe if lives were actually being changed during the service, people wouldn’t be shuffling toward the door during the closing prayer.

How compelling is your service? Do your people want more of God, or a better seat at the buffet down the street?  

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Phil Cooke
Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California (cookepictures.com)where he helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."