Lord's Day Worship — The Ordinary Means
During the winter, I help coach my son’s wrestling team. The ages for the boys run from 4th-8th grade. For many of the younger kids, this is their first taste of a competitive contact sport. They may have played soccer or baseball, but this is the first time where they lock up with another kid and go at it until one of them has their hand raised in victory. Usually, I will have a parent come up to me at some point in the season and ask, “My son loves wrestling, how can he get better?” What happens is that during a match, their son will wrestle against a kid the same weight and age as their son, but there is an obvious skill level difference. The parent wants to know what is the secret to bridging that gap. How do they get from here to there? The answer I always give is very boring and usually unsatisfying. Practice. If you want to get better, you have to practice. The quantity and the quality of your practice must increase. There is nothing magical about it. Boring, monotonous, repetitive, and ordinary practice. That’s the ordinary path to victory.
This shouldn’t come to us as a surprise. This is the ordinary path for growth in most avenues of life. If you want to develop in your hobby, you need to apply more time and attention developing it. If you want to increase your business, you need to give it more and better time. If you want to develop a relationship, you need to give it a sufficient quantity and quality of time. Malcolm Gladwell posits this same idea in his book Outliers by arguing that it takes 10,000 hours of practice in anything to become an expert. Your competency in nearly any avenue of life will increase if you devote more and better time to it. The simple fact that should strike any of us as just ordinary common-sense is that if you want to grow, you need to do it more.
Our growth and maturity in the Lord is no different. God has provided us with common and ordinary means of grace for our sanctification and maturing in the faith. If we want to grow in our walk with the Lord, we need to employ these means in our lives with more and better time. If you have ever thought that your Christian life is not all that you have wanted it to be (and if you’re honest with yourself, you have), there is a simple and ordinary solution: avail yourself to the means of grace.
Our sanctification is a “work of God’s grace whereby we are renewed in the whole of the man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness” (WSC #35). The practical component of our growth in that grace is through the ordinary means of God’s grace. The ordinary Means of Grace are the Word, the sacraments, and prayer. The Larger Catechism (#155) instructs us that not only the reading of God’s Word, but “especially the preaching” is effective by the power of the Holy Spirit to “enlighten, convince, and humble sinners.” It drives us out of ourselves and draws us unto Christ. It is especially through the preaching of the Word that God conforms us to his image and subdues us to his will.
So, practically speaking, one of the best ways we can grow in our sanctification and mature in our walk with the Lord is to submit ourselves to more (both quality and quantity) of the preaching of God’s Word. Simply put, if one sermon is good, then two sermons are better. It is for this simple argument that a Sunday Evening worship service would be beneficial to the life of the Christian and a good thing for the overall health of our church.
There are other practical benefits of a Sunday evening worship. I believe that Sunday evening worship can foster greater fellowship among the church. A Sunday evening worship service would be easy to couple with fellowship meals. Another practical benefit is that as the children of our church mature, Sunday evening worship lends itself to facilitating of a youth group meeting.
There are likely a number of questions or objections some folks might have about coming back out for another worship service. We’ll look at some of those next week. But my hope is that the clear practical benefits for a Sunday evening worship service are clear. A common and ordinary way for us to grow in our relationship with the Lord is to avail ourselves to the common and ordinary means of grace. A Sunday evening worship service is an excellent way to accomplish this.