Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Willow Creek Church Cancels Christmas Services

From NBC5 out of Chicago, we read the following statement:

Members of one of the Chicago area's largest churches will have to find someplace else to go if they want to attend services on Christmas Day. The issues were resources," said Willow Creek Community Church spokeswoman Cally Parkinson.Parkinson said resources that would have gone toward a Christmas Day service in the auditorium would instead help the church offer a week of worship, culminating on Christmas Eve. There will also be a special spiritual DVD the congregation will be encouraged to watch at home on Christmas Day, NBC5's Jennifer Mitchell reported.
The article goes on to say that Willow Creek "has never held services on Christmas Day, except in 1994, when the holiday also fell on a Sunday. That year, only 1,500 people attended services. This year, the church expects at least 50,000 people to attend the eight services that will be offered between Dec. 20 and 24."

So, attending worship on December 25 is too inconvenient? For children of the King? Too busy to take time to meet as the Body of Christ?

Have we fallen so far that Christians have changed the emphasis on Christmas from a remembrance and celebration of the miracle of the incarcnation into "family time," which we all know really means "opening presents and playing with the new toys." Maybe we should just be honestly transparent and tell it like it is: we relish the idea of openly enjoying the sin of covetousness and materialism on the one day when it is deemed OK to do so. Attending a worship service would only "ruin the mood."

How's this for irony: Jesus said that life is not found in number of possessions that you own. He told us not to lay up treasures for ourselves on earth, but in heaven. Yet, the holiday that celebrates His birth provides the most consumeristic, materialistic season of the year (Ascol). We are no different - I guess now some are just willing to admit it.

Other mega-churches to follow suit include Mars Hill Bible Church (link is to newsletter in PDF format) in Grandville, Mich.; North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga. (Andy Stanley's church); Fellowship Church near Dallas (Ed Young's church, son of Ed Young from Second Baptist Houston); and Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky.

In looking at this page, I can't help but wonder at what transpired during the staff meeting! Who brought it up? What was the reaction? Did NO ONE stand up and question this decision? I try to imagine making this suggestion at Western Avenue!

1 comment:

Jim Pemberton said...

To be sure, we may have reduced numbers at Western Avenue on Christmas day. Some may skip just because it's Christmas. Some may be travelling. Some may have family they don't want to leave at the house.

I don't have any family coming into town, but if I were, I'd invite them to church and come anyway.