In the book The Shaping of Things to Come, Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost explain the organic rhythm of the biblical church in the book of Acts and observe that “the missional-incarnational church… sees itself as part of an ongoing process, not an end itself” (Hirsch & Frost). As subtle as it may appear, many Sunday services function as an endpoint for many churches and believers. If not implemented correctly and in the right time, the Sunday service can act as a counterproductive agent in the goal of reproducing disciples. While many churches are able to produce knowledgeable and committed members they often fail to produce disciples who can make another disciple. The mechanics of an average service working as the sole provider of scriptural substance cannot help but create a body of consumers. Imagine for a moment the expectations felt by a customer in an average restaurant.
In a restaurant, the professionally-made food is prepared in a closed-off kitchen, delivered by well-dressed waiters and presented with a smile and polite service. The food is then analyzed by customers and marketed by their reviews. A cooking class, however, brings the student into the culinary process. The chef is present and the students watch as the meat is fried and the vegetables are cut. Despite the fact that the lengthier class might take place within a hotter, messier and less convenient atmosphere, the interactions within a cooking class stimulate the mind differently than if one were simply browsing through a menu. Although the student will finally sit and eat a subpar self-made dish over a tall counter filled with debris and oil, he/she cannot help but think about all the dinners that will be hosted with this newfound skill and recipe. While the restaurant satisfies the immediate hunger with speed and culinary excellence, it fails to offer the tools, ingredients, and skills necessary to be able to make that same dish again. The problem that occurs when Sunday services are not coupled with spaces in which the words are discovered in community, is that the students have no way of knowing how to create that sermon themselves. If the sermon becomes the sole provider of spiritual nourishment, the church member will never know how to cook and will simply become a specialized eater. Although sermons are biblical, a sermon alone produces knowledgeable Christians that will simply know how to talk about food and compare restaurants.