Recently a visitor to Berean let me know that they would not attend a church that had a 90 minute worship service. Wow! Consider what a statement like that is saying. “God, I don’t have 90 minutes for you.” Think about everything the typical America is willing to do for over 90 minutes. They will attend a sporting event that could easily last 90+ minutes. Americans will attend a movie what will also easily exceed 90 minutes—but the preaching of the Word, worship, fellowship, Bible study, announcements, baby dedications, a call to repent, and a baptism are not worth 90 minutes of my time once a week.
It is no wonder that America is in its current state, and the fundamental/evangelical church is in its current state in the USA. “I will not go to a church that has a service that lasts 90 minutes” is indicative of a failure to disciple people into a full level of commitment or a lack of genuine conversion.
In the Revelation of Jesus Christ by the Apostle John, Jesus expresses his disdain for “lukewarm” Christians.
Jesus says that because they are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, he will spew (vomit) them out of his mouth (Rev 3:16). What a graphic picture of disdain! Spitting something out of one’s mouth is what a person may do when they just can’t suffer the taste of something. Neither of the polar extremes of lukewarm are acceptable. Hot water when I am cold is wonderful and ice cold water when I am hot is so refreshing. So, both are excellent, but what about lukewarm water? It is not quite as warming or refreshing.
Unfortunately, I am afraid lukewarm is where many so-called Christians are living.
Lukewarm Christians want “sermonettes” delivered on perceived needs, not to exceed 30 minutes in length. Hard exegesis of the whole counsel of the Word of God are avoided at all cost. Lengthy sermons that explore the holistic message of the text beginning with the author’s original intent may simply take too long.
All this creates a world in which the majority still claims to be Christians, but an alien visiting America for the first time would conclude that America is not a Christian nation. Instead, it is apparently that the citizenship is worshipping at the altar of “what is best for me” without regard for anyone else. This polarization is contrary to the Word of God, but so-called Christians more concerned with political correctness and Sunday afternoon lunches and naps rather than a worship service that pleases the Lord and challenges the soul don’t care about anyone but themselves.
This manifests itself in a visible sense in those who arrive late and leave early. But, even those who arrive early and stay after can be present for the wrong motives. Treasuring Christ above all else must be the driving force for participation in corporate worship services and the preaching of the Word of God.
“90 minutes is too much” is reflective of a heart that needs to be challenged to recognize the work of the Lord in a worship service. Certainly there are exceptions for those who have back injuries and such who need to get up and stretch or those who are sick, but the general statement taken at face value does not reflect a heart that desires to experience God’s best each week in the assembly of the people of God.
Finally, there is nothing special about 90 minutes; God can work in 60 (or 76, for that matter) minutes as well as 90 minutes. That isn’t the point. The point is that 90 minutes isn’t a long time when we’re watching a great movie or a good high school basketball game when our child is playing. In the same way, when God is working in the church, 90 minutes flies by, but that’s only when Christ is treasured in the way basketball is treasured by a true “Tar Heel.”