I used to be notorious for always being late for appointments before I was saved. I wrongly thought that trying to be on time meant being enslaved by it and that not caring about it too much meant being free from the tyranny of time. However, it usually ended up that other people, not me, had to wait.
After I became a Christian, I came to feel that making people wait for me is a sign of arrogance. So I started to be more conscientious about being on time. These days, I’m known for always being exactly on time. So when meeting up with me, people are usually there before the scheduled time.
Since my mindset on time changed, I started to get bothered by people who come late to Sunday worship services. Being habitually late for services seems to me disrespectful to God, a sign that people respect God less than their bosses, since they would rarely be late for work. We’ve had several campaigns to encourage members to be on time, but they’ve had little effect.
Some latecomers explain their tardiness by saying that they’re under so much time pressure during the week that they want to relax on the weekends. Trying to be on time gives them unwanted pressure. The problem with this is that their actions don’t just affect them; they interrupt the worship service and other worshipers when they come late.
Starting in January, we’ll give an option to church members: they can worship either in the main sanctuary or in the fellowship hall. Those who come on time may worship in the sanctuary. Everyone else will worship at the fellowship hall, where the service will be broadcast on a big screen.
The offering basket won’t be provided to those who worship in the fellowship hall. If they want, they can drop their offering in a special offering box at the entrance. Also, the Lord’s supper will not be served in the fellowship hall. If someone has to participate in the Lord’s supper, they must come on time and worship in the sanctuary.
The doors to the sanctuary will be closed exactly 1 minute after worship starts. If you want to be on the safe side, you may want to arrive 5 minutes early. I strongly encourage you to come even earlier to pray and prepare yourselves to meet God.
Some ministries may need to adjust to accommodate this new policy. For example, traffic control teams should be prepared for extra traffic just before the worship time. Childrens department volunteers should be in their classes 20 minutes early so that parents have enough time to deliver their children to their classrooms and make it to the sanctuary on time.
Special passes will be given for those who are involved in ministries that cannot be interrupted for the service, such as offering money counting. But passes will not be available for the first two months. They should make adjustments if they want to worship in the sanctuary.
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