52 SUNDAYS: What If I Work On Sundays?
This year we're challenging our members and regular attenders to attend a church service every week in 2014. You can read more about the 52 SUNDAYS challenge here. This article is part of a series of articles about 52 SUNDAYS.
What if I work on Sundays?
We live in a 24/7 world and this means people work on Sundays (at least until the robots take over). How does a Christian navigate the workplace when it conflicts with their place of worship?
Before I answer the question, we need to agree on two principles:
If we don't agree on these (at minimum), the rest of what I'm about to say won't make sense. We can't start the discussion with the "work question."
Work isn't the problem.
The short answer is to either find a job that allows you to worship with your church OR find a church that worships when you don't work.
You need work AND worship.*
This doesn't mean that from time to time or for a season you won't find your work schedule conflicting with your worship. It happens. You get a new job. There's a crisis. You're on call. When this occurs I'd recommend you stay in contact with your fellow church members, look for alternative days of rest and worship (even visit a like-minded church with a different service time), invite accountability, and be sure to care for anyone else counting on you (ex. your spouse, children, friends, small group, ministry teammates).
Worry about what you're missing, not what others think.
So then, what if you work regularly on Sundays? I'd encourage you not to settle for it. Think big. Believe God wants you to attend church and start asking for wisdom and counsel. Perhaps you need to change jobs? Perhaps your employer will give you Sundays off even if he already said no? God can do this.
Perhaps you need to take a pay cut and work less? Downsize or take a demotion? Or just say no? I've seen individuals do all of these and more. And I don't remember any of them regretting it.
The other option is to look for a different church.
Please don't take this as license to hop from church to church indefinitely, allowing the person who makes your work schedule pick your "church of the week". That'd be sad.
Your new church should match your new "Sunday." If Saturdays are when you worship, then find a church full of people who worship and fellowship together on Saturdays. Or Mondays. Or whenever.
Start by trying to change your work situation. Save the more radical measures for later. Pray for wisdom and courage. Repent where necessary (maybe you've been working on Sundays for the wrong reasons). And come to grips with the reality that everyone struggles to rest AND worship. This is part of the curse (Genesis 3).
Work is hard because our work is cursed.
"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God." (Romans 8:20-21 ESV)
P.S. To all my friends who work on Sundays...big hugs. I love you like crazy and am fully committed to your best. I know many of you feel like you have no choice. Your stuck and it sucks and I agree. Please read this article as my heart for God to release you from the frustration of your work. No judgement here...only compassion, patience, bearing your burden, and longing for us to sing together every Sunday until heaven. Hit me up and tell me how to pray for you.
*I use the term "worship" here as short hand for public worship, the kind we do in community. I know we also worship privately and that even our "work" is worship.