This week in Catalyst’s Storying, we studied Acts 20: 7-12. On the first day of the week (Sunday) the believers with Paul came together before his departure. We read how Paul began talking and just kept on talking and before you know it, the hours had passed and it was midnight.
Eutychus, a young man that had been sitting in the window of their third floor meeting place fell asleep while Paul continued talking, which is not an excuse for people to fall asleep on our Sundays… Eutychus fell out of the window and was taken for dead.
Paul went down to the ground floor and took Eutychus into his arms and said there is life in him still. Paul and everyone goes back up into the third floor room and he continues teaching and talking until daybreak, when they took the kid away alive, comforted that God had healed him and restored him to life.
This brief story provides some important insights we would do well to pay heed to. They met on Sunday. This does not mean they always met on Sundays to the exclusion of other days, but it does show they could and did meet on Sundays, not just Saturdays. The New Testament church has the latitude to meet daily at anytime and is not restricted to Sundays or even Saturdays.
The modern church in America typically meets for about 1-1.5 hours on Sundays. Involved in that is a recommended 25 minute, at most, sermon, 3-6 songs scattered throughout the service, prayer, a bulletin reading, and time for tithes and offerings, In contrast, we know Paul spoke from midnight to daylight, which is probably 4-5 hours of speaking. We also know Paul was speaking before that, but we are not sure just how long. We can safely assume Paul spoke for many hours before midnight and Eutychus falling out of the window.
The early church was more than willing to come together and spend many many hours studying the Word and life of Jesus and his Good News. Today, in America, pastors are getting fired if they preach for thirty minutes!
In Catalyst, I typically preach 30-45 minutes on Sundays bringing us together for 90 minutes of teaching roughly with Sunday School. We meet Mondays for another 30-60 minutes. I am involved with a Men’s Group Wednesdays for another 60 minutes, and we have another small group on Friday for 60 minutes. All told, Catalyst and its associated ministries come together for about 4.5 hours per week and not everyone is involved in each of those meeting times.
Our 4.5 hours barely covers the time Paul spoke after midnight and there are people who think we meet too much! I would like to recommend people visit Club 168, https://catalystbaptist.org/club-168/ and follow each of the steps. It will lead to a much more fulfilling life that mirrors the New Testament model of the early church.