Are we Christian spectators or Christian participants? Do we sit, watch, and listen to Christianity or do we live, do, and demonstrate Christianity?
Spectators are passive observers. They have no say in the outcome of the things they watch. TV watchers, sports fans, concert attenders, movie goers, and frequently church attenders — all are spectators; watching without doing.
However, participators are just the opposite of spectators. They have active roles that actually do impact the outcome of the event. They are TV actors, athletes, musicians, movie makers, and people who obey this Bible verse, I Corinthians 14:26, in church.
The New Testament uses active, powerful, and participatory words to describe Christians: followers, disciples, apostles (literally meaning “sent ones”), believers, overcomers, more than conquerors, witnesses, and soldiers. However, we tend to use passive, unbiblical terms to describe Christians: members, adherents, laymen, church attenders, and “the people in the pew.”
Jesus told His disciples to “go into all the world and make disciples” — to be active participants. The book of James tells us to be “doers of the word, not just hearers.”
Somehow in the Western world, church meetings got set up with a stage or a platform and a bunch of pews. The congregation was turned into an audience and expected to be spectators.
However, the purpose of church is to worship and glorify God. He is the audience and the entire congregation is on stage or on the platform and called to participate in active and passionate worship of God.
Perhaps it is time for all Christians to take back their Biblical role and begin to actively take part and help direct church meetings. Some Christians are beginning to gather and allow people to participate as the Holy Spirit leads. This is sometimes called organic church, or simple church or house church.
Here is a link to a national magazine article about a participatory church in Nashville: http://www.prioritypeople.org/article.php?articleID=558