I “stumbled upon” a 1971 book by a Baptist pastor that describes a participatory style church service:
“One winter morning I stopped for worship at a small East Tennessee rural church . . . The singing stopped and he (the pastor) said: ‘Do you have anything you want to say to the church?‘ One man requested prayer for his wife, another told how the prayers of the church helped him find a job and a woman said: ‘I’ve had a problem which I could not discuss, but now I can thank God that the patience and prayers of my friends in this church helped me solve it.’ Another woman began weeping. She said: ‘I’ve done so wrong in my attitude toward some people in this church. I want their forgiveness and I want you all to help me have a right attitude.’ One rugged wheather-stained farmwife said: ‘I’m so happy I could shout’ — and she did shout. Festival was present in that circle. Mystery was also present. It was a true communion of the saints.”
The author, Albert McClellan, also wrote: “The church as community should have the listening mind of Christ. Its worship should be free and offer easy conversation and dialogue. Services should be structured to give people opportunity to share their problems and their concerns.“
Experience participatory church for yourself at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, Tennessee, 37207 on Sunday mornings at 10:45 am.