Some preachers’ idea of participation in church is this: “Everybody say: ‘This message is gonna be good.” If preachers want people to say a one-liner to their “neighbor,” why don’t they say: “Turn to your neighbor and quote a Bible verse.” Instead of making people repeat words after them, why don’t preachers let people listen to Jesus and share what He tells them.
Early Christianity wasn’t about robotics (repeating things by rote). It was about Christ’s fire in human hearts!
Making people robotically repeat a silly phrase to the people beside them isn’t congregational involvement in the Sunday service, no matter how much preachers love to do that. Perhaps, instead preachers could tell the congregation: “Turn to your neighbor and pray until God’s fire ignites both of your hearts!”
Trying to pump church people up by making them repeat one-liners while they listen to a one-person sermon, seems unfair. Social media platforms allow everyone a voice, but church platforms usually block everybody but the preacher. When church is directed and controlled by a man, perhaps that makes a statement that we don’t believe Jesus is able to direct it by Himself.
How would you like to hang out with friends using a programmed format every week? I think that’s how Jesus feels in church. If church trained people to enjoy hearing and following the living Jesus, more people would be thrilled about their faith during the week.
Instead church zoos people in rows like zombies instead of letting them zoom to God’s zenith in zeal of the Spirit. Church can become a behavioral loop (a rut) that recycles every week but changes nothing.
A bike is okay, but riding a jet is more powerful. Church is okay, but letting people flow in the Spirit is more powerful. Perhaps church could focus on creating an environment where the risen Jesus shows up and radically transforms hearts and lives.
What good is it to repeat words after a preacher and/or hear a message if we don’t repent of our mess? Hearer meetings (merely hearing a sermon) can become dour. Doer meetings (everyone hearing and obeying the Spirit) release power. There’s nothing like a meeting of doers of the Word, everybody listening to Jesus and then openly sharing and/or doing what He says! Try it.