Written by cycleguy on October 21st, 2015

Without a doubt, cultures are different.  What works in one culture won’t work in another. We might hear something like, “If we would copy the New Testament church and do things the way they did we would be able to say we have ‘gone back to the Bible.'” One word: unrealistic. I know. I said it.

As Bob Dylan sang: “The times they are a changing.”

What works in one church doesn’t work in another. What worked several years ago is now passe’.

What hasn’t changed down through the years, though, has been the constant attempt (translated: sometimes forcing a guilt trip on people) trying to get people more involved. It is laudable. It is important. No, make that essential. But it appears many churches are facing or have accepted that it is a losing battle.

We are not producing worshipers in this country. Rather, we are producing a generation of spectators, religious onlookers lacking, in many cases, any memory of a true encounter with God, deprived of both the tangible sense of God’s presence and the supernatural relationship their inmost spirits crave. (Prodigal Church-p.1-3-204)

Randy would certainly agree. That is what Stone22 is about-accepting church is just an audience. I might add: a spectator sport. A body best functions when all its parts are working together, supporting each other. When riding my bike, a cranky right knee which has caused some atrophy (and loss of strength), is causing the left leg and thigh to pick up the slack.

Church is to be the same. Not a spectator sport where we all stand around while a few do the job, but an involvement where everyone pitches in.

If you attend a church, I do hope you are pitching in and “pulling your weight.”

This post is based on a series of random posts based on this book.

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8 Comments so far ↓

  1. floyd says:

    Agreed, Bill. If folks aren’t spending time in God’s words and digging into it beyond just reading, they’re going to be more like zombies wanting others to give them what only God can. How’s that for straight forward?

    Oh yeah, and “the times they are-uh-changin'” would be a better translation… !

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for the music lesson Floyd. I’ve never been much of a Dylan fan at all so I was doing well enough just remembering that. 🙂 I stand corrected and humbled and well…you know. LOL As for your first comment: agreed and well said.

  2. Daniel says:

    I have strong opinions on this topic, but I will keep them to myself lest I start ranting. I do my best but going to church has always been a struggle for me as I do not like to be around large groups of people.

    • cycleguy says:

      I understand some have difficulty due to their own make up. But I am also not talking just about the corporate worship. There are so many other ways to help, even if it is supporting your pastor (which I know you do). If we take worship as being 24/7 then there is much a person can do outside the church building proper.

  3. Jeff says:

    I think most churches are spectator sports by design. They offer entertainment, socializing, and not much more. They have their little internal projects which don’t require much more than writing small checks to support something or cooking a dish for a group feed.
    Most churches don’t ask for much more and get what they ask for. And most members are too embarrassed or too unsure of what they believe to actually admit to anyone outside of the church that they actually believe in supernatural happenings or ancient manuscripts that are littered with discrepancies and silly stories.
    And increasingly more people are discovering that what Grandma believed is really of no use to them.

  4. Betty Draper says:

    This post reminded me of when we lived in Bolivia we would take a portable generator up into the mountains where the Quecuha Indians lived and show the Jesus film in Spanish. As soon as the sound started they would come out of their houses tucked in the mountains and come and see what the noise was all about. It was the noise the drew them and they stayed because it was entertaining, showing a film of any kind would have brought them out. But there was a point to the Jesus film, it introduced them to Jesus the Son of God, who died for the sins of all mankind, their sin. It opened a door for our men to go back into the same place and teach the Bible without the entertainment. In the Yembi tribe in Papua New Guinea they showed some of the Planet EArth video by portable generator to show them what the creator created just as it said in Gen. Having different methods is great but when our methods water down the message or never give it so hearts will have a choice to believeor not woe to us who call ourselves Christians. Just the other day I met a nice policemen, a friend of my son who is not a believer. He was very open about not having a need for religion, not nasty or putting down those who believe in the gospel, but just honest about he did not see a need for it. He is a very moral good man, helpful to all, good father, husband, just a good kind man. That was as far as our conversation got to. I am looking forward to more conversations with him about eternal issues.
    Jeff has a point about most of us believers, we are not bold enough, or too unsure of what we believe to talk to anyone about Christ. Your post brother has challenged me to be more bold about my faith in Christ. I go to church to be with other believer, to be challenged, to be encouraged in my walk, to be taught more about the character of God so I will be bold outside the church walls. So keep preaching Bill, keep writing post that encourage us to walk the walk we say we believe in.

  5. Ceil says:

    Hi Bill! I really agree with the ‘spectator’ aspect of church-goers. I was just thinking yesterday that many people have no relationship with Scripture, except what they hear on Sundays. It puts a lot of responsibility on the preacher/teacher, but it’s also sad that they can’t bring their own thoughts to the praise and thanks to God.

    I hope the Holy Spirit will truly move to change hearts to love of the Word. Love of the community. That’s the challenge of my faith.

  6. Each Sunday, Bill, I watch with dismay the seemingly passive attitude of so many in the congregation. Hey! This is contemporary praise, people, and you’ve chosen this service above the traditional! What’s up with that???
    Then I have to remember – my perception is not God's. He knows when those out there are participating inside with heart and soul. They might not have demonstrative natures. We just pray as a band every Sunday that we can communicate the Word and love of God in every service.
    Thanks for this reflection, my friend!