Have We Become Puppets On A String?
Currently: Sunday morning Christian church services “enable” those attending: You are given a bulletin of “programs” and “up coming events” when entering; see audio visuals projected of “programs” and “upcoming events” on huge screens in the foyer and/or in the sanctuary; are “cued” when the service begins with music by a professional sounding worship team; told by the worship leader when to stand and when to sit; told what to sing through projected words; because of the “audio mix”, you can choose to sing or not because no one will know if you are singing due to the volume of the professionals singing and playing; are told to sit when the worship leader deems worship has ended; exhorted to financially give to support the staff, the programs, and the system as a continual act of worship; have someone give announcements of “programs” and “upcoming events” because the staff does not believe you read your bulletin nor read the projected announcements; are expected to quietly soak in a professionally developed and delivered sermon which requires no feedback pn your part, so you may actually tune out the speaker if you wish or cat nap as some have been known for doing; asked to respond to selected trained members of a prayer or counseling team in front of the church, join in singing a closing song, or chose to leave the premises.
This is what is required of you to be part of a Christian church service in America today. You do not have to bring your Bible for there is either one under your chair or pew or scriptural references projected as outlined in the sermon to justify the senior pastor’s points. Even if you brought your Bible, there will be no outlet for you to read it aloud or share from it like the pastor or staff will do for you. You do not have to pray, for the senior pastor or a staff member may do that for you during the service, or a prayer team will take care of that before or after the service. You do not have to sing, but if you do, all is scripted for you, played loud enough so you might blend in with the background singers if you sing loud enough. You are required to come prepared for one thing: the offering, to give “unto the Lord” to support the professional staff and facilities that is producing for you such a glorious professional production.
What do you learn from this experience? You learned what songs the worship leaders like and the interpretation and theology of the Senior Pastor who delivers the sermon. That nothing is required from you if it does not have financial connections. That the voice of the commoner sitting in the audience or congregation is not important, for you will never hear that voice. You have no idea what their spiritual journey’s story is nor what they theologically believe. There is no interaction among one another beyond social surface greetings, for you may not see one another again for week.
We have become reduced to puppets on a string.
What would happen if those who came to the Sunday Morning Christian church service were accountable for daily Bible reading and quiet devotional times during the week, and actually tried to hear the small voice of the Holy Spirit to teach them when reading their Bible and for direction in their lives? If given an outlet to voice what they have read, heard, and understood in place of a professionally delivered sermon, church would begin to be personal and relational. What if those who are musically or artistically gifted sang, drew, or created during the week? If given an outlet to sing, draw, and create on Sunday, anticipation for creativity by the Holy Spirit may become the norm for a church service. What if “programs” and “up coming” events were not announced, but instead “relationships” shared by the people attending, sharing their spiritual salvation and sanctification journeys with each other. You might just now know what spiritual life exists in the members of “body of Christ” who are attending. What would happen if those attending would begin praying for one another on a personal and corporate level, laying hands on one another, releasing one’s faith towards each other? What ministry would that create? What would happen if community were developed instead of weekly “programs” and “up coming events”, so that the members of the body would intermingle with each other daily or throughout the week, and Sunday morning would only be a corporate sharing time of what was happening amongs them six other days of the week.
“Oh,” comes the cry, “but there must be order. There would be no order,” is the fear! Order through fear of losing control shows lack of FAITH in the leading of the Holy Spirit by those in leadership. Bottom Line: Who is in control here? God has given “gifts” to “see over” what the Holy Spirit is leading and doing when God’s people gather, instead of man’s control through “offices” “overseeing" what is happening to establish order instead of freeing the Holy Spirit and their congregation to worship.
Whose service is it? Really, the Senior Pastor’s, his staff, and the worship leaders, or is it the people of God’s who have assembled together? “Where two or three are gathered, there I AM.” God, the I AM, is in the midst of His people, so let’s allow Him to manifest Himself there! That is His desire! That is His plan! If we truly want to worship God, let’s give Him His desire: to be manifested among His people.
So I ask, “Is an interactive driven church service even a possibility in today’s church environment?”