I came across this powerful quote today:
“The shift from postmodernity to participatory culture means people find their identity through what they create as opposed to maybe what they consume. … Our churches are still structured in such a way that we do it to them, not inviting them to create worship with us. So, if that’s the case, there’s really no space for people who’ve been formed by our participatory culture in our churches.”
In other words, what Bolger is saying is that if you are under 45, there really is no room for you in church. In much of my research about adolescents, culture, technology and worship, there is an overwhelming pile of truth to this statement. We have heard the sayings, “Church is what you are, not what you do.” “You can’t go to church ’cause the church is you.” Bolger is advocating that we invite people IN to worship. Reggie Joiner says we need to stop being cruise directors that entertain our clientele and start becoming adventure guides that expect people to join in the journey.
What Bolger is advocating for, and I think he has hit a resounding chord of truth, is that we need to be less performance driven in our corporate worship and more invitational active. Instead of letting people be passive spectators, we much call them to be active participants. They cannot warm a pew for an hour to and hour and a half on a Sunday.
The picture we get in Acts 2 is a picture of EVERYONE participating in worship. So I started thinking, “What if?” What if we started a participatory worship culture in our traditionally spectator/consumer churches? I am just spitballing here so bear with me:
- What if? Instead of a sermon, we had 20 minutes of lectio divina and then had a roaming microphone to let people share what they heard in the passage?
- What if? Instead of one person praying for everyone in the room, that one person moderated a time where people break into groups of 3 and 4 and pray FOR and WITH each other?
- What might communion that is participatory look like?
- How about singing and song leading? What if we let go of that and handed it back to the people? (radical . . . I know)
- What if instead of sitting in a room for an hour and a half one Sunday, we all meet together for 5 mins and then go serve in our communities as our worship and BE Jesus to our neighbors?
- What if we all read the morning scripture out loud at the same time (in different translations)?
- What if offering was also an open mike time where people talked about how they would offer their lives up to their neighbors, co workers, teammates, classmates, etc. that week?
- What if INSTEAD of taking an offering, we called people to take what they were about to give and use it in their world to make a difference that week ? (Now I’m just being crazy)
This would be FUN!