Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Epic Churches for Epic Times


Every congregation must become a participant-observer congregation. The body of Christ is a participative community. Not just in the Eucharist is everyone a “participant,” a part of the action, not apart from it. There are no more “professional clergy” and pew-sitting laity. There are only ministers who look to leaders to mobilize and release ministry through them. All “participant” are full partners.”

-Leonard Sweet, “Post-Modern Pilgrims,” page 72.

Whatever level of interaction you choose, there needs to be an interactive segue at least every eight minutes (which is three times people’s visual attention span, now down to two or three minutes).

-Leonard Sweet, “Post-Modern Pilgrims,” page 74

The most powerful union in today’s culture is the “pastor’s union” in the Presbyterian Church. There really isn’t a union but it sure functions like one. Pastors like to feel important. Pastors like to think that they are the only ones who are qualified to carry out certain tasks in the church. Take baptism for example. Where does it say in scripture that only pastors are qualified to perform the baptism? IT DOESN’T! Where does it say in scripture that only pastors are qualified to preside over communion? IT DOESN’T! Our strong “union” makes sure that only pastors (or elders in specific situations) can do these things.

Post-moderns want to participate in everything that impacts their lives. They want input on their medical decisions. It is easy to “google” a particular disease and evaluate different types of treatment. There are other areas where people want to participate. Wikipedia is a great example of a participatory culture. Everyone can add to this online “encyclopedia.” Everyone is an expert—all can participate. Everyone can be an “expert” by using the internet.

The Reformed Tradition talks about the “priesthood of all believers.” What a crock!! Most churches don’t even come close to practicing this idea. We try to get people to serve on a committee. The committee comes up with an idea. They pass the idea on to a bigger committee or to the Session (church speak for church board). The Session eventually accepts the recommendation, modifies it or kills it. The decision is then passed back to the committee for them to implement. Most “boomers” and post-moderns have very little desire for this type of service. Why don’t we trust those “priests” who serve on committees? Could it be that those in positions of power don’t want to give up that power?

Time to shift gears and talk about learning styles. Sweet talks about attention spans and interactivities. The typical sermon is a 20 – 25 minute monologue. The pastor speaks and everyone else sits and listens. Does anyone have any clues as to how we can make the sermon more interactive?


At 9:33 AM , Blogger Glenn E. Malone said...

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