This is one of the major requirements inside church buildings today. It is often said the people are the church, but in the building itís usually a case of never has so much been done by so few.
The problem is the people for the most part are spectators. Fifty, eighty, a hundred, enter the building, sing some songs, then sit down while someone (one of the usual chosen few) comes to the platform to give a message prior to communion.
After that, the rank and file continue staring at the platform (or the back of someoneís head) while the microphone changes hands and the pastor comes on with his announcements. Then itís back to the music and if itís Pentecostal (and if the musicians donít drown it fiddling with their strings and keys) there comes a word from someone in the congregation. Often itís the one who can shout the loudest who gets heard, because no-one gets the precious microphone which will amplify their voice. Softly-spoken Sally at the back has a real word from God but no-one can hear it except those sitting close by.
Then comes the message by the pastor, and of course everyone sits and listens for another half an hour or more. Then itís time for a final song, and itís coffee-and-cakes time.
This routine surely has to change. No-one among the sitters is ever going to cast out demons, heal the sick or minister to anyone unless they get the opportunity: unless they get practice.
This writer heard a great message in the church titled Kingdom Authority, given by an elderly retired pastor. He said that every believer has authority from Jesus to minister as the Lord did, and that is what we all ought to be doing, the speaker said.
What a marvellous opportunity that was for the regular pastor to then stand up and say: ďOK I believe that. Now we will put it into practice. I want every one of you to pray for the person sitting next to you, but there is no compulsion. If they are sick, lay hands on them as Jesus said.Ē Guess what? It didnít happen and we had the same-old, same-old of the chosen (or is it the frozen) few doing all the ministry upfront.
Why does this controlling and manipulating go on? Why - when we purportedly serve a God of such great imagination and creativity Ė is there so much human tradition? Why are things done in the same way in the same manner week after week? Why are we set in ritualistic concrete? Lord, deliver us from all this.
If the Holy Spirit is really working within the leadership, surely it can be different. Call up people to the platform to testify what the Lord has done in the previous week. Call up others to give their testimony Ė everybody has one! Let someone go upfront and lay hands on the sick who has never done it before! Or have them do that right where they sit. Do we believe God or not?
We need this kind of change as part of the Christian revolution that is so desperately needed today.
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I agree with your comments. We had a guest missionary last night and he said there are too many "constipated Christians" out there. Keep writing - you have many who agree and will now get up and do something for Christ. Your articles are well-written, with a good flow, and provide a bit of "ouch" and encouragement. Thanks.