“And now, the star of our show . . .”
by Rod Smith
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Those words are not actually spoken in the church, but the scene sometimes resembles a worldly concert. The person strutting the church platform ((the stage) is the “star.” All eyes are on him/her and everyone is a spectator, as though watching one of today’s hit parade singers.
It transfers the “big performer at Madison Square Garden” methodology to the church - and God never intended that.
This “star of the show” idea crept into Christianity in the 80s. Large Australian and European churches began importing guest singers, speakers etc from overseas – usually the United States. It’s no secret some wanted big dollars in “appearance money,” not to mention flights and accommodation paid for by the host. No doubt it’s on a much larger scale today.
Human tradition has stymied God’s original plan. The regular preacher upfront may also be the “star.” An accomplished speaker he may be, with skills polished in Toastmasters. Sure he has a dynamic personality; sure he may have gone to Bible College, even written a book. Yet who’s to say a dozen in the congregation couldn’t give an equally profound message?
They just don’t get the opportunity. Surely God doesn’t want Christians to be non-participators, gazing at a platform for two hours or more. God is no respecter of persons. He never intended one person to be the focus in the church. The “star” may be talented, have a fancy title, degrees, but some say the church is dying by degrees.
In the Early Church everyone was involved. No-one was the star. The believers were assembled, each with the spiritual gifts God had given them – and those gifts were used for the benefit of all.
It’s interesting the Bible talks only of believers. Isn’t that how it should be today? Titles given to individual Christians are a human invention. Why do people tolerate that and (maybe unconsciously) pay more homage to one man week after week than they do to God?
Today’s average congregation is like a frog in a jar struggling to get out - but there’s a lid on both. Some assemblies today have an untapped oil well in the form of mere spectators.
Many don’t realize what is happening – they just swim with the tide. “Well, it’s always been like that.”
Those who do have insight are leaving traditional churches and joining or starting home groups where everyone gets a fair go.
To get Holy Ghost power in his church, an aware pastor or minister will go by the manual – The Book of Acts. (Copy that, not the world!) He will tap the resources gazing at him every Sunday. He will get everyone involved.
Then, when the Holy Spirit is in the church, there’ll be no need to import expensive singers and speakers as a substitute.
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I have often contemplated this dilemma, but God has often reminded me, that His ways are not our ways and His ways are mysterious. God sometimes used pagans to get His message out to the world (as with Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) or sometimes the rocks or the “rock stars” will cry out. If His message is hidden in the house churches, how will it get out to the masses? God has allowed technology and other questionable sources to speak, so that He could get “His message of salvation” out to the whole world, even to those who do not want to hear it. He will use all methods to do this, because He is dealing with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. And we must “trust” Him to know that in the end He will “make right all wrongs”. And when his message reaches the “whole world” then Christ will return, “Praise God”.
It is true that many times men or women become the center of attention from the stage. Alas, this is probably seldom the "average." Keep in mind two things though: 1) Most often in America, it is very difficult to get the "member" of the church involved, reguardless of their gifting. 2) Even in the home sitting, someone is always up front. Remember Peter took center stage on the day of pentecost?