The way we do things communicates more than we realise. As Marshall MacLuhan famously said; “The medium is the message.” The methods we choose become the actual message, more than the words we say.
When we place people in rows and preach from a pulpit, we accidentally communicate these hidden messages;
- You are consumers, not participants.
- You are an audience, not a community.
- You learn best by passively listening, not actively engaging.
- You are here to take, not to give.
- The pastor is the performer; you are the audience.
- We encourage superficial socialising, not deep connection and honest sharing.
- The pastor’s knowledge and training outweigh your opinions and life experience.
- You are not qualified to direct your own learning, or to teach others.
- The best way for you to teach others about God is to lecture at them and performfor them.
Even though these messages are unintentional, they have a crippling impact on the church and its potential in our society. The church in the Western world is struggling with apathy, rapidly declining numbers and a crisis of faith for many people living in a culture hostile to Christianity. The harvest may be plentiful, but the workers are disempowered, unengaged, and uninspired.