Spectator Sport

Reggie Joiner, the founder of “ReThink” ministries made this observation about the struggle churches continue to experience in keeping their youth involved in church after graduation from high school. In the book Unchristian he wrote:

“We have discovered a short window of time during the teenage years when students need to experience something beyond church as a spectator sport. If a young person is not challenged by hands-on personal ministry, their faith will likely be sidetracked and even sabotaged.”

Louie Giglio, founder of Passion, echoed this truth when he wrote of a shift he has observed in the lives of college students across the land.

“It is clear to me that something significant has absolutely shifted this generation. I think it is God’s great kindness stirring our hearts to show His great kindness to the world. With this behind us, the students at Passion aren’t the ones who look good, and this generation doesn’t look like a hands-on, get-involved, do-something generation, God looks good. And God looks like a hands-on, get-involved, do-something God.”

These insights remind me of the words of Jesus when He said:

“Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” Matthew 5:16 KJV

I too fear we have turned the people of God into spectators rather than servants. Too often they function as critics rather than contributors.

So how do we get the people out of the stands and into the game? I believe we need to think outside the box. Too often ministry within the life of the church consists of squeezing into the squares and circles of committee life and Sunday School. Could it be God has created many of us to function more like triangles, rectangles, and octagons.

I am not suggesting we do away with the circles and squares of traditional ministry. I am simply suggesting we unleash the people of God to be His hands and feet in a wide variety of ways. As a leader I need to learn to listen to the passion of those I lead and help them follow their hearts and spiritual gifts to effectiveness in ministry.

In some ways I lose control, but in the big scheme of things I never really had control anyway. The church will be much more effective when the Holy Spirit calls the plays, and His people get in the game.



Filed under Devotion

9 responses to “Spectator Sport

  1. bill wright

    Great Post David! The biggest change agent might be in how much the leadership is willing to turn loose to the lay folks. There have been many times when I jumped in when I should have stayed out. Thank God I realized along the way the Lord has as many methods as there are people. May God help us to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and the edification of the body. It is time!! Blessings

  2. I agree with my OLD friend Bill. In addition, I believe we do our young people a great injustice when we seek only to entertain them and keep them excited without providing an outlet for their energy to be put to good use in ministry. Discipleship is not a perpetual pep rally. Sometimes it is dirty hands, from doing for others.

  3. Terry

    We are not having traditional church this week. On Sunday morning our folks will either be at the nursing home or at one of two houses of families outiside our church doing needed “fixing-ups”. That afternoon we will have a BYBC at the park across from our church with games, Bible story, and Child ID Kits. We will come back together around 5:00 and have a celebration & testimony time. Got the idea from FBC Vernon.

  4. Terry,

    Thanks for sharing about this creative approach to ministry and worship. We need to be careful…what would really happen if the church escaped its walls and stained glassed windows and became “stained” with the hopes and needs of our community.

    Tell us how it went so we can all learn from your experience.


  5. Amen and Amen.

    Good post David!


  6. Terry Williams

    I blogged about the day we had in Perryton. Here is the link. I’m going to bed. It has been a long, but fun day.


    Terry Williams
    Key Heights Baptist Church
    Perryton, Texas

  7. Rhetorical question:

    How many committee meetings do you attend in the average week?

  8. Poet,

    I attend probably two committee meetings a week on an average.


  9. EdO

    David, one of the things I admire most about you is you walk in your words. Moreover, our Father loves you so much that He makes sure you walk in those words. You’ve done remarkable things to redefine the tired denotation of ministry. Speaking as one of the triangles – OK, I’m not sure there’s a name for my shape – I love you for your willingness to seek your Father’s will wholeheartedly. You don’t do it because you ought to; you do it because you love the Lord your God and want to see Him smile.

    Keep sprinkling hearts!


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