Far too many of the people in our churches are spectators only.
We go to movies, turn on the T.V. or the radio, or jump on the Internet for entertainment purposes, and shamefully we do the same thing when we arrive to church on Sunday.
I know how it is because I used to be the same way. The minute I entered the sanctuary I was eyeing the spot where I wanted to sit. I would grab the bulletin and scan the list of activities to find out what activities are being planned to meet my needs. Once the music was over I evaluated how well the people in the congregation participated in singing (no I didn't evaluate myself, too convicting). I even rated the pastor on his sermon. Too long? Too boring? Too many verses?
Do you approach church the same way? Are you a spectator? Does the pastor exist only to meet your own personal needs? Do you expect those in leadership to do all the work, and shower you with attention? We like to think so. The Bible tells us differently. Ephesians 4:11-12 says, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."
We know the first few words pretty well, that God has called some people to be pastors, teachers, etc. Most people check their nametags, find out that they are not one of those types, and conclude that they have nothing to do but sit back and enjoy. They don't finish reading the next verse; that the pastors, teachers, and evangelists exist to prepare God's people for works of service. That means you are to be working. Everyone in the church is to share in the role of ministry. It is not only the pastor who visits those in the hospital, calls those who are sick, shares the scripture with people inside our outside of the church. It is not just those in position of leadership either. The pastor is to equip you with the ability to do these things.
The time has passed for being a church spectator. It is time for each and every Christian to take up a personal ministry. Have you noticed how much our world needs a Christian influence? I think it is because we Christians have been sitting in our pews way to long. Dear Christian, get up and share your faith! Tell others about Jesus Christ. Reach out to those who need a helping hand. Show love and compassion to everyone who crosses your path. There are only so many pastors to go around. But when the masses in the pew join in the work, as they are commanded to do, the army of God gets pretty large.
Someone once compared church to a football game by describing it as "11 men down on the field, desperately in need of rest, and 40,000 people up in the grandstand desperately in need of exercise!"
Rev. Nathan Dick is pastor of Panton Community Baptist Church. He lives in Addison County with his wife Stephanie and three children. He is a graduate of Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, Mo., where he majored in pastoral studies and advanced biblical studies. He and Stephanie serve with Village Missions, a Christian ministry that places full-time pastors in rural churches.