Soon, the two best football teams in the US will pair off against each other. I don't know how big the arena is, but there will be tens of thousands of spectators in the stands and 22 players on the field at one time.
That is what the church has in common with the Super Bowl - very few players on the field compared to the total amount of Christians in the bleachers.
Church, it is not supposed to be that way. John Wimber said, "everyone gets to play." (HERE is more on that.) What he meant was that Christianity is for everyone - each one of us a gift to the Kingdom; a part of the body of Christ; an integral part of God's work here on earth.
ALL Christians need to discover and use their gifts for the good of the Kingdom. From cleaning toilets to feeding the poor and praying for the sick, it is certainly not a one man job (paid holy man syndrome), nor is it an elite team operation; performed by a select few ultra-religious folks.
The problem with the personal vision of a single leader, is they spend a lot of time trying to get everyone to adapt to it. It will ultimately fail the mission, even though it may grow a local church for a time. The fruit of the biblical mission is not numbers, it is disciples that can replicate the vision and accomplish the mission! Jesus did it, then he sent out the 70, then the 120, and then He gave the "great commission" for us all to go out and do the work of the Kingdom of God.
We are created for a purpose, and that is on the playing field!
So what keeps folks from getting involved?
-1 Large groups where getting to know folks is nearly impossible.
-2 Small groups where newcomers feel left out of established cliques.
-3 A vision that is not clear.
-4 A mission that is not flexible.
-5 Programs that do not have mentoring and discipling built in. There always needs to be a spot in every church ministry for new folks wanting to get involved in the ministries of the church - all of them from pastoring to snow shovelers.
-6 Boring/Irrelevant worship services. If the teenagers won't stand during worship or are hanging out in the hallways, that is your first sign. If you have a short service, and a long one, and the short one is the best attended, that's another sign. Substituting a regular agenda for Holy Spirit lead gatherings is not going to bring Kingdom success. Vibrant worship services build passion in believers.
-7 Over emphasizing the basics: Salvation, prayer, Bible reading and tithing for long time members in lieu of solid teaching that leads to making everyone a minister. The basics of Christianity can be covered in a beginners class.
-8 Lack of training in the basics of the believers ministry: laying on of hands, solid understanding of salvation, baptism of the Holy Spirit, confession of sin, and loving your neighbor. I was at a church that taught this in 4 weeks (2 hour meetings) - then we went out there and did it.
If we teach and train those in our midst; while providing meaningful and relevant worship/teaching, prayer ministry and opportunities for intimate and accountable relationships, we will have provided the foundation for everyone to play the Kingdom game. If we don't, were just dropping the ball and allowing Satan to intercept that which God has had in his playbook since the beginning of time.
And lastly, there is one thing that the Super Bowl and church should have in common - those that are passionate about the game, and show it by an occasional shout, some clapping or a little high-fiving - after all Jesus has always been the player of the year - let's give Him some worship.
Parts of this blog inspired by one from Gene Jennings - How to Keep Church Members in the Stands.