I am on the last chapter of the Mark Batterson book I am reading…Wild Goose Chase. The previous chapter made me squirm...actually most of the chapters have now that I think about it. The chapter was titled “Good Old-Fashioned Guts” and the particular section was titled “Spectator Sport”. Now you must understand that one of the things I like about Mark Batterson is his sarcasm and his ability to stomp the life out of your toes but make you laugh while you are crying through the lesson. A lot of his humor comes in the form of the titles. If you do not like dry humor or sarcasm…do not read his books!
The section discusses how church has become for way too many Christians a “Spectator Sport”. Here is my version…he doesn’t go into this scenario, but I think it makes it clearer. We come to the stadium (church) on Sunday morning and we get in our seats. We pay our ticket price (tithes) but we don’t do it because we want too, we do it because we fear that they will make us sit in cheap seats! We pay out of requirement, not out of love for giving and we don’t give sacrificially only the minimum to get by. We sing our anthem (praise music). And the umpire yells “play ball” (Associate Pastor opens with prayer). Then the game ensues (Pastor delivers message). When the game ends (alter call and dismissal), we return home and carryout our normal lives…then we go to the stadium again next Sunday ready to watch our team perform. We just hang out with friends and maybe tail gate a little (lunch at Pizza Inn). Reality is that we can attend the game and NEVER even participate! We can fill the stadium and MISS the entire point of the game (otherwise called LIFE)!
But I tell you…here’s what hurt the most…”Spiritual spectatorship takes many forms, and some of them actually seem noble”. OUCH! “some of them actually seem noble”. Giving to missions is an example he uses in the book. Giving is very noble on the outside. But if you do not give out of love…it’s worthless. Or if God is calling you to GO instead of merely give financial support…then giving in this case is disobedience! How many other functions do we do at church that seem noble and yet are NOT? Attendance? Praise and Worship? Prayer? The list goes on.
So I ask the question…HAS CHURCH BECOME A SPECTATOR SPORT?
I challenge you to look at your “game participation” this week and determine if you can do things differently so that you are a part of the game and not merely a spectator. How can you make the most out of your worship experience? How can you get involved in something that builds God’s Kingdom? How do you get out of the rut of being a spectator? I don’t know the answers, and I certainly don’t know where you are in your walk with Christ. I am praying for God to show us all (especially me ;) how to improve our “game participation” because everything can be continually improved until He returns or calls us home!