Recently I read a post at bob.blog about a quote from Mark Driscoll's book. He categorizes church attendees into 3 categories, observer, consumer, and participant.
I'm sure this guy isn't a participant!
I've been thinking about this a lot, particularly the participant category and the observer category.
I understand the desirability of participants from the leadership viewpoint. When the mentality of the church is about fulfilling the vision of the leadership, participants are an asset to accomplishing that purpose.
This makes sense when you are building an organization. You embrace those who share your vision and are ready to move forward in helping to accomplish that vision. We grudgingly accept the uninvolvement of those who tend to sit in the last few rows.
As a full-fledged participant in my church-centered life, I admit to a complete lack of understanding about those who were not interested in participating.
However, now I have moved from the role of participant to that of observer. Bob considers the possibility that those who have been hurt assume the place of observer while they find healing.
While the label "wounded" may have described my back-row position at first, I don't think it really applies now. After reading the post, I questioned whether my lack of participation was because of hurt or fear.
Honestly, I think that my role as observer now is because I can no longer put my heart and life into being involved in an organization. So is there a place for observers in a church community?
I think in the end, it boils down to the fact that my ideas about church are different. In my opinion, the purpose of a church community is to support individuals in the accomplishment of their life mission rather than to draw them in for the purpose of accomplishing the mission of the organization.