From Crowd to Audience to Participant in Worship

Participants in Worship

In the first lesson of this short series, we noted the difference between a crowd, an audience, and a participant.

  • A crowd is a large number of people who may or may not have intentionally gathered together.
  • An audience is a group of spectators who have gathered to listen or to view and are providing the opportunity to be heard or seen.
  • A participant is a person who takes part in, has a share in, or participates.

What does this mean for our assemblies of worship?

“Acceptable” Worshipers are Participants

  • “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (Matt 4:10).
  • “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
  • “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God…” (Rom 12:1-2).
  • “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…” (Heb 12:28-29).

When We “Come Together as a Church” … What Does Participation Involve?

As we sing together?

  • The modern religious landscape is dominated by the Performer-Audience model.
  • The Spirit of God calls us to “address” one another (Eph 5:19), “teach” and “admonish” one another (Col 3:16), “singing and making melody to the Lord” with our hearts.

As we pray together?

  • My head can be bowed, my eyes can be closed, and my heart can be “far from” God (Matt 15:8).
  • Supplications, petitions, intercessions, and thanksgivings are made by participants in prayer (1 Tim 2:1; Acts 12:5; James 5:16).

As we listen and study together?

  • Crowds and audiences all too often “turn away from listening to the truth” (2 Tim 4:3-4).
  • Participants “receive” (Acts 17:11) the teachings and urgings (1 Tim 6:2) of the Word with “all eagerness”; they respond to reproofs, rebukes, and exhortations (2 Tim 4:1-2).

As we commune together?

  • We may say we are observing the Lord’s Supper, but… (1 Cor 11:17-22).
  • Participants remember, proclaim, examine, and discern (1 Cor 11:23-34).

As we give together?

  • I can use and misuse money in ways that reveal my heart is not right with God (Acts 8:21).
  • Participants don’t give reluctantly, but “cheerfully” (1 Cor 16:1-2;  2 Cor 9:6-7).

Participants take part in, share in, participate as “fellows.” Participants enjoy fellowship. (1 Cor 1:9;  2 Cor 6:14;  1 John 1:3-7; Phil 2:1-11)

This sermon was delivered on September 28, 2014.

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