Church in a circle.

One small change to the layout.One giant leap for the church.

Every Sunday morning, churches across the globe seat their congregations into rows, expecting them to sit upright and attentive, facing forward and staying mostly quiet throughout the entire service, absorbing as much as they can from a performance by musicians and a public speaker, and to somehow retain the information presented and apply it in their daily lives.

We haven’t always done it this way. Jesus taught his disciples in a circle. The early church met in each others’ homes, seated in a circle. Even today, many churches around the world meet in circles.

Our home groups meet in circles. Our leadership teams meet in circles. Our Sunday School classes meet in circles. Many active Christians today are leaving the mainstream church to join house churches and simple church movements, most of which meet in circles.

The church today is struggling in the Western world. People just aren’t coming. Christians are leaving in droves, dissatisfied with what the church has to offer them. Unchurched people don’t come, because they don’t think the church can offer them anything at all. The people who do come are struggling to maintain their own passion and faith in a hostile world, against all the competition from popular culture. The world around them has changed, but churches continue to act as if a better music team and a more dynamic speaker will bring everybody back, and activate the people in the pews.

 People are afraid to change. But the gain is worth the pain. The reward is worth the risk. Allowing people to interact and impact on each other comes with risk. It requires a loss of control by the leadership. It takes away the power and gives it to the people. It can be unsettling to change our old ways and try out new ones. It requires courage, compassion and love. It can be messy sometimes; humans are messy.But the benefits of empowering a community of God’s people to love and teach each other; to openly confess and pray for each other; to contextualise God’s story to their neighbourhood and to their own lives; and to actively engage and learn from each other and from the Scriptures – these are goals that the church needs to have.
Its one small change for a lot of gain.

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