I believe the mind shift that needs to happen in church today begins with a change to the seating arrangement.
Seating people in rows disempowers them and effectively shuts them down. We were designed for interaction; for hands-on, active learning; and for action. We operate best when we are engaged, involved and connected. Education leaders across the world are moving away from didactic lecturing models to collaborative, active learning models focussed on empowering students to learn effectively. The established church can learn from this movement.
Church in rows communicates unintended messages; “you have nothing to contribute”; “the pastor knows more than you”; “preaching is the best way to communicate God’s message”. When we talk about church in a circle, it is a call for the church to create a new message; “You have a voice and a value”; “respectful interaction is a more powerful form of communication”; “God’s message is all about relationship”.
I am curious to see what will happen in the church worldwide if leaders decide to follow Jesus’ upside-down kingdom thinking, and give God’s people a voice, a value and an impact. I’m not quite sure how it will turn out – but I don’t think, in years to come, that we will all sit in rows facing a stage.