If The Pews Faced Each Other

Attending the building we know as, “church,” we are face to, well, not face to face. We are face to back of head. We are at a performance. Much like a theatre. The director, also known as a Pastor, is at the stage. There may be a band on the stage, or a choir, or both. At many of these places, the director instructs the audience to turn and greet the people around them. That part is usually very short, and mostly fake. More production must commence.

I found all of this very odd when I began attending these places several years ago. There I was in a small theatre being directed to lift my hands, sing, greet, sit and stand. Then I was usually instructed to put money into a plate. The next week I was handed a “program,” and it stated how much expenses were to run the production, and how much money was given the previous week. The total given was usually less than the amount needed to “run” the establishment.

Am I the only one who sees something wrong with all of this?

If you enjoy those things, then that is your business. Personally, I think it only robs me of a true experience with the Lord. It makes it all seem like entertainment. Theatres provide entertainment. Center-stage theatrics provide emotional stimulation.

Where is the heart of worship? Is it in the emotional stimulation we find as we go to the little theatre? Or, is it in the talk of the child of God, face to face with another? If we would just turn those pews towards each other and let everyone have a voice, instead of just listening to those on the stage, maybe we could learn what His true Church is all about. His people. Their hearts and struggles. Their sins and strengths. We could search His Word, together. We could learn from one another. We could pray for one another after seeing the expressions within their faces. I’ve never seen an expression on the back of someone’s head. We could glorify the Lord instead of blindly glorifying a grand production and a distorted view of His Church.

Give me an intimate, raw group of realness. Real people facing real problems. Not some smiley, dressed to the nines, everything in my life is perfect and I’m doing everything right by showing up here group. I want to see your face. I want to see the face of a sinner seeking God. Let’s see each other for who we are, in Him. Anyone can go to a theatre and watch a show.

9 thoughts on “If The Pews Faced Each Other

  1. I go to a “liturgical” church. One where the service is set. Almost the same every week. The joining together of voices in known words each week…along with beautiful music…is mystical and can bring a true sense of the presence of God. At least for me. I also like talking with groups before and after which is where we meet face to face. These two things bring both things mystery/God and focus on faces.

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  2. I have found that I learn more in a room with a motley crew from every walk of life and we talk, read scripture, praise God, pray, etc. In other words, everyone is being real and no one is above another. Nothing is scripted. We come as we are.

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  3. Damon, I think it’s important to remember that attending church services is not meant for interaction with each other. It’s a time and place where we come together in corporate worship and interaction with God. Church is not meant for us to receive from or give to each other, but to give back to God and to honor Him through worship and the teacing of His word.

    Home groups are rightfully people-centered, but church should be God-centered. Unfortunately most churches don’t fulfill this purpose.

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  4. Just a clarification. People-centered is probably not the best term to use for home groups, because they should also be God-centered. Interactive iwould be more accurate.

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  5. One should easily have church anywhere. I had church standing on a sidewalk. We should always be His Church. (Ecclesia). If you find the equipping of His Word and praise suitable through a building on Sunday, then great! For myself, I seek the organic, Spirit led coming together at any given moment. ‘Lights, camera, action’ is just not what I see we should certainly have to be a part of. Being the hands and feet, and GOING to make disciples in all areas is what He directed. Jesus never stayed in one house. I appreciate your comment. How I worship in Spirit and truth is how the Lord directs.

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  6. I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m simply pointing out the difference in going to a corporate church and why pews don’t and shouldn’t face each other. You’re right, Jesus never stayed in one house, but He also went to synagogue.

    Not all churches are what you’ve experienced, they are not all just ‘productions’. Having said that, I believe you most definitely can have church anywhere, because Jesus said where two or more are gathered in His name He is there in the midst of them.

    I, like you, am not a fan of corporate church in a building. I’m not sure it’s what the Lord had in mind for us. But it has its place and there are good churches out there. And regardless of what you think of them, be careful that you don’t criticize indiscriminately, as God is there too.

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