Take a look at any church service, even the most contemporary ones belting the latest Bethel or Hillsong–most people watch a few who do. The 80/20 principal plays out when 80% of a congregation watches the other 20% finish their fun sing-a-long. The preaching part changes the ratio to 100/0. (This is why Francis Chan gave up the allure of mega-pastor stardom for a small house church movement in San Francisco.)
The reason why? They’ve been trained to sit and consume.
Is there a better way? Here’s a story of how one church turned the 80/20 into 20/80.
Full disclosure, I used to lead music in church services. Some would call this role the, “worship leader”. I enjoyed it too. Performing and playing music is fun. Ironically, it’s also one of the few ways I can worship genuinely through music. Put me in the audience and I’m like the majority, just sort of stand there with my arms in my pockets tapping my foot to the rhythm, no clue what the melody is, plus I can’t sing that high.
Take a look next time you’re in service. Most adults aren’t involved.
I’ve talked about the passivity of worship before. Frankly, there’s nothing we can do outside of altering the entire liturgy (evangelicals have liturgy, it’s just boring) that will change the balance.
So that’s what we did in my recent church plant. We’ve taken the passive traditional model of worship and turned it on its head intentional. Picture the average church service. That’s the opposite of what we do.
At Cypher Church, the demonstration is nobody can hide in the rows of the pew. Cypher’s come out of the hiphop world, and is literally a circle where performers gather to raise up the person in the middle. At Cypher Church, we raise up Jesus, but we call all sorts of different voices to the middle to bring their gifts, abilities, and joy. Emcees, lyricists, dancers, musicians, spoken words, artists, all come through the Cypher.
You can sit at the back and watch I guess, but you’d be out of place. Under 20% of the people do. The rest? Come to the Cypher and let’s look at each other face-to-face.
Let’s discover unity in our diversity in a place where you’re called to reveal your self to discover find yourself in the whole.
That’s the invitation.
Something can be done about passivity in worship. It just takes forcing passive and happy consumers out of their comfort zone though.