Is you church like the Lion King? The most important difference.

Leave a comment

08/05/2014 by Chris Green

TheLionKingI met someone the other day who plays in the orchestra for the Lion King, the big Disney musical.

I’ve seen it, of course, and it’s a great show – much better than the cartoon, and with many moments of genuine theatrical beauty for the adults, as well as humour for the kids.

And that made me wonder – is church like a performance of the Lion King?

Not the story, which some people have tried to give a gospel shape, although to my mind its probably closer to Hamlet. And, yes, I can do the Aslan connection too.

But the experience.  Think about it:

  • a lot of people come together…
  • they sit in rows…
  • watching an excellent performance put on by some gifted individuals…
  • there’s some community singing… 
  • and an uplifting message…
  • and they all go home singing ‘Hakuna matata’…

What troubles me is that I have been to churches like that, or very close to it.  Even churches which handle the Bible well, and where the people genuinely sing heartfelt praise to their Lord.

What’s wrong?

Simply, a congregation is not an audience, not even if there’s audience participation. A congregation is a group of related individuals, connected ‘in Christ’, part of one body, who pray, praise and learn together, but also serve and care for each other.

When I go the Lion King with my family, I talk to them and not necessarily to anybody else, unless I’m apologising for spilling popcorn.  The ushers and refreshment sellers are efficient, polite, and blandly unmemorable.  They and I owe each other nothing.

Not so with us.  For us, relationships are critical. And, yes, I know it’s about God and the gospel, but that requires me to love people doesn’t it?

For those of us who lead churches, we need to recalibrate our thinking about Sundays.  Yes, let’s plan the best services we can put our minds to, and let’s review the teaching, the music, the prayers and the processes. We probably do need people in ‘front of house’ and ‘technical’ roles, and theatres have done that kind of thing well for centuries.

But never, ever, will they put relationships central. We must find ways of doing that, or we’ve failed.

Church is not the Lion King.


 

You can find more of my thinking about church in The Message of the Church (Bible Speaks Today). UK readers can order it from IVP here at 31% discount. It’s also stocked by Amazon.com

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Publication of The Goldilocks Zone

Launch dayJanuary 18th, 2018
3 months to go.

Living as a Christian in the 21st century means we face constant battles to please God. That’s why I wrote ‘PURITY: Living to please God in an impure world – 15 daily readings in 1 Thessalonians.’

There’s only way to get it – by subscribing to my  email newsletter here.

Index

God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Terms and conditions

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.ministrynutsandbolts.com.”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at ministrynutsandbolts@gmail.com

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2017 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: