.... about attendees or ministers. This reflects the way I've been considering church activity over the last couple of decades or so, and was also reflected in the 'Traditional Church' post a made last week.
The thing is, many church structures are set up to prevent participation by the people:
Worship - by a leader, sometimes with musicians taking the people through a series of songs (ancient or modern) and the odd prayer.
Housegroups - run by a leader who provides the entertainment: the ice breaker, the subjects for prayer, the bible study and the closing prayer. Wife (and occasionally husband) makes tea and provides biscuits.
I could go on, but why don't YOU think of examples. ;-)
A key part of a healthy church is body ministry, and it's about more than just the odd experienced 'lay-couple' praying for people after the meeting. In a healthy body all the members have their function. When you smile, how many groups of muscles get involved? Think about how many when you're walking - almost the entire body participates, and certainly not the legs alone. I don't want to stretch the analogy too far, but You can see the application clearly enough. It's relatively easy and certainly safe to lock people down in the way we 'do' church, rather than pushing them forward to find Jesus for themselves in what they're doing. No-one will get out of control, mistakes won't happen (who are we fooling?) and trained people will remain in charge. It also requires the people to have an expectation that they need to find Him too - otherwise they'll just sit there dumbly waiting to be lead or driven.
But seeing effective body ministry taking place is so rewarding, the effort is absolutely worth it.