Jack I. Boal

Whether it's professional sports or the theater, a rock concert or a premier movie, it requires the construction and equipping of a facility large enough to hold the crowd. The performers, of course, are expected to be the best money can buy, and are to perform at their peak. The event is promoted in newspapers, on television, on billboards, and on the radio. The crowds gather and expect to be entertained; thus are willing to pay a pretty good price for the opportunity of being there. Of course, the more the performers are paid, the more the crowd expects positive results. If they don't entertain, people feel cheated. If the player doesn't produce, there is pressure put on the decision makers to get rid of him or her, and hire someone who can perform.

This is big business! The ability of a professional team or a hit show to draw crowds also fills the coffers of the locality where the event takes place. Atlanta is now in the process of laying out millions of dollars for the 1996 Olympics. This historical event will bring notoriety not only to the participants, but give international coverage to the city and state.

Jesus never intended for His Kingdom to be like that! He referred to His disciples in terms like "sower (farmer)," "soldier," "servant (slave)," and "shepherd." His followers are not to be spectators ... those who pay for admission and sit on a bench or cushioned seat to see the performance. He trained the twelve to go to the market places and the village squares, announcing the Good News to any and all who would hear. He instructed them to not tarry too long in one place, but to proclaim the message as they moved out into the world.

There is no precedent in the New Testament for the "God Movement" to copy the ways of the world. The idea of building expensive facilities and equipment, and hiring of professionals to perform is completely foreign to the program of His people. It is an idea borrowed from the ancient pagan religions. Jesus said His Kingdom would be like yeast, and that His workers would be like salt and light.

Spectatorism has misdirected the Movement from a program emphasizing ministry and benevolence to one that attempts to compete with the world in their arena, using their methods.

We have changed the Great Commission from, "...Go ye into all the world .... "to "...come ye to Church on Sunday and see the show!" It never occurs to most of us that the task and mission of His Body is to be active in doing the things that He did. That's what we pay the "pros" to do! How much more effective His Gospel would be if it were on the lips and in the hearts of every single disciple, and if we would abandon our reserved seat in the sanctuary for a place in the trenches on the front line of the battle!