The Trouble with Passivity in Christianity: A teaching paradigm

Updated and modified

Can anyone imagine any NFL team adopting a new strategy for that involved a typical ‘practice’ where the coach got up on a platform and talked for 30-60 minutes a week and then expected the team to perform well in a game?

Of course, anyone would realize this is pure nonsense for any type of training where the performance of duties was dependent on the participants and not the coaches.

In examining the ‘Teaching Model’ above, we can trace back most of those origins to the factory model system adopted as a result of the industrial revolution.  This paradigm quickly became the education model for our modern schools that emphasized neat rows upon rows of desks and a teacher bombarding the students from the top on down into the aisles.

Albeit, this is NOT the teaching model found in the scriptures.

Acts 2:42-47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Okay, we can all admit that we lack the presence of the apostles today, but nonetheless, we have the scriptures to guide us.

Where one can discover all the particular characteristics of the early church, I think all would agree the early church was at least illustrated by activity!

Aside from meeting daily in homes, the early Christians were devoted and extremely active with high expectations.  We do read of many divisions and too, we see all Christians participating in their salvation existence.

Other elements to look for is that we don’t see people divided by sex or age.  These customs once again are facets of the factory model system and continue to spill over into our education programs that include the churches.

Thus, the early CHURCH then was a true extension of the body of Christ.  For many reasons, it did not involve air conditioned buildings with connected stereo systems that staged modern productions nor were children hard-wired to expect donuts and field trips to amusement parks separate from adults.

Further exploration into the scriptures reveal a positive, active church body that contributed in all ways to the teaching of Jesus.  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…” (1 Peter 2:9)

This was not left to one person or ‘preacher’ but was seen as the active duty of all Christians.

In short, this was not a passive or intellectual activity!  Christianity was and should be a living, active exercise and demonstration of FAITH!  The notion of passivity is counter to the true model of the early church and should be the identical model to this day.

In order to change/correct the teaching paradigm, the teaching model moves from an intellectual (program) approach to church passive interactivity to a model that is based on people orientation (experiential). Thus the Bible activity would go something like this:

Church members would first meet at a Starbucks, McDonald’s, or other public meeting area for prayer and brief instructions.  (Scriptural oriented).

Next the church members then would head to a site such as:

Assisted Living Facility



Homeless Shelter

Homeless Area

Home(s) with shut-ins

Church members who have been absent

Areas for particular witnessing such as Parks, Apartment Complexes

Meeting with people with urgent problems

For the above, the tasks would be rotated from one week to another so as not to get stale for the members involved. Suggestive activity is one hour.  At least once a month those involved should meet for fellowship, coordination and strategy sessions.

The paradigm above is suggestive only:  it should not be seen as written in stone and is subject to any and all modification and improvement to include prayer.








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