Churches have become mere "spectators" stuck on the sidelines. How do they get into the game?
Some sports fans jump up and down and loudly cheer for their teams. They yell at the referee when things don’t go the way they think they should. Sometimes they shout insults at the opposing team. Others watch quietly from the stands. But both kinds of fans are just spectators on the sidelines; they are not players. When it comes to the gap between established churches and the changing culture around them, author Thomas G. Bandy likens congregations to spectators at a sporting event. They observe cultural change but they do not participate in it. In Sideline Church, he shares his concerns about churches who are unable or unwilling to bridge the gap—always worrying about members they may lose rather than strangers they may bless. But he also shares the key to change for churches that can and will cross the chasm: empathy…a true “heart burst” for someone other than yourself. Congregations with empathy will move from the role of sideline spectators to active participants in the game.