I am going to do a series of posts on Church 2.0 – based on some of the concepts and memes on the Web 2.0 Meme-map I blogged about a few days ago.
The first concept is participation: user as contributor. In Web 2.0 application, this means anybody can write a book review and publish it on Amazon.com, anyone can comment on your blog, your eBay reputation is affected by anyone who rates you or leaves a comment about you, and anyone in the world can contribute to a Wikipedia entry.
In Church 2.0, this represents the move from top-down, tight-lipped, carefully-controlled church leadership to decentralized and open-handed leadership. Instead of pastor-as-professional and congregation-as-consumer we cultivate pastor-as-coach and congregation-as-ministers/players. Truly equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:12) will require nothing less than allowing "users" to contribute, encouraging people to participate in the mission of the church, not just consume the religious goods and services cooked up by the professionals.
For church leaders, this will mean listening to people a lot, taking crazy ideas seriously, and working very hard at actually enabling normal people to carry out the mission of the church in their everyday settings. It’s easy to fall into the routine of simply preparing a kicking-cool Sunday service and think we’ve done our jobs if everyone oohs and ahhs at how inspirational everything was. But if our activities on Sundays don’t offer any chance for participation and contribution from the congregation, we’re probably just putting on a good show. And if our activities don’t enhance the congregations’ ability to "do the work of ministry" Monday through Saturday, we’re not fulfilling the call of "fivefold ministers".
Church 2.0 will need to get serious about participation and contribution from the "non-professionals" if we’re going to have the impact on culture we want to.