Beyond Spectatorship To Discipleship

Every Christ-follower is called to preach. Every believer is a minister ordained by God. The clergy/laity concept is not in the New Testament. Instead all believers are expected to minister to one another, to openly testify about their faith, and to preach the good news about the living Jesus Christ. The Protestant Reformers called this concept “the priesthood of the believer.” The early Salvation Army leaders took it a step farther and expected every member to be a soldier for Christ, led by the Spirit and actively engaged in the salvation war! The 21st Century church needs nothing less than the passionate participation of every believer in active ministry — devoted to discipleship, not stuck in spectatorship!


“‘Beyond spectatorship to discipleship!’ The Salvation war requires total mobilization, belief and commitment. Building for God’s Kingdom is the responsibility of all who know Jesus as Savior, living as salt and light just where we are.” –General André Cox (International leader of The Salvation Army)

Who does the Bible say can speak in a church meeting? Anybody. “For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” –Paul of Tarsus (1 Corinthians 14:31)

When you see the living Jesus in the faces, actions, and words of other people, His presence becomes contagious, creating a chain reaction as people begin to spontaneously obey the New Testament “one another” commands like: “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Spirit-led, participatory church creates an environment where everyday people are free to let Jesus flow through their faces, actions, and words.

Rerouting! Rerouting! Rerouting!  What if God is trying to reroute church meetings in fresh, new ways?

For five hundred years there has basically been only one, right way of doing church. Regardless of denomination or doctrine, church has almost universally contained a central, one-man sermon. There have been very few exceptions to this “correct way of doing church” during the past 5 centuries since the Protestant Reformers made the sermon central, and the few have been persecuted. In fact, if there is no sermon, many people will dogmatically say that there is no church.

However, when we read the Bible, we see another way of doing church, very clearly presented: “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.” Church comes alive when members TEAM with one another: Together Engage in Anointed Ministry!

A surfer is not someone who listens to lectures about surfing, but someone who rides the waves.  A Christ-follower is not someone who sits and hears sermons, but someone who flows with the Spirit.  “For as many as are led by the Spirit, these are the children of God.” –Romans 8:14. (Come and flow with the Spirit with us at The Salvation Army Berry Street, where everyday people show and tell what God has done.)

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @
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7 Responses to Beyond Spectatorship To Discipleship

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