What do you think participatory culture would look like in your church?

Interesting…  Bolger says, “The shift from postmodernity to participatory culture means people find their identity through what they create as opposed to maybe what they consume. … Our churches are still structured in such a way that we do it to them, not inviting them to create worship with us. So, if that’s the case, there’s really no space for people who’ve been formed by our participatory culture in our churches.”


5 comments on “What do you think participatory culture would look like in your church?

  1. Ramona says:

    I get easily lost in listening to this. “Modern”….when used when speaking of the Creator….is a very hard thing for me to accept, as I’ve often felt we expect Him to ‘get with it’ as we do? Maybe I’m missing the message all together here. We as His followers, are just that ‘following’…His message does not change as we do, nor does his plan or promise….I’m not sure what the ‘information age’ has to do with anything. Churches have been battling since they began with the issues of ‘worship’ ‘learning as opposed to teaching’ ‘questions vs doubts’ who is right who is wrong and who is just plain evil. Accept and have faith of a child…as that is all we are, so small in comparison to the importance, plans and thinking of the great I AM. We are all only here because He chose to create in an art like manner us and all that is around us….with ‘free choice’ of course we can question to death His reasoning, our ‘advancements in knowledge’, His plans vs modern thinking, interpretation, educated peoples…………….every generation since Jesus died has been more modern than the one before. Challenges to keep the Faith in its original intent will always be a challenge. Because ‘modern’ won’t stop til we do. But, God is way ahead of us has been from the beginning.

  2. Mildredbonk says:

    god created a facebook page and all christians liked it.

  3. brad says:

    I agree with Bolger’s broader point, but the example he gave of tweeting about TV isn’t sufficient to demonstrate participation. We have to really examine this if we’re going to get a clear understanding of what we’re calling ourselves, and the whole church, to.

    The power of social media is that they shape the story. Just tweeting or ‘liking’ it doesn’t do that all by itself. It’s when people are discussing what happened on an episode of their favourite show, for example, looking at alternative meanings or imagining where the narrative might be heading, and the *creators* are picking up those cues, and incorporating them into the story they’re telling — that’s when the process becomes collaborative. That is the departure from the passive consumption model (though I’m not convinced that consumption was or is ever truly passive).

    This is an entire re-programming of what church is all about. It is not about the typical 20% doing 80% of the work. It’s about engaging more people to be creative, to give their abilities to more things in the name of Christ under the banner of their faith community. It’s about building systems that welcome a whole new understanding of how church operates. It’s about stretching the narrow definitions of worship as music and evangelism as giving out tracts on the street that we somehow got used to.

    Collaboration that draws an ever-increasing circle of ‘us’ will revolutionise what church means. Revolutions threaten status quo, so they face opposition from people who feel the need to defend it. But I believe that this is the revolution that God is calling his church into. At least in my experience, he’s never seemed to put much stock in status quo anyway.

  4. disableme says:

    Brad thank you for your cogent response. This is the kind of feedback I was hoping for. We (The Baker family) are trying to change the way we think in our home and church for sure and it is both exciting and challenging… humbling actually. If you have examples within faith communities of this at work I would appreciate anything you could throw my way.

  5. brad says:

    One person who I’ve found articulating this stuff very well is Shane Claiborne. The book I’m currently reading is The Irresistible Revolution:


    It’s full of practical stories of stepping out in faithful service, and it’s inspiring. This is the direction I believe our church is going, but there are several messes that need to be cleaned up before we can proceed in confidence. I think (and hope, and pray) we’re getting there.

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