The concert metaphor
From Reimagining Spiritual Formation:
We have also chosen to not use the concert metaphor for our worship. Since the 1880s one of the dominant metaphors for church structures has been the theatre. In the 1960s, this evolved to the concert setting, which hung onto the stage-focused environment with performers on one level and the audience on another. The use of stages, lighting, and electric sound reinforcement of music and voice has become so commonplace in most churches that most of us never question why it’s there. While this format is familiar and works well for the communication of a single message to large settings of people, it also has a limiting effect on the ability of the body to engage collectively in communal worship. Attention is directed toward the stage and the words coming from it. The relationship is between me as an audience member and the speaker, not me and my fellow audience members.
The concert metaphor isn’t necessarily wrong, but it is interesting to think how choosing another way of meeting can fundamentally shift almost everything we’ve come to think of as church.