This week I read a blog post by Seth Godin about "front row culture," meaning a group ethic that is anticipative and innovative, excited to be there.
Contrasting a group that fills a room from the front row with a group that fills a room from the back row, he writes
The first organization sees possibility, the second sees risk and threat. The first group is eager to explore a new future, the second group misses the distant past.The question immediately came to mind: why does church fill from the back?
Not always, sure. There are some front-rowers in church. But usually you have a family or two on the front row, several rows with light usage, and a big group about three-quarters of the way to the back. Not in the way-back, because then everyone would think they were closet pornographers or something, but far enough back that they get to feel like they are watching a church congregation instead of being in one.
I know all the "I've got kids and we sit in back because we're late/disruptive/needing to leave without disturbing anyone" reasons. I just thought it was instructive to spend some time thinking about why church fills from the back and what it would mean if that were to change.