ORIGAMI - Why Church Should Be a Place Of Participation

Various origami laid on a table

In an experiment conducted in 2011, participants created Origami in a bid to assess the validity of “The IKEA Effect” – that people place a greater value on things that they have created, or expended effort on, than on things that were pre-built, or build by someone else, even if the pre-made items were of a higher quality.

The participants created either an origami crane or frog, and were then asked how much they would pay for it.

A group of experts also created origami.

A group of non-participants were asked how much they would pay for the non-expert and expert origami.

The participants assessed their own work at around 23 cents, whilst the non-participants assessed the same origami at around 5 cents. Finally the non-participants assessed the experts origami at around 27 cents.

From this we can see that the participants assessed their own work (basically scrunched up paper) as being almost the same value as the origami that the experts made, even when outsiders assessed the same origami as almost worthless.

It is worth noting that this finding was the same for utilitarian products and hedonic products.

What does this mean for the Church?

People Own What They Help To Create

Emerging within the church is a slow backlash against the perfectionism of the Sunday service; the professionalism, and a movement towards more organic church. This is seen in the light of the passivity of the congregation in those services.

Church is about empowering the people of God to build the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

We must create spaces where people can be involved in a meaningful way within the life of the congregation.

We must place the tools in their hands that allow them to sculpt a better world.

We must help them to see the beauty in what they create.

We draw people in not by putting on a flashy show, but instead by involving them in the creative, messy process of building the kingdom of God.

A Word of Warning

In the same experiments listed above was another set of experiments, whereby people created something, then un-created it, or where people did not finish the thing that they had started. In those experiments there was no value attached to the things that were created.

When we empower people we must also support them. When we consult people we must actually listen to them (instead of just do the opposite regardless of what they said).


May we empower people, may equip people, and may we help them to build the kingdom of God.

Photo by Dev Benjamin on Unsplash


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