Thursday, August 28, 2008


For over a year and a half I have not really claimed any affiliation with any church (small 'c') although I remain on the roll at a local United Methodist church. My reasoning behind this was that it didn't make sense. The Bible says that our struggle is against the powers and principalities yet in the common church model there is a striving toward these same powers and principalities in the so-called leadership development, commitees, trustees, prayer teams, worship leaders, sheparding, etc. and basically a very worldly-looking organization and flow of power or authority that looks less like sacrificial love as much as it looks like upwardly-mobile christian ladder-climbing. I took part in it, got my pats on the back for awhile and found myself empty and desiring to 'spend' my life on what Jesus actually said to do rather than spending it on keeping the church itself growing in numbers, square footage, and acreage. The two ideas of 'being the church' somehow could not be married in my mind. I still am not convinced but my argument centered on how the early church looked nothing like the church of today. Sure there was in-fighting and disagreements but the world was smaller then and people 'had' to work things out, their very survival depended on it. What I see today is rather than people working it out there is so much room for so many you just switch ministries and off you are again, unscathed and unrepentant for one more broken relationship. If you can't get along with the trustees, maybe your 'gift' is finance, if the choir is too old-school maybe you're better suited to the praise team. Since the praise team already has its heirarchy and they don't want to rock the boat, you might want to start another one, can't have too many praise teams! If you can't do anything we'll teach you how to run the projector. We will plug you in and give you authority and there you will die. Die because leadership is servanthood, not control.

So how do I resolve what Greg Boyd has said about letting the church change as the context changes? I agree with him, Frank Viola & George Barna, in Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices don't have the authority to say church should remain a group of 12 or less people meeting in each others homes, there is not anything in the Bible or tradition that says that it should.

However, how do you do it? I mean, how do you insulate an organization from the control-mongers that are doing it for their own glory? How do you paint a maggot to look like Jesus? You don't. You can't. So who will lead us?

1 comment:

sam said...


I discussed this dichotomy, the beginning of the corruption of leaders as soon as they are chosen or choose to lead and how the model of most churches encourage leadership development like putting a fan behind a moth drawn to a flame, with a brilliant person a few weeks ago (sorry for the long sentence ;) ). They convinced me in simple eloquence that people who are hurting and do not know the story of Jesus still do walk into the doors of the church on Sunday looking for...well whatever they are looking for that often is shaped like redemption, like Jesus. I've been very interested in their approach to discipleship and am finding that there is one person out there that considers the building, the administration, and the politics of a local church secondary to the gospel and I know if I'm going to be a part of something it might as well be that.