Wednesday, 3 June 2009

[SUBVERSIVE UNDERGROUND] Newsletter: SEVEN MISTAKES EVERY CHURCH SHOULD AVOID

[SUBVERSIVE UNDERGROUND] Newsletter: SEVEN MISTAKES EVERY CHURCH SHOULD AVOID
The seven mistakes are:
1. Embracing the building
2. Misrepresenting the tithe
3. Ignoring the poor
4. Over-emphaising the role of the pastor
5.Yearning for political power
6. Business-minded ecclesiology
7. Conversion-focus instead of disciple making

This is interesting. For instance, much has been made of the 'status' of high profile ministers, pastors, or whatever title they use. The focus can sometimes loom towards the personality of the pastor, something that humans have to face, for we all go for different types of personalities, but the image and the manner can and does put people off. Especially if the pastor thinks he is 'the man', 'the dude', and starts to believe in his own infallibility or the hype about him - or her. These preachers are so busy thinking they have been led by the Lord to take the church where they want to take the church - they may have indeed been led by the Lord - that when they turn around they find they've lost the flock, if not the plot. This is because the role of the pastor is over-emphasised (Mistake No 4).

In 'Seven Mistakes Every Church Should Avoid' we are brought back to the basics. Nice. This refocuses attention on what we should be doing as Christians. Where our priorities lie. There are some Christians for instance who are tired of the social message of the gospel. They are fed up with the various programmes of social action that are talked about and put forward. We are however, called not to make the mistake of ignoring the poor (Mistake No 3), we are to remember that we are called to be there for the poor and oppressed. And may I suggest we are also called to 'stick up' for the 'alien', the foreigner, the asylum seeker and the refugee.

I liked the point about churches being conversion-focused rather than discipleship focused. It's easy to get caught up in the emotion and the hype of a church meeting/service. But if so-called spontaneous conversions are not followed through with bible study and fellowship then the so-called believer will drift away or at worst think it's just all about 'them and Jesus'. In truth of course it is about one's relationship with Jesus, but there is more, much more, to it than that.

The point about churches, leaders, yearning for political power (Mistake No 5) is something I am in two minds about. For instance I do not believe that the church, any church denomination, or set of church institutions, should govern. Or try to govern. This leads to theocracy not democracy. Therefore I do not believe that the church should try to 'legislate Christian values'. However good or bad they may seem. Nor how 'Godly' Christians think these values are. I do however believe that Christians can put forward their values, views, ideas and propositions in and through an arena of self-respect. They should endeavour to be lights of Christ in their behaviour and attitude towards each other - in spite of theological differences - as well as in their attitude and behaviour towards those who have a different 'belief' viewpoint. This is not blind tolerance but subjective tolerance. For as those in other situations have found, once an absolute is in power, then free will is subverted. And this could end up being my free will, or your free will, that is subverted. Alternatives to so called un-Christian behaviour can be found that is not, and does not have to be, imposed through legislative measures. As I said. interesting.

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