Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pastor-driven churches are an Old Testament model.

In my 15 years in America, I have been a regular attender at 4 churches, of different denominations, all of them pastor-driven. I have also visited a further 8-10 churches.
It seems to me an Old Testament model, where the pastor is like Moses (or David), the praise and worship team is like Miriam.
The congregation is only expected to tithe and volunteer (serve). This is because the anointing was only on the chosen few.
So in the Old Testament, the leader was the go-between between man and God.
However in the New Testament, we are all anointed because we all have the Holy Spirit.
We are all priests. (numerous passages).
We are Living Stones in the Temple. (1 Peter 2:5).
It is participatory. "What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. " 1 Corinthians 14:26
We are the Body of Christ. (numerous passages).
Yet, in our services, there is such tight control. It is exactly like the Old Testament.
The congregation is only expected to tithe and volunteer (serve), to sing in praise and worship, and make up the numbers.
Where there is tight control, there is also manipulation - for money and power.
Only one person teaches. The elders seem like titular figureheads.
The body of Christ is like a teenager - constantly attending classes and stuck between baby and adulthood.
Gifts are not exercised.
When I asked a visiting leader (and pastor) about this situation, I have been told that it is in the small group that one exercises one's gifts.
However this seems like putting your child in the sandbox (or the family room) where he can safely get dirty, make noise, without disturbing the adults in the living room (main sanctuary).
The leader also told me that this was to ensure decency and order as in 1 Corinthians 14. However, this goal of orderliness can still be achieved in a participatory congregation.
A pastor-driven church does not reflect the New Testament model of the body of Christ.
Pastor-driven churches gradually become pastor-centered and from then on, degenerate into corruption and abuse.
The Reformation fought to remove the Papacy with its abuses and wrong model. However, this itself seems like a new papacy.
Is this tight control reducing the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit?

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