One of the natural things we do when we want to get something done is create a plan that most likely will get us there. If the job is a little bigger than what we can handle, we convince people to get on board with the objective and hope that it moves forward. In the business world, we would create a strategy and implement it to the people that have become apart of the team. And within this strategy are rules that everyone needs to follow to make sure that the objective is being pursued. And the rules are only enforced, usually by emotional force, by the one person on top if they choose to manage those people on the team. Unfortunately, churches today are no different. They manage people for a specific outcome…..the outcome determined by the one person on top. Yelling and screaming are used, however they are typically written off as passion or the need to drive the clients in the seats to a response. Some, along with myself, would call this manipulation.
I really believe that churches today are run like businesses. They have a CEO (pastor) and a Board of Directors (elder board) and they conduct business as if they are publicly traded companies. In my post from earlier this month, I mentioned how we have the call to not conform to this world. In my opinion, churches look a lot like the world when they are run this way. Motivational speakers are brought in, pastors yell at people to get the vision, they talk them in to tithing more and more when usually 65% is scrapped off the top to pay for the religious business. They offer salaries and benefits that in turn guarantee lifestyles (read this post about lifestyles) to the employees. There is something wrong with this and I truly believe these religious businesses have conformed to the world to try and survive.
What I see as the major problem in all of this is that these religious leaders need to manage these people to get the results of the visions that they cast. They use money to get people involved and to do the work that they need done and in turn they manage them through fear and manipulation. Of course this goes for the clients in the seats as well. They use lingo like, “You need to do work for God, so do it here at my church”, or “Shame on you if you are not involved and you use my service here”. Most people want to be viewed as effective servants for Christ, so just throw out a little shame and guilt in to the sermon and you have a bunch of people who will respond…just begging to be viewed as one of the good ones by the church leaders.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we weren’t managed to get a certain response but were just loved and helped to see what God has for us collectively and individually? Wouldn’t it be nice if we weren’t seen as butts in seats and potential income generators but were viewed as human beings that are equal to each other in the eyes of God? Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t care what pastors thought because they had no power to lord over us? Yes, we are equal to pastors and teachers that somehow have been deified into “the anointed” by the clients in the seats. This verse is very popular among leaders in churches:
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
We are given these people to help those in the body. But they are given to love in a “other-centered” love that calls for them to lay down their life for another. Building up the body means to be an example of life changing love…not lording over people like most churches try to teach. Isn’t it Christ who got on His knees and washed the feet of others? He never managed them, but only loved them where they were at…..as a perfect example for us. Also, church leaders tend to forget about this verse as well as Christ said:
“Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.