The church-as-church paradigm is failing. Why?
I honestly think that nobody wants to grow up. As believers, we’re not designed to live a lifetime on spiritual milk. We need meat and vegetables and gravy and sweet cream and luscious pie and fish and corn on the cob and fried Okra and beans and cornbread and tomatoes and mashed taters with lots of fresh butter. And we need to be treasure hunting. It breaks my heart to know that we have pews and chairs loaded with adult Christians who come to church to be fed but they can’t open the Bible and cook a single thing in it for themselves. After a while the milk gets sour and doesn’t satisfy. How about a nice potroast?!
But if you teach your flock to feed themselves, they might start to think for themselves.
I’ve served with controlling and abusive pastors. Just yesterday something came to mind out of history and I saw it in a different light and as I was standing at the coffee maker I said to God, “He manipulated me!” The situation’s detail isn’t important. Suffice to say that 8 years later I’m still processing some aspects of it.
Abusive pastors can come in as many flavors and colors as you can dream up and though there are so many that are very gifted at being a servant to their congregation, I fear that the ones just needing a church job and the controllers and the users outnumber the good ones. Please God, let me be so very wrong.
My absolute best advice for any believer: Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you (there is one Teacher), open your Bible and read it. If you don’t understand it that’s okay. You’re not alone. If you’re utterly perplexed accept that you can’t know everything and move on. But keep reading and keep pondering and wondering and looking for Jesus in every single word. Don’t just believe because someone tells you something. Check it for yourself. If you don’t know where to start, try the books of John,, Matthew, Romans, Hebrews, Galatians, and Ephesians to start with.
Earlier I shared about abusive pastors and how to spot them. Let’s get into a little more detail with a blog post I really enjoyed reading. It’s honest and candid, and it speaks to what a “pastor” should be.
“Do you want to be out of a job?” he replied.