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My Twisted Mind

I have lots of time to think on my drive home each evening which gives me time to think of some weird questions.  Like this following sequence:

Who ultimately is responsible for church growth?  Think about, why are some churches so huge that they can ‘afford’ to have dozens of people on staff while other churches are so small that the pastor has to be bi-vocational in order to keep it going? 

Should the little churches just close down and join the big churches? 

Or, how about this?

If God is responsible for the big churches doing so well then do they have a responsibility to help support the smaller churches?

Having been the son of a pastor who had to work a ‘secular’ job in order to afford to be the pastor of a small church, I have life experience in what it means to do without.  We were the boys whose clothing came from local yard sales or the Salvation Army.  We very seldom went out to eat and if we did it was to a McDonalds… those were the days we were living big!

And yet, there were churches in the same town whose pastor’s children were the best dressed and went on great vacations.

Was it meant to be this way?  That God would pour His riches on some churches and withhold it from others?  Or did He mean for their to be a bigger collective that helped each other? 

That first church in Acts seemed to have something different.  It said that the people’s needs were met because they each sacrificed for the other.

Even Paul did some work to support himself and wrote about carrying one church’s offerings to another.

Sometimes I wonder if we just don’t have a clue and make our logic fit to the God we want.  Or maybe we are just too callous to notice that we practice an us versus them ecclesiology.

Or, maybe I just have a twisted way of questioning things.

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  1. May 25, 2009 at 3:30 am

    or maybe God and His Church (the entire community – regular attendees and those who might never seem to ‘go to’/do church) are so big that there is a need for a lot of different ways to come to Him?

    Maybe the different churches reflect this aspect of all life – that it is not a ‘one size fits all’ thing.

    While i believe that there are elements that ALL humans have in common i am equally certain that the ways we have grown into living in such differing states and beliefs (including in differing countries/cultures) means that no one church ‘type’ can meet everyone’s ‘spiritual’ needs.

    ( in reality our human needs we cater to to try and fit our spiritual belief into, which of course is doomed to failure under that ‘condition’) – as you implied in your second last para.

    Keep twisting. 🙂

    <B

    • May 26, 2009 at 12:25 pm

      <B,

      Great insights. I agree that there is no 'one-size-fits-all' to how church, life, or humanity is conducted.

      I guess my thought on this post has to do with every Christian's directive to care about others more than themselves. Yet, it seems when it comes to how we do church, we do what we can 'comfortably' afford to do. I am not saying that good things aren't happening though.

      I think we tend to take credit for those good things we do or the blessings we have instead of realizing that they were only capable of happening because of God's good graces. And maybe my question about the disparity in lifestyles of the 'professional' ministry between large and small churches is an indicator of that larger problem.

      To point… how many of our church programs are actually about growing the local church instead of growing the kingdom?

  2. May 27, 2009 at 4:23 am

    Not currently belonging to any church other than His (i consider myself part of ‘the Body’) i could not answer the last q – but i would suspect that most churches believe that by doing one they are doing the other, not either/or.

    If they take care of the physical aspect of bring people ( build it and they will come) He then takes care of the Spiritual of those who ‘attend’.

    Just how accurate such a belief is i could not say 😉

    Care MORE for others than themselves? i thought the commandment was to love others AS ourselves?

    Certainly humbling our own ego is a priority few take seriously and a lot of Christians tend to love family and friends more than those who think differently to them and very much like personal ‘comfort’ in their choices of which church to attend.

    in case it is not obvious – i am in large agreement with the ideas you mention here

    😉

    i believe reading and understanding the words of God in the Bible for ourselves and not relying upon other’s interpretations for us and asking questions of our church could go a long way to helping resolve sme of these problems.

    <B

    • May 27, 2009 at 12:37 pm

      I think this poem says alot:

      One day thru the primeval wood
      A calf walked home, as good calves should;
      But made a trail, all bent askew,
      A crooked trail, as all calves do.
      Since then 300 years have fled,
      And I infer the calf is dead.
      But still, he left behind his trail
      And thereby hangs my mortal tale.

      The trail was taken up next day
      By a lone dog that passed that way.
      And then, a wise bell weathered sheep
      Pursued the trail, o’er vale and steep,
      And drew the flocks behind him too
      As good bell weathers always do.
      And from that day, o’er hill and glade
      Thru those old woods, a path was made.

      And many men wound in and out,
      And dodged, and turned, and bent about,
      And uttered words of righteous wrath
      Because ’twas such a crooked path,
      But still they followed, do not laugh,
      The first migrations of that calf.
      And thru the winding woods they stalked
      Because he wobbled when he walked.

      This forest path became a lane
      That bent, and turned, and turned again.
      This crooked lane became a road
      Where many a poor horse with his load
      Toiled on beneath the burning sun
      And traveled some three miles in one.
      And thus a century and a half
      They trod the footsteps of that calf.

      The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
      The road became a village street.
      And this, before men were aware,
      A city’s crowed thoroughfare.
      And soon the central street was this
      Of a renowned metropolis.
      And men, two centuries and a half
      Trod the footsteps of that calf.

      Each day a 100 thousand route
      Followed the zig-zag calf about,
      And o’er his crooked journey went
      The traffic of a continent.
      A 100 thousand men were led
      By one calf, near three centuries dead.
      They followed still his crooked way
      And lost 100 years per day.
      For this such reverence is lent
      To well establish precedent.

      A moral lesson this might teach
      Were I ordained , and called to preach.
      For men are prone to go it blind
      Along the calf paths of the mind,
      And work away from sun to sun
      To do what other men have done.
      They follow in the beaten track,
      And out, and in, and forth, and back,
      And still their devious course pursue
      To keep the paths that others do.

      They keep the paths a sacred groove
      Along which all their lives they move.
      But how the wise old wood gods laugh
      Who saw that first primeval calf.
      Ah, many things this tale might teach,
      But I am not ordained to preach.

      ~Sam Walter Foss

      • May 28, 2009 at 4:19 am

        What else would you expect of sheep? 😉

        However ‘good’ a Shepherd is, leaving behind a book to look after his sheep for Him that they are expected to read themselves – or listen to the ‘wisdom’ of one of their number who thinks he can read and speak better than the others – was never going to work!

        Sheep need a REAL shepherd present with them for them to live safely.

        Otherwise they will likely wander about aimlessly and suffer an untimely end.

        or just go round in circles. 😉

        <B

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