An interesting how-do-you-do
Hmmm. Now here's an interesting how-do-you-do. On the one hand the
church isn't doing the job, on the other the pastors rate themselves
highly. What in the world are they measuring by? Do you notice there is
not one measure of how well they know the Word, or how well they
communicate the Word to the flock?
Mr. Barna notes that pastors
of large congregations had a tendency to rate themselves highly in four
of the areas (such as administration and vision), but that there is
often a "weak correlation" between church size and life transformation.
He goes on to say that "there appears to be a need for standard and
objective measures of self-evaluation that church leaders can utilize.
Pastors are indisputably a talented and well-educated group. However,
it's unrealistic for most pastors to claim that they perform at an
above-average level in such a large number of disparate ministry duties
as those examined in the study."
Perhaps there should be
measurements for such things as, say, percentage of unnecessary
divorces (divorce is never "right." It may be the only thing a person
can do, but even then it isn't "right."). Or we could test for how many times a pastor change results in
crushed people, splits, and power plays. Another area for a checkup
could be how well the average congregant knows the Word, and practices
what the pastor preaches. Do "stray winds of doctrine" toss the
congregation about like corks on a tempestuous sea?
it. The Church is just not cutting the mustard anymore. The job of
presenting the life-changing truth of God has gone begging. And I think
I know why.
In my opinion the Church has so thoroughly mixed the
ways of God with the ways of the nations for so long and so well, that
the only thing left is a tepid porridge of half-truths and men's
opinions. The main reason the church was so ineffective during this time
of tragedy (9/11) is that as a group we have become dependent on what men say
about the Word of God rather than depending on the Word itself.
We have gathered for ourselves teachers of "ear tickling opinions"
because we won't sit still for the truth. This dependence on opinions
has given rise to a series of "country clubs" based on men's teachings,
where, like actual country clubs, "membership" is frequently determined
by the ability to parrot the by-laws, by who you know, or by how much
money is given. Instead of a supportive community functioning as a body,
we have cliques. Instead of having members devoted to one another and
motivated by a deep love, we have grand gestures from the music team and
empty words from the pulpit. Instead of a daily faith and practice based
on the plain meaning of the Word of God, we have a weekly meeting that
is supposed to serve as a sort of pep rally for the rest of the week.
Pastors are "talented and well-educated," but do they know the Word?
Are they spending more time "motivating people around a vision" than
equipping people to practice the ways of God? Of course, it's not just
the pastors. Many times the congregants themselves do not want anything
more from the pastor than cheerleading. And there is certainly a dearth
of people hungry for the truth. According to the first survey quoted
only 22% of people who claim "rebirth" believe in absolute truth.
Perhaps this is the reason for the nosedive in effectiveness. The sheep
are too much like sheep?
But this does not let these leaders off
the hook. True, many jobs would be lost if the pastors told the truth.
And many a reputation would be wrecked if pastors "came out of the
closet" for the simple truth of the Word instead of for a deviant sexual
practice. Is this a joke or what? Think about it - what a switch!
Congregants give a standing ovation to an alleged "pastor" who
acknowledges a perverted sexual sin (and leave him/her in office), but many other so-called "leaders
of the flock" are afraid to teach the truth because they might lose
their livelihood or the respect of the community!
Lack of ability is no excuse either. "I
can do all things through Him who strengthens me." We either have the
Christ or we do not. If we do not, then there is no hope. If we do, then
we have every reason to believe that whatever happens we can do it.
Don't let someone tell you that parts of the Word are not for you.
Reject the notion that some parts are outdated and eliminated. Look at
the fruit of those who say such things! They rate themselves highly
while the city burns. Who needs advice from those?