I purposely am calling the church the "peoples church" for a very important reason. Somehow in church history an important aspect was lost. The church began as an exciting adventure led by selfless leaders who were humble and compassionate, wise and honourable. We have such leaders today. I wish for more, and that I too may be found among them. It is evident something very precious that makes the church the most wonderful experience is missing. What was it and where did it go? The church is made up of people who God has Loved into being. He has given important gifts to each of us to help us grow into a marvelous wholeness not found anywhere else in this world. Where did these gifts go? They were lost to the over emphasis of the pastoral role and a distorted authority passed down from decades past. The early church lived in harmony like a symphony with the Spirit as the conductor. As time passed the instruments in the symphony, the people, became more and more silent. The Life giving flow from the Holy Spirit over time became less. The qualities of love and tenderness among church members were overtaken by a desire to have a king. The king came in the form of pastors. This resulted in the church serving the single vision of one man or a denomination. The peoples church was lost.
Religious systems teach and, in different degrees, dictate a hierarchy order that must be obeyed.
I am a graduate of a denominational bible college. Not being raised in the church I was able to identify traditional teachings that were meant to keep the pastor as the" king pin." To become a pastor you had to give full enthusiastic credence to the doctrines established many decades in the past. You were allowed to think for yourself as long as your conclusions were in line with the established, guarded doctrines and church protocol. Graduates were then sent out armed with only what the denominations felt was from God. The world was a whole lot more complicated than bible college trained them for.
Thank goodness not all stayed in these theological traditional ruts. Many leaders became perplexed because the limitations set on them did not meet the basic needs of the people who paid to make things work with their precious time and finances. Many leaders of courage have walked from pensions, health plans and basic security of belonging to a system that, at times, took better care of the pastors than the people. These men and women are modern day heroes.
Some of these heroes God has asked to stay in the organization to change it, and they will.
Pray your leaders will become heroes.
It has been said that almost all church divisions are over only a 5% difference in doctrine and none of these doctrines are crucial to the major issues of God’s Love and salvation. At the time I heard this statistic there were something like 35,000 denominations, independent churches and scattered religious organizations. It was all pretty insane stuff to youth like me who got saved on the streets. We were free and uncomplicated. Meeting in parks and on street corners we enjoyed our deliverance from drugs, gangs, and witchcraft. We ended up in the church system because we had nowhere else to go and with no strong leaders among us. We really had no choice. I knew I had to do this just to survive. But there was a price to pay. God had taken us out of the hippy generation into the Jesus people. This was not a great upset to our culture sensitivities. When we entered the established church we suffered greatly with culture shock. Before we were called the Jesus people or Jesus Freaks on the streets and in our schools. We felt unique and greatly Loved by God. We were young eagles. A leader named Ern Baxter said of the eagles that they are the most beautiful of all birds but put them in a cage the beauty is lost and they become a pitiful creature. The once glorious rulers of the sky now stand in the unforgettable stench of urine and stool. We, the Jesus people, messed up in the cage. But the real tragedy was the unpreparedness of church leaders to understand the unique action God took to bring us to Himself. We were a gift to the church. A new door was wonderfully opened and then tragically shut. The churches could have flooded through this open door to the needy and ready world from which we came.
Why am I bringing this up? In the 60’s and 70’s when God sovereignly poured out His heart on the youth in North America, the church was far from being prepared.
Not all, but many, churches rejected us because of our outward appearance. Our long hair, no shoes and girls with no bras were not allowed in. Many organizations let the Jesus People in but their purpose then was to make us look “civilized.” Lost was perhaps the most significant move of God on youth in history.
It will not happen this time.
The wisdom of God says, to have a whole lot of teachers teaching doctrine lacking in life will eventually bring a church to a sterile dryness. This time, teaching as well as all church ministries will centre around God dwelling with us and in us not as a distant deity but as Father in our midst, in our hearts. Also by esteeming our spiritual and natural fathers and mothers we will experience a wonderful stability. Loyalty, honesty, acceptance as well as preferring one another before ourselves creates a safe environment for those new to the Lord to grow and experience their full potential.
God is getting us ready to receive the greatest influx of people in history. Pride and prejudice will not stop this magnificent migration of earth’s people from darkness to light.
Come on board! Let God bring you to the place where with us we receive
Love…Still a Jesus Freak…Dan