Friday, 29 August 2014

Education Of All Believers

Education Of All Believers
A fellow named Nate on the GLCC alumni forum wrote:

"The discussion that Alan and Regan are having about the relationship of tithing and paid, "staff" ministers is an issue that I have been wrestling with also. One thought I have had is - while the NT shows that paying a "minister" is allowable, it also show that Paul gave up "this right" so that nothing would hinder the gospel. The example of Paul brings a question to my mind - if I can earn a living in some other way and still devote myself fully to the cause of the Kingdom - why not consider doing just that so that the church can use it's money to help the needy and to send out missionaries?"

Then I wrote:

My beliefs, the belief about intimate community, and my belief on worship (along with God, I hope) led me to plant the church in Lansing.

I feel the experience was extremely fruitful. It was probably because I was surrounded with trained ministers rather than just mediocre Christians. I was blessed with a great group of people to start the church with.

The central premise comes back to the premise of this tithing discussion. I believe we are the priesthood of believers, none higher than the other. If we're priests, the only priest above us the high priest, Jesus Christ. We are all under his lordship, not under someone who is under the lordship of Christ. So church should not be one man feeding everyone but everyone feeding everyone because we are all fed by Christ.

House church would be very draining on the leaders if all the demands were placed upon one individual, but when you have mutual ministry it isn't all that stressful on one person. That is why the Lansing church (now churches) continues to exist and thrive despite my leaving. I was just one of the many ministers. I just happened to be the one who initiated the whole thing.

The key is to train up all believers to be ministers. We shouldn't have a seperate clergy class. We incorrectly see Paul as the example of what a minister should be. We should see him as an example of what a church planter should be. A church planter has more of an authoritarian role because he is working with people who are not yet sound in their faith. He is training them up to be the priesthood of believers, so that they can share in mutual ministry.

We have an education problem in the church, and it works well to keep the heirarchy of ministry going. What would happen if everyone in the pews received the training to be a minister? They wouldn't be content to allow the paid minister to be the one always preaching and doing the works of the ministry. They would want to get their hands dirty and be involved. We need to train up an army of ministers.

I'm trained and in the pew right now, but the sanctuary church has no room for me to serve. I'm willing to do whatever needs to be done, but there really isn't that much that a church needs done. I'm heading up small groups, which are going to turn out to be just another program for the church, and the high schoolers, and I preach on occasion because we don't currently have a paid minister. But I really don't feel involved in any effective ministries like I did while doing house church.

I do think that if we're all honest, most ministry that a paid minister does could be done by a group of five totally committed and trained individuals who also were active in the secular job world. That appears to me what an elder should be. What would be the need to pay a minister in a healthy functioning church like that? And what would you do when have more trained people than there are room for? Why, plant another church. Centralization of leadership seems to usually lead to power struggles and people feeling left out.

Always shoot for the ideal because the worst that could happen is you miss and realize that you are where you would've been if you hadn't tried for the best.