TO THOSE WHO PAN THE LOCAL CHURCH – Ray E Horton
There are many people around the nation and the world who have been hurt by the institutional church, a pastor, or members of a congregation and therefore are quick to write off all churches. I brought a word of correction to a brother who said “…stop paying some ‘religious leader’ to make us feel guilty!” I responded:
There are many who find love and support and the message of freedom in Christ in a good local church
Your attitude is wrong in that you paint with such a broad brush. What you say is true of a lot of churches, but there are many who find love and support and the message of freedom in Christ in good churches. They find brothers and sisters willing to lay down their lives for them and are on fire to spread God’s Kingdom. So, you are right to fault some churches; I do too – I’ve been there. But I have come out of those types and have been a part of good churches where, indeed, the people are the church. They are out there, and God is blessing them and using them for His glory.
The church is the Body of Christ with Jesus as its head. The local church is an expression of that Body, and Jesus remains the head, and people serve in various roles under His headship. It is not meant to be man-centered. Yet, we are told not to neglect the assembly of the brethren. Someone connected to a local church that is man-centered and ruled should come out of it and seek where God, by His Spirit, might place them to most effectively serve God and His people.
Don’t dry up in a dead church
Also, I would never discourage someone from leaving a dead church where they’d just dry up or worse. On the other hand, I believe a good church is the best way to go, and I’m not convinced churches are unscriptural if operated without waste and leaders not lording it over the people. By the way, I cut my spiritual teeth on charismatic prayer meetings and small groups. They provide great fellowship, but I haven’t seen them as all that effective in reaching out.
Buildings and staff may not be necessary. It’s just that fellowships without them rarely get big enough to make an impact. Ideally yes, but practically I don’t see it.
God is indeed shaking the church and moving many out of unfruitful ones, while strengthening others for the last day’s harvest.
I believe Christians should pray and diligently seek out a good church where God would plant them to be a part of the family, where they can grow strong in the Lord and be effectively used for the Kingdom.