Sunday, March 6, 2011

TWO CHURCHES.....!!!



DEB BURTON
  There are only really two churches - the church of man and the church of God. The church is here to "show God to the people"... You could say, we are individually and collectively "God's expression of Himself on the earth"... To the extent that any church, or any member of a church, does not show God, is the extent to which human nature is still operating in them.
I have been concerned that leadership sometimes sets a bad example, and will be accountable to God for that. I do see it as an infiltration of worldly cultures, where leadership is from the top down, where the "little people" have to hold up the big guys. If you take this to its conclusion, it's no wonder so many church leaders feel uneasy, and are also sometimes afraid to promote gifted people, for they may lose their top position. And instead of linking in and supporting other churches - like holding hands around the city - there is competition and bad feeling - as if we weren't all on God's side, for His purposes! The prime rule - to love - has been forgotten, as has happened so tragically through the ages. Nothing illustrates the church of man so graphically, as a lack of real caring love, that reaches out to uphold others. How do leaders expect their members to behave, with this example? Love is the sign of true maturity - the perfection that scripture speaks of. [Matt 5:48; Eph 4:13; Heb 5:14]
The kind of leadership Jesus showed by his life, and taught to his disciples, was of one who served, looked after others, didn't think about himself. [Mark 9:35; 10:44] I strongly suspect that the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes [Rev. 2:6; 2:15] was actually about the wrong kind of leadership - 'nike' means conquer (like the sports gear!) and 'laity' just means people. Somewhere, somehow, 'laity' came to mean 'those who are not ministers', and a separation was created. John the apostle reported the Lord as even hating the deeds and doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, yet it is a fact that we do not really know what this was about, although scholars have made some guesses. I prefer to think that the Lord didn't leave it there for us to guess - the meaning of the word itself is plain.
Wrong kind of leadership is about building up an empire of self, about trying to feel important by having a lot of influence - but it won't be real. And it will not impress the Lord when there is an accounting for stewardship. In God's eyes, we are born important - a God-created bundle of amazing ability and wonderful potential! To develop our gifts, to give of these to help others in many varied ways, is our calling as a human being. It certainly is not the prerogative of a few! A church leader is to serve by doing all he or she can to help others develop their gifts - that is the highest calling. It is the people confronting the lost in their homes, shops and workplaces that need real support. The aim is to spread the Gospel far and wide - the church is called to expand sideways - not downwards!
I think the model of 1-10 Moses was given, was a healthy balance as to how many people one is looking after directly. More than that, there will be some who are overlooked. Think about the tithe as well, if ten families give ten percent to the one looking after them, that would give an average income - then ten percent of this income is given to one looking after the hundreds (the leader of the leaders of the ten), and so-on... There'd be no more of leadership living above the people... Of course the thought of a home group leader (pastor) getting a wage does seem a little ridiculous to us, and who would pay for the church buildings, and missionaries etc?... But it does bear some thought.
I'd like to finish with King David's last speech:
The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. 2 Samuel 23:2-4
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