More on the paid ministry

I didn't plan on posting today. I planned on helping the pastor at our church load up his moving truck. They got the job done yesterday, so I had some extra time.

Shannon posted this in a post at the bottom that would more than likely get lost until now:

"It's an hour before Sunday School, so I'll be brief. Perhaps I'll answer more later.

1. It's (often) good to pay a leader, becasue of the intense amount of time it takes to lead well. Usually, the paid minister becomes the leader in an elders meeting, not because he is ego-maniacal (though many are, but because they simply have more time to think the issues through, connect with the body, and so on. It's not necessary to pay the leader(s), but it helps.
(And there are biblical examples of this).

2. When you say that you have never see an example of a church where there is paid staff and the body takes its charge seriously, do you mean to say that you do not know any lay person within such a church that takes his charge seriously? Obviously, this cannot be the case. So, it's a matter of a larger percentage we are looking for. I am okay with not everybody in my church taking seriously their call, because not evyone will have reached that point of maturity. Even they never show signs of growing in that direction, then we have a problem. At the same time, if 100% of the church took their call seriously, that could be a problem for lack of young Christians and seekers.

3. And I still do not see how a lack of paid staff would encourage more people to step up. It seems more would fade out of the picture.

I don't mind agreeing to disagree. At first, I was a little hurt thinking that you don't believe in what I am doing. But I thought through it, realize that is not what you are getting at, realize what it is you are trying to do--which is a good thing."

I think what you said in point 1 is your answer to point 3. "they simply have more time to think the issues through, connect with the body, and so on." And because the paid minister will do this, nobody else has to.

We have created an environment of lazy Christianity, even for the non-paid leaders of our churches. People who are in leadership should be expected to think through issues, study, and come up with their own ideas. Instead, they usually take their marching orders from one of the leaders who happens to be paid. I think this is an unhealthy environment for leadership.

If the expectation of service is diminished for the leaders, imagine how diminished that expectation is for the average Christian. They are considered to be good Christians if they come to church, listen to a sermon, sing along, and give their check. This is not what being a Christian is about.

I never said the Bible teaches to not pay ministers. I've actually explained which ones should be paid. I do believe the examples we have in Scripture of people getting paid is of the "missionary" type who is setting up a church rather rather than the located minister. I think the early church fathers would express themselves the same way as Alexander Campbell when it came to paying the local church leader. In most churches in America we, unfortunately, still need the missionary type minister because the churchgoers fail to take their call seriously or the ministers never were trained how to establish a church without a paid minister doing most of the work. We have created a system of perpetual dependency on the paid minister.

"If 100% of the church took their call seriously, that could be a problem for lack of young Christians and seekers."

Young Christians, at least the ones I encounter, want to take their call completely seriously. They are on fire from the beginning. Churches usually don't have any outlet for them to express their newfound fire. I've seen a few new Christians who were completely on fire, weren't incorporated in a church, and fell away. You could say they weren't saved to begin with. I would say the church didn't give them any areas of service to be used in. The fire was snuffed out by those who claim to be followers of God.

And seekers need to see what the Christian life is about. I am terrified that a non-Christian would go to most churches across this land and see people who call themselves Christian. If the seeker gets their idea of what a Christian is from those who claim to be Christian (a concept which seems to be the way things should be), then they would definitely get the wrong idea of what being a Christian is. If a church had 125% involvment (its members and some seekers), then the church would be the loving community it is called to be. That church would be an awesome sight.

I think involving seekers in ministries is a great way for them to truly see what a church is. With the church in Lansing, I always wanted our service projects to be the main evangelistic tool of the church. Not in the sense that people would be won to the Lord by us serving them, but in the sense that co-workers and friends would see the Lord by serving with us. It goes along with my conviction that we learn more by loving and serving than by listening.

I think we have a serious problem of trying to make Christianity appealing to seekers. Maybe this stems from the fact that most churchgoers want Christianity to be easy and appealing for themselves. Being a Christian is about sacrifice and surrendering your will completely over to God. A life of sacrifice and surrender will bring joy, but we have to always make sure to keep the truck in front of the trailer. Sacrifice and surrender is not something we can present to seekers in a waterdowned way. If we do and they are truly seekers, they will be turned off. The only people we will win by waterdowned Christianity are people who won't really be Christians. Let's make a church that genuine seekers will find God in instead of churches that would force a genuine seeker to look elsewhere to find people who are journeying together following a great God.

Thanks for your comments, Shannon. I hope you continue to post here because that is the only way my beliefs will be challenged and grow. I wish there were more people who disagree voicing their opinions. I think you are out there. I believe in what you and every paid minister is doing. I just think the goal needs to change a little bit. The desire for paid ministers to work themselves completely out of the ministry where they are needs to come to the forefront. Maybe it isn't possible, but striving continually for that goal would create a very healthy church. When we stop striving for the ideals, we miss out on anything except that which can be made by man from happening.

Watch out for the potholes.