It is important to mention that it is not the congregation, but leadership, who establishes and promotes the structure of the church to which he or she has been entrusted. The violations of godly principles that would lead to God’s people being in the state of oppression as described by the guest pastor: where His people are not progressing; not giving birth to their callings; and their spiritual gifts are suppressed, can be found in any one or a combination of the following mindsets or ways of leading. While these ways of thinking or leading are contrary to 1 Peter 5:2-3, they continue to sustain this church structure.
- Power and Control
When the church structure is sustained by these violations of God’s principles, the leader exhibits a lack of faith and also compromises the foundation laid by Jesus. (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)
Tradition, Religion, Ignorance
Many leaders are “victims” of tradition. All they know concerning how to structure their churches has been built on the tradition of their predecessors and advocated by the spirit of religion. These leaders tend to be stuck in the mindset that “this is how things have always been done.” In these last few years, there have been numerous “Kingdom” churches established. But what we are also witnessing is, that which is built on the foundation of the structure, oftentimes is a mixture of man’s denominational beliefs and doctrines sprinkled with the elements of true Kingdom scriptural principles. (Mark 7:13)
Power and Control
Another underlying violation for the continuance of this type of church structure is power and control. Leaders exhibit a lack of faith in the Lord when they want to keep their people in bondage to the way things have always been done. Rather than structure their churches in a way that empowers the entire congregation to walk in their callings and spiritual gifts, some leaders believe it is their sole responsibility to build up the sheep. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
Other examples of power and control in this “false church structure” are those places of worship with more than one geographical location and one pastor shepherding each “satellite” church. Instead of training and mentoring another saint that the Lord has called to walk in the anointing of a pastor, some leaders will suppress that calling on another saint’s life. Numbers are the motivation behind this type of control. The thinking tends to be, “If anyone else other than me is shepherding the other site, the numbers may fall off.”
Coupled with power and control is fear. Many leaders fear the unknown. If they allow their members to operate in their spiritual gifts, specifically those listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, they are unsure of how it could affect the environment of their church. So rather than surveying the congregation to determine the spiritual gifts freely given by the Holy Spirit, they would rather sacrifice the congregation’s spiritual gifts for the sake of keeping “order.” As a result, those the Lord intended to be blessed by these spiritual gifts are either unaffected, or the “gift” is achieved through some other means in the way of “plan B.”
To give an example, one of the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 is the gift of healing. Of course this particular gift encompasses spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical healing. But to use the example of someone with a particular ailment or disease, the first option under this type of church structure (which is “plan B”) would be to use a health care professional rather than the Lord’s means to bring forth recovery through the spiritual gift of healing (which would be “plan A”). This viewpoint is supported by scripture where we read about multiple healings without the use of natural means. Far too many people have passed on prematurely or have suffered in mental institutions due to the gift of healing not fully functioning the way the Lord had intended.
I acknowledge this example may be extreme for some, but I contend that there is a reason the gift of healing, along with the other spiritual gifts, are in scripture. There is also a reason Apostle Paul implores us not to be ignorant of this spiritual gift and the others.
Some leaders are not secure enough within themselves to trust that the Lord will appoint an anointed man or woman of God in their respective ministry. They fear that they may lose the influence of their position as leaders and that another may receive enough accolades to “steal” the attention from them. (1 Samuel 18:8-9)
For many leaders, this type of structure has become a cash cow because they receive a somewhat stable and continuous flow of money through the people’s tithes and offerings. They cannot “afford” to loosen their control for fear that their livelihood will be diminished. Their mentality is that they have their flock, others need to get their own—on their own. In essence, this greed is one aspect of an elitist mindset that has crept into the church. (Luke 12:15)
Another aspect of an elitist mindset pertains to those leaders who would put credentials above the Spirit and anointing of the Lord. This mindset also relates to a form of greed in which the leader believes that if a person has credentials (e.g. seminary training), he or she is the only one qualified to bring the saints to spiritual maturity. But in scripture, the Lord used both the learned and the “unlearned” for His purposes. For example, Apostle Paul, who was a scholar and a Pharisee prior to his conversion, was sent primarily to those who were ignorant and unlearned. While Apostle Peter, an unlearned and “ignorant” fisherman, was sent to the theologians.
When any one or a combination of the violations listed above are motivating forces behind a church’s structure, they become grievous to the Holy Spirit and violate Ephesians 2:21 (KJV), “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord….” As the result of these violations, the Christian’s callings, spiritual gift(s), and their anointing are suppressed and the structure (body of Christ) is, in theory, in a “disabled” state. And on a larger scale, the Church’s infrastructure is on some level affected.
(Excerpt taken from Beyond Babylon, Chapter 6.)
Let’s talk about it. Have you possessed a spiritual gift that you felt was not recognized or acknowledged within your own place of worship? Please keep in mind, the author is not asking you to judge your leader on whether he or she possesses any of the violations of godly principles listed above. But in a general sense, can you relate to the prior points?
Please note: The administrator reserves the right to delete comments that are off topic or fail to promote the love of Jesus. I challenge you to possess the heart of Jesus as you share your comments.