Apr 30, 2007

Throwing Preachers in the Pool

Occasionally I mention my friendship with the local Pentecostal preacher; he is moving to a larger city because of his wife's health problems, and I will miss him. He is a good honest man, and while we differ, often drastically on our perception of truth, we overlook each others faults and consider ourselves brothers in serving the Lord.

The Pentecostal hierarchy he associates with has a pool of preachers that are assigned to churches throughout their jurisdiction, so he has to jump back into the pool and start over again. For a church to accept him as their preacher he must first preach for them, then they will vote whether or not he is acceptable. If after three preachers are refused by a church the ministerial association will appoint a preacher from their available pool to fill the vacancy, whether that church likes it or not.

The requirements for a preacher in his church are high; they have to meet certain qualifications educationally, and spiritually, including an ordination ceremony, and a series of tests before they are recognized as acceptable candidates to preach. I couldn't help but remind him that Jesus selected a bunch of fishermen to become Apostles that wouldn't even qualify to be in his church's preacher pool. We're still friends :)

Churches of Christ can run into problems selecting a preacher, but at least its members have the final word on who stands in the pulpit on Sunday morning. Without our stand for church autonomy we could be at the mercy of some hierarchal ministerial association paid to decide what is in our best interest...no thanks!

Apr 24, 2007

Rants, Rants, and More Rants

Churches will never meet the expectations of all their members. The church is inhabited by God's elect, but we are still human, and what one Christian perceives as absolute truth is a bunch of hogwash to another. Perhaps the questions listed below are old and something we have come to accept, but surely the body of Christ is more than a social club for retired Christians:

  • Why are some churches so self-centered that sinners in their community are left to fend for themselves without ever knowing that God exists and loves them?

  • Why are so many churches divided into cliques; seldom extending their hand of fellowship, or friendship for that matter, to their brothers and sisters among them who feel lost and out of place?

  • Why do some churches continually preach to the choir (themselves,) and expect their lost neighbors to come to the "church building" if they want to hear a soul-saving sermon?

  • Why do some churches continually spend the Lord's money on grander and more unique church buildings, while neglecting the poor, widows, and orphans?

  • Why do some churches seek worldly honors, acclaim, and prestige; forgetting that we are only pilgrims on earth for a short time?

Not all churches are guilty of these shortcomings, but I have seen many examples of these listed questions in my small part of the world...so perhaps it's spread far and wide. While the church is a refuge for the saved, it's not just a building that houses a few weekly meetings, it should be the primary influence in the community to save the lost, feed the poor, and in general spread the gospel everywhere, not just in isolated human structures we call church buildings.