What does this say? It has a simple message to the ordinary believer.
You cannot be trusted! We do not value your input.
This isn’t Godly leadership. It is domination. It is the function not of the body of Christ but of one man or one small group of men. It kills creativity and initiative. It fosters pride and ambition. The body has no role. The minister preaches, tells them what they should do, prays that we will all be able to do it and then everyone goes home. This is the church. It is not the priesthood or the kingship that God intended. It is not the church that the Christians of the first century knew.
OUR HIGH CALLING
We may be called to some temporary earthly work for the Lord but that is a low calling. We have a high calling, a calling which comes from before the foundation of the earth, from the moment when the Lord first knew us. It is a calling that will continue long after this world has been reduced to memory. We are called to be believers, to be brothers and sisters in the house of God.
We are called to his church, to be his people on the earth. The world has never seen anything like us. There is nothing like us on this planet. The church as God intended her is a living picture of eternal god. To meet in rows and to sit under a hierarchy like any other earthly structure is an inadequate way to meet. It keeps things ticking over and from time to time it explodes in real life but it is not the church.
The church is not an institution or an organisation. She does not have a management structure or an organisation chart explaining how each person is accountable to the next layer of management or to the various empowered bodies that make her systems work. She is a person, the bride of Christ and she is alive.
Every now and again the Christian world rediscovers this. The Anabaptists of the sixteenth century found this truth and were slaughtered for it. The Congregationalists of the seventeenth century enjoyed this freedom and fought for it. The eighteenth century Methodists loved this freedom and lived it. The nineteenth century Brethren knew it and preached it. The early Charismatics were excited when they read that ‘every one hath’
Some of these groups kept their freedom for decades. Some still have traces of it. Some gave up quickly and easily. The early charismatics abandoned their freedom particularly quickly and they did so for one reason. It was too difficult. There were awful meetings. It was as Scriptural as it had always been but it was difficult and the seed of the truth had landed in stony soil where it could not prosper. At the first sign of trouble the charismatic churches abandoned their freedom and simply met like any Anglican church with more modern music and a little more noise. The freedom of the church disappeared.
It is time to try again. Most churches don’t meet this way for the simple reason that they think it doesn’t work. Well, that just isn’t true. I have lived my entire life in two churches. The first was a large church of around 500 people and we met openly for decades with meetings where anyone could share. The second is a smaller church with less than 20 people. We have met openly without one man dominating us for more than a decade. It hasn’t been easy and we have needed help from those who were here before us but it can be done and the life in these churches is more than any institutional church will ever know. It is time more believers knew what it is like to be a people, a holy nation and a royal priesthood.
Christian – you are called of God, called to be a king and a priest in an assembly of kings and priests. Abandon the rows and the pulpits. Lay down your mission, your so vital ministry and come be a brother or a sister in the church of the living God. It is where you belong. You were called to live in him and to function in him as part of his people. There is a place where this is more than a theory and there should be more such places. The Christian world needs to be renewed and reformed again.
Come and join a new reformation!