It seems like a couple of my governance comments have hit a nerve with some. Hopefully, though, we can all agree that no form of governance is going to work unless those who govern and those who are governed have the right attitude, are working with God’s Holy Spirit, are showing themselves to be open and honest and are absent of a bitter and accusatory attitude.
Yes, laodicea = “the judgment of the people”, the attitude of elevating oneself over others in order to condemn. It can come from the top or the bottom. It can come from the middle. It came from without or from within.
Maybe, though, it is inevitable. Whenever you get a large group of people together, perhaps it really is inevitable that different opinions will clash and cause occasional severe disagreements. One of the things constantly touted is that the Church exists as a body in order for us to learn to get along together. I’m sure that is true, but I would caution that isn’t the only reason for the Church. However, it certainly would seem important to be able to get along with those with whom you will spend eternity.
And yet, I keep wondering whether or not a strong centralized megachurch is really what God is seeking out at this time. I mean, isn’t that an assumption that we have made all along?
After Jesus rose, many of His disciples sold what they had and stayed at Jerusalem. Someone was telling me the other day about how not all of them did so. I think it is obvious they did not, seeing as they went house to house to worship God. What’s important, though, is that they assumed that Christ’s return was imminent. They assumed they were supposed to stick together in one geographical location.
God had other ideas, though. Instead of Jesus returning right away, persecution set in. The disciples were forced to scatter, taking the Gospel with them. Only in hindsight was it obvious that the Gospel message was to be spread throughout the entire earth and not just Judea. However, the totality of this realization took years. It is easy to miss this fact due to how compact the Bible is written.
The main point I am making, though, is that even the apostles did not fully grasp what God was up to.
Do we now?
Don’t get me wrong. I think it is important to find a Godly congregation led by a Godly leader and stick with it. I do not necessarily believe that it has to be part of a huge worldwide organization with lots of people, lots of money and lots of politics, though.
While on a human level, it makes sense to pool together money and other resources, it isn’t a requirement in order to preach the Gospel. It isn’t a requirement in order to take care of the flock. Thousands of worldly churches do it every day!
The main problem is when we begin to look towards the “church”, the organization, to do a work instead of God. We begin to depend upon an organization to do something instead of getting off our duffs and doing something ourselves.
Why all this division? Maybe it’s because we have made an idol out of organization. It seems to me that most of these COGs have. They espouse this type of rule or that type of leadership over something else equally as valid.
There’s a real problem with this. When we look to organization, that is when we look to other men, we lose focus on Jesus. Jesus is supposed to be in charge. Do we let Him be in charge?
If you are in UCG, ask yourself: “How does what the leadership is doing right now impact my Christian walk today? What does what other members are doing right now impact my Christian walk today?” Hopefully, if there is an impact, then it is a positive one. Hopefully, if there is an impact, it is because they are exhibiting the love of Jesus Christ by extending a helping hand, lifting you up out of the mire of life and helping to support you in your walk with Jesus.
Now ask, “What am I doing right now to impact others in their Christian walk today?”
What “organization” is truly needed for these things? Do you need an “organization” to give someone a ride? Do you need an “organization” to tell someone why you believe the way you do?
Trust me, I am not against organization! However, when the form of governance becomes the focus, something is really wrong! When the organization itself becomes the focus, something is really wrong!
How does God lead? Read the Book of Judges. You will see exactly how God organizes things!
15For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. (1 Peter 2:15-16, King James Version)
28 Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.
~ Pr 25:28 (NIV)