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Leadership Brainstorm

July 27, 2011

“So I sat with a Pastor the other day. He is a great guy, but he has this problem with me considering all the 501 c 3 non profit statuses, congregations of people that go to these buildings, etc, etc my church. He wants me to call one 501 c 3 church meeting place my church. I look at the people, all the Bible believing, Jesus Following people in a community as my church. I do not love my church people that are taught at one denomination more or less than those at another. There are many great teachers and leaders in this community that strongly disagree on certain topics, but are all part of the church. The same church and Jesus is the only head. The question is which of these teachers and pastors would God view as the authority we must all submit to, because many are self or denominationally appointed and almost all would definitely not view the other as an authority.

My friend’s opinion is very popular among American Christian 501 c 3 non profit churches. I have listened to many many sermons on this topic to try and see if what I believe is wrong. On all topics my most studied and passionate sermons are from those whom disagree with me, so that I may see if I can find a Biblical fault in my teaching, doctrine or theology. I want truth  no matter what it costs me. Anyways, what I hear most every time is a pastor talking on a situation or story in the Bible and saying that because Peter did this or Paul said this then we must all do it. The problem is the inconsistency pastors seem to have and teach by using scriptures they want and bending them, yet ignoring the more difficult scriptures that are an obvious command to all followers of Jesus. For instance rarely does a pastor teach that we must all “not bury our father” if we want to be Jesus’s disciple, yet a pastor will say because Paul appointed Elders in a certain town, that means if you don’t have an American 501c3 non profit church pastor as your authority then you are in disobedience. You see we have been miseducated and misguided to make the scriptures what we want them to be, take and leave them in or out of context to fit our mindset and ignore the hard and difficult realities, teachings and commands of God.

It is not always a black and white situation. We are told its either way #1 or way #2. We all know way #2 is wrong so we assume way #1 must be right and we follow the teacher of way #1. What we have not realized is that way #1 might be wrong also and way #3 is really the truth. A perfect example is Calvinism and Arminianism. We assume we have to choose one or the other, both are brilliant ideas that have long been researched, studied and debated my very wise and Holy Spirit filled men, but both may be wrong. Remember we will all be surprised when we get to heaven and find out we were wrong on so many ideas, thoughts, theologies, doctrines and teachings. This is why it is before anything else so important not to stray in teaching about what happened on the Cross, that Jesus is our salvation and to love one another. So just because I do not think what my friend and many pastors believe is true about authority, leadership and coverings, does not mean i do not believe in authority, leadership and coverings. This is how many people are misguided and manipulated. They demonize someone for not believing what they themselves believe, so that no one will spend the time to listen to what the other person has to say or teach, which may be a more sound doctrine or teaching, or may be complete truth.

First of all let me make very clear that I do believe without a doubt in leadership, elders, pastors, deacons, etc, etc in the church. I do not believe in lone rangers and that it is good to be alone in your fellowship with God. I meet daily with many believers 6+ days a week for prayer, praise, worship, accountability and teachings. I probably surround myself with more believers, leaders, pastors daily than most American 501c3 non profit status pastors do.  My problem is that what Biblical pastors and leaders were, how they acted, viewed themselves and how church was in the Bible is not what we usually have today. You cannot be the Pastor of 1000’s of people. You can be an evangelist, teacher or preacher to the millions that listen, but a shepherd can only shepherd so many. And i might argue that true teaching is done with questions and answers and walking people through them. If you have 1000 people in your church and you met with 3 of them, one on one, per day you would meet with each person once a year. This would be considered an acquaintance rather than a friend or pastor. We say teaching a ton of people twice a week is pastoring. It is not. It is teaching. Pastors in the Bible were loving, fatherly, intimate people in the church that knew when their sheep were hurting and would protect them, lift them up, serve them, put their needs before their own, because they loved, lived with, met daily, knew intimately each person they pastored. A Biblical Pastor was not usually the one teaching the big groups. I am not saying “pastors” of today are in the wrong. I am saying that we have redefined words and love titles so much today because of our insecurities that it can really mess up our understanding of many Biblical teachings and examples.

Anyways my conversation started with my buddy. Him asking me who my authority was. I told him Jesus. Did not Jesus destroy the vail that only priests could go behind? Did not Jesus make us a nation of priests? Is not Jesus’s purpose to allow us to go straight to God and not through a man? Is it not the goal of ministry and church, that people may draw close to God that they personally hear His voice and come spend time with Him daily? Did not Jesus make it so there no barrier anywhere between us and God?

“No Ethan who is your Spiritual Authority on this earth?” my friend asked

I first asked for him to show me an in context verse that talks about how I must have a Spiritual Authority on Earth? I’m not saying I disagree but show me a verse.

He could not. Then I asked “who do you think my authority should be?”

He had no answer. I started naming pastors of different churches that I love and respected and we talked about each one. These are awesome awesome men of God, but he had heard a rumor, some doctrine differences or had problems with all of them. My point is that he wanted to be my authority. Plain and simple, no matter if it was out of an innocent or false motivation to see me under authority, it all came down to he and a few other people in his non denomination “denomination” we the only people suitable to have authority over any Christian in town. LOL. Sad right. The problem is most pastors would never admit it, but feel the same way.

I told my friend that I was going to blog about this and he had no problem with that. He will probably blog about his ideas also. The beautiful thing is that we are still friends and love one another. Our meeting alone is an example of church, accountability, refining and submitting to one another in love.

I have much more to share on this topic, but I must share the rest later. Do not mistake my debating and issues on this topic as someone who does not believe in Biblical church leadership. My point is that Church and Church Leadership today is in great great great need of refining and people with good intentions are becoming like the world in their leadership and authority in the Church. My hearts cry is to see these lies dismantled and Church lead like Christ lead, as a servant to all.

My final comment today is that when I was 15 years old and before I had been part of a 501 c 3 status church meeting place, God called me to start a Bible Study. A couple hundred people were coming regularly and it was growing.What I had been taught and learned was either from God alone or from my father. I had been called by God and outside of my father had no concept of a Pastor. I was meeting daily with a ton of Christians praying and studying the Bible all day long.  A year or two after this ministry began, I started going to a 501 c 3 church meeting place. I started going to these different 501 c 3 non profit church meeting places and I did not see a fraction of the fervency and passion in prayer, worship, studying and talking about scripture, accountability, etc, etc that God had lead us to do in the Bible Study and group of people. We sometimes met for 6 straight hours talking about a book of the Bible and studying it. When we tried to get more involved with these 501c3 non profit church meeting places, many of them wanted to try and tell us we should not and could not meet together unless it was lead by them or under their authority. I was sooo confused and dove back into the scriptures to see where they were finding this doctrine. What I did find in my studies was that this is how church works in the government of China and many many places. If it is not controlled and under the authority of the Chinese government with a license from the State then it is illegal to meet, gather, study, pray and worship together. This same spirit is at work today in America and I am passionately against it. Jesus put himself upon that cross that we may have freedom to come to God and not wait for any man or organization to get their act together before we meet to pray, worship and seek the living God. Do not be lied to, manipulated or deceived my friends. Submit to one another in and because of love. Leaders lay your lives down for those weaker than you, that you may lift them up and that they may stand strong in Christ Jesus and His love. Do not be like the world whom Lords their authority over one another and places heavy burdens and guilt upon the backs of others. My heart burns to see men no longer hold back Church as it should be.

I have much more to share on this topic, as I also must say I do know many men, even with huge congregations, that are awesome awesome Biblical leaders in Christ. So do not be deceived to think I am against any church or pastor that fits the American Church mold. I am only saying this “Lord Jesus Christ come refine us and no matter how badly its burns, burn away all the man made filth that pollutes our minds, churches and leadership that has to do with worldly ideas and ideals of leadership and church.”” – Ethan Holub

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