Lately I have had the chance to review the aspects of the church I have problems with, in talking with friends and counter-parts. I have come to sincerely realize the church ‘doesn’t think it has a structural problem’ or it goes unrecognized. Which is hard to ignore when I read plenty of bloggers and their absolute dismay with the current affairs of the church. Some say ‘you shouldn’t care’ while others think ‘it is unchangeable’. But I find it hard to watch an institution that I both love and care about lose some of the original focus of the gospels, which are the greatest teachings I have ever read. So the real question I pose is ‘can the church be changed?‘.
1. The Structure of the Church
Here is the structure laid out: Power people (Pastors, teachers, church board, elders, musicians), the show (worship, offerings, testimonies, message from head guy, and possibly some prayer for you), and the audience (congregation). The role of the whole thing is draw you closer to God whether that be in a ‘sinner’s prayer’, some worship, learning from ideas of the speaker, or some ministering towards you (ex: praying over you + the laying on of hands). This is the daily service in a nutshell. The church also asks for your money (standard rule being 10%) for which they use for the ministries they have which might include missions, sunday school, local charities, bible college or a school, pastor’s salary, new equipment for the band, additions to the building, etc. This is basically how it looks to the people that are ‘in the know’. Can that be changed or better yet, should it?
2. The Problem with trying to change it (credibility)
You see it is okay to have questions about your faith (just don’t doubt) but to have questions about the affairs of the church may be as ‘taboo’ as asking if God is a ‘woman’ during a Sunday Service. The problem lies in the fact you have no credibility unless you are the ‘power people’, hang out with the ‘power people’, or have some pull with them (ex: a family member). So if you have no credibility with that crowd then you are ‘out of luck’ in trying to make any changes whatsoever. If you a simple ‘audience’ person well you count for very little in their midst since you have no ‘sway’ with the power people nor do you have an active place to voice concerns. There is no credible people outside the ‘power people’, since they carry the doctrines of God and apparently live them out better then the audience (thus they have the right to minister these ideals to you). If you do have questions and want to make a change then you best be approaching the ‘power people’ and relating your ideas…nothing might happen but this is the correct procedure. So even if you have, well let’s say, 2 degree’s (one a bachelor of theology) and a wealth of great ideas to use you still are sub-servient to the leaders and your ideas are not valid since they never came from the minds of the enlightened ‘power people’ of the church…maybe they feel slighted by the fact you have these ideas in the first place and they cannot be shown to be ‘behind the times’ (lest someone question their position of power).
3. The absurd reality: we are all equals
The really weird thing about this whole structure is that we are all equal and no one has more power than the next dude. Nowhere in the bible is someone ever deemed as more powerful than others nor is this structure taught as gospel truth (it’s actually not even mentioned in there so we have to find it on a blog). Music is never mentioned as part of the faith, although it is fun, nor is the importance of buildings as the place to meet God. But still the status quo will not be changed unless you know the ‘power people’ (who have no power except that they have from a denomination bestowed upon them – ex: accreditation). Then how do you personally change the structure, you go around their rules and do it yourself (a lone wolf so to speak).
4. Tear this building down
If you want to change the structure of the church you are in there are some easy steps to follow in the process. First, deny the right of the ‘power people’ to determine your faith – I know it’s absurd but this is where to start. The ‘power people’ are just as human as you and I and make mistakes and some are paid by the structure (with respect) to uphold it…so they are kind of compromised in that regards. Secondly, don’t doubt your ideas if the ideas are biblical. Just because some ‘power person’ says they are not, you already know they are trying to uphold their beautiful traditions and will not move to the left or right for you (you are a peon and have no power anyways so ‘it’s in one ear and out the other’). Thirdly, go about it for yourself and don’t let the church decide if it is ‘ministry worthy’. You won’t have access to the money they have, nor the resources they have, but that is half the battle and something you can do nothing to change. Best thing to do is ignore their ministry lines and do you own thing without their blessings. Fourthly, rally the people to support your endeavor (obviously from the audience) and offer them a way to do something meaningful besides watching the show. They will be your support group and where your resources will come from. Once they feel empowered the ‘power people’ will not be able to break you down (they like to single out lone wolves). Lastly, be prepared for the worst. You will be denied by the church, you will be called all ‘evil things’, your reputation will become useless, you will be judged harshly, and in the end you will be an ‘outcast’. But that’s what you get for trying to change the structure and have no ‘power’ to do so. These same ideals got Jesus killed in his day, so I say be prepared for the worst.
So I personally believe the church structure can be changed and the focus they have can be altered. I don’t think the church is beyond hope in this regard but it is quite the challenge. The ‘old dogs’ won’t let their guard down too quickly and there bark is worse than their bite. Still, if you see problems in your church and want a change, well here’s a model to use. At some point the ‘old dogs’ will fade away and their upheld traditions will fade with them, have some patience. If you are blessed enough the ‘old dogs’ might even support your idea, which feels great. Why do I say wait it out? Well, I don’t agree with church shopping and if you are in a congregation why should you leave to get what you need? That seems divisive to me and further supports their irresponsibility as change agents in society. The adamant question is ‘does it work’? Well I don’t know but it seems like someone else did this in His day.