Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kingdom Mentality vs. Church Mentality, Part 1


John the Baptist came preaching the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ, came preaching the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. The Gen 1 church (1st generation) preached the Kingdom of God.

Why did Apostle Paul, who wrote more than half the new testament, fail to write one single letter about the seven steps to church growth? Why did it take more than 1900 years for a pastor from southern California to come up with the revelation of the "purpose driven church"? Why do many pastors, especially those in the United States, preach church growth?

It's because they have little or no concept of the Kingdom of God. It's not really their fault, the seminaries and Bible Schools that taught them failed them in communicating the truth about the reality of the Kingdom of God.

Church mentality involves thinking everything spiritual revolves around the church, particularly the church organization of any pastor infected with this mentality. Programs are developed to grow and sustain the church. Members are recruited to help the pastor and leadership to keep the church wheels greased and rolling.

Monies are collected to finance the various programs and pay the professional clergy. Lay people are recruited to work for free. Most supporting staff, secretaries, assistants, etc., work for much less than if they had regular jobs in the marketplace. Pastors of mega-churches make hundreds of times the average salary of their membership.

Pastors who are infected with this mentality are often jealous of other pastors and churches in their area. Said pastors are often very competitive with the competing churches in their area. Said pastors are rarely in unity with other local pastors. They only fellowhip with other pastors of their denomination or ministerial alliance.

This mentality is often communicated to the members of these church driven churches. Often, said members try to recruit members from other churches to "their" church. Why? because they are convinced their church is better than the other competing churches.

Pentecostal and charismatic churches often obtain their church growth from denominational churches who do not "preach the full gospel" or have little to no emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. "Hungry" believers from these churches often leave to attend full gospel churches. Proselyting is allowed, even encouraged, in the effort to have the largest church in town.

Believers who leave their denominational churches for the "freedom of the Spirit" often have to learn the new discipline of shepherding and being "under a spiritual covering". These new believers must learn the pastor is their shepherd and he knows best for them. Second discipline to learn is you must be "under" a more mature and spiritual believer. This usually means your pastor, who can also be a self proclaimed prophet or apostle. being "under" someone else is a two-fold concept, believe and obey. Believe everything they say, question nothing, and obey everything they tell you to do without hesitation. Not too hard.

Another phenomena is "having a spiritual father". Sometimes a leader will decide they are your new spiritual father, other times you get to pick your spiritual father. If your present spiritual father falls, because of a gay lover, other sexual sins or drug/alcohol use, then its quite alright to search for a new daddy.

Here's the bottom line on having a "spiritual father": the "child" rides on the coat tail of his "spiritual father's" fame and popularity. By being connected to the more famous ministry, the lesser is hoping to increase their own fame. Honestly, I've not seen of too many "fathers" seeking "spiritual children". It's usually vice-versa.

Having the largest church in town is a great honor for the pastor. Members who attend the largest church in town can take great pride in this accomplishment. Church pastors and members who are not from the largest church in town are allowed to criticize, backbite and gossip about the largest church.

Sometimes, churches infected with this mentality have bitter disagreements within their memberships. When this happens, usually a group within the church gets mad and leaves said church. Often, the angry group who left will start another church. The non-believers in the community look on this with sheer amazement. Its further confirmation to the non-believer not to attend church.

Often the bitter disagreement is over the color of the new carpet or pews that are going to be installed.

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you know a pastor or church with this mentality? Or worse yet, have you been a part of a church like this? Don't despair. There is hope yet.

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