Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article, Please comment at the end after reading this article! – Kent
“…it is worth noting that we are all clearly becoming less hierarchical and more ad hock in much of what we do. Bottom up, non-hierarchical movements are thriving. Traditional hierarchies are in danger of becoming passé.” (Frank Newport, God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America, New York: Gallup Press, 2012, Page 40).
The structure of most churches is top down, hierarchical. The extreme version of this is a denomination. People have all sorts of theories as to why non-denominational churches are growing. Some of those theories are caustic: “They are growing because they are preaching what people want to hear, they preach heresy.” In most cases, nothing could be further from the truth. What ignorance!
One of the many reasons some of these groups are growing is that they have recaptured form of a movement. Christianity is built as a movement, more than an organization. The shape is low control, with high accountability.
The New Testament church is low control. This movement grows so fast it is literally out of human control. It is, of course, a movement under the control of the Holy Spirit. It is just out of human control. The more we try to control what God does, the more we leave God out of the formula. That does not work!
I have seen this in modern times: in Africa, the Philippines, and the former Soviet Union, soon after the unraveling of communism. It is occurring in South Korea and the “underground” household movement in China. It is rapid, exponential growth, beyond explanation, way beyond human reason. It is the powerful movement of the Holy Spirit and it can happen anytime, anywhere. However, it is unlikely where we have so hyper organized Christianity that we have put the Holy Spirit in chains. We have road blocked the movement of God.
Low control, by itself, leads to chaos. High accountability is the balance, and it was practiced in the New Testament Church. Ironically, this is almost never practiced in churches. Gossip is rampant in churches. The truth is, if no one would listen to gossip, no one could gossip. If you ask someone who has been offended by another person to follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18, a lesson on high accountability, they say, “I can’t talk to that person face to face because I am not good at conflict, I don’t like conflict.” No one likes conflict! If you like conflict, you need to see a therapist! It is not about what you like; it is what the Spirit of God disciplines you to do. The Scripture says, ”speak the truth in a spirit of love.” How often does this happen? We are good at speaking the truth, but not so good at doing it in a spirit of love. Paul starts every one of his letters this way. He begins by boasting about what God has done in the lives of the people. Then, he speaks the truth in love and straightens them out. Finally he ends his letters, praising God for what wonderful Christians they are. He puts “bookends of love” on the truth of accountability in the middle of his letters
This is not rocket science, but the way it is practiced in most churches, you would think it is beyond our grasp. Yet it is the fiber of the New Testament approach. It is low control but high accountability. High control, leads to hierarchies that simply do not attract people today. The truth? It never did!
Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article. Please comment below! – Kent