Apparently, my solutions suck.
One of the first things you learn about tackling intractable problems: People will hate your ideas for fixes. Not merely disagree with, but full-on hate.
You would think that when we bring difficult topics into the sphere of the Christian community the hate would go away. Well, maybe a little. What you get as a replacement is this: “Your fix will never work.”
Christians can be some of the most pessimistic and nihilistic people when faced with nasty issues. Anyone who even tries to speak to a tough issue has that idea chastised. It’s one reason why so much of the American Church is adrift.
What makes me more upset than having unusual ideas shot down by perpetual naysayers is that God never set up His Kingdom to be dominated by a loose collection of wandering idea people. Yet that is the model we Americans endorse.
Wakeup call: This mentality of a Moses-like character who emerges onto the national Christian scene to lead us in the way we should go is just a big pipe dream. Sure, now and then some Christian with a great agent lands a great book deal and writes a great book we talk about for two months before we forget what the hubbub was about. That’s not the way the King expects the Kingdom to work, though. Looking to any one human being for solutions won’t work.
I know it’s hypocritical of my entire post to say this, but here’s the only answer:
Every local church needs to sit down as a whole church—leaders, non-leaders, the elderly, the teens, whoever the church deems a communing member—and present to the assembly the problems facing the church and its local area. Then the whole church works together as One Body to seek, find, and present answers.
I don’t care what the problem is. I don’t care how difficult it might seem. Each local church needs to convene as a whole church and get solutions.
Of course, within a Christian context, this means operating as the Body of Christ plugged into the Head.
God gave each of us gifts, both innate talents and spiritual gifts. The entire Church model presented in the New Testament depends on that Body model Christ left us. If we do not operate as a Body, we do not operate as intended. If we reduce the Church to nothing more than a loose affiliation of individuals, then we should not be surprised when we achieve no results or cannot deliver solutions.
If we truly believe our own teachings, then it’s about time that each local church gets its leaders focused on what the problems are that face the church and put those problems before the whole church.
I don’t believe there is a problem too hard for the Lord to fix if we Christians in our local churches meet as a body (and THE Body) to hash them out, so long as we let the Spirit guide us.
I’m fed up with excuses for why such and such never gets fixed, aren’t you?
Last week, at another site, I took the author of an article to task for thinking too small. When I proposed a solution, the naysayers came out in droves.
But you know what? I don’t care if my offering is outrageous on the surface. Many solutions that eventually work start off outrageous. No, I don’t have proof such and such will work; all I know is that no one has made the attempt.
And if my answer is outrageous and left untried, how many other believers in a local church may have equally outrageous answers to tough problems that everyone beefs about but no one ever attempts to fix?
Why are we not brainstorming outrageous answers as a local church? Why do we always look to our leaders for solutions if that leader is the “foot” part of the Body or that one is a “nose,” but we need an “eye” solution? Wouldn’t the “eye”-gifted people possibly have better insight?
And why is it that we have no confidence that the Holy Spirit can speak spiritual answers through the bohemian single mom who just became a believer a couple weeks ago? Why is it the Holy Spirit can’t speak through the shifty-looking teen guy? How is it that the people in the seats have zero ability to cast light upon a dark issue, only the “experts”?
When we discredit what might be spoken through a “nonstandard vessel,” we’re not just discrediting the vessel; we’re discrediting our Lord’s ability to use whomever He so pleases.
I believe a surefire fix exists for problems the Church keeps saying can’t be fixed. Or if not a total fix, then a good bulkhead for keeping the worst of that problem at bay. We just don’t trust the Lord to work through other believers the way He said He would.
5 thoughts on “The Surefire Way to Fix the Church’s Every Problem”
Dan: you don’t know me and I don’t know you (other than here). I’d like to address this. First, you are absolutely 100% right. That is why I do not and will not belong to a denomination that has oversight of a local church. Too many higher ups speak “carte blanche” (or is it ex-cathedra?) when they have no clue how the local church or community fits and plays. Each church is locally autonomous and should have its own leadership and way of doing things. Second, we did exactly what you speak of. When we moved into our building in 9/10 we were excited. We had rented a dirty facility since ’04 and purchased a small, but adequate, abandoned Mormon building. In 1/11 I found out we had been embezzled to the tune of…well…a lot. I reported it to the leadership and we reported it to the congregation. They were rightfully angry, but then bonded together so much so that in less than a year we were renovating the building and paid cash for it. When it came to renovating, I led a Building Team which was straddled to not being able to add one inch to our building, or we would have to add another septic system to the tune of $125k. We brainstormed and came up with idea. We took it to the people and they not only went for it, they helped with the demolition and gave money to pay cash. it started with the Leadership Team and moved down to the rest of the people. We moved WITH them. In that brainstorming session we had to consider every angle and found one. It is a band-aid (which we told the people) and are now in two services looking to do something. But will move with the people, not against them. Unconventional ways are sometimes the best ways. Third, some people are small thinkers. If I am thinking too small, i want someone to speak up. Just my .02 worth
I am not only a strong proponent of what I outlined above, I’ve written about the need for each local church to seek the Holy Spirit’s direction in “programmatic” directions.
Instead, we have too many local churches looking at some church 1,000 miles away as a model for everything that they should do. I don’t see how anyone can think that works in a country the size and variety of America.
Maybe if you lived in Liechtenstein.
I have always wondered why most evangelical churches don’t have committees like some of the mainline churches do for example,, like the Presbyterians and Congregationalists. I was in a Presbyterian evangelical church for 12 years recently and was on three committees (not all at once). The church was careful in the selection and selected only church members. So they didn’t just have any idiot on these committees. Each elder was over a committee and the committees death with every facet of the church. At the monthly elders’ meeting each elder would give a report on what their committee had suggested. The elders did not jave to OK what the committees suggested. Some of the committees were: the committee over all children’s, youth and adult SS classes, the Finance committee, the Adult curriculum committee, the Worship committee, the Discipleship committee (I used to think you would be good on this committee), and so forth. In churches that actually want to follow the Holy Spirit and teach their members how to do it, I think this would be a powerful organizational tool.
That’s the same methodology the Lutheran church I grew up in used. I was on the youth board at one time, while my mother was on worship, and my dad on facilities. There were about a dozen people on each.
There are no answers. Only approximate approaches to make improvements or at least changes. Just as soon as we make a simple step of improvement the characters change or the system changes or people stop supporting you.
I have been in churches where we got a system of evangelism or healing set up when the boss changed. Then a new immature boss shows up and says, “Plow it all under”.
Sorry to disappoint you.