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Doing Ministry in a Business-like Way?

Well, after having second thoughts about this post early this morning, I’ve tried to take another approach to it. I doubt that I’ve got it right yet, but would be interested to hear some discussion.

Some of us believe ministry and business are mutually exclusive. I’ve seen the sincerity in the eyes of those who are convinced that one of the biggest problems in the church today is that we are treating pastors like CEOs, people like markets, and focus groups as a substitute for seeking the will of God.

The caution needs to be taken seriously. Wherever followers of Christ put their confidence in business methods rather than Christ; value money more than people, or use manipulative methods of persuasion rather than teaching the Bible with candor and honesty, somebody might as well put an idol to Baal in the boardroom.

But our reaction to the misuse of business models in ministry also needs to be considered carefully. For instance, in reaction to well managed annual plans, balanced budgets, and clever marketing, some followers of Christ suggest that the only way to do ministry by faith is to place ourselves in such difficult circumstances that if God doesn’t show up and intervene, we will fail.

But history shows that taking an approach that i.e. asks us to overextend ourselves spiritually and financially, while trusting God to meet our needs, can also be fertile ground for presumption and misrepresenting of the Word of God. “Believing God for a miracle” that leaders or influential persons say “God has revealed to them” might even be more dangerous than use of business principles (because a misuse of a “word of faith”, or “believing God for…” can misquote the Spirit of God and lead to disillusionment after members have invested themselves in someone’s self-deception or ego.)

But if this is one more issue that polarizes followers of Christ, I think I can see at least one reason why. The Scriptures give us some very different points of reference. For instance, on one side, we see the Lord being angry because King David called for a census to assess his military strength (1Chron 21:1-8). That seems similar to what the Lord did in insisting that Gideon take no more than 300 fighting men against an enormous army of the Amalekites and Midianites (Judges 7).

But on the other hand, the wisdom of Proverbs shows that it is wise to count our resources to avoid presumption (Prov 27:23-24). Such inspired and wise sayings remind us that when we come to our God, and to a life lived in and through him, we don’t leave behind the general wisdom he has built into the world. We just realize that while such wisdom has its place, even in ministry, it’s no substitute for prayerful reliance upon our God to do what only he can do.

There’s plenty of room in ministry to trust the Lord even when we are using principles of natural wisdom. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul writes, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase” (1Cor. 3:6-7). Here Paul builds on the thought that, even in the down to earth business of farming, doing the right things doesn’t assure germination in the spring or harvest in the fall. Both allow for dependence on the Lord. The psalmist makes a similar point when he says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it (Psalm 127:1).

Seems to me that the issue isn’t whether ministry needs to be done in a business-like way.

What matters is what principles of business are used, and whether we are using budgets, business plans, and focus groups to support our faith in the Lord or to replace it with reliance on ourselves.

Having an annual plan can be a way of giving consideration to all members of a ministry team, and doesn’t equal presumption as long as it is used only as a reference point– to be changed, by agreement, whenever it appears, through counsel, circumstance, and prayer, that the Lord is redirecting us.

Where business has crossed the line is when money is more important than people, policies are out of line with Scripture, or Robert’s Rules of Order are given more honor than the principles of Christ. On the other hand, the Apostle Paul also made it clear that gifts of administration are from the Lord, and so is the principle of letting “everything be done decently and in order” (1Cor 14:40).

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. Would be interested to know what you’ve seen that shows either the value or danger of doing ministry in a business-like way.

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28 Responses to “Doing Ministry in a Business-like Way?”

  1. rokdude5 says:

    I missed out on this morning post if there was one. Mart, it sounds like there is a guilt trip using financial planning, perhaps even marketing. Unless someone is providing all your needs, your ministry has obligations – salaries, lease, utilities, and other over head (pardon the pun) plus providing yourself a living.

    To me, it depends on the motive in one’s heart. Is a ministry a ploy to make money for oneself or is it a mean to spread God’s Word and providing comfort for those are hurting?

    What ever God is providing for you and your organization, how can any of us complain? God has provided you with such a wonderful gift. Youre certainly deserving of such blessings! 1 Peter 4:10 RJ

  2. teena says:

    I have to agree about the motives of the heart. We can “say” that we are doing it to bring honor and glory to God, but is that what is really in our hearts? Only God knows, and He will bless or not bless accordingly.

    To use an example of the mega-church– I am not a regular attender, but I have visited one occasionally. It has bothered me that marketing and surveys and focus groups and Broadway style shows are used to bring in the “unchurched”, and that the mission of Christ and Christ’s death on the cross has not *always* been clearly taught. Still, all of those people are going to church every Sunday. So then you have to ask, why are they going to church every Sunday? To be entertained? To feel good about themselves? Or do they long to hear the gospel of Christ and they’re just waiting for the day to hear it?

    I think there is a fine line between churches providing entertainment and a show like atmosphere, than those that simply preach the gospel of Christ. In my opinion, churches should be a place of respite and rest from the world; with a solid foundational teaching of the Word of God. Not a place that simulates the world’s way of doing things. Because I think it doesn’t truly help the wretched soul; only provides a way for them that can lead to further temptations.

  3. Roy Anderson says:

    I have seen the mega churches, the televangelists, the millions of dollars dumped into marketing, business plans, studies, demographic research and the seemingly Christless manner of “churching” people. I have been offended. Then I think of this wonderful webpage right here – business and marketing. I also think of what Paul wrote in I believe Thes. “…quelch not the spirt…” I sincerely believe God uses every aspect of our human understanding. He reaches us in ways and manners that only He understands. I wonder how many business men and women have come to Christ not because of the intial message, but the initial sight of a well placed and stated advertisement. The sight of a well groomed lawn on church grounds with a simple sign out front (marketing) and the cross (a simple symbol) of Christs sacrifice. Does business have a place in the church – Yes. Just don’t put it first – that is God’s place. Don’t worship business plans – worship Christ. God Bless.

  4. pastor mark says:

    I think that you are on the right track. One thing that does need to be addressed though, is the fact that if the Pastor is treated like a CEO, then is diminishes the idea that this is ministry. He is not a man to be just hired and fired when the church doesn’t like what is going on. This is definitely, a call from God and the church should recognize that too. This is not a job, it is a vocation, a ministry and should be treated so.

  5. pastor mark says:

    I wanted to add that I am concerned about the way that church is today. No matter how big or small, if we are not preaching that people are sinners and can only come to God through Jesus Christ, then no amount of advertise
    ment or entertainment is going to matter. We are in ministry not business. We are here to preach the gospel, not tell people what they want to hear, or give them the right activity or program, just so they can enjoy themselves or feel good about themselves. We can make people feel good all day long, but when they are burning in hell, will they feel good then?

  6. cherielyn says:

    It is my belief that the ‘church’ (physical building) should not be attracting the world. The church building is a place where BELIEVERS come together to worship God and be upheld and fed – i.e. Hebrews 10:25 (KJV) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

    “Assembling of ourselves together” is referring to Christians, NOT THE WORLD. It is our job, as individual Christians (the true church), to reach the lost. Then, the church (building) is where believers gather together to be nourished and grow in their faith and to learn to carry out “The Great Commission” whether it be on a foreign mission field or the mission field that exists right outside the doors of our daily lives. The money, church ‘business’, etc. will take care of itself when Christian’s hearts are in the right place. Those are my thoughts on this subject.

    As Mart suggested, several weeks back, it would be nice to see where all the posts come from. I thought that sounded like a good idea. How about the rest of you?

    NE Wisconsin, USA

  7. MarkieMark says:

    Mart – I am a big intent/motive person. A stranger that I met one morning at breakfast, during a long one and only conversation, gave me some very good advice – Focus on your relationship with Christ and the rest will take care of itself. I know this sounds so simple but when you find yourself truly focusing on Christ you will see that it works – Christ is always more interested in ministering to you personally than he ever will be interested in your ministry!

    Double Mindedness is something I mentioned in another post and this is a perfect example. I struggle with all the “business” of the church and the best way for me to keep “single minded” is to focus 100% on what Christ is telling/asking me to do.

    Orlando, FL

  8. poohpity says:

    I believe in this church/business thing its like the one thing that is left out is God. Go figure! It was like that blog you wrote a long time ago about the things of God confound the things of this world. If you want a church that is run like the things of this world then it will look like the things of this world. If you have an executive pastor that is a retired CEO of a company who does not have a close relationship to God it will run like the business he came from.

    We have taken God out and replaced Him with us. Unless one has a firm foundation in Christ then it will fail. You can go to those people who go around and look at what needs to change in a church rather than to be in prayer and humble ourselves and ask God what would you like to happen here. People are put into positions where they are not gifted, they have abilities but not the heart for certain areas. We are in a quick fix society and the ministries that are developed are to satisfy the quick healing of man.

    There are so many who only come to church on Sunday and that is it but it seems that those are the ones who want to CONTROL what goes on with running the church. There are some basics in the church that do not need to change, one is the part where we are directed to Love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind. It is God who is in the business of changing people and churches. It is His business and we have got to get rid of busy-ness and get back to the basic of what God is all about which is changing lives not making money.

    If there are to be changes in the church there has to be changes in the individuals that form the body. How on earth can a mega church meet the needs and care of the body. That kind of church is OK if you do not want to get involved, nobody knows any body because the fences are up, each to their own. It really kills me when the one time the bible should be taught is on the day we worship God. What a concept!!! The bible needs to be taught, discussed and absorbed if not on this day what day.

    I am currently watching a church fall down right in front of my eyes, it is the church I have gone to since I began my walk with the Lord 20 years ago. They try to fix things that are not broke and are running here and there to put the fires out. It seems like they are listening to the people and not to God. But what do I know about running a church. I do know one thing I am running from the church it is causing more pain than it is healing.

    OOPS got to go to Church, LOL!!! I serve with the people with special abilities and that is the one of the things that has saved me from leaving and God keeps telling me to Be Still. Oh well there are some churches that function and some that don’t and GOD is in Control of the luke warm churches of America and right now He is spitting them out.

  9. violet D says:

    Having been part of a ‘church start’ ( and being ‘legalist’ in nature) I found that some organization is essential. My pastor is more ‘serendipity’ so we complemented each other. However, more of our time was spent interacting with people – one on one – and in small groups. When the leadership changed the focus changed! Now I’m looking for a church where the message is preached and people care about ‘people’ – and not finding it – so far!! I believe God is a God of ‘order’ but ‘ministry’ should be the focus.
    violet – S. Alberta, Canada

  10. SFDBWV says:

    As I read the Bible from the time of the fall of man, there has been an economy that connected people together. Some became rich others worked for wages, some at the mercy of the kindness of others, some even slaves. But money in some form provided the means whereby busness and commerce functioned….Money has been around as long as the history of man.

    Jesus, speaks much about money. He tells us not to put our trust in it. Yet even concerning worship we have been obligated to pay tithes. Cain killed able because Able’s tithes were accepted as worthy and his was not. Abraham paid tithes to the King of Salem,the Priest of the most high God.

    Money and ministry is not exempt from the way of things.

    Jew’s were living in every country of the known world at the time of Jesus. They were obligated to come to the Temple at the Passover and follow the Mosaic laws concerning the sacrifices etc. They needed to be able to buy their various animals. They needed to exchange the currency they had from their native country into local currency in order to make purchases. These greedy men made a profit from exchanging the various currencies. Profit from the purpose of following God’s law and so his ordained worship.

    Jesus, angry at their unconcern about worship and concern for profit, took action and threw them out of the Temple. Like parasites they had attached themselves to peoples deepest need, for the sole purpose of making money.

    Some of the TV ministries I have seen come and go over time sicken me. Only because every other word out of their mouth is money. They give too much attention to it rather than the Gospel. Their sin shall find them out.

    I quit giving to United Way many many years ago. Their connection to abortion was an early reason. But when I found out that their CEO was making 17 million dollars a year as a salary that cinched it.

    Billy Graham Ministries has grown into a huge world wide business of spreading the Gospel,feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, ect stc. Dr. Graham has always lived modestly.

    I do not know what the cost of producing RBC is. But I know there is a cost involved. We pay our tithes to our local church, we also tithe to various people who we are led to do so. We tithe sometimes to RBC and also purchase some of the products made available. We spread around our tithes as God leads us to do so. If there is extra sometimes we contribute above our tithes. The little Daily Bread booklet we recieve, we pass along to shutins as we do all the other books we get. They are then passed along to a friend of ours who is Head of Nursing at a local nursinghome. They get passed around.

    RBC must use the wisdom of Biblical truths concerning running business, if it is to continue to be a voice for Christ.

  11. drkennyg says:

    I’m reminded of “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret” written by his son and DIL. He was a 19th century missionary in China who spread Christ (the church) throughout China. Here was a man that totally relied on God for literally everything throughout his life. I think the secret was 1) faith in the quiet practical dependence on God for everyday living even though it can get harsh and 2) the sure knowledge the God will never leave you. At least this what I got out of the book. It was a difficult read but perseverance pays off.

  12. daisymarygoldr says:

    “What matters is what principles of business are used…”- MDH

    The motive behind the business-like approach should remain clear- it is always about His ministry and not our materialism. It is not the building facilities, the excellent programs or the dynamic CEO Pastor but the pure unadulterated Word of God that ministers to our every need and adds people to the church. It is also not about marketing the gospel to satisfy consumer needs by applying the “customer is always right” policy…this is what opens doors for blatant sin to creep in, resulting in sickness, sleep and eventual death of vibrant church communities.

    Doing ministry in a business-like way is not for self-profit but should ultimately profit the kingdom of God. As long as we are following the lead of the ‘Head’, I agree that there is nothing wrong with “well managed annual plans, balanced budgets, and clever marketing” for actively spreading the Good News to all the corners of the earth!

  13. wretch-like-me says:

    Perhaps this may sting us all a bit but, haven’t WE Americans created such a high standard of living that we do ourselves and God a terrible disservice? Have we NOT elevated our comforts to an exaggerated minimum standard? I confess that I enjoy a level of comfort far beyond my needs. Are we not filled with mixed messages? We claim that we depend on God for our needs, yet, we scheme and try to manipulate Him with little thought of giving HIM back the ‘first fruits’ must less digging deep enough to risk living out our faith. We accept the the World View that wealth buys comfort and security when in fact, the Bible teaches exactly the opposite that God and God alone can give us that. When it comes to ‘business models’ in church management I believe Christ is the only model we need. And as far as I know, HE never ran a business, He began a church. He built it by example. He walked the walk and taught the apostles to do the same. He depended daily on the Father’s promise to provide what He needed and devoted himself to spending time in prayer before ministry. He listened for God’s direction and He was (and is) Obedient. My experience includes nearly 30 years of observing churches and their leadership. Obedience to God’s Word and His direction is the only true measure of success. Forget the nickels and noses.
    North Eastern Washington/Panhandle Idaho

  14. DarleneJoy says:

    Very thought-provoking discussion! Motive/focus is DEFINITELY the deciding factor in whether a church, individual or group of believers is business-minded or ministry-minded.

    In 1 Tim. 3:1-13, Paul gives Timothy a list of qualities that should be exemplified in the leadership of the church – “blameless…sober-minded, of good behaviour…able to teach…not greedy for money…one who rules his own house well…reverent…holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.” I am not saying that if a pastor/leader has a lot of wealth that he is greedy for money, but I’m sure we all would agree that the more we have, the more difficult it is to keep a proper perspective on it.

    I am unable to think of the exact Scriptures at this moment, but I know there are several places where Jesus spoke about being wise in monetary matters. As we serve Him in whatever He calls us to do and prayerfully seek His wisdom in every matter, I believe that materialism will be much less of a problem.

    And a closing thought: let us not forget to give God the glory every time that He provides (whether financially or otherwise). The church that my dad pastors in Canada finally has a church building – it is a small community of believers, so money was a concern, but as they sought God’s leading, He provided. The building was completed free of debt and at the dedication service it was expressed many times that God made this possible. And God has been increasing the church’s witness and ministry in the community!

    May we be able to say with the apostle Paul, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Philippians 3:7-8)

    Klaipeda, Lithuania (Europe)

  15. witness2031 says:

    As I have visited different churches in this area looking for a church home, I have seen some of the dangers of allowing “business” to rule the church. For the last three years I have been in discussion with the local Baptist Association Mission Director about some of the problems I’ve encountered. Frankly, neither one of us knows of a solution. In too many of the churches here, church business and those who control it rules the churches to the point that the pastors have very little authority. In every instance where I was not asked not to attend services, the pastor had welcomed me and assured me my history would not be a problem with attendance only to have the governing board of the church overrule him. I believe one board even went so far as to make some veiled threats when he tried to persuade them. He told me he was going to have a hard time working with some of them after that meeting and left that church when he was called to another a couple of months later. It seems many of the pastors are forced to submit to the wishes of the ruling board in business model churches under the threat of losing their jobs. Galatians 1:10 speaks to this; “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Were I a pastor, this passage would make me fearfully rethink the lengths to which I would try to appease these men.

    On the other hand, I have a vision of service to the community by the Body of Christ (which includes all the churches and denominations) which requires the use of business methodology to work efficiently. The Mission Director and I have been discussing this for a couple of years now and he seems encouraged that he may finally be making some progress in this area. Again, the politics of trying to appease the various ruling boards of the churches appears to be the gravest obstacle to carrying out God’s will. He are also encountering “turf” resistance from some of the pastors.

    I admit I don’t have any solutions to these problems – at least none that are ‘politically correct.” I would love to here from anyone who has overcome this or have any ideas on the matter. May God bless you all and keep you!

    David – Georgia

  16. NDgal says:

    I came from a small church where my husband sang in weekly services and I baked bars for funerals, watched children in the nursery, was the recording secretary for church council… At the time, it seemed exhausting. We kept seeing all these ads for this large church down the street that had a very sophisticated church school program and had services with modern songs. When they advertised for a person to head up their publications, I applied and gratefully accepted the job. After attending a few very uplifting services, where our children were taken care of by a well-staffed nursery (complete with beepers and snacks), we changed our membership. The first time one of my children was sick, it was evident that our new pastor was not the shepherd that our former pastor was. A volunteer visitor was sent to my son’s hospital bed. He didn’t know who she was and he was scared of her.

    This new pastor was a visionary and had bigger things to attend to. The new church hadn’t always been this big. It took some pretty fantastic marketing to grow it by 3,000 new members in a few years. In their goal to reach the unchurched, they focus their messages pretty much 100 percent on grace and not even the smallest fraction on self-reflection. If they taught self-reflection, they might lose some of the new members. As a result, many of the older members here have left to look elsewhere for spiritual bread.

    As for my husband and I, we have not been called on once to be involved (outside of my paid position). I am ashamed to say it was refreshing at first. Evidentially, there are already people assigned to the volunteer positions here. My husband did get an invitation to “audition” for a song leader position a few months ago. He declined due to stage fright, something that he strangely never seemed to have before.

    This is just my story. I am not against mega churches or even using prudent business practices in running a church. The children’s programs here are wonderful. If we had organized small groups, the hospital visitation program might even be more effective. It certainly is better than no visitation. I can also see the attraction that the anonymity of a large church might have for someone “testing the waters” of Christianity. But I also think that the leaders of any church need Christ running the helm. It we rely too heavily on the CEO for the vision/mission and the CEO isn’t Christ, there can be problems.

  17. poohpity says:

    I again have to say that the problems with the churches lies within the hearts of the congregation. It seems like with everything else it goes back to each person’s individual response to God. If you have people that run the church or who attend who do not put God first in their lives it will show in the fruits of their labor. Knowing we each lack perfection which is not demanded of us, God wants our hearts and to show mercy. It is so easy to concentrate on the things around us that we forget God and He will allow us to continue on the path to destruction until we fall to our knees and look to Him for help. We have so much in the U.S.A., I believe in the long run we are the ones trying to get through the eye of the needle.

    Mesa, Arizona

  18. wretch-like-me says:

    One final comment, if I may. I apologize for preaching in my earlier post. Sincerely, what I observe in my own life is that when I try to live by two standards I am torn apart by trying to ‘serve two masters’. Is it not the same for trying to separate ‘business’ from church practice? If I concentrate on living by Christ’s standard all other things fall in place. Again, scripture says ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you’. Its the same with government. We cannot legislate morality. We must spread christianity. The greatest teachers know that inspiring students to develop a ‘love of learning’ is much more effective than ‘drilling in formulas’ or memorizing facts. It is the same with us christians. We must develop a love for ‘serving’ Our Lord, Jesus and Our Father in Heaven. Without that, it’s just following game plans, business models, and rabbinical rules.
    NorthEastern Washington/Panhandle Idaho

  19. christ4life says:

    A thought-provoking post Mart and one which has to be discussed openly.
    I do not believe that these two entities are mutually exclusive. Invariably,we will find that every church has expenses varying from utility bills to funds required for outreach programmes. And the bigger the congregation, the greater the overheads, whatever those may be. I agree with my fellow bloggers that members involved with the collections and disbursement of the funds have to be careful that they not become too focussed on the acquiring of funds for “church work” rather than “ministry” or Christ’s work.I too refer to the reference Matt.6:33—if we seek first THE KINGDOM then all we need will be supplied. Remember that The Master did have a “treasurer” in the form of Judas Iscariot so this does indicate that He needed someone to handle the financial affairs of His group. In addition, remember in Acts 6:1-4, the followers of The Way had to select seven wise and Spiritfilled men to coordinate the daily distributions while the apostles focussed on prayer and the ministry. Hence these references may be endorsements for the establishment of administrative committees in a church so that the pastor can focus on Ministry and evangelism. NB These men were prayerfully selected.
    Indeed however, I agree that the problems arise when individuals strive to satisfy self interest and seek to ‘look good’ in the sight of men or by world standards, rather than serving Jehovah.
    So I agree with the application of proper business principles in the adminisation of a church (after all this is the ethical and legal way)but our faith and obedience must forever remain in The Lord Our God.
    Discovery Bay, St. Ann, Jamaica WI

  20. SFDBWV says:

    Acts 3:6 “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

    If I remember church history correct, Martin Luther quoted this passage of scripture when he was cutting free from the Roman Catholic church. The current Pope was bragging about the financial wealth the church had aquired. Martin Luther stated “yes gold and silver you have but the Holy Spirit you have not.

    I am sure I butchered the story but I hope you get the gist.

    Seems like this isn’t a new problem.

  21. Mart De Haan says:

    Hey, great discussion everyone. Thanks so much. Good balancing perspectives.


  22. blowentw says:

    It seems that there is an assumption that all wise decisions stem from a business mentality, that business is the source of goal setting and evaluation. But if we see that these are really a part of life in general, and the wisdom that God gives us, we can have a healthy perspective on business practices and their use in ministry. We can also evaluate the methodology used in businesses for organization, goal setting and evaluation, and see how it might be applied to the church and other ministries. But when we unreservedly, or even without a great deal of assessment, adopt the vocabulary, structures and methodology of the business world, we lose the unique nature of the church and para-church ministries. In so doing we give away something critical to the function and role of the church.

    Even something as basic as adopting the title “President” of a ministry has ramifications for the perspective brought to that ministry. Yes, it may be better recognized and understood throughout the world, but is that the purpose we are serving? Don’t we want the world to understand that we are different, that we are serving as the leader of a ministry, and not as the head? In the last decade or so the term “corporate culture” has come into vogue in ministry circles, reflecting the business world. I’m not sure we want a corporate culture, no matter how you define it, in a christian organization. I hope we want a church culture that behaves wisely, reflecting the whole counsel of Scripture.

    Business decision making and wisdom do not necessarily run hand in hand, and I think these days bear that out more than most.

    New Jersey

  23. Mart De Haan says:

    I hear you, blowentw, thanks for your thoughts.

  24. jh says:

    The systematic nature of the business has one singular purpose: profit, which is motivated by greed. It is completely structured around this. If you want a profit /greed based religion, you can do it this way. If not, re-invent it according to God’s rules. We are not talking about accounting here, that is simply doing the math. It’s the methodology. God’s way is the only way.

  25. NurturingLife says:

    The Holy Spirit seems to be drawing the attention of believers everywhere to this topic. I’m hearing it from individuals and in Bible study groups…yet it is still a rather foggy subject.

    Some are saying that we need to take our responsibilities of administration seriously, as we would in business and others are using the phrase, “it’s about a relationship, not a religion”…meaning let’s be careful not to get overly structured or legalistic in our organization.

    Your post seems to be addressing these ideas and trying to clear the fog in order to understand what the Spirit of the Word is actually telling us.

    On a personal level, I have been brought through this struggle and believe that I have found balance through some “hard knocks” and tough experiences.

    I sincerely believe that we need to be responsible stewards of the resources God has given us and it is imperative that we do God’s business in God’s way. Anyway, having said that, I would like to share a bit of my story that may illustrate where this dilemma seems to be coming from, if that is o.k.

    Most of my life I have been self-employed…but one time I found employment as a supervisor in a corporate chain retail store. It was a new store and all of the employees were being trained and prepared for the store opening.

    In the process, we were all bused to the metro headquarters and required to take two weeks of intensive corporate training that I would call group brainwashing. I was extremely uncomfortable because I realized that my Christian beliefs were being attacked through this attempt to indoctrinate and standardize corporate function through imposing their worldly “ethics” or lack thereof. In essence, we were being taught their world view of the right and the wrong way to conduct business and interact with others.

    I eventually had to leave my position with the company because I could not reconcile my beliefs with what my job required.

    During the last 10 years, I have moved frequently and have tried to find Christian fellowship wherever I went. However, I finally discovered that I was having the same problems in the Church as I had experienced in the business world. Could it be that the corporate world had gradually moved into the Church?

    What happens when all of these brainwashed people move into another organization and want to be successful in the administration of the duties of that organization? Aren’t they going to go with the tactics and training they have been taught…and the methods that have already made them financially successful in business? Sometimes these methods include tightly controlled teaching (indoctrination), peer pressure, aggressive recruting, etc. etc….methods that are completely void of submission to the Word and the leading of the Spirit when, in reality, even our salvation is actually a result of the Father calling us and drawing us to believe on His Son…not the result of some clever sales pitch.

    In other words, what we have here is “corporate church” teaching followers how to be “worldlings” not Christians.

    Real Christians are unable to find a Church home because the Spirit of God will not allow them to get with the program. Often Christians will be excluded from fellowship or persecuted right in the Church in other ways. As a result, the number of unchurched Christians is growing by leaps and bounds.

    Unfortunately, it seems some have forgotten that the world is at war with Christ and the Word of God and through their good desire to be successful in business, have reconciled with the bad ideas of the world.

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