How Our Churching Structure Subjugates the People (Part 5)

2. The churching structure and practice is generally unhealthy for the family of preachers.

The family members of preachers are often the recipients of the unhealthy effects of our churching practices. Since they often must keep up with being the Moses of their time, preachers do everything of importance in their local assemblies often at the expense of their family. It is, in fact, very common among preachers to hierarchize things in the following order: God > ministry > family > the rest. Little wonder why many preachers’ kids turn out in opposition; preachers often leave their children in the wild while running after other people’s kids.

Furthermore, the number of services and programs that churches have in a year takes its toll on the family. The typical church has two services in a week where the pastor, being the Moses of the congregation, must preach and teach. Now, those two services typically require effectively about a day each for preparation and “seeking the Lord.” Since preachers have the same 24-hour days like the rest of us, that is about 4 days gone from the week. The family divide up the remaining time—and this is assuming that the preacher can relatively easily turn off his “church mode.” Of course, the example we have been discussing is quite conservative. Some churches have multiple services per week. I know about a preacher in Atlanta who reportedly helicopters to five services on every Sunday. Why would a person do that unless they really believe that they are special – somewhat better than everyone else? Are we to think that this preacher has no competent persons on his staff to help with the load? Consider Jesus who within a year or two of training his disciples released them to go preach and teach. Why aren’t many preachers following his example? I think I have an idea.

3.The structure Inadvertently Encourages Preachers to Build Empires

Once again, I am not here addressing cases of deliberate profiteering. I argued earlier that the one Oga-at-the-top order of churching is most likely modelled after some epochs of ancient Israel in the OT. An extra layer of evidence for this is seen in some other practices that the structure seems to encourage. The doctrines of first-fruit offering and tithes are arguably cases of misappropriation of Old Testament realities. Of course, neither of these doctrines is taught in the New Testament church. And in the Old Testament where it is taught, the circumstances were substantially different. One of the tribes of Israel literally depended on the offerings of the other tribes for survival because that tribe was set apart by God for ministry in that particular way. Here is a critical point: God designed this arrangement in the Old Testament. Does this not apply to the church? No, it does not. We do not have a prescribed way of churching handed down to us. As already pointed out, our churching structure has no prototype in the New Testament. It is not the case that God ordered our churching structure after the similitude of the Aaronic order. Any resemblance, therefore, is simply man-made; we do not have to do church the way we do.

There is yet another issue that seems to also be illegitimately influenced by the Old Testament—the issue of succession in ministry. Today, it is essentially taken for granted that a preacher’s successor will be one of his children. But where in the world did preachers get the idea? We know they did not get it from Jesus or the apostles. How then did they get the idea? It seems to have been lifted from a divine promise to David that his kingship will be permanent. The fact that preachers even remotely compare their offices to David’s kingship suggests that they may be building empires—for themselves. And it is not very difficult to see how they may arrive here. Many preachers spend all of their adult lives building their ministries. That means doing all the really hard work which often require family sacrifices. So, after some 30 years of hard work, and having built a sizeable ministry, why exactly would they let someone else’s kid literally eat the fruit of their labour?

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