Grassroot Preacher: Administration of the Fundamental Church Needs Urgent Reforms
By CCD contributor: Wen Yi , December 20, 2016 03:12 AM
There is much room to improve the administration in the fundamental churches despite the fundamentalism's compliance with the Bible and correct doctrine. Even some churches of the fundamentalists have no administration, especially in Chinese rural house churches where local church leaders or co-workers know nothing about "church management". As a result, negative and bad phenomena including being unambitious, disunited and arbitrary naturally occur in the church.
Then what is "church management?" In my eyes, it refers to train workers and preachers to qualify as graduates from theological training; have a definite goal in missions and building up churches to the extent that there will be enough supply and no worries ahead, producing remarkable performance; regarding economic management, encourage the congregation to tithe and donate and keep income and expenditure account clear and transparent, which makes donors feel their offerings used correctly and effectively.
There are talents and people who want to dedicate themselves to the Lord in these churches. However, we rarely see young people but those clusters of doddering old believers who go to church on Sundays routinely. Where are the young, intellectuals and those who can serve in the church? They are captive into Babylon --- the big factory in the world. To satisfy their material needs, they leave the church ministry for jobs. The rural church resembles Jerusalem plundered by Nebuchadnezzar king, where only some of the old, weak, sick and disabled are left behind "to work the vineyards and fields". (2 Kings 25:11-12)
My niece who grew up in a Christian family is determined to serve the Lord. Last year she taught in a private school with unstable staff after graduation from university, paid little. The school opposes teachers who believe in the Lord and forbids any Bible story sharing to students. More importantly, it seemed that she felt called by God, willing to work in the church. Soon she resigned and returned to the church in her hometown.
However, the local church couldn't offer her a position. Being rejected, she was introduced by a schoolfellow to study theology in a denomination (identified as extreme Pentecostalism) which serves God fervently despite with an unorthodox belief and a doctrine that has serious problems, hoping to find a way out. Though we disapprove her study in that denomination, we can't find another way for her. The phenomenon of losing young people like her is quite serious in the church, but who can prevent them from supporting them by working outside?
That traditional house church where the niece and I grew up offer no position or payment to full-time co-workers who have to serve out of love and faith. Many people there believe that those who serve the Lord should never require economic treatment. Consequently, the workers do ministry as conditions permit and do their own things when it is not allowed. Words concerning "full-time ministry" or "salaries" are considered as radical speeches that fear people.
Currently, the church of the fundamentalists, like the Lutheran church in the 17th century, has correct belief but lacks vigor, tucked withed rigid teachings. We don't have insights into other denominations. But in today's fundamental church, if you desire to be committed to the Lord and deny yourself for the gospel, I'm afraid that nobody will send you, let alone supporting you.
The problem of this kind of church lies not in some certain local church or an individual, but in having no complete management system. Particularly in Chinese rural house church for the fundamentalists, an integral management system can only be established as long as a thorough structural reform takes place. Some traditional factors that hold back the church development should be abandoned, such as the claimed "Inspiration by the Holy Spirit," deemed as the spiritual authority. Shall we explore new spiritual experiences, enhance the professional level of the church, and open theological training programs or build mission mechanism until we are "moved by the Spirit?"
Translated by: Karen Luo
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