Monday, May 18, 2009

New Ecclesiology

Sorry for the long absence. I have been out of town. When I got back, I had 80 or so e-mails to go through. One of them was an article from the Center for Christ & Culture about the "if you build it, they will come" ecclesiology.

It is about consumer-driven churches. The idea behind these churches is to make the visitor experience as pleasant as possible. Non of the teaching is too pointed or too deep. That might turn people off or confuse them.

This seems to be in direct contrast with what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:24 where he encourages the Corinthians to seek the gift of prophecy so that the unbeliever "will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judge by all".

An interesting point is made in this paragraph.
Given the massive numbers of people that this model attracts, there is the practical requirement for countless volunteers just to manage operations. Add to this the need for hundreds of Bible study leaders, Sunday school teachers, and children’s workers, and standards begin to drop in order to fill practical needs. Business models and strategies are emphasized over and against theological depth. I have sat in such churches, attended Bible study classes only to be shocked by the ignorance of those teaching. Many are completely ignorant of church history and the most basic theological terms and concepts and those responsible for providing oversight and guidance are mostly unaware of what is missing. It is often the blind leading the blind.

The idea of standards for Bible class/Sunday school teachers is an interesting one to me. I don't know what if any standards there are for the ones at our church. I know that you have to pass a criminal background check in order to be a teacher assistant (as I am one). I think that all of our elementary age teachers are employees of the church. But I have no idea if they were given some kind of a quiz about the Bible before being hired. For small groups, anyone can sign up to be a leader and no questions are asked of them. I don't really know how Bible class teachers for the adult classes are chosen.

So I would love hear your thoughts and comments. What role does the prophet play at your church? What standards are used for teachers?

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