A Challenge To Go From Staff To Saints
A close friend of mine, when visiting our local church, noticed that our church bulletin listed budgetary needs for the year. Our local church looked as if it was going to fall short of their projected yearly goal. My friend related how his previous church in totally different section of the country also was experiencing a windfall of budgetary projections.
Budgets project future spending. During prosperous times the process is easier and more fulfilling than in lean times, but it is funny how money effects our lives, or lack of it, even the church. He then said the budgetary windfall at his previous church caused leadership to make painful decisions of staff layoff, but soon discovered that the local saints, members of the congregation, were now volunteering to do what the hired staff use to do. More people now being involved at no monetary cost.
When staff is present, it is so easy to “dump” what we, Joe Average Christian, should be doing ourselves on them because “that is what we pay them to do”! We idly sit back, apathetically, watching them do the work of the kingdom, oooops church system, while all we do is criticize them for not doing it the way we think it should be done. No staff: we are now forced to put our money where our mouth is, in our own actions. We are to be “doers” of the Word, not just hearers, not transplant everything upon a hired staff.
World wide economics might force necessary changes in the way Western civilization does Church. The Church of China has had to go underground, and is spiritual healthy even though persecuted. The “Fat Cat” American edifices of large buildings and staff during times of prosperity may have to rethink their structure, system, and go back to their roots of strength: the laity, the common believer, the pew congregant to solve its challenges.
So the questions remains: How is the Church to “retool” itself through economic tough times? I propose by “equipping the saints for the work of the service” is the process of “retooling the Church of the 21st Century”! This will have to take another “Age of Enlightenment”, spiritually, rather than intellectually in order to perform correctly.
America listens to its industry and economics. In York, Harley Davidson Motorcycle Co. has drastically released half of its work force who made “nice salaries”, retooled its assembly line, is selling less product than previously, but is now making a substantial profit. A dying, almost bankrupt, Detroit automobile industry has been forced to do the same. Americans call it ingenious, companies saved! The Church too is experiencing layoffs of staff, needs to retool itself by “equipping those believers under their banner”, and will also reap spiritual rewards. Unlike American economics which strives for “recovery”, the Church strives for “rebirth”, a topic called evangelism which we will dissect when studying the new mindset of the five fold ministry. Who best to “rebirth” a church that needs “retooled” than an evangelist?
Every time the Church has gotten financial rich, affluent, it has lost its “influence” as “salt and light” to the world. The 21st Century Church is about to go through a change of “affluence” to “influence”! Bring it on!