Church Pigeon Hole Politics


Putting The Cart Before The Horse

Most American churches are programmatic, that is, as an institution they design programs often run by volunteers but administrated by the professional staff.  Programs make positions, and positions must be filled by people, thus titles and job descriptions are developed.  As laity, we are often told by our clergy that we should be willing to serve, to do anything for the kingdom, thus under that premise, many volunteer to fill vacant positions as nursery attenders, Sunday school teachers, youth advisors, children’s church workers, back ground singers or choir members, ushers, and other menial positions, and get stuck there for life or until they are burned out or bored. Many times people who are placed in positions don’t have the knowledge to do that position well, or don’t have the passion or drive to push themselves in that position. When there is no life in the program, we begin questioning why?

I believe that the five fold is for the laity because it is just identifying the passions that drive them, and the mentality or point of view from which they think and operate. A person whose passion is to win the lost doesn’t need motivation, they are driven by the Holy Spirit to do just it. They can’t help themselves. They think continually about winning the lost. They just need equipped by their local church, then released.  If a person is passionate about shepherding, caring for others, we need not find a “position” for them; just equip them and release them! The same with someone driven by the prophetic, or a teacher, or apostolic oversight of seeing the big picture.

The church needs to identify the passions, drives, and points of view by the people who are already active in their congregation, give them what they need to succeed, whatever that would be, alias the equipping, then release them to do their thing!  They will do it with gusto, determination, striving for success, wanting only the best, and be happy and fulfilled doing it.  The church should not place a pastoral/shepherding saint in children’s ministry just because no one else will do it, but allow them to develop a small group ministry to disciple people as they are driven to do so. If some one sees the big picture, apostolic in vision, drive, and point of view, making them an usher to see over people financially given during the offering just because the position needs filled, does not enhance their chances for ministry, and stifles their drive to use their passion effectively for the kingdom of God.

The church needs to reprioritize its efforts. People should go ahead of programs! Developing their talents and equipping them for ministry should come ahead of developing programs and asking them to fill positions.  Releasing them to go with their passion and fulfill their desire to minister effectively in their own giftings and talents should trump having to teach them, design them, and train them to successfully fill a position that drives a program.

In the world of professional public education, you have teachers who are “driven” with “passion” to teach children when they graduate with their teaching degrees. They are driven to evaluate what is best for their students and adjust their multiple teaching styles to meet that student’s need. They are in the classroom because they love teaching, are driven to do it, and are fulfilled by seeing their student’s succeed. Yet in spite of teachers earning four year degrees in higher education and multiple graduate courses and  graduate degrees, today’s public school administrators think they have to bring “programs” in for “professional development” to tell their teachers how to teach, as if they aren’t qualified to do so in spite all the education they have received.  This is thwarting and devastating many teacher’s drive, their passion to creatively and professionally teach, feeling muted, downgraded, and frustrated by always being told the administrator’s ways are always better than their own inclass proven ways. Administrators decades ago use to do anything they could to “equip” their teachers to teach, fighting for materials for their teachers and their classrooms, provided the best schedules and class sizes to be effective, not telling their teachers how to teach.

Today’s churches find themselves in a parallel position. Instead of allowing the people in their congregation to go with their passions, use their already established talents, free them to be who they are in Christ to do the works of service and “be the church”, they establish positions and tell their people ‘how to do church”! “Leadership Conferences” for pastors and staff teach “professional development” on professionally how to “do church” rather than teaching them how to equip their saints to be who they are in Christ, equip their saints with resources to succeed in their passions and endeavors, equip their saints to be successful, nor how to release their saints without micromanaging them. 

If we want the church, the people of God, to be the church, the people of God, then we got to allow the church, the people to God, to be the people of God by releasing them to be so!

We got to learn how to let the Holy Spirit be the motivator, the passion within the saint, to be the trainer and developer of the saint, to be the equipper giving the saint whatever he/she needs to succeed.  The professional staff has to quit trying to be the Holy Spirit for the saints! That never works!

We have to develop a new mindset: Instead of investing in church programs, instead of investing in more staff or “professional development” for the staff, let’s start investing in the saints, the Church, the people of God!  Let’s start equipping them for success, and releasing them to be what God has created them to be! Let’s put the horse again in front of the cart!