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Mercy Christian Counseling

NCCA Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counseling with Temperament

Counselor's Corner

Counselor's Corner

If Pastors were Facilitators

Posted by mercycounseling on January 15, 2018 at 1:35 PM

There is a great problem in the American-style incorporated "church." I put church in quotes because much of the situation is as far from being a "called out assembly" as can be. The vast majority of Americans who attend church are going to a building to sit in theater-style seats to watch a show; and more often than not, there is one man who exercises authority over how that show will be operated.


I submit to you that ministers of the gospel were never meant to be held up as sole authority figures within a fellowship of believers. Jesus told his 12 disciples that they were to be SERVANTS, not masters. Two of the gospel writers recount the story of the mother of the sons of Zebedee approaching Christ to request that her sons sit at His right and left hand. Jesus told her he could not give that assurance. The story continues as follows:


"And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:24-28. See also Mark 10:41-43)


Too often, I have seen pastors act as though the people were in "his church," and exercising authority that leaves the people in bondage--what to wear, how to look, what to think, even which Bible is mandatory. This kind of control was never intended by the Lord. Ministers are there to serve the people and not the other way around. 


Let's expand this now to the fellowship of believers. The Bible says we are ALL "sufficient as ministers" (NKJV) or variously reads "able ministers" (KJV). If able ministers, then we do not need a pastor to lord it over us and make up a bunch of rules to live by.


The corporate church is a place where only a very few people have an opportunity to share their spiritual gifts while the rest can do nothing more than watch. Why? Because the American model of bigger is better cannot accommodate the effectual sharing of all gifts and talents. (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12)


I believe we are seeing an exodus from the corporate church because of these things. People hunger for a place where they can have fellowship with other believers. The notion that sitting in a pew or chair for an hour a week is fellowship is false. To have fellowship only comes through relationships, and the corporate church with its master pastor is too large for this to happen.


What if pastors lay aside their crown and became facilitators instead? Websters defines facilitator as "someone who helps to bring about an outcome (such as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision." What if the pastor-turned-facilitator stepped down from the platform and instead encouraged others to give a message? What if that same pastor/facilitator abandoned the notion of the unwieldy large congregation and instead worked within smaller groups to facilitate a worship experience that was spontaneous wherein every member could share something and where the pastor/facilitator did not choose to be the center of attention? What if the outcome desired was to truly develop the spiritual maturity of each believer and see them blossom into a facilitator themselves?


Friends, this is the model of the early church as found in the Book of Acts, where members of the church were said to "have all things in common."


It's the kind of assembly I'm looking for. In fact, I would love to be a pastor/facilitator. But only to the Glory of God!

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