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Posts Tagged ‘christian ministers’

Yesterday, I described my doubts about our business/corporate organizational model for churches, where elders act as owners/directors, ministers/staff are employees, and church members are either customers or unpaid volunteers.

Today I want to flesh out the statement that our churches would be better served and our ministers would not live without loving friendships if we used a family model for church instead of a corporate model?

What would a family model for church look like—especially focusing specifically on money and relationships?

  • In our family, all of the money belongs to everyone. Mom and Dad have more to say than the young kids about how it is spent, but everyone has a degree of input and control. And as the kids mature, they have more input, more control. The assumption is that all of the funds are used for the good of the whole. Who earns it, who spends it, who needs it–none of these factors has anything to do with who belongs to the family and how valued (loved) each member of the family is.  Nothing at all!
  • We are family because God brought us all together, not by our own choice and not because of how we perform. No one is in danger of being “fired” because of their failures or lack of productivity.  Everyone is accountable, however, and everyone is subject to rebuke and correction.  Mom corrects Dad, Dad corrects Mom, parents correct kids—and there even comes a time when mature kids correct Mom and Dad! Sure, tragic situations might force the family to exercise “tough love”—but only for the good of the one being disciplined.
  • A family problem is “our” problem, not “your” problem. A son’s dishonesty is our problem; Mom’s depression is our problem; a daughter’s need for college tuition when money is scarce is a family problem. Problems are resolved together. A family is the safest place to resolve problems because each person in the family is loved unconditionally!  Nothing can separate us from those we love the most!
  • Dad is the head of the house, but that doesn’t mean he dictates everything. For instance, a good Mom (Proverbs 31) may manage the financial household:

14 She is like the merchant ships, 
   bringing her food from afar. 
15 She gets up while it is still night; 
   she provides food for her family 
   and portions for her female servants. 
16 She considers a field and buys it; 
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 
17 She sets about her work vigorously; 
   her arms are strong for her tasks. 
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, 
   and her lamp does not go out at night. 
19 In her hand she holds the distaff 
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 
20 She opens her arms to the poor 
   and extends her hands to the needy.

And, besides, the elders/pastors are not the head of the church; Christ is the head of the church . . . and there is only one head!

  • Dad, Mom, and kids each have specific roles to play.  The family relationships work best when Dad does not try to be a kid and when kids are not expected to be breadwinners. It’s better for Mom to be a Mom and not teenage daughter’s best friend.  But these distinctive roles enhance love; the family is dysfunctional if the roles create jealousies or mistrust.
  • Secrets destroy families. Dad’s secret life at work; Mom’s fantasies; kid’s secret addictions! Truth sets us free. Transparency is the sign of a healthy family—even with money.  It’s better that the kid’s know why Dad takes an extra job. It’s better Mom and Dad work out their plan together for getting out of debt. It’s better the teenagers know the family’s general financial condition, so they understand why they can’t …. or they can . . . . Closed door meetings and leadership secrets produce and are the product of distrust. The truth sets us free!

Wouldn’t churches work better using a family model, a model where ministers are family members, not employees? Wouldn’t  a family model work better where elders and ministers and members were brothers and sisters instead of owners, employees, and customers? 

I can’t stop without pointing out that the church is called the “family of God” (1 Thess. 4:10, 1 Peter 2:17) and the “household of God” (Eph. 2:19, 1 Tim. 3:15, 1 Peter 4:17), but never the business or the corporation, not even the organization of God.

Ministers who are family will not be treated like ministers who are employees! Ministers who are family will not be afraid to have close friends in their church—because those friends are their brothers and sisters, not their constituency or their stockholders.

The love of money breaks apart families as well as churches—we all know that. But a healthy family uses money to love each other and to love others, not to control each other and control others.

Churches need to be healthy families!

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