Monday, May 23, 2011

Church Pressure

During His ministry, Jesus held a particular posture towards those He taught and discipled.
By posture, I mean His spiritual position, His methods of teaching and His heart toward
those that He discipled and taught.

His authority was one of a definitive nature as His teachings presented a final solution of
absolute truth. He was the embodiment of the fruits of the Spirit. The manifestation
of the heart of God.

As He walked in the authority given to Him by His Father, He mentored and befriended
those around Him. He was a leaderHe was a servant.  His relationships were based on
love, trust, and honesty. His motives were to disciple men to bring them to the truth.
He taught to equip them to accomplish the purposes of the Kingdom, the will of the
Father, not His own.

A recent conversation with a young friend has again brought a serious concern and
question to the forefront. Her frustration  and confusion were evident as she shared
her experience. The local church was applying pressure and expressing their
expectations toward her family.

My friend is not a shirker, a drafter, or lazy. She and her husband are in agreement
that for this season, God would have her focus her efforts on her family and women
who need encouragement in their roles as wives and mothers.

As we are in conversations with pastors, evangelists and friends, this concern seems
to be a prevalent, common cord throughout the body of Christ.

Here is the question. Is it appropriate, is it scriptural for church leadership to apply
pressure to people in their congregation? Should people in the church be pressured
for the purpose of bringing them to a place of commitment to service in the church?
After doing some research, I came to understand that the word pressure can
sometimes be interchanged with abuse.

I have put off approaching this subject for a considerable amount of time. It is not
my wish to sow seeds of contention or to stir up strife but to bring an awareness.

Our family was very involved in and supportive of a church for many years. We felt
the Lord leading us into a new season. A new season of ministry as well as of rest.
The leadership was not supportive of the ministry or of the rest that we needed.
It was a very traumatic time for our family. We sought the support of a Christian
counselor. There was a lot of confusion and battling with guilt. After many months
of being unable to come to an understanding with the leadership, we were encouraged
by the counselor to leave our place of fellowship. With much sadness and prayer,
we resigned.

I considered expounding on the meaning of pressure. I decided against it. Allowing
others to ponder their own circumstances and come to their own conclusions is
often more enlightening.

How much control does your church leadership try to exert in your life?
(This is not the same as submitting to your spiritual authorities.)

If you have a question, comment or opinion on this topic, please feel free to share.
Your input is valuable to us.
If you would like to send us an e-mail, we would love to hear from you. 

(In the near future, I will be sharing some signs of a healthy church relationship.)

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