If you know me, I am very outspoken on the state of the church. I am not one to say that it is all bad and I will even defend every individual’s right to attend the church of their choice, but that does not mean that I have to agree with the structure or a lot that goes on in it. I will always defend anyone’s right to choose where they want to worship the Lord. That is a given as long as you let me choose how to do it as well. I will always look at you as an individual follower and not see you as the church you attend, if you will grant me the same courtesy. If I disagree with a preacher, priest, minister and congregation structure and agree more with a home church structure or fight for the right of all members of the body to have a voice and not simply be a checkbook to fund building programs and mission trips, then please accept that and know that my heart is firmly focused on the Lord and not on myself of my bottom line.
Here is where I am going to try and speak some truth about what one of the major things that is wrong with the church today. It is, in my mind, one of the things that keeps the church from being the Church. You know what I am saying there. The common church system of the day is built around one pastor, priest, minister, etc. telling his congregation how they need to live their lives. It is built around the idea that this man (or woman) reading Scripture and then rehashing that to the congregation. This person serves as a shepherd to many sheep.
Sometimes, I think that these are exactly the things that Jesus was warning us about in Matthew 7:15 -21. These are the false prophets. Words and members do not equal fruit. The number of people that come down “your” aisle to the front to say that they have received Christ as their Saviour is not fruit. If this shepherd does not know your name, then you cannot be in any way considered his fruit. You are nothing to them more than a number. I am sorry to be so blunt in that matter, but if the one that you are getting guidance from does not have the time to share with you for a cup of coffee or have the time to meet with you and know anything about you, then he is in no way someone that should be allowed to claim you as his or her fruit.
I am tired of membership drives and false savings. I hate to break it to you, but just because you stand at the front of a church, pray a little prayer, get a pat on the back, that does not make you saved. The prayer itself does not save. Surrendering your life and picking up your cross does. It is a trade, your life for His. It is not wrapped up into a prayer. It is something as simple as this, that makes me wary of these leaders in the church today. It is that reason, that I look at them with a skeptical eye and sometimes see them as the false prophets. Some might think that I am being too hard on them and maybe I am, but the truth is that seldom do I hear, preachers talk about themselves. Seldom do I see a man or a woman get in front of the congregation and say “I am struggling with …” or “I have made mistakes in my life…” When I listen to many preachers, I feel like I am back in school getting a history lesson or an English lesson on the events surrounding the passages being discussed and then a dialog about what the passages really mean. I want to scream from the back “Open up a little…tell us what is going on in your heart…what is stirring you up these days?” It seems like they are on a quest for knowledge and power and not on a quest for Jesus.
It should bother you as a follower even more that they wish and desire to consider themselves your vine. There is only one shepherd, there is only one vine and that is the Lord, Jesus Christ. He is who we should be striving to follow and we should strive to be His fruit and bear good fruit for Him, through Him. That is the only way that the true Church will come to be.