This post is a reply that I posted on another forum on the structure of the traditional church. We were talking about whether church should have a more open discussion format as opposed to having one person stand in front and give a sermon. Someone mentioned that the church should be more like a family where all the members are valued and where their individual strengths are celebrated. Some people expressed the struggles they had with potentially hurtful comments coming from the pulpit that they couldn’t address because open discussion is not something we see in churches today.
I still want to talk more about the principle of fathers and sons from a scriptural point of view! I keep threatening to do that. One day soon I’ll go ahead and bore you with it. hehehehe
I think that even in families you see some kind of structure and authority. Surely the kids don’t always enjoy hearing what the father has to say. Nor is open ended discussions the order of the day all the time. Being family doesn’t necessarily imply equality in decision making. I can tell you that my pastor is a very type-A person who has stepped on my very-type-B toes many times!
What makes a group a family is that there is a loving relationship and unconditional commitment between the parties.
The father’s role in a family is to be a giver in the ultimate sense, like our Father God, who loved the world so much that he gave… His desire will be to pour out his life in order to reproduce mature children in God, who have an intimate, passionate relationship with Jesus. And you can’t reproduce something you do not have!
Sadly, I think there are not enough true ‘fathers’ in the kingdom. Too many people are either not dead enough to themselves to have the kind of servant heart that fatherhood requires, or they are caught up in insecurities which cause them to lean on the arm of the flesh in their ministry instead of on the Spirit of God. Even sadder, some leaders simply haven’t given themselves to the scriptures and to the pursuit of Jesus enough to really have anything to give.
As for children in a family…they will go through all the stages of childhood that we see in the natural…it gets hard when people hit the ‘teenager/young adult’ stage in the things of God. They have a measure of revelation and are able to perform in the ministry yet they lack some of the basic fruit of the spirit, like patience or meekness and self-control! They are often champing at the bit to be out there and doing their thing when God is saying: “Not yet, wait a little, there are a couple more things you need to know.”
The ability to remain committed and submitted to leadership during this phase of our spiritual growth is a valuable one that will only produce much fruit in our lives. Sometimes we have to bite our tongues, despite the negative stuff that God allows to come our way through fallible leaders, knowing that He allows these little offenses to come so that he can see what is in our hearts.
The clencher is that all of this needs to be done in love. You can’t have a self-seeking pastor who is busy preserving his own mini-kingdom. You can’t have ambitious, hungry-for-the-ministry youngsters who are a law unto themselves. What everyone really needs is to be passionately in love with Jesus and the rest will follow.