The church was called “ekklesia”, the called out ones, or the gathered ones. Luther said it is “sheep who hear the voice of the Good shepherd and follow him”. Lately for some of us it seems to be Pastors whose job it is to train members to “pray, pay and obey”. A while back a book was written that is hilarious and also very sad. It is called “How To Be a Bishop Without Being Religious”. It was written by Charles Merrill Smith…
He gives Pastors the following advice……………
We can sum up the correct philosophy of church administration by setting forth two general principles for you to follow. If you let them shape your modus operandi success is bound to follow. They are: (1) Talk constantly about the democratic nature of the church’s organizational structure. (2) So organize your parish that all really important decisions are made only by you. Do not try to operate on either one of these principles without the other. If you utilize only number two (as many impatient and headstrong pastors do try to operate, always with disastrous results), you will soon acquire a reputation as a dictator, as overbearing and unreasonable. Such a reputation never helps a pastor in getting on with the Lord’s work. Also, if you make no attempt to conceal the fact that you really run things, you will have no one else to blame when some plan or decision of yours backfires — as, sooner or later, it inevitably will. If you attempt to operate on principle number one, without including principle number two (as weak and indecisive pastors frequently do), you will exhaust your energies in the endless-effort to persuade pigheaded parishioners to make decisions any seeing-eye dog of average intelligence could tell at a glance are the right decisions.
A far cry from Bonhoeffer –
Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients. We thank God for what He has done for us. We thank God for giving us brethren who live by His call, by His forgiveness, and His promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what He does give us daily. And is not what has been given us enough: brothers, who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of His grace? Is the divine gift of Christian fellowship anything less than this, any day,even the most difficult and distressing day?
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