Have We Lost Our Priorities? Christian Bodyguards!

Mega Churches

Lakewood Church
Lakewood Church | Source

GUNS IN CHURCHES

If you think you are not judgmental, think again. Let me say from the start, that this article is not about bashing anyone or putting someone on the spot. It's not even about driving a point of view across. It is meant to provoke intelligent thought and discussion on one of the very important, yet highly contentious issues.

Let your thoughts flow freely. You are allowed to be critical in your imagination. This hub is connected to the one on "why would a pastor punch a woman in the face in church?" As absurd as it seems, this happens more often than is reported.

Are Christian leaders, particularly pastors and priests, endangered species?

While we may argue that there seems to be no one description for a qualified pastor or priest today, there are certain qualities that we can agree on. It is a known fact that in places where other religions thrive and have been given supremacy over Christianity by the state (or ruling coalitions), Christians face a lot of persecution and constant harassment. Many are tortured, killed, jailed, and international bodies like the Human Rights Watch reports that there are numerous confirmed cases of arbitrary disappearances of church leaders around the globe. Examples include, Muslim and communist countries like China, Pakistan, India, Tibet, Nigeria and Egypt.

In very brutal cases, public executions in the Muslim world are still used as an example of punishment to those who do not abide by the established rules. Of course, in ancient times Christians did the same to non Christians or anyone who challenged the establishment. They threw the disobedient ones in cages and dens of lions. Yet some were forced to fight against giant Siberian tigers in public arenas with Chief priests, rabbis and other religious figures as umpires. A rude awakening of what could happen when religion is allowed to run unbridled. But, we are not going to go there in this writing.

On the other hand, Christian leaders in the so called free-world have the liberty to do and say whatever they want, in a manner that suits them. Whether this offends others or not. Often, the methods used may be unpalatable to the common man. The range of power and influence for these Christian leaders is as varied as the constellation, or like items at a flea market. American politics today are showing a return of religious influence into daily governance and politics. There seems to no longer be any separation of powers and the supreme court seems useless to stand as a symbol of impartiality. Judges are now political party cadres.

Churches have mushroomed like crazy. In some places, Churches have outnumbered schools, hospitals and restaurants. They are at par with night clubs and bars. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Recent Church names have also become more exotic. - "Change Point Church," "Glory to the lamb church international", "touch me with your hands ministries," "Evergreen community church," "Saddleback Church," "World Harvest Church," "World Changers Ministries," "Church of God in Christ of the child Jesus," "Original True Baptist Church," "Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church," "No turning back church of healing and miracles," "Church of Tongues of Fire international," to mention a few. You can Google some of them to get a feel of what I am talking about.

Then there are those which are named after their leaders. Not in honor of their work after they die, but before they even pass on. John Hagge ministries. Benny Hinn Ministries. Paula White Ministries. Ernest Angley Ministries. Kenneth Copeland Ministries, and many more. Whether this is ethical, scriptural, necessary or just style will be covered in another hub.

Many of these church leaders have become so big that it would feel appropriate for anyone to say they seem lager than life. Some boast a following or church membership of not less than fifty thousand people in a single gathering. To give you a vivid picture, that is equivalent to the population of an entire city in some of the African countries.

With so many people joined together for a single cause, you would expect that nothing would be impossible to achieve. However, that is not usually the case. Many of these churches become so sophisticated that it requires full time professional management teams of more than hundred people. Their budgets are ridiculously astronomical and safely competitive with big wall street corporations. And yes, I know you are waiting for me to mention their salaries.

You'll be depressed to learn that some pastors are so rich, that they can afford to pay for your entire family's college education and medical insurance until you all die from natural causes and old age.

So here are a few thought provoking questions I want your feedback on. Feel free to let loose and just be as courteous in your choice of words.

  1. With this kind of enormous fortune, would it be safe to assume that pastors or priests might be in danger and therefore require personal security (bodyguards)?
  2. Would it be right to assume that their pastoral ministries are more effective now, since they can afford to pay for whatever they need?
  3. What about that personal touch and connection that is required of a pastor or priest with his congregation? How accessible should pastors and priests be to their flock?
  4. Is this a justifiable model of ministry to which Jesus would say "this is what I meant when I said greater works than these will you do, because I am going back to the father"?
  5. If ministry is sacrifice, why should pastors focus so much on personal protection and that of their fortune, than sharing the gospel of Christ with the poor? Is it not the spreading of the good news to the poor that we call the gospel?

We all understand the need for personal security and we are not suggesting that pastors should take unnecessary risks and put their families or themselves in danger. We are not naïve. We know that there are people out there that are up to no good. We have heard instances were pastors have been attacked in their pulpits, homes, have stuff thrown at them by deranged individuals. Please take precaution where it is necessary.

But, I think what is being brought into question here, is not just safety, but the issue of proportionality. To what extent should pastors invest in personal protection and accumulation of wealth, in comparison to investing in others and the work of God? What does it mean to follow the example of Jesus Christ? Would Jesus approve of these multi-million dollar gospel franchises?

Let me confess and say I am a bit disturbed when a pastor strives to become a superstar and sign autographs on all his ministry tours. Have their security guards turn away uninvited guests. Charge astronomical fees to attend a baptism and discipleship class. Restrict their meetings to executive hotels, where they know the less privileged won't be able to make it.

I have issues with churches that ask people to always make advance appointments (many months before) and go through a screening process to have access to a pastor or priest. I don't know how exactly that works. But, I can only think of a teenage girl who is pregnant and wants to talk to someone before she takes her own life. God forbid that she has to be on a waiting list for two months before she can meet the man she feels comfortable talking to. It should worry us if the first line of defense is for someone to call the police for counseling instead of the church leadership.

I personally find myself wondering whether I am just missing the point. Somebody help me understand. Are we on the right track? Has the church lost its priorities?

Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty Attached

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Comments 12 comments

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

I am always troubled to see megapastors (and now some minipastors) with bodyguards as though they are heads of state. It is utterly ridiculous. I know for a fact that Oprah Winfrey for years traveled with one guard - and she is one of the most powerful and wealthiest people in the world. Same with Warren Buffett.

It is all for show and ego and they should be ashamed of themselves. Some of them have set themselves up as gods beside God. And their members, congregants, worshippers or attendees are bowing to idols.

But as it is written, we are to be careful of wolves in sheeps clothing and the tares will be separated from the wheat. Many of these fakers will be sorry - there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I guess my question would be "What did Jesus do?"


Fuller-Life profile image

Fuller-Life 5 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Exactly Dexter. I totally agree with you. It's all for show. I even heard of some churches where a pastor has a special server who specifically holds up a glass of water or juice and puts a strall into the pastor's mouth at specific intervals, while he/she is sitting down. Another is assigned to wipe their sweat off while they're preaching. They claim it's honoring the anointing. There's no biblical basis for this stuff. They just daydream.

This is the very reason we miss out on winning the lost for Christ. We focus on ridiculous things that don't have any spiritual bearing, while we neglect major issues of love, generocity, mercy for the broken, access to the lost, taking care of orphans and widows. Things that Jesus commissioned us to do.


davidkaluge profile image

davidkaluge 5 years ago

Well the question of making money by the churches depends on the people. This is because people make donations because of benefits the get from the church or the belief that it is for God's work. So that is why some of the pastors struggle for more members. There is nothing wrong with fame if it is positive and changes others for the better. We all need a form of security but I wonder if pastors need physical security while they claim to have a personal relationship with a spiritual God that sees all things


Fuller-Life profile image

Fuller-Life 5 years ago from Washington, DC Author

That's very true David. I know that we all need money to be effective and more productive. It only becomes tricky when you think that you are the only one who deserves to have money. I have heard of pastors who claim that only their churches and projects are fertile grounds for blessings. That if you don't give to them you'll be cursed. Manipulation is witchcraft according to the bible.


davidkaluge profile image

davidkaluge 5 years ago

Well, you are right I have heard pastor say "sow on a fertile soil" etc I know that they say it for the gains and that is why many churches are coming up just like a new line of business. However, just things do not move me because I am an authority, a new beginning for humanity so I did come to be taught like the masses. I give when I want to give not because of what is said. It is even better for a believer to use such big sum and help the needy because its same good work.


SingSong profile image

SingSong 5 years ago

Interesting hub. In my world, these type of pastors are the exception, not the rule. I hope it stays that way. We have a volunteer security team at our church and one is usually assigned to our pastor. Since they are not paid a salary, I have not made myself make a decision if I am for or against this.


Fuller-Life profile image

Fuller-Life 5 years ago from Washington, DC Author

I totally agree with you singsong. We should not be naïve to think that pastors are completely safe from evil people who are constantly scheming ways to robe or attack church goers or parishioners. The question is how far should one go in demanding for security. Once it turns everything to be about one person, we lose the very essence of what ministry is all about. I don't think it's a question of whether they are a paid security or not. What do you think?


Singsong 5 years ago

Maybe it isn't a question of whether they are paid or not, but the pastor's attitude. I am not sure, but I believe it was not something our pastor demanded. Since the security is not just for him but the entire campus, I do not feel it is in the category of "everything about him". However, that being said, I believe there are probably numerous cases where it is all about the pastor. I also question churches that have bookstores to promote the pastor's books and such. To me, that is having moneychangers in the temple.


Fuller-Life profile image

Fuller-Life 5 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Singsong you bring out a critical point - Attitude. I guess everything else falls under this umbrella. Book stores? that's another hot issue. It now seems every pastor must write a book or else they wont be invited to speak at conferences and other meetings.


jean2011 profile image

jean2011 5 years ago from Canada

Fuller-Life, if the gospel is reaching the lost and dying, and these pastors' motives are wrong, then they will be held accountable to God.


Fuller-Life profile image

Fuller-Life 4 years ago from Washington, DC Author

Jean2011, I agree with you. They will be accountable to God. But shouldn't they equally be accountable to us? We pay tithes and offerings to them. They get tax refunds from government in the name of being a charitable organisation, but they do no charity work. They send back homeless people at their doors, and assign someone to minister to them in isolation. Claiming they don't want to disturb the flow of the meeting or some congregants who might not be used. Honestly, what are we communicating? What message are we sending out, really?


Fuller-Life profile image

Fuller-Life 3 years ago from Washington, DC Author

I feel like the church is heading in the wrong direction! It is becoming less personal and more impersonal.

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