A quick read through Jeremiah 23 is the suggested supportive reading for this Topic. If all the negative aspects of being involved in organized religion are true, then instead of looking at the followers, focus on the leaders.
Consider the two strongest weapons a preacher has on their side: guilt and control. Both, incidently, when used with experienced and professional mastery are also the two key weapons for those who interview suspects and prisoners of war.
Anyone who has ever been involved at either level on either end knows that from guilt you assume and maintain control and with control, you can invoke guilt to suit your immediate needs. Both are used to extract large sums of money from congregation members. Both are used when the preacher steps outside God's Word (John 1:1) to use the pulpit to further a personal agenda.
God speaks to that directly in Jeremiah 23. Unless the congregation members write down what is said and compare it to God's Word, they take what is said from the pulpit as "the one true gospel" especially if the leader is charismatic enough to sell the deal in the first place. It is why David Koresh got over. It is also why Hitler got over for a long time.
Perhaps this may become its own Hub one day, but when those who attempt to cut down "religious types" they often find sheep afraid to find out their leader is a self-serving fraud. They don't want to hear their leader is a lust-oriented, financially focused manipulator who is using the pulpit as a cash register.
It, therefore, is OUR responsibility to have the backbone and wisdom to do our own research. Find out for yourself. Then, it's decision time and when all the evidence is in, what will you do?
What is done from the pulpit will land the speaker either in the pit or be delivered to God's palace only because that leader has done the right thing by his or her appointed flock. Abused power. It can go either way and it all depends on how you handle it.
James A. Peterson is founder and Executive Director of Unchained Grace Ministries. (your profile )
Are you trying to promote your Church?
Are you the righteous preacher ?
Is that what this thread is about ?
The pulpit has been a cash register for many for a long time. Now, where the choice is made comes from what the money is used for. Do I use it to further our homeless outreach or buy a new Lexus and snatch up some hooker for a little playtime.
Taking care of the church's business does involve developing the financial wherewithal to accomplish the vision that church may have. Conversely, when that money is used for other less than honorable purposes, that pastor, minister or whatever has ripped off God, defrauded those who put trust in their alleged leader and has summarily begun creating the chasm that ultimately becomes the downfall of even the big "MegaBucks Ministries" we hear of.
BC your ranking number is spoiling your new profile, which looks neat except that the 91 obscures it... try reworking it to leave the message clear?
You may fall outside the norm, I don't know you personally but by and large The Church is not the Ideal that you present here.
You are using the term "church" as a generalization with no focus on any one particular group. "The Church" is not some conglomerate unified by one clear mission and vision. It is a term. A label used by those who have their own reason or personal agenda to not explore further. Meaning? It is much easier to criticize anything on its face as opposed to gathering the intel necessary for an educated opinion or position. Five penguins don't exhibit the same personalities although they all appear very similar.
Since its inception, Unchained Grace Ministries, LLC has never assumed the role of follower. To be specific? We are located and operate out of Baltimore, MD. A place where over 1,800 registered churches maintain residency. The real deal? Less than 5% involve themselves in any productive unified effort which could have potentially positive results for the community.
Networking. Ain't happening here. They are too busy primping their self-anointed and "highly favored" selves within their own four walls with little regard for anybody else. It is no surprise why those on the outside prefer to stay on the outside because hypocrisy is exposed quite readily.
I never made any attempt to present the church as anything as it was never the topic in the first place. It was never the focus. Everything is a test and what is said and done behind the pulpit exposes or proves ones integrity. If a congregation member puts a $100 bill in the offering plate, the test is simple. What will be done with it? That has nothing whatsoever to do with any alleged ideal on a global or overall level. It comes down, simply, to what you or someone else does with the trust bestowed in you.
How the pastor uses the money God send him is totally his affair, the giver gets blessed for giving and the pastor has the responsibility and authority to dispense with it as God directs.
A sensible pastor will not handle cash at all, but appoint 'elders' to distribute the cash on Gods behalf, in accordance with what the pastor believes he has been told to do.
However the 'elders' must have no authority over the cash, except to hold you accountable before the body if they disagree with what you have nominated the cash to be spent upon.
Set a limit (say $1,000) where any amount over that that leaves the ministry will be reported in the weekly newsletter that you give to the body of Christ that attends your synagogue.
As the pastor you are SOLELY responsible to be correct before God, and therefore will either be rewarded with a 'well done my true and faithful servant' or seen as a hireling, who never knew Christ, and received his reward here on earth.
Unfortunately the ministry is one place where Satan attacks all the time and many men are unprepared to withstand the attacks, and therefore become corrupt.
As a minister you need a strong prayer team covering you, you need 100% transparency in your life so that when you are tempted you will know that it will be seen, and not just by God, if you try to hide your sins.
Never do anything that you would not do in the plain sight of your congregation. I exclude from this the normal exclusions, i.e. personal relationships with your wife and daily ablutions, but you understand what I say.
Email me from the profile if you want to discuss this further away from cynical eyes.
The same to you Agua !!! my Friend !!!!
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