“I feel sorry for some pastors who came to our House Church Seminars because I wonder if they will be able to successfully transform their churches to house churches without help from good lay leaders. We have been successful because of our many good lay leaders. Most pastors do not seem to have mature lay leaders as we do,” said a member of our church after a seminar.
It is true that we have many mature lay leaders. It is also true that many churches do not. But I believe that much of the blame lies with the pastors themselves.
Many pastors simply do not let their church members grow. They treat members like children. So they setup numerous church meetings for members to attend, because they think that members will otherwise waste their time at home watching TV. They offer many programs and keep their members busy, believing that this protects them from worldly activities. They constantly interfere in members’ ministry with directions and frequent update requests because they believe that members are not able to finish their tasks without pastoral help. It is difficult for lay leaders to grow and become responsible under such pastors.
I believe that pastors should build up members so they become responsible and faithful servants for the Lord. I encourage our church members to be independent as early as possible. And I allow them to make their own decisions, holding them responsible for the consequences.
Our church encourages independence. It begins when people first visit our church. In some churches, visitors become members automatically by filling out a visitation card. Not here. At our church, they need to walk down the aisle during the Sunday worship service and fill out a commitment card. People who want to serve in the church are required to attend the Ministry Fair held each fall and sign up for the ministries they’re interested in. When people enroll in Bible classes, they are required to pay a
registration fee and are dropped if they miss too many sessions. Ministry team leaders make their own decisions concerning their ministries without consulting with pastors unless it is absolutely necessary. When shepherds have problems with their house church members, they are encouraged to solve their problems on their own. My role as the senior pastor is simply to be an assistant and adviser.
We have many good leaders because we have many good people. But it is also because our church encourages members to be independent and accountable from early on.
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