X04.06..............A Short List of things that the traditional plan of the church STEALS...
1. MONEY........If you pay money (especially "tithe") to the pastor or leaders of the church--(which is usually used mostly to support a building which is used largely for Christian use--and pay the "full-time" ministers of the church--who spend most of their time serving YOU--instead of spreading the Gospel) you are loosing much of the resource that God has given you to carry out your own ministry.
Imagine if----you took the money you give to your church and used it directly as the Lord leads you to spread the Gospel directly.
Questions: Which would please God more?---Which is more Biblically correct?
Within the system of church operation--MONEY--is stolen from the believer.
2. TIME......think of the time you invest in "going" to church. When you go to church every Sunday (and perhaps another day of the week)--you spend time in a system which does not witness the Gospel directly--but rather in worship and teaching--which are things that benefit YOU---and not reach out to the world around you. Think of how much time you spend, organizing your life so you can attend church and......
Imagine if.......you took that time, prayed for the direct leading of God, and worked together with other believers to directly further the Gospel as He lead you. You could spend time feeding people who are hungry--or praying for the sick--or helping the homeless--or visiting people in prison. There are endless ways that you might accomplish these Gospel goals that the Bible outlines for us.........BUT, if some of your time is stolen by the tradition that says you must spend hours and hours each week in a system that only benefits YOU-?
Within the system of church operation--TIME--is stolen from the believer.
3. EFFORT........ How much effort do you put into the system of church? Are you involved in the "ministry of the church"? Do you spend much effort working within the church (being an usher--a "deacon"--working within the music ministry or the cleaning ministry--etc.). Now, the Bible does tell us that some of us are called to do ministry within the church---but the ministries that the Bible describes within the church are teaching and pastoring. The Bible describes these "in-church ministries" in the plural sense. The church in the Bible had groups of pastors and groups of teachers who operated together (the apostolic method!) to carry out these ministries. Probably you are NOT a "pastor" or a "teacher" within the church--instead you spend effort (and perhaps an awful lot of effort!) "serving" the "pastor".
This is Biblically incorrect--the focus of the church is meant to be toward the furthering of the Gospel. Biblical pastoring and teaching are meant to lead others to (quickly!!) become ministers of the Gospel themselves--not "hold under authority"---
Imagine if......You spent the same effort you spend within the system of church, but your focus was to teach and personally guide others to find their ministry. Many of us within the church have these gifts--they are very very valuable to God--and very very important. The ministry of pastors and teachers is much needed. Imagine if you worked together in a church with others who pastored and taught new believers--leading them quickly to work with you, and become servants of God with you as brothers and sisters in the Lord (not "under" you!)
Question: If we spent more of our effort working together to release people to ministry--do you think the Gospel would be spread more quickly?
Within the system of church operation--EFFORT--is stolen from the believer.
4. MINISTRY.......Within the system of church operation that tradition has handed us, your ministry is stolen. Your priesthood is stolen. If you pay money to the ministry of another priest (the "pastor")---then YOU are not a priest. Your ministry is stolen--robbed---"run-over" by the ministry of someone who is supposedly "greater" than you. You can listen to and receive from the ministry of the leaders---but you do not spend much time, effort or money DOING ministry---WITH your brothers and sisters if Christ--which is what the assembling of the church is meant to be.
The Bible describes all the church as a priesthood (1Peter) and calls all believers in the new covenant "priests" (Acts). Your priesthood is your ministry. The Bible says that ministry is NOT authority over other believers---but the people who established the functioning of the church (in the Dark Ages!) believed strongly in a system of "ministerial authority and rule". They established the format of church operation which focused on teaching and worship (and little else) as a format which would rule over people.
If another "minister" "rules over" you---your ministry is subverted. The "pastor" of your church may stand in the pulpit each week and honestly encourage you to minister---but he is still standing in the pulpit---"ruling over" you to some degree. And so the ministry time we have together is stolen.
In the Bible they broke bread together as equals (Acts 2, Acts 4) operating in small groups (apostleship!!) usually in their homes. They prayed in the Spirit and received Gods' direct instructions for how they should minister. They did this all the time---as a group--on a daily basis (not "everyone everyday"--but someone was ministering the Gospel ALL THE TIME---since they were obedient to work in small groups--as Jesus had demonstrated).
Imagine if......We operated our ministry in small groups together, instead of "under the authority" of one "minister"--in a large group.
Questions: Do you think the Gospel would spread faster and more efficiently? Do you think that the ministry of all the church would be used by God to appeal to the lost and needy in the world--if we were obedient to be "sent" as the Bible commands us?
Within the system of church operation--MINISTRY--is stolen from the believer.
BUT MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL...
WHAT IS TRULY STOLEN......
IS THE RESOURCE THAT JESUS NEEDS.....
WHICH IS ALL OF US---WORKING TOGETHER--T O SPREAD THE GOSPEL.