Bringing souls to the Lord has become increasingly difficult: we now live in a world where Richard Dawkins can write a book called The God Delusion and live, Ayaan Hirsi Ali can tell Muslim women to love Islam and wear shorts (and live), while cities in the deep south, like Austin Texas, have the largest Atheist organization in the country.
Yep, the good ‘ol days of religious dominance aren’t dead, but questioning Christ has never been a more common pastime.
Enter the church planters convention in Texas. Formally known as Verge: Missional Community Conference, their goal this year was not how to better minister to the flock, but rather how to create ministers to minister to others.
The sheer lack of forward thinking is really upsetting here; not everyone is fit to be a minister. The mandate to ordain as many in the congregation as possible is almost as reckless as closing your eyes as you walk a cross the street, with your 2-year old in-tow. Sure, we’re supposed to place all things in the hands of the Lord, but he did give you eyes, didn’t he?
“If you don’t structure your church in such a way that the saints are doing the ministry and you’re equipping the saints for ministry, what you’ll convince your people of is that they pay you to do ministry for them and they receive it all from you.”
And while this seems like a decent concept on the surface, it carries some serious flaws alongside for the ride. Namely the fact that we do not live in a perfect world; all those who receive the beneficent gift of ordination will not use it wisely.
I should pause for clarification. The pastors and other religious advisers who attended the convention, with the hopes of creating ministers, aren’t looking for the worst eggs in the basket.
They are just trying to get to as many eggs as possible.
Pastors and other clergy aren’t thinking about the consequences of ordaining a racist bigot, or a gay-basher. There is no weeding out process, no uniform set of standards, other than that they are already a member of the church, and that they love the lord.
These qualifications don’t hold for any office of importance outside the realm of faith, and since we hold religion in such high esteem, we should be willing to concede that it is lacking in the accountability department.
When you’re putting your soul, your very worldview in the hands of faith, it should at least be given to you by competent spiritual leaders.
But we need only scroll the headlines of the local papers to find abuses of divine authority: how many religious articles have been posted this week alone (in America and around the world) describing the crimes of spiritual leaders?
Ordaining every Christian in America is a terrible idea.
If religion is ever to repair it’s tarnished image, ordaining individuals that are seasoned in good communication skills is a start. Creating a minister that is grounded in ethical and moral sturdiness would also help. Oh, and how about realizing that The Bible is a guide for life 2000 years ago?
Ok, that probably went too far. But what we DON’T want to do is tell a massive amount of people, many of whom have questionable ethics, morals, and ways of thinking, that they should go out and bring people to God. Encounters with “less than savory” folks really doesn’t make God look attractive to potential converts.
And it also makes religion look frightfully desperate.