Church Conglomerates

16 Nov

So church has been a source of contention for me lately. I do not understand how churches became conglomerates and how everyone started to climb some illusory corporate ladder in the sanctuary. This is not a blanket indictment against the so called mega-churches either. There are churches of all sizes that have lost site of their mission.

My friend posted something on Facebook the other day about how everyone wants a title in the church now. It’s so true. My father is a preacher and when I was growing up him and all his preacher friends were just Reverend. Now we have Bishops, Prophets/tess, Evangelist and the oh so new Psalmist. I’m not hating on the titles (although I think Psalmist is just doing too much), but what is the motivation behind the titles. Seriously, what changes you from a Reverend to a Bishop? How do you become that? Is it like getting your stripes or something?

Also, back in the day when I was young, anyone could sing in the choir. You just showed up to the practice (usually in your play clothes) and you could sing. I am almost tone deaf, but they even let me lead a song. Now, we have tryouts for the church choir. This baffles me. What ever happened to Make a Joyful Noise? Then, there is the problem with the coveted Mic spots. Some people don’t mind not being on the mic, but for some it is a real sore spot. Needless to say, I can understand their issue because it does create a quasi hierarchy in the choir. It separates the wheat from the tare when it comes to vocal ability. It just seems to me that you can’t hear the people on the Mic anyway, so why not just pass the mic from time to time.

Then there is all the flashing lights and production aspects. As much as I hate to say this, it is somewhat of a show. I understand the reasoning because in order to get people in the door and compete with the other churches, every church seems to need a little bit of a gimmick. When the message become secondary to the production with every minute planned, I have an issue. There just seems to be little room in the minute by minute schedule to allow the spirit to just move. Every actor has to be on stage and off within their allotted time slot.

I do not say all this to advertise against church. I plan to be a life long church goer and I think it is necessary for my life. However, sometimes the business, the hierarchy and the production make it hard for me to focus on the purpose. It’s just a little busy in there. Simplicity is just better sometimes and more effective.


Posted by on November 16, 2010 in Religion[ology]


8 responses to “Church Conglomerates

  1. MichaelYoungHistory

    November 16, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    I used to be in the church choir when I was a kid! And I cant sing at all!!! PREACH!!!

    Good post =D

    • sjbradley24

      November 16, 2010 at 9:05 PM

      Me too…..

  2. Spacely Sprockets

    November 16, 2010 at 9:48 PM

    I was in the church choir as a child and I was a beast. Not really.

    I think the issues stem from the fact that the word is divine but the church is a human institution subject to all the failings that that entails. Matter of fact it attracts those failings even more so because the authority of the divine is all but given to the leaders of the church which attracts people who like power and attention.

  3. justinfication

    November 17, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    Since everyone’s recollectin’, I use to be in the church choir, and I didn’t tear the house down like some kids, but I provided those oh so soulfuls ad-libs that hyped everyone up for Jesus. Hype-man for Christ.

    Churches have been off since 33 A.D. Paul wrote many of his epistles because of this. Best example to me was Corith. Corith was known for having prostitutes hanging around the temple. Corith was also the location of where folks were purposely making several rounds for communion to get drunk. The people of Corith flaunted their spiritual gifts. Folks were competing in church. Despite all these descrepancies, Paul still addressed them as a church and gave them direction (in the name of Jesus).

    As far as church titles– You shouldn’t create your title. God should. There is a need for Pastor. There is a need for Psalmist. Job Specification is best seen in the book of Nehemiah where folks were given roles to fulfill to restore the Church. Nehemiah was more so of the adminstrator; but he assigned roles for everyone. He didn’t put himself in a position to be elated. He served.

    However, I have witnessed your aforementioned points, @primemeridian11

    Whether are not someone is called for a certain position is beyond my jurisdiction. But I do feel it’s appropriate to call someone out [in the name of Jesus, of course] if there aren’t fulfilling their duty properly.

    Sometimes I have felt that folks that are right for the position, do it the wrong way. And sometimes I feel it is the wrong person overall. But I dunno if I can call that out now since I’m not in the position in any church to do so.

    The Bible has had it’s share of leaders/communities go from straight to crooked (i.e. King Saul)(no pun intended), and crooked to straight (i.e. King Darius, who put daniel in the Lion’s Den). The Bible has also had an 8-year-old King. Studdering Ex-murderers have become leaders of a nation. So, God can call anyone to do anything. I have to remind myself of that all the time.

    The Psalmist/Choir Member is the most common case because they’re the most showy. Some of the biggest egos in the church are with the music.

    Really Kat?

    Folks judge the music more than the sermons. I’ve heard of folks getting upset because they didn’t hear “their” song in church today. “Ya’ll sang God’s tryna tell you somethin'”

    The title you mentioned that bothered me the most was Prophet/Prophetess. I don’t get why that’s a title. The Lord will work through anyone to get his message. The Lord can call you out through non-church members, non-Christians, donkeys (in scripture), ghost(in scripture), etc. That title gives me the impression that that person is something along the lines of a fortune teller. Just saying. To have that as a title seems a bit…[can’t think of the word].

    As mentioned by the admired Mars Hill Church, I’m culturally liberal, yet theologically conservative. Meaning that I’m willing to compromise on things that aren’t “written in ink” within the bible when it comes to running a church.

    I can’t call someone out for their music if it’s for praise.
    I can’t call someone out for their way of dress.
    I can’t call someone out cause they have to play CDs for praise during service.

    Going back to Paul & the New Testament. Paul addresses the same issues we see today. He uses the worst examples to give the best lessons on how we should run a church. And in one of the Timothys even mentions how a pastor, deacon/ness should be chosen.

    Despite the complexities of the issues, the definition of the problem is simple to me. Folks are more concerned with elating themselves than God & Jesus.

  4. juanita Minaj

    November 17, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Simply put, 21st century church has become big business! So much so that young Christians are no longer pursuing careers as lawyers, doctors, and teachers… they aspire to be pastors, but can you blame them? Pastors like Jamaal Bryant who currently drives a Bentley, owns a multimillion dollar home and has made several guest appearances on reality TV shows like “The Ultimate Merger” and “KC & JoJo Come Clean” has glamorized pastorship and given a false impression of what it means to truly pastor GOD’s church. Church as we knew it booked a flight to Hollywood a long time of go, pastors are superstar’s now with entourages, limos AND jump offs ( And the church said…). This explains why people are so thirsty to have titles and to hold leadership positions in the church; they see it as an opportunity to grow their income and their influence.
    Furthermore people ’s definition of what a good church looks like has changed significantly and is heavily based upon how extravagant the building is, how witty the pastor can get with his sermon title (I recently heard a sermon titled: “turn your swag on”), and how many members attend. Basically 21st century Christians want to be entertained, which would explain the flashing lights, the auditions to serve in the choir, and the self promotion of pastors to Bishop so and so. Mark my words… we’ve only scratched the surface, it WILL get worse.

    • Spacely Sprockets

      November 17, 2010 at 5:06 PM

      word to Creflo Dollar

    • primemeridian11

      November 17, 2010 at 7:29 PM

      “Booked a flight to Hollywood”..LOVE THAT! Very good comment. I definitely agree and I guess my generation has to share in the blame of what church has become.

  5. fnasty

    November 19, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    I wasn’t in a church choir, but I did do choir in elementary because I knew they had a field trip to an amusement park. The songs were ok and all, but I knew I couldn’t sing. I knew I served a better purpose doing other activities around school.

    I say all this because, I don’t mind a religious institution saying “F*ck your feelings.” Not telling people the truth is how this happens…

    As far as titles go, people are people regardless of their environment. People just want to feel valued, and truth be told, people with credible titles are treated with more respect. For some at religious institutions, they may be treated like crap at their jobs. But for those couple hours where even if its little kids calling them “Mr” or “Sir” or “Psalmist” such and such, that may just be what they need to push through the week. As long as they do the jobs of that title, let em shine. If not, again I say…F*ck they feelings.


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