Since about 2005/2006 I have questioned the ecclesiological system. Most of my writings have been along these lines. Not really about a right or wrong per se…but sort of a challenging yet inquisitive why we do what we do type of disposition. Well at least of over the last few years of my life.
The biggest questions stem from what is best developmentally for the people of God. Now a quick disclaimer will have to be set. I am a fan of biblical and theological education (head) a bit more than emotions, feelings, warm and fuzzies (the heart). So my inquisitiveness is rooted in how I relate to God which tilts more in the realm of information. However, that doesn’t mean I abandon the heart and how God moves us through emotion and feelings…..but I believe we can easily be mislead if too heavy in that direction.
So…back to this post. I thought about my own development into a 40 something year old man. As a child I went to childcare and each year I moved into a new room which had different developmental tools for me to play with (I am also thinking about my children’s experience). Then went I got into the school system, every year the books got heavier, the logistics of the school year changed, the testing changed, the sizes of the classes changed but the thing that changed that struck me the most was my teachers changed. From 1st-6th grade I never had the same teachers though I was at the same school and from 7th-12th I may have occasionally had some overlap (athletics, health…) but for the most part someone else taught me math, science, social studies, English….and still I went to the same school most of those years. Not to mention all of my teachers had a common goal……GRADUATION!!! (including college)
This leads me to “church”. I believe one of the reasons people don’t grow is that they are in the same class, with the same teacher ,all of their lives. I believe it limits our development in myriad of ways. First my math teacher wasn’t really good at teaching English. My athletics teacher wasn’t great at AP Chemistry. My 3rd grade teacher could teach me all subjects; however, not what I needed when I was 15. Why do we believe that it is any different in “church”…and the bigger question is what and when is graduation, what evaluates our growth, and what is the outcome?
Truth is…pastors are limited. As great as the ideal of being all things to all people is both to be appreciated and probably even rewarded it is a faulty system that stunts growth and development. If we want to keep that system. Maybe we should rotate churches every year. For those congregations that rotate leaders that may be a good reason why to continue that tradition. But even then I believe there becomes a point of graduation in a Christians life where they no longer need 10th grade History, they can now educate themselves. I would even accept a rotating plurality of teachers……
Now the greatest of the systems is open participation with congregational teaching….but if we must stay with the pulpit system we need multiple rotating teachers so we don’t end up a disciple of man versus a disciple of Christ.