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Look At All Them Sheeple……

April 2, 2008

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Have you ever wondered why church service is called church “service”. Notice the emphasis on the word service. Well I decided first to look up the word service and this is what I found. According to the Encarta Dictionary North American edition, the word service is a noun and service is defined as; “a work done for somebody else as a job, duty, punishment or favor.” Hmmm so Churches have services so the church was serving and not the other way around right? It has always been my own personal belief that the church was a place for the sin sick, a place where people could come to hear the word of God, worship, fellowship, learn, be comforted, and find help for whatever it is they needed.

In Mathew 25:41-45 it is plain to see what is expected of the body of Christ concerning those in need. 41. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43. I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45. Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” So “service wasn’t a suggestion, if I am reading that passage of scripture right, but to see some of the churches on TV you would think they were reading from a totally different book.

In today’s church environment the good ol’ days are gone. Now people go to church not for service, fellowship, worship or nourishment. They go for everything but…..I now hear things like “worship experience” it is as if church is being more and more geared towards pleasing the carnal man and forgetting totally about God. The “Mega ministry” syndrome is nothing new, but it seems to be what a lot of pastors are rooting for these days. I believe this is faulty and dangerous thinking. Needless to say I certainly have an opinion but I wanted to sit back and observe some things before I put this post back up (yah I took it down for a while), and I wanted to watch how events unfurled themselves in some already chaotic situations. Some things turned out the way I predicted, while others completely surprised me (floored is more accurate). I can never predict some people’s actions as they seem to have a borderline personality disorder, and you never know what they are going to say or do from one moment to the next . One day they are this person, the next day they are someone else, so I’m just going to leave that one alone. I am, (as I have explained in many blog posts before), a naturally curious person. I analyze everything, and watch people and my ever changing environment like some people watch a Tennis match. I am the type of person who doesn’t mind a two hour flight delay, simply because it would give me more time to watch my favorite show, “People”. Outside of people and my environment I love watching the nature channels on cable TV . Usually when God shows me something, a lot of times it is very late, or more like very early in the morning and I am more or less half asleep. Naturally, that is how I was this particular late night/early morning laying on the couch, halfway watching some show on who knows what channel. All I know is, they had a brief segment about some sheep herders from some country, (shows you how much I paid attention). They didn’t talk about them long but it was one specific bit of information I gleaned from the program that stuck with me. I’ll break it down for you. Now the sheep herders (I will call Shepherds from this point on). These guys had done this for several generations and they were absolute experts and when I say experts, I mean cream of the crop. They knew everything about each of one of their sheep. There was one point when one of the sheep went missing, and the way the guy knew this was because he said he noticed that the herd didn’t “sound” right. Now I remember shaking my head in amazement, the way this feat was accomplished was simple (for them). They accomplished this intimacy by keeping each herd to a certain size and they always had 2 or three sheep dogs . These dogs were taught from the time they could walk how to serve in their capacity and when the Shepherd saw his herd growing past his capacity to be able to give them the attention that was demonstrated in the program the Shepherd would send a son (literally) if he had one old enough or a relative and they would graze on another pasture. Now why would they do this? When the Shepherd was asked, he willingly answered, in the strange warbling tongue of his language, he said “It is not fair to the sheep, I can not provide for them appropriately if there are too many. I must take care to not allow greed to cloud my judgment it can cause a sheep to die, I have seen such things happen. I have seen Shepherds wanting to have many tents, and many fine things. sheep_countryside_246998_tn.jpgThey will let their herds grow too fast, the shepherd will not notice when a sheep has gone off. The wolves will attack them or bite them. The wolves only attack very large herds, sometimes the sheep dogs will be able to fight them off but the sheep may be wounded if he gets bitten. The wound can get infected and if the Shepherd does not notice this infection because of a large herd, this infection can spread and sicken the whole herd. I have seen Shepherds lose a lot of sheep this way. I love my sheep so I train my sheep dogs puppies and my sons and when my herd grows I send them away. I love my sheep I don’t want them to die.” It was at that moment when it hit me, this man with his 101 rags tied on his head and rings in his nose, just gave the civilized world of Christians the best and most seasoned advice ever. I literally shook my head and began to laugh at the revelation and said, ” you know God you got me again, something so simple yet so profound.” I wish some of these mega pastors could hear this advise. Now there are some that would say, “oh fooey there is nothing wrong with my 3000 member church.” And I say “is there?” The danger of these “Wal-mart Christian Centers”, is that they are anti-local church, and anti-local pastor/shepherd. The danger in this is, when you don’t have local churches with smaller ministries in intimate settings, you have a tendency to have a lack of adequate discipleship. This shortfall can ultimately lead to less people getting saved or staying saved . “How does that happen?” The lack of adequate accountability a lot of times in the “Mega” churches is in part due to having too many people. The more people you have, the more hiding places you create. If you have thousands of members to hide amongst, a person can be suffering from any one of a multitude of sins and nobody really notices because they are only one amongst thousands. “Well what about discernment, you ask?” I say, “who has time for that?” In a lot of the “Mega” ministries the focus is not on discernment, deliverance, the gospel, freedom from sin or anything remotely useful for the long run. It is more and more focused on self. I have watched programs on some channels where the Bible has not been quoted once, the Mega superstar pastor instead, teaches from their newest book. The book usually has some silly title like “You are the greatest” or “Tapping into the ultimate You” or “Getting Yourself In Place So You Can Get All You Can Get Out Of SantaClau…uh I mean God”. I actually wonder have these churches funeralized the Bible? everystockphoto_206917_tn.jpg Was it that inconvenient for them? Maybe the language was too harsh and it might have scared away the Sheeple. Because of this silly “Mega” church self aggrandizing mess, more and more pastors are desiring to be superstar “Mega” pastors and get thousands of members in a coliseum. Instead of ministering the word and “serving”, they literally herd them in and herd them out, treating the people less like sheep and more like cattle. A lot of these churches in a bid to keep all the members they have gained have strayed away from the “Gospel” in favor of a New Age, Pop Psychology type platform. The Bible speaks of this in ( 2 Timothy 4:3-5 )”For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”after_pole_network_358948_tn.jpg I have been to some popular Mega ministries and the atmosphere was very exciting and the entire time the people were buffeted with a message that was heavily ladened with “hook words” like purpose, self, fulfill, destiny, promise, harvest, season, time, now, turn around, divine, and appointment. Mathew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. My concern is that there is a lot of emphasis on body count (yah I know sounds morgue-ish). It’s become a competition and Mega pastor’s are now considering themselves more “favored” or “blessed” the more “increase” they see. They are no longer worried about souls, they are just trying to get bodies in the seats which translates to $money$. The Bible warned against this comparison with Gain and Godliness ( 1Timothy 6:5 )”Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” The Bible calls this way of thinking perverse (wow and I though if a guy read Playboy he was in that category hmmm, ). The sorest spot with the mega ministry mania is, that there seems to be little time for counseling or hands on, or if there is it is every once in a blue moon. Once that blue moon alter call experience takes place, surgery is begun but in many instances no follow up is given. For example a person with a real serious issue such as going through divorce, or perhaps a person desiring to give up a certain lifestyle, or asking for help in other areas. This person gets hands laid on them and goes back to their seat with their deliverance process “in the works”, having a work begun in them but that work hardly finished.bett_lecho_leito_229785_tn.jpg This is like having surgery done but no sutures put in. Some infections (for lack of a better word) run deep and along with surgery an antibiotic is needed to kill the infection. The patient might even need intensive care. It is the same with deliverance from some spiritual diseases, the local church is the hospital and some people may not be well enough to fend for them self all alone. These people need intensive care, they need a skilled nursing team. In a local church setting this process is more likely to happen because the pastor can assign someone to work with this person and counsel them and follow up until the work is done because the pastor understands that this is a work that takes time, not everyone has a microwave success story. Some things take time and that is why it is ridiculous for a pastor to think they can pastor more than a few hundred sheep! If you notice, some churches, when their membership reaches a certain number like 350 or 400, they will actually split off and form another branch of that church under the leadership of a son from that pastor. They literally produce fruit. So the question remains should we just save our gas money trying to get to the “popular” churches all the while bypassing perfectly fine “community” churches?” “Let me answer that, question this way; depending upon where you live and where God leads you is where you should go”. “Wait, what did you just say Anointed?” “You mean God would lead somebody to a Mega ministry?” and my answer is , “sort of”. “You see, in some inner city communities being a part of certain very large ministries is vital to the spiritual, mental and physical health of the family. No matter how flat the pancake, (so the saying goes) there are always two sides. Now I am not talking about just any large ministry there are actually some ministries that may be considered in the “Mega” category because of size alone, that is why I like to call them very large and not “MEGA” that is why I answered the question with “sort of”. These ministries are set up in such a way that they have one Senior pastor and several pastors or “under shepherds” for logistical purposes that are ministry leaders and they usually have a staff of ministers who help things run smoothly. Having the opportunity to observe a few large inner city ministries intimately I came to realize that the good ones don’t act like the churches that you see depicted on television, they preach straight from the Bible, because the people that they are dealing with are hungry for it. They are not trying to build castles and fly jets, they are just trying to make it from one day to the next. As far as discipleship goes, for the ministries I am familiar with, they DO have discipleship programs and whole prayer teams at the altar (which makes a HUGE difference). These ministries also spend a lot of their incoming funds on community development, they feed the members that need food, operate clothing closets, health and dental clinics (some of them) and a whole host of Social Service type programs. I find this refreshing, since Social Services should be something the Body of Christ (not just churches), should be managing and not the United States Government anyway. So yes, I support some of of the large inner city service oriented ministries that are well established with sound doctrine, where the pastor is not a pimp, driving in a Rolls Royce, living in a castle while the city around them goes straight to hell and their members are starving from poverty, economically and spiritually. There are no perfect churche’s folks but I think we can do better and I definately think the trend toward bigger being better is a spiritual death sentence to many. In conclusion I will say this…”
“Somewhere along the way the word “Service” got kicked out of church and the word “Mega” was added, I think we “The Body of Christ” need to do some adding and subtracting. I think you know what needs to be subtracted and what needs to be added.” KDW 2008

Wow……..am I preaching, nope! Just standing on my internet soap box (again).
ok I’m done……..
Anointed Vessel 2008 KDW

All writings you see on “Anointedvessels Weblog” are the intellectual property of Yours Truly KDW and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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I believe in giving credit wherever it is due, the first time I heard the phrase “Wal-Mart”Christian Center was on a DVD produced by EX-Ministries Owned by Elder G. Craig Lewis I believe if my memory serves me correct that he was interviewing Pastor Marlin Reid Of New Wine Glory Ministries Detroit, MI. If this is in error please correct me. I recommend that you buy Elder G. Craig Lewis’ entire work called The Truth Behind Hip Hop and look at the Extra features. You will find a lot of interesting interviews and learn a lot! I learned some of what you just read from his series and the extra features. This is a MUST HAVE. Please click on the link to the right to get to his website.

Video is featured courtesy of www.youtube.com/user/LaneCh (Lanes Blog) Thanks Lane for all of your hard work and Research!! AVW

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Wanda.R permalink
    October 21, 2009 6:38am

    Hi AnointedVessel! I thank God that I came to your blogspot in a search of Elder G. Craige Lewis. God has used him in a MIGHTY way to simply TELL THE TRUTH and I see that He is using you also. Thank you for living in God’s will and doing what He has inspired you to do. I truly thank God for my brothers and sisters in The Body of Christ all over the world. Just from reading a few articles, I see that you love God and therefore want to spread THE TRUTH to all. This article is exactly that…THE TRUTH. Lastly, the “Wal-Mart Christian Center” phrase that you mentioned above is from TTBHH PART 3 AntiChrist Superstar DVD 2 Extras. TRUTH:JESUS:LOVE

    • October 22, 2009 6:38pm

      Thanks for the encouraging words and thanks for stopping by, God bless you and keep you and may heaven shine upon you!
      ~Anointed

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