Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shepherd Your Flock

As a sales associate for a Christian book store, I now see a lot more than the average person when it comes to what churches read and teach. As someone who has been a leader of a church, I have many opinions on what is good and what is not so good and what is downright heretical, but as an employee for this company, I can't reveal my true feelings most of the's my job to basically shake my head and say "yes" to whatever they are looking for.

I will be sharing from time to time here my perspective on life in the church based on what I am seeing at work. Today I want to address how churches choose curriculum.

I was approached the other day at work by a woman searching for curriculum. I showed her the aisle that held the many women's bible studies. She saw how many there were and immediately said, "Oh, that's a lot to look through, is there anything that is easy or basic for new believers?" I had to admit I had no clue which curriculum to point her toward, not because I didn't know, but because I did know. First, there isn't one. Second, why was she asking this 36 year old man which curriculum to choose for her women's group? Did she really want me to choose it for her? Third and most importantly, where is her pastor?

This is the one that I really have the issue with. I am calling on our pastors and ministers to lead their congregations in the direction they need to go. That includes making certain that you are finding the curriculum that is right for your flock. Sending a member of the group to choose some random curriculum is not the right way to set a vision and direction for your church.

How do you know what she picks out will be sound teaching? Who will be teaching it? She didn't sound very confident in knowing what to teach.

One of the biggest failings I see in the church is our lack of vision and direction and real leaders stepping up to teach and lead the way. We need leaders who know where to take a church so that the membership doesn't feel as though they are left to fend for themselves.

Some may think I am being to harsh and critical about this. I see this flaw as one of the most critical issues we are facing right now; churches without leadership. If my words seem critical, maybe it is because it is hard to hear that our leaders are failing the flock. The requests I get at work make me shake my head in disbelief almost every single day. It is sad to see people who are supposed to be saved look so lost in our store.

Church leaders need to take a more active role in selecting the kind of material they want taught in the church; vetting it and checking it's soundness and reasoning it with scripture to see if it matches up. The degradation of our churches is due in large part to our becoming more like a business where everything is delegated to other people instead of taking the time necessary to plan ahead and know what people will be hearing and learning in our church classes. Even if this woman was confident in what she wanted, how does her minister and pastor know that what she is going to teach is healthy biblical teaching if he isn't there to see it and read it himself first?

I know that we hold a priesthood of all believers and that the average Christian should learn to share their faith. I believe that too. I'm not trying to be elitist. I just believe so strongly that our churches need to hold to a set standard. We want people to come to know Christ and to know what is right, true and Biblical too.

Take the time to shepherd your flocks so that the Christian bookstore employees don't have to even if they are qualified.