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There is something wrong when Pastors can't just meet with their own brothers in Christ in their own fellowship and get refreshed in the Lord.

Also, I have notice that you are very much against one man over another man

So is the Lord, my friend, so is the Lord.

I believe that we must be more aware of edifying others and the effect of ministering Christ to everyone without appearing to be superior in our knowledge over others.

If I appear to be, I think it is your perception. Writing text is not the best form of communication as you cannot hear the tone of my voice, hear the inflections in my voice or see the expressions in my face. So, I am not quite sure what you mean by that, but maybe you wonder how I know some of the things I spoke about.

I have been part of the inner circle of leadership in a large church. I was a pew sitter for awhile and then one day I was asked to be an elder. All because I had been to Bible School. Isn't that ridiculous? I was 32 years old at the time and single. Isn't that ridiculous? I did not see it that way at the time. I was flattered yet would not admit that to myself and chose rather to deceive myself by thinking that I was chosen to be an elder (even though I was unmarried and young) because I was spiritual. Isn't that ridiculous!!

Anyway, yes, I do know the Word somewhat, but not as much as you give me credit for and not as much as I would like to know it. Anyway, once I became part of the staff, I started getting invited to "get togethers" and picnics and parties that I never knew existed when I was just a pew sitter. I noticed that everyone that was invited to these functions were part of the staff or were big tithers. And they had great fellowship and were very happy. There was lots of good food, good fellowship, and a lot of laughter.

I was elder over the Sanctuary Ministry. I had about 110 people UNDER me. The Ushers, Hostesses, Greeters, Bible Store people, Sunday School teachers, etc. I had a great relationship with MY people (how funny to even think of it in that way).

And guess what? By being an elder I was part of Pastor/Elder meetings once a week. Yes, I got to see how the machine was fueled and tuned and kept running in tip top shape. I sound sarcastic, because I am trying to be, Paul used the same technique in Galatians.

You see, I was a pew sitter for about 18 months and came to know many of the regular, common people who were just like myself. They were my friends and I cared about them and I believed the best about our leadership.

My first personal awakening was at all these parties, functions and get togethers. I was treated as a very important person, but I never saw any of the non-staff members of the church, unless it was a whole church function. Of course the large tithers that were not part of staff were always invited. In fact they threw a lot of the parties and seemed to want to schmooze with leadership on a regular basis.

My second awakening was at one of our elder meetings when the pastor was discussing our accounting system and how he wanted to see the tithe report on his desk first thing Monday morning. Everyone member of the church (you have to go to new members class and become an official member of our church) is given 52 envelopes. One for each Sunday of the week. Each member has a number assigned to them so that when we count the money on Sunday (we begin counting even before church service is finished) we just key in the number on the envelope and the amount given and it is cross-referenced to their name in the database. This way, the Pastor has a tithe report on Monday morning with not just the Total amount "taken in" the previous Sunday but itemized by individual's name.

I was becoming disgusted little by little. You see, I did read my Bible back then and the things I saw being done in secret (elder/pastor meetings) would never have been shared with the congregation.

The third thing that affected me was that we took in a pretty good amount each Sunday and I also remember the Pastor would bring someone up to the front of the church once in awhile and in front of everyone, "on behalf of the church and the leadership", this family would be given about 4-5 sacks of groceries. It came from the Benevolent ministry. I thought it was tokenism and patronizing at it's worst.

The Church was in the Pastor's name, his wife's name and their best friend's name (who was also a successful and well to do lawyer).

The Pastor would sometimes have work done at his house (Church Parsonage) and would "invite" members of the congregation to help him remodel. Money was arbitrarily taken from the church treasury by the Pastor to remodel his house, his pool, by a car, etc, etc. And he never thought to ask anyone (elders) about using the church treasury as his personal bank.

And finally, in one of our elder meetings, I mentioned to the Pastor how the Lord seems to really bless us financially (he nodded his head approvingly and I paused). I then indicated to him that there are many in our congregation that live in run down apartments in a bad part of town and couldn't we help them out financially and move to a better part of town? Before he could say anything, I asked him if we could help people improve their job situation by helping them out financially in sending them to a trade or technical school. If we cannot pay it all, it would be nice to help them get started and match 50% or so.

Let me tell you something...if looks could kill...the way he looked at me when I mentioned the MAMMON, I would be burnt toast.

Well, that is all I had to see. The look on his face and he did not try to conceal his displeasure with me. Even the 3 other elders saw it.

You know what the Lord told me to do? Leave quietly. Don't say anything to anyone about what I knew or what I had seen. You see, causing a church split even if you are in the "right", is demonic, wisdom from below and not above.

So, I left man's system. It was 1988 and I have never been back.

I am not against any man. I am not against David Wilkerson or any other Christian personality. I know that they are victims of the religious machine. I don't care how you cut the cake, I know what it takes to feed this thing and make it run. I am also not likening them to the pastor in my experience. I have no knowledge of what other men do. I only have knowledge of what the system demands and how the system can corrupt a man's heart.

I do know that Pastor's will want to meet with other Pastor's because there are things they will share with each other that they would dare not share with the congregation. tThey also network and get ideas from each other for "doing church better".

If a normal everyday pew sitter like me got wind of some of these things they might, just like I did, LEAVE.

It is just the nature of the religious machine, rbanks. I am not pessimistic, but rather realistic. God tells us all of these things in His Word. It is right there for all to see. He tells us about the nature of the religious system and what it does to use men.

Today, I am just a brother amongst brethren. There is some security in being low-key and not having any titles. There is also peace. We have several in our fellowship that have shepherd's hearts. We care for each other and shepherd each other and no one is in charge of anyone. No one is named or titled Elder or Pastor. Because we know that these are not titles or positions. They are giftings. We as brothers are not suppose to have a "position" over another or a special status over others. When you know each other in your fellowship in a very close way, you just know organically who the senior saints are. I say "senior", but don't get me wrong. I am not talking about RANK. I am talking about spiritual maturity.

Rbanks, I truly feel sorry for so many in the religious pastorate, but I know they have to come to a dead end like I did, before they can start really listening to the Lord. I don't envy them and I know they have a job that I would not wish on anyone. But, man created this system (as Satan whispered his plans in their ear). Yes, it is a Satanic system. Does God use it? Well, I know that His Word does not return void. It is His Word that bears fruit if it is received in faith by the hearers. But, God does not use man's methods or need man's methods.

It is a relief to not have to defend or protect anything such as position or title or spiritual paycheck. It is great just to be a big ZERO and let God be everything.

Too many Pastors today have taken upon themselves false burdens that the Lord has never put on them. It's tough when you try to do a job that only God can do.

I know there are people out there with hearts of true shepherds. It is a shame that they try to live out their calling hand in hand with the religious system.

I believe we should be careful how we criticize or judge our brethren because the same judgment we use will be measured back to us.

What do you mean, specifically? Christians always use phraseology when things start to get a bit too real.

 2010/11/27 22:38

Joined: 2009/12/4
Posts: 1860


I have somewhat read the varying post on this topic, I understand both sides to an extent. I personally believe the gift spoken of in Ephesians 4 8-14 were never intended offices, I acknowledge these simply as gifts. These were not titles nor position but rather giftings according to the Holy Spirit. We see Paul HE personally never claimed to be the Apostle Paul rather He said I am Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ ( Please note Apostle means One Sent) So Paul is literally saying I am Paul one sent of Jesus Christ.

Meaning there is no need to call someone Pastor So and So, a pastor is one who has a gift in preaching or feeding the sheep God's word, I am a 911 Dispatcher people don't walk around and call me Dispatcher Matthew why? because that's just silly its what I do but its most certianly not who I am. People say well we say pastor so and so out of respect to our authority well in the real world if you or I were to answer a 911 call I would be the Authority in that case meaning I have more experience answer such a call on top of training yet we still find that people don't give me the title Dispatcher Matthew. Quite disrespectful if you ask me ;).

The only Authority I can even acknowledge that I see are the Elders who were Overseers of the Flock meaning they knew those of the flock and kept an eye open for those that seek to teach or preach falsely in which case they lovingly correct them, We see also that there was always more than ONE Elder per congregation.

What was special about the elders? Nothing really but they showed to be above reproach and were most experienced or further along in their walk with the Lord, so they set up Godly examples for the flock to follow. Deacons are another individual seen these individual were mostly incharge of service, such as handing out food to the poor etc, in our modern world they would be the ones that visit those in the hospital etc.

Elders were also men that knew the flock and its various gifts, for such an instance I know very little about fixing a car so me in my ignorance would go to one of my elders and tell them of the delemma and they may not know how to fix it however they would have the ability to point me to someone that could.

Ultimately my point is this though Christ never set up a church government as we see it today, each man was responsible for himself and if you had an ought with your brother you went to your brother personally there was very little interaction with the "pastor" rebuking or correcting as we see today but a system that was sustained and built on love.

I understand the Credentialed Minister thing quite a bit actually and I am a witness to the fact that all my "training" was vain glory and useless, Oh I learned doctrine and "how a church ought to be ran" but I never learned the Word of Life. imho its is one of the things that are raising up poor quality pastors that don't know how to lay down their life for the flock. Its a 6 months to two years training and then your ready to man the mast of the Church of Jesus Christ. Rubbish. I know I am not ready but I look to Christ glorious example of living the Sermon on the Mount 30 years before ever preaching the sermon on the Mount.

The Church of Jesus Christ operates and works through the gifts, not one gift is higher or above the other. All are Equal under the Head of Jesus Christ.

Matthew Guldner

 2010/11/28 1:26Profile


Servanthood has somehow become "leadership" today.

"Those in leadership OVER the sheep are going to have a weekend conference together so that they can be ministered to."

So they can learn to be better leaders over the sheep.

If anyone out there is reading their Bible, do you see how strange this statement is?

mguldner you are so very right. Also, the elders in the NT were very low-key. They did not take the best seats, or lord over the flock. How do you lord over God's flock? You put yourself in a position to be in charge of them and instead of Jesus being the Leader you are the leader.

I know a friend who heard a "Pastor Jim" introduce himself to a 5 year old as "Pastor Jim". My friend said, "Come on Jim, give it a rest, he's only a 5 year old".

I never see Paul or Peter or any of the disciples referring to each other as "Pastor". Even in the Old Testament, David and others were not called Shepherd David.

Would it not be tremendous if a high profile "Pastor", stepped down from his pulpit and took a place along side the brothers and repudiated publicly the clergy/laity system?

People have been trained to receive, to be spoon-fed, that if their leader stepped down, they would not know what to do. It is not just the Pastor's fault. Just like I have quoted in Samuel many times about Saul, people want a King over them. Unfortunately, it is not Jesus that they want.

Here is Paul, writing about some "pillars" in the church. Is he calling them by any title?

Gal 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

You see, when we call people by titles, that is tantamount to elevating them above others. And you are then implicitly telling all the young people that come into the congregation that the people with titles have a big Jesus and the people without titles have a little Jesus. And this mentality is the fertile ground for taking advantage of people and being taken advantage of.

And the Lord knows this all too well. Read the following picture of spiritual abuse.

1Sa 8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

1Sa 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

1Sa 8:9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

1Sa 8:10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.

1Sa 8:11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.

1Sa 8:12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

1Sa 8:13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

1Sa 8:14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

1Sa 8:15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

1Sa 8:16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

1Sa 8:17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

1Sa 8:18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

1Sa 8:19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;

1Sa 8:20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.

 2010/11/28 9:02

 Re: For Pastors Only - Special Encouraging Videos

Hi Pilgrim,

Thanks for sharing some more of your testimony. It's wonderful that you've being joined by the Lord to a body of believers who take the Bible seriously.

Some time ago, Brothertom urged me to 'RUN' from the church I was attending. The handling of money was only one of several distressing factors which prompted me, finally, to heed his advice.

There have, in the past on SI, been many discussions about Bible translations. Out of them all, I have retained two key pieces of information. 1) the versions may vary according to which manuscripts were used; 2) the word 'office' (as in office of a bishop for intsance) is not in the Greek from which the KJV was translated. Such tiny differences were made in deference to the king and the law of England as it was at the time.

mguldner said

Elders were also men that knew the flock and its various gifts, for such an instance I know very little about fixing a car so me in my ignorance would go to one of my elders and tell them of the delemma and they may not know how to fix it however they would have the ability to point me to someone that could.

I think you are crossing two ideas here. Yes, people have aptitudes in natural life, but these have to be laid down when we die in Christ - the bad AND the good.

Elders can only identify the spiritual gifts that have been given to individuals, if those individuals are free to use them when the body is assembled.

I heard a very interesting conference address on the gifts, and the speaker noted that there is bondage for those who have gifts, who are told to use them privately. This is not the context given in scripture, which should be the context we espouse.

There is one other general point to make about 'oversight', which is perfectly established in Acts 20:28, namely, that it is GOD who gives it to those whom He can trust with such a responsibility; not because of their learning (necessarily), but because of their LOVE. Their love for Him, for their brethren, for truth. How will He know they love Him? Because they keep His commandments and they are available to Him night and day, to do His bidding.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

A great example of shepherds in action, is the night the angels were sent to the shepherds in the field. They were 'watching over the flock BY NIGHT'. What's interesting about this also, is that to do so, they had all the sheep in one place - together.

There is something the sheep of His pasture today, ought to be able to learn from this picture, and how we are to respond when shepherds call us to obedience and unity.

Regarding David Wilkerson, it is quite a few years now, since he stopped renewing his 'credentials' with one of the major denominations. However, being able to show when he was younger and less known, that he was 'credentialed', enabled him to turn up in emergency situations and gain access, so that he could serve the people in immediate need. Being able to carry formal identity as a 'minister', was something God used.

Also, it enables men who have no other 'employment', to travel internationally, with a 'man of God' label. This of course, is a double-edged sword, and there is some safety these days in having another 'profession', as 'man of God' will keep you OUT of some countries. Let everyone be fully persuaded in their own mind, how God wants to prepare them to be a preacher.

I think Paul Washer makes a good observation in one of his addresses, that what one learns in Bible College, (of Greek, and exegesis etc) equips you to CONTINUE studying, after you leave. He rejects the notion that once you've left college, you've learned enough to last the rest of your ministry.

Sheep who find themselves being poorly shepherded know that that's what's happening, and yet, they can easily be bamboozled into accepting the dross which is passed to them as food, because they do NEED a SHEPHERD. I don't lay all the responsibility at the feet of leaders who know they are lost, selfish, ungodly (etc), because the sheep who sat under them will also have to answer for why they stayed.

 2010/11/28 10:06


Our house church had a get together this past Friday and it was basically a potluck and fellowship. In about 30 minutes we have our usual Sunday get together.

Anyway we had a visitor from another house church eat and fellowship with us an I know him. He was telling me that 5 families left their house church over a doctrinal issue. asked him what it was. He said it was about submission. Woman not talking in meetings. I told him that was a patriarchal spirit fueled by fear. He indicated that families that were pro-submission and anti-submission left. Some did not think they were pro-submission enough.

They have a "leader" by the way. We do not. Our leader is Jesus and that is not just a trite saying. Well, their leader does not even want woman to share in their meetings because he is worried (fear) that it might turn into a teaching to men.

So, instead of addressing issues one at a time, they take a broad brush stroke and shut down all the women.

May I remind people, that they miss a portion of Christ when they shut down women that have the Holy Spirit, too.

Anyway, this house church has men's meetings on Monday and they gather as a group (men and women) on Sundays. I told this brother, that basically you have men's meetings on Mondays and Sundays. Even though women are with you on Sunday it is a men's meeting because you have shut the women down.

These are men that are fearful, in my opinion. We appreciate the spirituality of our women and the richness of Christ that comes forth from their lives.

I was very distressed over this and told him about the Patriarchal movement that is resurging in America. Funny, how Patriarchy had a resurgence in Iran and it was directly linked to politics. The muslims wanted to depose the Shah and get their theocratic government back. Same way in the U.S., dominionist Christians, who are strongly involved in "getting back America for God", are also the ones pushing Patriarchy.

So, you see, not all house churches are created equal and they often duplicate the "king" mentality of Institutional churches where one man is in charge and what he says goes.

Our mature brothers and sisters in our group are very low key and visitors would never be able to point out who the "leaders" are.

Sometimes we seem to be easy pickins for visitors that want to exercise control and authority but Jesus always protects us. We know His voice and another we will not follow.

 2010/11/28 11:02

Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2749
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: For Pastors Only - Special Encouraging Videos

If you are in full-time ministry or a pastor of a church feel free to signup for this service from Times Square church. They give encouraging video and audio snippets to encourage full-time ministers in their ministries with the Lord. You can signup freely here: Already 1.700+ pastors are registered.

This is important and much needed ministry in these days, God bless TSC for doing this.

I attend a Calvary Chapel and I know that there is concern over discouragement in the ministers across this land. There are something like 1400 Calvary Chapels across the United States and half of them are small churches led by men in their 30's and 40's. Many of these pastors need others to come along side and minister in areas were they struggle with discouragement and distraction. Pastor Bob Claycamp from Arizona and several other seasoned Calvary pastors are embarking on just such ministry in this coming year and will be traveling across the country to minister to ministers and their wives.

We should get behind ministry such as this, there are many pastors and elders across this land that need our prayers and support.

In Christ,


Ron Halverson

 2010/11/28 13:10Profile

Joined: 2007/3/21
Posts: 87


"Those in leadership OVER the sheep are going to have a weekend conference together so that they can be ministered to."

"So they can learn to be better leaders over the sheep."

"If anyone out there is reading their Bible, do you see how strange this statement is?


How do you reconcile your objection to those statements with 1 Peter 5:12 Feed the flock of God which is among you, TAKING the OVERSIGHT[thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Jesus was the servant of servants yet was he not also the leader of leaders. So being a leader is being a servant. Didnt Jesus say that he who seeks to be a leader or great must first become a servant of all?

Would it not be tremendous if a high profile "Pastor", stepped down from his pulpit and took a place along side the brothers and repudiated publicly the clergy/laity system?

Were the Apostles wrong when they refused to handle the daily issues of the Church and serving the people so they could give themselves to prayer and the Word? Should they have stepped down and taken their place alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ and repudiated their callings as Apostles. Should the elders that Timothy ordained have done the same. It sounds like a very noble, humble and nice thing to do but only to the undiscerning. Those called into positions of leadership by Christ should never become something other than what CHrist called them to because of the abuses of positions of leadership. That would be deception and an abdication of their God given position. That would end in the end of the 1st century Church.

Eric Lanham

 2010/11/28 17:19Profile

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


Just a thought: What about removing the word "only"? Simply say "For Pastors"

I can see that to some, the present title may imply a secret exclusive event for an elite group. It may trigger past harmful experience in a two-tiered system. This is not, I'm sure what is intended at this event! The pastors will, no doubt, be challenged to see themselves as servants - foot washers - shepherds willing to die for their sheep.

We could argue that some "pastors" are not genuine pastors - who sign up. And there are genuine pastors doing "full time" pastoring in the "secular" world - who don't sign up.

I'm glad God is able to train and guide his servants, even if humans just don't attain the "ideal". We are, thankfully dependent on God, not on humans!



 2010/11/28 17:26Profile


It does not really matter what they do. We are just using the whole idea of "Pastors Only" as an example of what the Church of Jesus Christ is not.

I certainly am not trying to change anyone and even if I were trying, it is vain and hopeless and not of the Lord.

You don't try to sanctify man's methods or man's system.

So this whole thing is just a living example of what you do not do. They will continue to do what they want. It is the nature of their structure and system.

It is not something anyone should lose any sleep over. Just don't repeat their methods in your fellowship. Be inclusive of all brothers and don't segregate or isolate others.

 2010/11/28 17:47

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