10 Dangerous Church Paradigms

Praise the Lord Saints.

Piggy backing off of last week’s thoughts, here is probably one of the last articles I came across regarding the church from these guys.

They seem to have the same issues I see in the “white” churches, if there is such a thing.  Well we definitely do things differently but it appears that they are going through the same growing pains.

How is it that we can’t seem to fix our societal problems and act like we don’t know the reasons why. To me it has always and will always start with the position of the church or in this case churches all throughout South St. Pete.

If I am quoting correctly, there are over 130 churches south of Central Avenue.  Yes 130, that’s not a typo.

With a statement like that you would think that this area would be the most safe, fun-loving, hospitable place in the state of Florida.  But, we know that’s quite the contrary.

We can look at the news and talk about Grady Judd in Polk County all we want to, this city is on the most undesirable lists in the nation and it’s only getting progressively worse.

The church has to clean its act up and unify before it’s too late.  From the onset it’s not about who’s doctrine is correct and complete, but it does make a difference how you apply, preach, teach, and adhere to the doctrine of Jesus Christ and not organization.

The Pharisees felt like they could question Jesus on a number of biblical issues and well, we know how that turned out.  We are no different and must continue to set egos aside and if it’s in the Word, It’s In The Word. Don’t tell me you have a different take on something that is as plain as day.

Romans 3:4 – Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” (NIV)

10 Dangerous Church Paradigms

BY RON EDMONDSON

I’ve been in church all my life. Along the way, I’ve seen and learned a lot. Almost all the insight I have into church has come by experience.

I have observed, for example, that paradigms can often shape a church’s culture. A paradigm, in simple terms, is a mindset; a way of thinking. In this case, a collective mindset of the church, often programmed into the church’s culture.

If the church is unhealthy, part of the reason could be because it has some wrong paradigms. In that case, it will almost always need a paradigm shift in order to be a healthier church again.

Recently, I’ve been thinking of some of the paradigms which impact a church. I’ll look at some of the negative in this post and in another post some of the positive paradigms of the church.

Here are 10 dangerous church paradigms:

1. This is more my church than yours.

No one would ever say that, but a sense of ownership can set in the longer someone has been at a church. They have invested in the church personally, and feel, often rightly so, a need to protect and care for it.

The negative of this mindset, however, is when people don’t easily welcome new people. They own seats. You better not sit there, no matter how much the church needs to grow. They control programs, committees and traditions.

Obviously, the church is not your church or my church. God has not released the deed.

2. We’ve never done it that way before.

And, if this is the “go to” paradigm, you probably never will. People with this mindset resist all change. Even the most positive or needed change.

Small change is big change to these people.

3. The pastor needs to do it.

Whatever “it” is … the pastor, or some church staff, must be involved at some level. It keeps a church very small. (And doesn’t seem biblical to me.)

4. That’s for the big churches.

Don’t sell yourself short. Some of the greatest people in ministry came from small churches.

Maybe your only role, for example, is to raise up the next generation of Kingdom-minded leaders. That could be a great purpose for a church.

5. That’s for the small churches.

I’ve seen a few big churches with attitudes. Bad attitudes.

This mindset can keep a church from reaching the ones hurting the most, because their only focus is on growing.

A strong, narrowly defined and driven vision is powerful. It builds churches, but a church with this paradigm never welcomes any interruptions in its plans.

Jesus is our best example of this. He kept the vision before Him, but was never afraid to stop for the interruption yelling in the streets.

6. My comfort level for change is ______.

This paradigm says, “We will change until it impacts our individual personal desires.”

Does it sound self-centered? It is.

7. My people would never support that …

Well, pastor, maybe if they weren’t “your people,” they’d be more willing to be “God’s people.” He has ways you can’t even imagine of leading His people to do His will.

8. I can’t.

Not with that attitude, but one question: Where is your faith?

9. This is the best we can do.

Are you sure? Is that your opinion or God’s? Sounds like a dangerous paradigm to me.

10. We have plateaued as a church.

Really? You may have quit growing, but plateaued? The word means leveled out. That indicates you’re stable.

In my experience, you’re either going forward … or going backwards. Standing still is usually not an option.

Those are just some of the dangerous church paradigms I’ve observed. You’ve seen far more, I’m sure.

Do you know of any other dangerous church paradigms?

Till next week,

God Bless and Keep Us All.

Rev. Dr. Rob Harrison, PhD – pastorrobharrison@gmail.com, @drrobharrison

Chaplain – Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Pinellas
The Apostolic Open Door Church of God & True Holiness – 2800 41st Ave. N, St. Pete
PSFEC Board Member | DJJ Chaplain Circuit 6
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