A place to help people to find understanding why church tradition and experience is often quite different from the simplicity of the New Testament.
Is the phrase "go to church" ever stated in scripture?
What about Titles and building-centered assembly?
What is a 501c3 church?
These are examples of practices needing examination and we hope will provoke thought and prayer among those the Lord is stirring and calling to a deeper consecration, and we want to encourage you to "hear ye HIM".
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Friday, January 20, 2012
How To Plant an American Church
How To Plant An American Church
Economy got you down? Are you looking for a rewarding career? Maybe you are a church goer that wants to do more than sit on a pew or teach the 10 year olds on Sunday.
There is great opportunity out there in the Kingdom of Christianity. Just a quick peek at TBN television and a google search of "church career ministry" may open up a WORLD of choices for which google showed 28+ MILLION search returns!
We're talking people, about a professional opportunity, a rewarding career, or as referred to in church-speak, "blessings".. and a "calling"..
Seriously, folks, why not start a church? It is pretty easy nowdays, just apply for a business license with the local City office, rent a building, hotel meeting room, or rec hall, put out a few ads in the local paper and bulletin boards, and ... like the wise man said "if you build it they will come.."
Put out some coffee and rolls, have your brother-in-law dress in a white shirt and slacks and be a "greeter", hand out a schmoozy "bulletin", offer marriage, parenting, and financial classes, and you will be surprised who will show. I guarantee in your city their are hundreds of "church floaters" who will come sample your "message".
If you are blessed with a nice face, attractive wife, are well read, and have a Bible College certificate, it will speed the process. What? -no Cerificate from a Bible School?, -no problem, you can get a DEGREE, and become a Doctor of Divinity(D.D.) online without even leaving home and incurring the expense of a Bible College . You can start out as a "Pastor", hopefully with your wife as "co-pastor".
This sounds real homey and and family-ish, and is usually pretty true for a few years.
Perhaps you have the backing of a denomination, or other “spiritual covering” (another unscriptural phrase). If so, they may send you, help you, and help set you up to compete with the other 37 churches within a two-mile radius. That alone will attract the couple hundred of disgruntled, former members of that sect and may help jump start your work as you save them an hours drive to the same kind of church franchise in another town. Prepare to become BUSY! Now that you have your Certificate or Degree, a City License, a meeting place, some local advertising, you're off!
Start preaching a warm and fuzzy "Best Life Now"message about how God loves you and wants to PROSPER you if you just "accept Christ into your heart", trust me, you can easily do these things and have a church supporting you in a matter of months.
Next, you will need recognition Put your picture advertising your ministry in the Yellow Pages, join the local ministerial association (they will not like the idea of another "church" opening up in competition with them but they will pretend to LOVE you) and attend some church-growth conferences. Simply google "church growth strategies" and you will have 65 million returns to peruse!
You may want to get involved in local politics, get your name out there, and make sure you get PUBLICITY for "good works", like passing out turkeys for the holidays. An Easter program always brings in visitors, SPECIAL SPEAKERS from out of town add credibility, and get on good terms with the local newspapers. Prophets and healers are especially good for the folks and greatly enhance that not-to-be-missed "LOVE offering". Advertise your "church", there are so many, so you need to market yourself.
Titles. "Reverend" is outdated, "Bishops" are too churchy sounding to outsiders but impress congregations. Even better, a glitzy, flashy, "anointed Evangelist" is very "in". A titled "Apostle" has powerful appeal, especially when a doctorate D.D. is included. The "good" ones will need airfare, a nice hotel room, fine restaurant dining, and maybe a game of golf. Some will require a deposit of $5,000 or more for their appearance in your church. The No-Names or 3rd tier types will probably get by on $500-$1,000 per weekend).
At this point, a church OFFICE, and possibly a secretary or your wife to schedule appointments, make sure your church checking accounts are set up, and perhaps a 501c3 Tax-exempt Corporation will help, (so you can tell folks their giving is "tax-deductable" as an incentive to give).
Develop people into "leadership" so you can "grow the kingdom" and have fund raisers. Google"church leadership conference",-and now we are climbing up the leadership ladder; there are only 1,320,000 returns.
As the tithes, offerings, and giving flow in, you may be able to offerPAID STAFF positions,TITLES, and Christmas gifts to those favored folks as rewards for"faithfulness" and '”loyalty". Take them out to nice restaurants and entertainment so they will feel special and also feel obligated to defend "the church" and you.
Maybe you can find an out-of-work pastor to put on staff, elevate women into authority over the people, and create titled positions to stroke their ego and elevate them in the sight of the membership. Some churches even have paid"prayer warriors" on staff. If you cannot yet afford to hire one, dangling a PROMISE of future "greatness" or music ministry will usually keep them around for another year or three. One man we knew had his heart's desire to be on a paid church staff position. (He was not good at holding a job and supporting his family). He became an "associate pastor", on staff, and loved his job.
Music. Good churches have good music, this is where you can really make an impact. Choices abound in the world of music ministry, choirs, chorales, trios, Contemporary (whatever that means) worship, country gospel, traditional, and ROCK!
Many Music Ministers are actually PAID for their "ministries", so if you have children, raise them up to be musicians and leaders. We repeat, do not overlook the power of advertising. Make sure your services are smooth and entertaining with no mention of sin or need of repenting. No tasteless personal testimonies,should be permitted unless they relate to the blessings of tithing and the wisdom of the leaders.
Remember, people WANT someone to reassure them, counsel them, reward them, intercede for them, preach to them, pray their requests for them, visit them, smile at them, return their phone calls, and they will pay them for the privilege.
It is actually easier to hire a pastor to do most of this than it is to study the Scriptures, pray, and do some of the hard things Jesus said His disciples would do.
You will learn to love people, except when they disagree with you, question your teaching, or are habitually needy.
Make sure you control and choreograph the service and involve your new leaders.
Keep your message positive, happy, and avoid subjects like hell, sin, and judgement which might upset some folks.
Popular teachings like "pre-trib rapture", "Christmas", tithing from income to get blessed, and "ask Jesus into your heart" salvation sound "Christian" even if they are not in the Bible. Have follow-up cards and visitor cards prepared and pay special attention to those who seem to be middle class or have signs of success. Those are the folks you can build your ministry on...
Before you know it, you will be wearing Italian suits and have a comfy lifestyle of regular dining out (courtesy of the offering plate), staying up late and sleeping in (unless there is an early golf game), and enjoying movies and other life pleasures.
Let yourself be convinced that everything you are doing is for God, for souls, for the Lord, and not for the personal benefit of your own lifestyle.
There you have it! The American Babylonish Church Model (ABC). IT WORKS! -just check the local phone directory, newspaper church directory, and drive around making note of the nice "churches" (that is, buildings that advertise themselves as churches). This is what Jesus described as the "broad is the way..." the majority would take, but it leads to destruction. How do we know? Well,for 24 years my wife and I were part of that world, we helped it, built it, supported it, sacrificed to it, defended it, gave it our loyalty, and overlooked blatant apostasy and corruption of most of the leaders we knew, including ourselves.
The truth is, we were part of the HARLOT, Mystery Babylon the Great, untill God by His grace and mercy brought us out of the corrupt, apostate church system that masquerades as belonging to Christ. You do not know much about your walk with God UNTIL you walk away from church... Isaiah 35:1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.