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I regularly get emails from Christians asking if I know of any good churches in their area. This is probably the number # 1 question that I receive. Sadly at present I cannot say that I currently know of or can recommend any church anywhere, let alone in someone’s specific area, that regularly teaches and rigorously upholds the true Gospel along with the biblical anti-authoritarian message of loving watchman elders not controlling leaders.

Of course this does not mean that such churches do not exist, and that there isn’t one close to someone’s particular area. There may be. It is just that such fellowships are so few and far between that I am not aware of their existence or where they may be located. My guess right now is the majority of any are probably located mostly in far away places such as 3rd world countries that are not tainted by the business-leader mindset of western civilization.

Because churches like these are generally small and somewhat “private” per se (private or exclusive to like-minded believers who truly want Christ as King and uphold the Bible as their supreme authority), they are not likely to advertise commercially. It’s mostly word of mouth and so finding one in your area if one exists may not be easy. But the good news in this regard is we are not called to find a church but rather to be the local church right where we are. Of course if you become aware of a good sound non-authoritarian biblical fellowship in your area, there is nothing wrong with assembling with them. (Be careful however, because many highly controlling church leaders claim to be non-authoritarian.)

Regardless, any such church would probably be a home-based assembly. This is because once a building is involved (rental or purchase) things typically go to pot very quickly. Ownership and control becomes an issue and so heavy-handed business management and business administration quickly rises up in the place of loving shepherding. This is a huge problem. Much sound doctrine related to Christian living often goes right out the window in these situations as well.

Further, for a church to sincerely promote the biblical servant-watchman message without hypocrisy would require that the elders / pastors die to themselves and rid themselves of all personal “church” agendas. They would need to commit themselves to freeing the members so that they can truly grow in Christ unhindered by manmade teachings, rather than abusing them and keeping them in bondage to accomplish manmade goals. Being too close to the problem to be able to see it, very few pastors are aware of these issues and even those pastors who have been warned are almost never willing to do anything about it. They almost invariably refuse to give up the prestige, power and money.

My recommendation to the many people who have written in asking if I know of any good churches in their area has always been to consider facilitating such a free non-authoritarian church in their own home where Christ is truly recognized and upheld as the only King of the church, and to make themselves available so that the Lord can build such a church any way that He sees fit (living stone by living stone, not dead brick by dead brick).

I think a common objection to my advice is, “But I’m not a pastor”. Well, that doesn’t matter because you don’t need to be. Start a Bible study, win souls and free captives and see who the Lord might raise up from among you to be loving elders not CEO abusers. You might eventually be one of the loving elders that the Lord chooses. Be patient. Time will tell.

A host and facilitator can start out simply as a loving protector to uphold and contend for sound doctrine while helping watch things biblically to be able to warn the body should a heretic or dynamic “showboater” arrive to try to steal the “show” away from Christ (or shall I say turn things into a show), both which commonly happens in institutional as well as home church circles.

Lastly, a very important thing to remember is that a true pastor or elder is a close friend who watches and gives sound advice from the Bible. He is not some kind of superior who is control of you or your spiritual life. One of the challenges of facilitating a truly biblical non-authoritarian home church is not to allow the other members to exalt you or anyone else into becoming a celebrity. This requires self control for such is obviously tempting and this is where most churches go wrong.

 

I hope this helps.

In Christ,

Paul Howey

 

HeavensRoad.com


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