Chuck Swindoll wary of ‘corporatization’ of church

I have been pastoring since 1980 and there is a trend that I have observed: an increasing “corporatization” of the churches in Singapore. This is partly down to the fact that many lay leaders come from the corporate background and are successful in the MNCs or big local companies. When they are appointed leaders in the church they naturally think that what works to make the company a success must surely make the church a success too.

Some of the so called “best practices” of companies actually have spiritual parallel in biblical values. Forming high performance teamwork is a case in point. The church is the body of Christ and the members perform different functions according to the grace given by Christ. They work together, complementing and respecting one another, for “high performance” and growth of the community. Leadership in church should work well with a good gift mix and deep respect and mutual submission in the team.

However, there are some practices that do more harm than good when introduced from the corporation to the church. I shall not elaborate on these. For now, just read what Chuck Swindoll, respected evangelical pastor, best selling author, seminary president and mentor of pastors has to say on this:

I have discovered three principles and three imperatives I believe all churches should examine and apply. The first principle is this: clear, biblical thinking must override secular planning and a corporate mentality. And the imperative? Think spiritually! However well-organized our churches become, we must give priority to biblical rather than to secular thinking. In the first-century church, there were no secular organizational structures or church politics. There was no guru of authority or “chairman” of anything. There were no power grabs from control freaks. There were no personal maneuverings, infightings, financial squabbles, or turf protection. Instead, it was a place where a spiritual emphasis took precedence over the world’s way of doing things.

What does this look like when applied today? For starters, our teaching needs to be biblically based and spiritually inclined. Our Sunday school classes, adult fellowships, and small-group instruction gatherings need to center on the teaching of the Bible and spiritual lessons. Our songs and our hymns should have spiritual content. Our counseling ministry needs to be derived from the Spirit’s revelation in the Scriptures. Our relationships with one another need to have spiritual priorities—intimate fellowship where people can trust one another. The church ought to be the one place where spiritual thinking overrides everything else—all those battles we fight within the marketplace. Why? Because Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. The church is a spiritual entity.

To read more go to his blog post HERE.

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  • Hi Pastor Kenny,

    I believe that the management structures and techniques in the corporate world are tools which the church can use to improve its administration.

    Moses himself was taught by his father-in-law, Jethro proper management structures and techniques in order to lead the nation of Israel – Exodus 18:17-23
    “17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” ”

    The key, I believe, is that such initiatives should come God’s leading through spirit-filled church leaders, not corporate managers as Psalm 1:1 says “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly”. In the case of Moses, the advice came from a godly man ie. his father-in-law, Jethro who was the priest of Midian (Exodus 18:1)

  • Naively always thought that Jesus is completely radical because of 2 counter-intuitive commands – 1)LOVE your God and 2)Neighbour.

    Spiritual needs are sub vented to $$$$$ priorities when we attempt to do things that may not be in the “will of God” – like founding another breakaway “Christ-like Church” – KPI of success is members and $$$$ and Uber mega building.

    We mouth the Lord’s prayer but we also believe in helping ourselves.

    Do we really believe in timely manna or it is just a “faith myth” we mouth but have no faith in?

    Can our well endowed churches and individuals give away all their assets altruistically?

    If not, what is the claim to sonship and daughthership worth?

    Just a numbing comfortable thought that suspends the prospect for an inevitable death?

    Does forming a community make this prospect more remote or even unlikely?

    Does our belief system reflect our journey or our rhetoric?

    After 2000 years of gospel, what will be our value and legacy?

  • Implementing management structures and techniques in the corporate world into the running of a church by only people who are spirit-filled and who hears God’s voices sounds good in theory…

    … but in reality, it can be very different. Some leaders/people may fail to differentiate between being lead by the Holy Ghost and being led by the voices of their own Delusion (i.e. voices of the god made by them in their own image and not the god who made them in his image).

    Call it the Spirit-Delusion or God-Delusion.

    In the name of efficiency, the pastor in-charge may become inassessible.

    Perhaps the starting and ending point of formulating proper church management should be Christology/Jesulogy.

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