“The church is a business.”
How many times have I heard that?!
Of course, when you’re dealing with hundreds of people, at times the church should embrace business-like modes of action. But I’ve spent my ministry learning that church cannot be thought of as a business.
Business has a bottom line. You could say that the church has one, too. For a business, that bottom line is profit. For the church, one could make the argument that the commission to make disciples is our bottom line. But creating disciples is different than producing a profit.
Discipleship is ongoing and weird to measure. The value of an American dollar? I can look that up and give you a solid rate; I can also tell you if we’re making enough of them. Spiritual EKGs don’t really work that way. What were your first quarter spiritual earnings? And is that really the way you want to think of your faith development?
A problem with bottom-line discipleship is that we can get side tracked convincing people they are disciples so that we can say we’ve made disciples.
Another problem with church-as-business has to do with the freedom to live abundantly. Before I go any further, I’m not saying we don’t need structure and order. We do. Too much business-like structure, however, leads to a caging of the Holy Spirit. Don’t believe me? That’s probably because you’ve never attended a church meeting where the business mind trumps the spirit heart. Good for you!
I have. And I can’t stand it. I always feel like we’re trying to tell the Holy Spirit what she’s allowed to do.
By the way, the Pope agrees with me. Sure, I haven’t asked him, but if you read the following article you’ll wonder from whom he got his notes.
I wish every church leader would read this. Maybe we could change business as usual. Maybe I should forward it to them.