the weblog of Alan Knox

Handing off our responsibilities…

Posted by on Aug 1, 2008 in blog links, discipleship | 7 comments

In several posts, I’ve talked about how Christians tend to “hand off” their responsibilities as followers of Jesus Christ to others – especially to leaders. (see “That’s not my responsibility” and “Representative Obedience“)

Now, Bob, the Planter, has written something similar in his post called “When???” In fact, I think Bob says it clearer and more direct that I do. Here’s a sample:

When making disciples becomes a corporate Church responsibility it often ceases to be a personal responsibility.

When giving to the poor becomes a corporate church responsibility it often ceases to be a personal responsibility.

When teaching our children becomes a corporate church responsibility it often ceases to be the parents responsibility.

When reaching out to the community becomes a corporate church thing it often ceases to be every believers responsibility.

What do you think?


7 Comments

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  1. 8-1-2008

    Alan,

    “Yes!”, to all four!

  2. 8-1-2008

    Alan,

    I agree. But, I also think that alot of church people have become institutionalized. I think the institutional church has trained people to rely on the pastoral staff to the point that they see very little as being their responsibility. But, in many cases I think that the leadership of institutional churches likes it that way.

    It’s really not any different than say what your average inmate is like in a prison. Let’s face it, institutionalized people are institutionalized people.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing the instituional church to prison. At least not in all cases. However, leadership in churches have trained the parishioners to rely on them for just about everything. Because by and large your average person cannot use their gifts in a church.
    Just like inmates in prison are trained to rely on correctional officers for just about everything.

    One must truly have freedom in Christ to come out from under the control and manipulation of institutional church leadership. I know that all church leaders are not like this. But, many are and it’s getting worse as time progresses.

    One must study scripture for his or her self to understand what the Bible really says. Too many people are content to be told what to think rather than to find out for themselves.

    In many churches these days parents are not encouraged to teach their children about scripture or anything else. Because the institution might lose control if they did. And, most Christian adults couldn’t teach the Word to their children anyway. Because they don’t know it themselves.

    You can’t tell that this is a hot button issue for me or anything, can you?

    Thanks,
    Gary

  3. 8-1-2008

    Great post Alan. I wholeheartedly agree with what lightbearer said. Not only does leadership in institutional churches like it that way, but the members are only too happy to hand over all the responsibility.

  4. 8-2-2008

    Alan,

    No! It’s not. But I am Americanized enough to know exactly what you mean.

    Aussies would most likely use the term,”On my side.”

    You ought to know the sacrifice :) I’ve made so you folk can understand what I write: I’ve had to reset my spell checker to USA English.

  5. 8-2-2008

    Aussie John,

    I for one appreciate your sacrifice!

    -Alan

  6. 8-4-2008

    I think most committed Christians would agree with the basic premise that individual believers ought to take more personal responsibility for the things God calls, commands, or gives them to do. The question is do the structures of the church (e.g. local congregation) facilitate this happening, or do they get in the way. I think that both scenarios are possible.

    My thesis is that, left on their own, though, individuals tend toward atrophy and indifference. That is why we need the community of the Body to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Healthy leadership and structures will lead toward more people finding their place in the Body and carrying out the ministries to which God is calling them. Unhealthy leadership and structures will get in the way of this.

  7. 8-4-2008

    David,

    I agree that there are healthy structures / leadership and unhealthy structures / leadership. I think the verse that you mentioned is one that can be used to measure whether or not a certain structure / leadership is healthy. For example, if a structure / leadership does not give others opportunity to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds”, then I would say that is an unhealthy structure / leadership.

    -Alan