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Permission From Your Church

Do any of you go to a church where members must always get the permission of the church before they 'do' anything of a Christian nature. E.g. Visiting the sick, having a prayer meeting in your own home, giving out tracts etc? Should the church rule the individual in this way?

Moderator - Most churches are this way and yes it is unbibilical. They view the paid staff as the ministers instead of the Body of Christ.

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3. Those to whom they have gone for advice must take this now to the next level and so it goes up and up until it reaches the pastor who makes the decision and then sends it down and down the pyramid until the one at the bottom (eventually) gets permission (or not) to take Suzie out to dinner or buy a new car or take on a mortgage etc. Sound crazy, well it is. The bible makes it clear that we are to take all things to GOD in prayer.
---RitaH on 2/27/08

4. There is nothing wrong in taking advice from other Christians if we feel we need to chat about it first but a good Christian friend will usually say "Let's pray about it together and see what God has to say." This would not please the hierarchy in the Shepherding churches though as they would lose their important positions and power over people's lives.
---RitaH on 2/27/08

5. I have never attended one of these churches but a close relative became very entangled some time ago (and is now free from them). I also have a neighbour whose daughter had the same problems and I have friends who are still there so. You couldn't make this stuff up. The members that I know personally are definitely born-again Christians, but are being mislead I fear. I believe it is similar to brain-washing.
---RitaH on 2/27/08

There is a very strong and fast-growing Shepherding church in my area. One of their policies with which I DO agree is that they will not marry couples who would be unequally yoked. They explain why it's wrong and, if the couple wish to go ahead, they have to marry elsewhere. Many others things they do I DO NOT agree with. For those who do not know what a Shepherding church is, it is a church run along very similar lines to the idea of pyramid selling (multi-level marketing).
---RitaH on 2/27/08

2. The man at the top (pastor) appoints 10 men who are below him but above all the others. These 10 all have 10 under them and so on. In a very large church the pastor has a huge number of people on the bottom line. Those at the bottom (newest church arrivals) don't go to the pastor for any advice. They have to go to the ones just above them with their problems (for decisions to be made for them, because they mustn't think and work things out for themselves through prayer).
---RitaH on 2/27/08

A pastors official responsibility is to govern the church along with the elders, and his focus should be primarily spiritual: (Ephesians 4:12) are a pastors main concern. We have heard of pastors who seem more dictatorial than shepherd-like, requiring those under their authority to seek their permission before making an investment, going on vacation, etc. Such men, it seems to us, simply desire control and are not fit to rule the church of God (see 3 John 9-10).
---Court7646 on 2/26/08

j._nonymous ... I googled shepherding church, and found a site which portryed this in a positive way. But I can see that if taken too far, it will lead to control of memebrs, who will be afraid to do or think without pastoral permission.
---a on 2/26/08

alan_of_UK: what do you mean by "shepherding" churches?

Is this some kind of new movement?
---j._nonymous on 2/26/08

#1 -j._nonymous ... Is that what "shepherding" churches are about?
---alan_of_UK on 2/25/08
No way. Jesus hated this kind of leadership. The 5 fold ministry is for the equipping of the saints... not for personal lordship over the saints.
Instead of helping us fulfill God's vision, many pastors trap ignorant believers into fulfilling their own.
---j._nonymous on 2/26/08

#2 It's funny... In America everybody wants to be a pastor, prophet, evangelist, teacher, and apostle... but everyone forgot how to be a friend, brother, father, husband, son, etc. I use to be one of those chasing position. Coming close to 30, and with yet another baby on the way, I really revel in those simple human roles. Bless you! Pray for the US!
---j._nonymous on 2/26/08

At my church if God has laid something on someone's heart to do something for another person, they obey God and just do it. They don't ask the Pastor to see if it is okay. Now if God puts it on my heart to pray for a man, I get my husband to lay hands on him then I lay hands on my husband. That isn't asking for permission, that is to keep confusion down and jealously spirits away. But if God puts something on your heart, and you do that, it should be done in decency and in order.
---Rebecca_D on 2/26/08

Alan, I understand what you say but, sadly, more and more of the type of church I describe are appearing. Members are told they must submit to authority therefore they DO. They seem to have lost all sense of having free will, intelligence and an ability to think and sometimes challenge someone with whom they don't agree. If they do that they are called rebellious or that their action is akin to witchcraft etc. and this frightens them into submission.
---RitaH on 2/26/08

-j._nonymous ... Is that what "shepherding" churches are about?
---alan_of_UK on 2/25/08

I don't need permission from anyone to do the work of the Lord. Especially in my home or a street ministry. God has already commissioned us to preach the gospel and spread the Good News. No man can rival that.If we are part of an outreach given bu the church they do put limitations on you then. You have to follow the pastors instructions and no input is allowed,most times. I don't like to be a part of this kind of control.I do outreach outside of my church,mostly.
---Robyn on 2/25/08

#3 Also, books like John Bevere's "Under Cover" really don't help our already apathetic sheeple. The book encourages us to "get under the vision of our pastors", that "authority figures are God's covering in our lives", similar to an umbrella in a rainstorm. If we come out from under the covering of the umbrella, we have to handle the rain ourselves and God is no longer protecting us since we are rejecting the covering he has already established. Convenient, eh?
---j._nonymous on 2/25/08

#1 alan_of_UK: that is because in the UK "thinking" is still valued. Here in America "submission" to authority is more valued and, the thought is, if you rebel against authority, you rebel against God, and if you rebel against God, you go to hell. Since no one wants to be called a rebel and subsequent hellion, the pastor is allowed complete control over the mind and no individual thought or decision takes place. Only the will of the pastor.
---j._nonymous on 2/25/08

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#2 Funny thing is, alot of these same people revere Christians-past who challenged what was being preached in their day such as: Martin Luther, John Wesley, CS Lewis, and so on. What we have in America is a bunch of easily swayed group thinkers. We let the pastor think for us rather than think ourselves. There is less responsibility that way plus, if we end up being wrong, we can always blame it on the pastor.
---j._nonymous on 2/25/08

Of all my Christian friends who attend many different churches of many denominations, only one is in a church where there is any suggestion of seeking approval before taking actions.
So I think the Moderator is totally wrong in his statement.
---alan_of_UK on 2/24/08

While I must disagree with the moderator that most churches are this way, some are. We had a nurse work with us who couldn't miss any service of the church, (and this meant going to church almost every night), without permission of the pastor. This is not biblical. The pastor is to meet the spiritual needs of his congregation, not try and control them.
---wivv on 2/22/08

I understand what you are talking about. And preachers ought to be preaching on the importance of being led by the Person of the Holy Spirit. We, as true believers, have a Blood Bought Right to be led by God into service for Him.
---catherine on 2/22/08

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Mima, I just love what you say here. "She said to me, before I asked you I got permission from Pastor to do this..... and I replied to her tell pastor that the Lord thanks him very much!!!" Some Christians are seeking permission from the wrong person. If we go out witnessing as a representative of a particular church (e.g. handing out tracts that bear the name and address of our church) the church should know we are doing that and possibly veto certain individuals from doing so,.....
---RitaH on 2/17/08

....but we all know that God sometimes calls us as individuals and we should act WHEN called, not AFTER first checking it out with someone of a higher position in church than we are. There will be times when a church leader will hear from God that certain individuals are to do this, that and the other and God will prepare that individual also. However, when God speaks to the individual only I believe the individual is the one to act because God Himself has given the permission.
---RitaH on 2/17/08

When the chance to minister comes along nobody should have to stop and ask their pastor if they can minister. We would not attend a church where they controlled the ministry to which the Lord has called us. We have been welcomed into churches because we are ministers and have not once been told we needed to check with the pastor if we could continue the ministry we were doing before we joined the church. A couple of churches have classes before you can join their church which is totally not scripture.
---Susie on 2/14/08

Who suggested rounding up church members for a weekly bible study' with or without the church leaders? I was referring more to a Christian family having a bible study in their home for anyone who would like to come, neighbours/friends who are not believers. We are told to witness at every opportunity so why not use our own home to do this? If we witness in the street do we first think "Oh dear I cannot say anything because the church leaders are not present to vet what I am saying"?
---RitaH on 2/14/08

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This statement,"And any individual who rounds up church members for a weekly Bible study without the church leaders okay is also out of line."
---john on 2/14/08
borders on the deeds and of the Nicolaitanes, found in Revelation 2-6
---Mima on 2/14/08

Here is a story about this very idea. A lady comes to me, asking can she go soulwinning with me and of course I said yes. While we were riding around in the city park(in a golf cart) and witnessing to people in the park she said to me, before I asked you I got permission from Pastor to do this(go soulwinning). I happen to know her pastor,(name-it-claim-it-control freak). And I replied to her tell pastor that the Lord thanks him very much!!!
---Mima on 2/14/08

Churches can go overboard on control and individuals can go overboard on freedom. I think that a church that won't allow people to visit the sick without it's permission is overboard on control. And any individual who rounds up church members for a weekly Bible study without the church leaders okay is also out of line.
---john on 2/14/08

1. Moderator, I think that you might have misunderstood me somewhat. I was not referring to paid staff but to the members who attend the church. The church that I have in mind is in an area where I used to live and I attended that church for some time. It was a church without a minister but with many able male members who used to preach in the locality in other churches where there was no minister and very few men attending.
---RitaH on 2/14/08

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2. Suddenly the 'chief elder' decided that these men needed the permission of the elders to continue doing this so that the church could approve of WHERE they preached. Similarly if anyone wished to have a prayer meeting with neighbours in their own home. It was not about stopping 'one man bands' and spoiling the reputation of the church, it seemed more about making everyone answerable to a handful of elders and those who did not conform were disciplined.
---RitaH on 2/14/08

3. In the church I attend now there are people appointed for certain tasks e.g. visiting the sick and elderly, but no rule saying that others cannot do so whenever they believe they are lead to do that. Because we are without a minister at the moment we rely on men like those to whom I refer, who offer a certain number of Sundays to churches such as ours. Most of them keep their own diaries however, they do not need approval of their own home churches.
---RitaH on 2/14/08

No. If I felt led by God to pass out tracks about my church, I would tell the Pastor this is what I wrote on these tracks, and this is what I'm doing. He would smile, pat me on the back and praise the Lord. The ladies get together to clean their sick and are unable and we'd bring food. We have meetings and the members knows what is going on at all times. There is no secrets about anything. The Pastor and his wire are upfront and honest on everything. Which is very rare these days.
---Rebecca_D on 2/13/08

If someone is going to be going out and about giving the impression he is working for St. Stubborn by the Sea (or whatever other church), s/he's better make sure the church in question knows about it, don't you think?

That's the trouble with pop-evangelicals. Too many try to be one-man bands.
---Jack on 2/13/08

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What about who we marry (o: If there's anything I'd say we need to have checked out before we do it, it would be who we marry and IF we do > going by the "fifty perent divorce rate", I'd say we need a little bit of help, here. But this takes leaders who have the sense to discern > "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment." (Philippians 1:9)
---Bill_bila5659 on 2/13/08

"nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:3)

"...when it pleased reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me" (in Galatians 1:15-17)
---Bill_bila5659 on 2/13/08

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