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Is the church for the people or the people for the church

Is the church for the people or the people for the church?

Recent happenings regarding the issue of Christianity is giving one serious concern. In the past, all achievements of the church are tailored towards benefitting the congregation who contributed to the achievements. These days the congregation achieve a lot and these things are taken out of their reach and commercialized. How can we reconcile these injustices, noting that these people must have passed through lots of difficulty in contributing to the projects in the quest to attain salvation.

Most times salvation is weapon used in the modern times to milk the people dry. It is no longer strange that most preachers own fleets of private aeroplanes while the congregation wallow in abject poverty.

what could have gone wrong, are the preachers becoming morally bankrupt? Where did we start getting it wrong

  • Oct 29 2013: The church is supposed to be the people, but we know that it means different things in the end. The institutions representing a particular version of a religion, the people who belong in that version of that religion, etc.
  • Oct 25 2013: Mary, I just wrote in this space a full page to explain what you want.
    I must have hit the Esc button and it all disappeared in wink.

    I really liked what I wrote.... Dang it, I thought you would also.
    I assure you that I am not evading your question. My answer might be.

    I have done this time and time again. I believe I have "stupid" for a nickname.
    Forgive me, it is late, I will try again tomorrow.
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      Oct 25 2013: No problem Frank.
      I'm looking for YOUR take on as an adult, what you feel is the loving thing to do as ministers of God.

      I also feel that ministering should be something done everywhere....not just inside a building designated for worship.
      • Oct 25 2013: Thank you Mary for bailing me out.
        I appreciate you more each day.

        I researched and found it hard to get any TAKE from the internet. Strange.

        I am not complaining about church, or their many humane activities, money's
        made available for the poor, and even the greedy slothful, there to take what
        they can get away with. The church's do indeed do good works, with their
        feeding those who find themselves one step away from the mainstream of

        I suppose, I judge too harshly. I look for Prophets instead of just people.

        But -- and I hate the word, "But". It is always my opening for an excuse.
        If I could find just one person, someone who visits the ... Wait.

        Mary, I guess I did find one person.
        Just last week my neighbor was gone to visit his brother for a week.
        He didn't tell me.

        A car pulled up, outside his apartment, next to mine, and a lady got out and
        knocked his door. I saw her through my window. I did not recognize her.
        I went outside, and walked over to her car as she seemed about to drive away.
        I told her that Mike was usually home at this time, and asked, was there any
        message I might give him? She said no.

        But, she had on the seat beside her a "Burger King" hamburger in a sack.
        She asked if I would give it to Mike. I said yes, and took it from her.

        Mike came home several days later, and I told him I owed him a "Burger King"
        hamburger, and explained the circumstances. He said, never mind, and that
        the lady often stopped and inquired as to his health.

        Mike is on welfare and has been since a child. He has emotional problems,
        often depressed, and has never been employed. I pay him sometimes to garden
        for me, when he feels like doing so. He does it anyway, whether I know it or not.

        I suppose this means my point is moot.
        Sorry Mary, I don't have a TAKE, as an adult, on ministering.

        Guilty as Charged !!

        The Burger wasn't very good. Not the tasty morsel, I had anticipated.
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          Oct 25 2013: With respect to the burger, this is what our parents were thinking of in the old days when they said, "It's the thought that counts."
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          Oct 28 2013: Frank......I have to apologize that I did not see your reply.....but I just now discovered TED emails in my spam folder.

          You know Frank, I loved reading through your TAKE on ministering....whether or not you consider it a take.

          I think that it is ok to expect those who talk the talk, to walk the walk.
          If you are a member of a congregation, you should expect members to visit you, regularly, if you are unable to attend services.
          Some congregations provide telephone lines that members can call in and hear the service from their home telephone.

          If you do not belong to a congregation, then I just know that there are faithful people out there who regularly come by to share the good news of God's kingdom with them. Sometimes they are able to visit for a while and share upbuilding thoughts. Other times they leave information that could provide comfort. You yourself mentioned two groups that come by your home in an earlier post.

          I think if we have an open mind and listen to those ministering to us at our home, we might just feel a little bit of encouragement and a little bit closer to God.

          Reading the Bible for yourself and prayer is also not limited to a church building......and I have found that I feel pretty good after doing both.

          Just my humble thoughts Frank........So, the BK burger wasn't a tasty morsel huh? I prefer homemade burgers best......on the BBQ.........with all the trimmings...Yum!!
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    Oct 24 2013: Hello Mr. Emenyonu....may I ask you a question?

    Are you yourself a Christian? Have you fallen victim to the corruption inside the church?

    Welcome to TED by the way.

    I'm Mary.
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    Oct 23 2013: Hello Vincent,
    I'm not sure what the set-up is for churches in Nigeria, but in the U.K you won't find many vicars, priests or ministers with a private aeroplane.
    Your introductory comment about salvation being used as a weapon to milk the people dry, though, maybe offers a pointer to answer your question.
    If joining a church is a voluntary decision, why would people stay if they see an injustice such as their minister living a high-rolling lifestyle which they are funding? Answer: only if there is a 'pay-off' for them. And what might be that "pay-off"?
    Perhaps they believe somehow that their "salvation" is not in their own hands, and the pay-off is to off-load that responsibility to "work out their own salvation" onto some (flamboyant) figure-head.
    Many have a guttural need to feel they are 'saved', fair enough; but they have no need to stay in a 'victim' role in relation to any church, or in relation to any other organisation, or person, for that matter - unless they have some distorted belief about "salvation".
  • Oct 23 2013: I don't want to offend anyone, because I actually admire most disciplines in certain religions, and I personally chose to pick some out of each one to live with...
    But I believe so many religions derive from some Aesop fables to encourage morality and integrity into people, and over time it was misinterpreted in many different ways and promoted in many different ways, and in some people's motives for bad, and for wealth. What better way to get money from people than to stick an extra verse in the bible saying God said it?
    The church is ultimately supposed to be the people... In all books, it always dismisses the rich, stingy, banks, and governments, because in every age, almost every interpretation they're bad... And instead of the people standing up for themselves, they become submissive slaves sitting around praying for a Savior and they end up being enslaved again years down the road believing in another system made by the rich... and look at where we are now... modern day slaves believing all we have to do is sit and pray and someone will come help us out of the slavery we put ourselves in again and we ignore anyone who comes to save us because their words sound crazy, or like a conspiracy theorist, one of "those people". And the churches are milking the income...

    So, to answer your question, I say neither... Church is another corporation that the people buy into ignoring all corruption around and within the board members and the institution itself. People became so in love with materialism and wealth, that morality took the backseat. and this isnt just for the religion corps, its goes to all businesses...
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    Oct 23 2013: The people ARE the church!

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      Oct 23 2013: Peter, is there some practical advice you could give Vincent? For example, do churches have boards of directors composed of members who make policy and hire and dismiss the minister?

      Are there steps people can take to help right the ship, as it were?
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        Oct 24 2013: Hi Fritzie,
        You're asking the wrong guy. When I first became a Christian I went down to our local church. Within a year I was asked to leave. Since then I have met with other non-denominational Christians. Many. Christians remain in denominations with the hope of changing that denomination. Most denominations are corrupt to some extent, as are most human constructs. I understand why folks associate the big denominations with Christianity, but to me they are often a bad advert for the cause.
        Hopefully there's someone out there who can put a better case in favour of denominationalism.

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          Oct 24 2013: Thank you for your reply. Does your group not have a clergyman of any kind in the mix, then? I was just wondering whether Vincent's community would lose anything in terms of the tenets of the faith if they were to organize themselves independently of a preacher at all. I thought Protestant belief does not require intermediaries of this kind, but I know next to nothing about this subject.
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        Oct 24 2013: We do have a 'leader'; the guy who started our group. I suppose I am his right hand man. The beauty is though, that if we go off the rails then only a couple of dozen folks are affected.
        We both have day jobs although Billy is paid a couple of days per week. We pay £12 per week rent on our hall. The rest of our cash is given away to what we feel are suitable causes. Our main recipient so far has been a church in Africa that's doing the business.
        Scripturally, we are to use our gifts, whatever they may be. Billy is gifted in music & teaching. I am very loyal & reliable in the long term; & , if I say so myself, an ace dish washer. We all try and encourage one another in their gifts. There isn't any real hierarchy as such; if anyone wants a go at anything, that's ok. One of our ladies is writing a book. She is a great writer, but had little education, so we chip in with spelling, grammar, etc.
        We very much interact like a family should. Hope that helps.

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          Oct 24 2013: This sounds like an effective strategy for escaping a preacher who does not serve the people of the church well is to organize a separate group without that person or any such person.
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        Oct 24 2013: As far as I can tell, this is the way that Christianity is going, especially in countries where Christians are being persecuted. Even the vibrant 'Big' churches tend to split into small groups.
        It's a good model, which alleviates the power & wealth problems endemic in most human constructs. We don't even have a collection, you have to ask how to give. Neither do we claim back income tax; that way the government has no say in how we run things. Anybody can suggest where the money goes & so far (10yrs) no-one has been disappointed.
        We run concerts etc, but their is never a charge; I love it.

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          Oct 24 2013: FYI,
          Peter, you say "we don't even have a collection, you have to ask how to give".
          If you google Christian Church (disciples of Christ), there are sites which ask for contributions/donations:>)
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      Oct 23 2013: I wholeheartedly agree Peter that "the people ARE the church"......well said:>)

      With that in mind, how can so many people in an organization around the world, ignore the abuse and sexual assault of so many children over a period of many years?

      How can people in the organization disregard the fact that the church is one of the wealthiest organizations in the world, including one of the largest land owners in the world, when so many people in our world are starving?

      How can the people in the organization be aware of, and apparently agree with the hording of wealth when so many people in our world are starving?

      How can the organization encourage/demand procreation when children born in some parts of our world starve to death? Why does the organization (people of the church) continue to be against family planning, contraceptives and abortion when in some parts of our world, those who have children, AND the new born children are starving to death?

      Dear Vincent,
      In my humble perception, it does not appear that the church is for the people or the people for the church. It appears that people are left out of the equation. The catholic church is the one I speak of simply because I am most familiar with that one. It certainly is not the ONLY one which seems to NOT genuinely be working for, or genuinely caring for the people.
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        Oct 24 2013: Hi Colleen,
        See my reply to Fritzie above. I agree entirely with you. The denominational churches are far too busy raising money for new roofs to bother much with the common man. The RC church is a disgrace, there is no other word for it.
        When I say that the people are the church, I mean just that. There is only one church, that is the church of Jesus Christ. You will find members in all the denominations and in none. You will also find the majority beavering away trying to help, just like their leader showed them.
        There will always be people who follow Pop Stars, Football, and big Gothic Church buildings. If that satisfies them, then let them go for it. I follow the Creator of the Universe, & will be tested by my fruits.

        Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
        [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

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          Oct 24 2013: Peter,
          You say..."There is only one church, that is the church of Jesus Christ. You will find members in all the denominations and in none."

          You are saying that what you believe in is the "only one church"?

          I don't perceive Vincent to be addressing "Pop Stars" or "Football", because his introduction clearly says..."
          " Recent happenings regarding the issue of Christianity is giving one serious concern"

          That is why I addressed the activities of a "Christian church" in my previous comment.
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          Oct 24 2013: Colleen and Peter, I am interpreting Peter to be saying only that those who believe Jesus is God are Christians. Those who don't are not. And that this holds regardless of whether or where they worship on Sundays.

          Is that what you are saying, Peter?

          Peter is not, I think, suggesting that some people are not Hindu or Muslim or Jewish or some other non-Christian religion.

          Do I understand you, Peter?
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        Oct 24 2013: Hi Colleen,
        I make the assumption that when you say the Christian Church you mean the denominations; C of E, C of S, RC, Baptist, Brethren, etc ad infinitum.
        In my book there is only one God, that is Jesus Christ. Those who turn their lives over to Him are the Christian Church. There are many flavours of Christians, hence the many flavours of church, but the Christian Church per se is a fairly well defined group of people.
        Certainly these people may be involved in some negative stuff; none of us are perfect, but their main ethos should be to follow the lead of Christ, & not raising money to buy new stained glass.

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          Oct 24 2013: OK Peter.....I just learned something!

          I did not know there was a denomination of a Christian church actually named "Christian Church (disciples of Christ)"

          I agree with you Peter, the denominations are "ad infinitum"!!! Many flavors, as you say:>)

          It's funny you say a priority of theirs is "not raising money" because as I was exploring various sites to get information, the first site I looked at asked for money!

 apparently, those in the Christian Church (disciples of Christ) consider themselves Christians, and follow the bible....apparently literally.....based on your comments.

          I still don't understand why you like separating yourself by saying your church is the one and only. If you take the bible literally, which you seem to do, it says that we are all one.....made in the image and likeness of god.

          Anyway......Vincent mentions the "Recent happenings regarding the issue of Christianity"...
          It appears that he includes all denominations....including yours....because you are really not the one and only:>)
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        Oct 25 2013: All humans are made with godlike qualities.
        Genesis 1:27 NIV
        [27] So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

        All Christians are part of one body.
        Romans 12:4-5 NIV
        [4] For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, [5] so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

        So the Christian church is one body. We are scattered over many different denominations etc. mixed in with many churchgoers who are not members of this body. Yes, many churches, Christians etc will ask for money; that is the way of the world, a necessary evil if you like; but I can't think of anytime that Jesus did such a thing. There is mention of Tithes & offerings in the bible, but these were free will offerings; given freely, not extracted.

        It would be pretty naive to think my little bunch was the only church , lol. Even in our bunch there are non-Christians; most folks just don't "get it". However if Jesus is truly Creator God as he claims, then it makes sense that "His Bunch" should be the one & only bunch he will take with him. Why should he take folks who want nothing to do with him? Seems logical to me.

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          Oct 25 2013: Yes, I agree Peter, that it is pretty naïve to think your little bunch is the only church.

          And yet you say...."However if Jesus is truly Creator God as he claims, then it makes sense that "His Bunch" should be the one & only bunch he will take with him."

          Unfortunately Peter, this belief that one "bunch" of people who believe that their belief is the one and only, has caused more havoc, distress, wars, killings and separation of people in our world, then probably any other one idea.

          It does not appear to be an idea, a church, or a "bunch" that is genuinely for the people, because it serves to separate people from other people.

          The topic is..."Is the church for the people or the people for the church"

          You are simply preaching again Peter.
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        Oct 25 2013: @ Fritzie above.
        Sorry, this is as near to your post as I can get.
        Yes, you are correct. Only the followers of Christ (God) are Christians. The clue is in the name, but it seems a difficult concept to grasp for some reason. Many people consider themselves 'Christian' because they are British, American, etc. Go figure !

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          Oct 25 2013: I think the discussion on wikipedia makes this seem more complicated. Read the section, for example, about creeds and references to what "most" Christians believe.
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        Oct 25 2013: Wiki creeds etc. do seem a bit complex, although I agree with most of it. What does the bible teach?
        This exchange took place when Jesus was on the cross, between two criminals...
        Luke 23:39-43 NIV
        [39] One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” [40] But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? [41] We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” [42] Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” [43] Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

        This man seems to have gained eternal life at the last gasp. He had very little to commend himself, indeed had done enough wrong to be executed for it. However he had that single necessary qualification; He "believed" Jesus could save him.

        John 3:16 NIV
        [16] For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

        Seems "Whoever" believes has eternal life. Why complicate things ?

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          Oct 25 2013: That is what the story says Peter....that the man seems to have gained eternal life at the last gasp. I suppose it's nice to believe in that option, then one can do whatever s/he chooses throughout his/her life, and as long as the last gasp includes acceptance of your god, everything will be ok. Good luck with that Peter.

          The topic question is:
          "Is the church for the people or the people for the church"

          You are simply preaching again Peter.
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        Oct 26 2013: Simply trying to explain who the people are that constitute "The Church".
        That is very much the subject & Fritzie did ask. You have heard it all before; so just skip over it.

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    Oct 23 2013: Hi Vincent,

    I believe Most of the things were started keeping Good reasons in mind, But soon Group of people started exploiting, scarring, dominating this very Good opportunity. This happened with every Good thing in human world, but ultimately it depends on our participation; as majority always Win.
  • Oct 23 2013: The church is something to facilitate man's search an relationship with God. Therefore the church is for the people.
  • Oct 23 2013: Vincent Emenyonu
    Abuja, Nigeria

    I believe in God but I do not attend any church.
    In the 1950's, I stood around a campfire with a bunch of buddies
    and we held hands, sang, and prayed. One very cold winter night
    in South Korea. My last such gathering.

    I do not attend church, I have never seen a church leader minister
    to anyone inside their home or business, or anywhere. I would
    have thought during my long life that I would have met such a man
    or woman.

    Today I watch as our youths turn away from religions and their
    ceremonies of baptisms and weekend church services.

    I lived among the Mormons and gratefully endured their solicitations.
    More recently the Jehovah Witness folks have tried to convert me.

    Churches have rules for leaders and their congregations to follow.
    I guess I am not much of a follower. But I have watched and still
    haven't seen any church leader inside anyone's home or office,
    trying to bring their belief to anyone else. It is almost as if, religion
    stops and starts at the church-house.
    • W T

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      Oct 24 2013: Frank, what do you mean by the word "minister" as you use it in the following phrase:

      "I have never seen a church leader minister
      to anyone inside their home or business, or anywhere. I would
      have thought during my long life that I would have met such a man
      or woman."
      • Oct 24 2013: Mary, Please do not think I am being funny.
        But I had a hard time trying explain my comment.
        So I looked it up. It took several different ways for me to get this answer.

        this is from Google --
        in Australia, these are the tasks of a Occupation: 272211 Minister of Religion,
        Tasks Include: (I've shortened it to provide characters to use for my story)
        •conducting services of public worship -
        •delivering sermons, homilies and special talks -
        •participating in social and welfare activities of communities -
        •classes of religious instruction, and prayer -
        •premarital and family counselling -
        •marriages, funerals and services according to ecclesiastical and civil law
        •keeping records as required by the church and civil law -

        And this part ---
        •visiting members of the community in their homes, hospitals and
        other institutions to provide advice and religious comfort -
        This is my explanation, with a story --
        I was 11, parentless for several years as my mom and dad had separated.
        Living with my Grandmother and Grandfather, both quite elderly, I got in a
        bit of trouble. 3 of my friends and I obtained by theft, the keys to most of
        the retail businesses in my home town. We broke and entered, stealing
        a candy bar or some such item. But, then we found a hand gun, and we
        wanted more. We dug a big hole, hid them in a large trash can with a lid,
        and buried it in my friend's backyard. His mother found them, he confessed,
        and when the Sheriff knocked, I was told that my other friends did too.
        The sheriff told me that I was the only hold out. But, I refused to admit that
        I had played any part in the crimes.

        My Grandmother called the church minister. He came to our home. He listened.
        But he did not provide advice and religious comfort. - But then I wasn't listening.
        I was caught,

        My mother came, picked me up, and took me to live in another state.
        It took living honestly and several emotional years for me to recover my senses.