And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.Someone told me of a small high desert community which organized a marching band. They got high marks for spirit and good intentions, but not for music.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.Ephesians 4:11-16
You see, in a town where the high school's senior class is usually less than a couple of dozen, it's difficult to find anyone to play an instrument, let alone play one well. They didn't audition and interview potential members; they bribed, cajoled and promised, accepting any who came forward. The fact is they lowered their standards till every instrument had a player. But their performances? Horrible!
Most of us understand when standards are lowered in a situation like the above but what if a professional orchestra were to do this? An orchestra is organized to combine unique independent musical elements into a harmonious and melodious whole, there's no room for degradation of standards.
A church is a lot like a symphonic orchestra, though far more consequential. A church is also like a small town, there seems always to be a dearth of people for their labor pool. Most small churches would get "high marks for spirit and good intentions," but not for impressiveness.
Small churches can't afford to cajole and manipulate just to increases in membership; taking any and all who come. Small churches must resist the temptation to degrade quality for quantity. Churches are intended to be organized to combine independent "natural" giftedness into a "supernatural" harmonious union: there really isn't room for degradation of standards.
Far too many churches have been willing to lower standards regarding membership, even those concerning office holders. If we can imagine the ruin degraded standards would bring upon a professional orchestra, why do we have so much trouble seeing the dangers of degrading biblical standards for The Body of Christ?
One reading of the New Testament is enough to impress the reader of the importance of overcoming and perseverance ... I suggest we revisit those passages and stop becoming entangled with the world just to increase Body fat!
CRIB NOTE: If you'd like to read more semi-devotional illustrations you can find some of the CRIB's collection at The SHEEP'S CRIB - Illustrations.
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