Thursday, April 24, 2008

Types of Church structure

Types of Church Structure and Organization:

  1. High Church Model – this type of church is ruled from the top down. You’ll find these types of churches have bishops or other types of officials that control the operations of the church. (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, etc.)

  2. Low Church Model – this type of church is governed from the bottom up. You’ll find these types of churches are controlled at the local church level. (Southern Baptist, Non Denominational)

  3. Semi-High Church Model – This model is a church that is ruled from the top down, but allows some authority to the local church level. (United Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.)

  4. Semi-Low Church Model – this type of church is usually governed from the local church level, but has a Church government that often functions as a facilitator for the local churches (Wesleyan, Free Methodist, Nazarene etc.)

The original model is the High Church model. Because of this, the older denominations all follow this way of operation. This model takes seriously the concept of spiritual authority, as they respect and listen to those who are in places of authority in the church. Historically, the issue is that this authority has become corrupt and abused its power.

The second model, the Low Church model, is a reaction against the High Church model. The church became corrupt, and as a result spiritual authority was abused. Thus, in order to protect themselves from abusive authorities, some churches completely decentralized their power. The problem here is that churches often become isolated from the rest of the body and become very individualistic. The result is that they break down the unity of the body.

Models 3 & 4 are compromises between options 1 & 2. These models champion a mixture between the High and Low Churches as they believe that both sides have good points and attempt to blend the pros in order to eliminate the cons. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not.

All the models have their pros and their cons and while no one model is necessarily better than the others, some can be more problematic. Personally, I am leery of Low and Semi-Low Church models only because I see divisions and fractures as a bad thing.

What do you think? Where would you put your church? Which do you prefer?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Why there?!?!

God called Israel out of slavery and brought them to Palestine. Why would God put them here? It is a mountainous, dry, and seemingly out of the way place. If I were to create a people I would do it in the middle of culture – like a New York or a Los Angeles. Instead, God sends his people to North Dakota. How does this make any sense?

What makes Palestine significant the fact that it is a land bridge between the southern power (Egypt) and the northern power (Mesopotamia). Palestine is the land between the harsh desert that is now northern Saudi Arabia and the Mediterranean Sea. If these ancient superpowers wanted to trade with each other, they had to cross this land bridge.

Actually, one northern valley has roads leading to three continents (Europe, Asia, & Africa). Megiddo, a city located here, has seen more battles than anywhere else. I think it is because of this strategic positioning that God sent his people to that mountainous, dry, and seemingly out of the way place. He wanted his people to influence the most people that the possibly could.

And is it any wonder that God was angered when his people acted just like everybody else? He called them to be different. He gave them place in the middle of the action so people would notice their difference. But they are content to act just like everybody else does and God sent them into exile.

What does this say about us? Are we putting ourselves in the way so people will notice us? Are we living any differently than the people who are around us?

What do you think?