Wag the Dog


Although I read through the Structure and Culture Report (page 348), although I looked at the budget numbers, I remain unconvinced that the tail isn’t trying to wag the dog.

We SAY that the denomination serves the local church.  We have many good and seemingly necessary agencies to outfit the local church to address concerns with regard to race relations, inclusion of persons with disabilities and handling allegations of abuse.  But, at some point, doesn’t the balance tip so that the local church begins to do the work of the denomination. 

When almost every recommendation that comes to Synod requires the formation of a new agency or an increase in funding for a particular cause.

When it seems every Sunday there is a delegated offering and bulletin insert for some denominational cause, inhibiting the deacon’s work of supporting local food banks, shelters and works of mercy.

When we think that hiring workers for 2850 will, indeed, change the culture of our churches.

When __(tell me what you think)__

At some point, the balance tips so that the local church begins to do the work of the denomination.  At some point, the tail begins to wag the dog.  Are we at that point?  Do you see it creeping up on the horizon? 

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Good point about offerings.  It is essential that the local church decides, and is encouraged to decide where to send money, and for whom to take offerings.   This is part of their spiritual growth, and if the decision is apparently taken away, or seems to be taken away, it will discourage spiritual growth. 

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As someone who works for one of the agencies that is suggested for four offerings per year (we don't get ministry shares though), I sincerely hope that the offering calendar does not inhibit local ministry. It's a suggestion, not a mandate. I know of many churches that don't take any special offerings - instead everything is budgeted. 

You seem to imply that having strong denominational ministry must come at the expense of local congregations. I think God's vision has room for both. I just posted an article about churches that think they are too poor to do missions http://network.crcna.org/content/global-mission/your-church-too-small-or-too-poor-do-missions - and will be posting another one next week. I hope that we can overcome this scarcity mentality and recognize the immense wealth of gifts that God has given us. 

That's a really interesting point about "a scarcity mentality."  I don't want us plotting our future from a place of anxiety, fear or lack of trust in God's provision.  AND I want us to be wise, recognizing that at some point, the top gets so heavy it begins to crush what is underneath it.  I don't know how to reconcile these two thoughts, though both are important to me.