Does Christian "Ministry" Operate By the Rules of Show Business?
It's an interesting question.
Well, what are the rules of show business? How does someone get into show business?
Certainly someone must have some kind of talent, and the willingness to stand up in front of other people and perform.
And then, you need "a break" to get into show business.
You need to know someone who is already in the business, or be "in the right place at the right time".
Why is this so?
Because the truth is that there are many many people who are talented in the world.
How do we know this is true?
Have you ever seen any of these very popular talent-search TV shows? You know the kind I am talking about, the TV shows where they go to cities all around the nation, and hundreds or maybe thousands of people come out to audition. Now yes, there are a lot of people who think they are talented in the "right way"--people who think they sing well or entertain people--and actually are not very good at it......but.....amazingly enough, wherever they search, many many talented people are found. These shows go to big cities and small towns and they find amazingly talented people, who sing and perform every bit as good as people who are already in show business.
So the truth is that there are a lot of people who are gifted, who have the right abilities (the abilities that we have decided are correct for entertaining us) to be in show business. But these people are not in show business, simply because they just never got a break. They just never had the chance to be seen, to get the attention of the right people. They are every bit as talented as other performers, but they just were never in the "right place at the right time".
But that is how show business works. Certain specific abilities are accepted as entertaining by people. The people who display these abilities, and have the willingness and desire to perform these abilities in front of others, and "get a break" are the very select few who get into show business.
It's a worldly system.
It follows the whim of the masses.
Money fuels it.
Only a few get into it.
It trivializes the talents and gifts of the many by suggestion.
It functions in pride, a false spirit, not the love of the Father 1John 2:15
A singer is popular today and washed up the next. If scandal comes in, careers are ruined. People who do get into show business and stay there, are usually quite talented, but they are actually quite lucky, because the truth is that there are many many other people who are every bit as gifted, but just never got the "break" they needed to get into the business.
Those are the rules of show business.
What about Christian ministry?
How many of these rules are we following?
Tradition has set up an entertainment center as the hub of Christian meeting.
People who are in Christian ministry will often speak about the "break" they had which got them into ministry. They will tell you how they "broke into" ministry. A relative who was already in ministry, an opportunity they had where people started listening to their teaching or musical gift. (Isn't it interesting that music is common to both show business and recognized Christian ministry.)
There are some successful Christian ministers who give seminars which are tantamount to business lectures. They speak quite frankly about how important it is to manage money and people in "the ministry". They see these aspects of money and people management as keys to their success (again, aren't these the same characteristics that worldly businesses operate by?)
And then, we look up at these few "successful" people and say "look what God has done".
Are we so sure that God wants us to operate ministry by these worldly rules?
Hey, has anyone looked in the Bible lately?
In the Bible (Matthew 20:25-26, Mark 10:42-43) Jesus says that a minister is someone who should NOT exercise authority over others.
In the Bible (Ephesians 4:1-12) God says that He has given ministry gifts to everyone. (well that certainly fits the truth that talent is "cheap"--it can be found everywhere) The ministries mentioned in the Bible are NOT "preacher and singers" which is what the traditional church "show" has demanded for centuries. Rather, the Bible ministry gifts, which God has placed in literally every human being, are categories of Gospel function, apostle, prophet, and teacher (in that order of importance--see 1Corinthians 12).
They are supposed to be gifts of service (the word "minister" means servant) which function together to carry out the job of spreading the Gospel.
It's a simple, direct system (and in the Bible it was very effective--Jesus did it and the church in the Bible followed His example).
Here is how it worked:
A small group of believers meet and pray. During the meeting teaching may occur, as well as prophecy. The prophetic gifts are simply God speaking through Christian believers, they are the answers to the prayers. God's instructions. The purpose of the meeting is to seek God's instructions. No one is in charge. They are a group of equals--God is the Head. (Christ is the Head, we are the Church--a Body).
Now certainly during the meeting, our own needs may be met by God, through others within the group. However, the highest purpose of the meeting is to seek God's will to further the Gospel. The highest purpose is the apostolic. Apostles are simply small groups which are "sent" to the world with the Gospel.
What is done by all at the meeting is "ministry".
And the greatest ministry we can do is to serve others in the world who are in need.
Not at all like show business!
And unfortunately not at all like the traditions of Christian "ministry".