The Farm System of the Modern Evangelical Church
In the Epistle of James Chapter 3, we see the Apostle James begin with a warning: "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness"
This seems to carry no weight in the hearts of many people who believe they have been called into ministry. One reason I have slowed down on how much content I put out is because of this warning. I want to be careful of how I present the Word of God to His people. I do not want to lead anyone astray or give the impression that I know more than I do. In reality I am just a babe on this journey and I am willing to change my mind on some things as the Holy Spirit reveals those to me.
Those things being said, a thought hit me a while back; it seems as though there is a lot of bad theology being spouted from the pulpit these days, and there is little discernment from congregants to spot it and demand correction.
It is no wonder why we have young adults leaving the church when they leave home and start life without mom and dad. They have been fed a steady diet of heartwarming, pep rally, motivational speeches, and they are ill prepared to deal with the torrent of hate that the unbelieving world has for the Gospel and our Lord.
This is not just a problem for the young folks leaving home, it is also a problem for any believer sitting in those seats.
The person who is shepherding you may not be feeding you spiritually dense food as to make you wise unto salvation, rather that which will keep you in the seats long enough to get your replacement there.
If you are familiar with sports at all you may know the process through which the teams stay relevant and competitive every year, or at least they try to. Each team has a farm team, which is professional, but not top tier. You may have a local triple A baseball team in your town. That is a farm team. When the scouts think the players are ready, they will send them up to the big leagues.
I think we can see a pattern of this within the modern evangelical church today. A pastor of a co
ol church sees a young man or woman who has a passion for the Lord. The pastor befriends said person and begins to groom them for a more impactful position. Within a year they have that person planting a church and boom that pastor has just duplicated him/herself. There is the fruit. Or is it?
This is akin to sending a person up to the major leagues who is ill prepared to deal with the fame, money, and high expectations of being able to perform day in and day out. They may have exhibited some talent but they had no solid grasp on fundamentals. Over years of struggles, they finally give up their big dream never to be heard from again.
The problem with this happening in the church is that there are eternal consequences to putting someone in charge of God’s people, who is woefully unprepared. What happens is, you may have many campuses and many attendees, but you end up with an emaciated flock that looks just like the world. You end up with salt that is no longer salty and that is a dangerous place to be for anyone who claims to be a follower of the Lord Jesus.
This I believe happens within the church more than we realize. Many pastors are so hungry for revival that they look at what the world wants and tries to put a Christian twist on it in order to get more people saved. While this sounds noble, it’s root is deceptive and deception has no part in the Gospel.
“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have denounced disgraceful underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s Word, but by the open statement of truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-4
I am not a pastor, but I see a huge problem with the farm system method of church planting, growth, or attempting to stay relevant in the community. We have a method that is laid out in scripture of the qualifications for church leadership, and what we find attractive or relevant today has nothing to do with it. See: 1 Timothy 3
“I charge you in the presence of God of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
2 Timothy 4:1-3
Ministers of the Gospel are to PREACH THE WORD, whether it is popular or not, bottom line. You are not a motivational speaker, entertainer, guru, CEO, visionary, you are a SERVANT of Our Lord and God.
Don’t take my word for it, I am just A NO GOOD THEOLOGIAN!