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Do not mistake our fear for agreement

There is a lot of fear in churches. Sometimes it is palpable, but most of the time it is cleverly hidden. I have known more than a few pastors who have grown skilled in the art of intimidation, both subtle and overt.

Generally, most people want to be loved and accepted. However, our desire to “fit in” sometimes causes us to agree with what church leadership tells us to do, even though we don’t really agree. For some, the path to praise and the “inner circle” is slavish obedience to a given hierarchy, whether or not it is led of the Spirit.

While a desire to please others is not always bad, sometimes what people want us to do or believe is. This is most often the case when what our clergy demands goes against what God is asking us to do personally.

God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear

I remember one pastor commenting that, in his estimation, most leaders in churches are “control freaks.” I found out soon enough that it takes one to know one. In his mind, it turned out, almost any form of coercion was okay, as long as it aided how he felt to run his church. While I do believe that no one should build on another man’s foundation, it is also true that those who tend God’s vineyard have a duty to hear God’s voice and do His will. Therefore, if everyone involved is hearing what God says, there should be, at the very least, broad agreement.

I would like to say in this essay that when you, as our clergy, brow beat us into submission, we are not convinced, we are merely afraid. While we may outwardly do what you want, inwardly we are not in agreement with you in our hearts nor our minds. While you may think that outward submission is “good enough,” such superficial agreement only leads to church splits and disintegration of the ministry at some point in the future.

God’s sheep hear His voice and another’s voice they will not follow

As for myself, I know my Father’s voice. Therefore, anyone who does not speak with my Father’s voice, I simple will not listen to. Conversely, if you do speak with His voice, no matter who you are, I will at least consider what you say. Otherwise, I frankly don’t care what authority you claim to have; if you do not speak with His Spirit, to an extent that I can hear it, I will simply not listen or follow.

Furthermore, I don’t believe that people represent God if they must resort to coercion in order to carry out what they believe to be His will. If they did speak with God’s voice, His sheep would hear and willingly follow them. When God’s sheep refuse to be led by someone, perhaps that one should consider if they are really Christlike.

Let Jesus always have the last word

In conclusion, no clergy will decide whether or not we enter heaven. No pastor will determine if Jesus says, “well done my good and faithful servant, enter thou into my rest.” Therefore, never give them more respect than God.

It is good to listen to those who have wisdom, but only to the extent that they agree with how God is leading you by His Spirit. You can asked a multitude of counselors about what you feel to do, considering their opinions, as long as what God speaks is always the final opinion.

Finally, even if you are young in the faith, God can and does speak to you. Oftentimes you don’t need more training other than to just trust His voice and obey the little you do know.



Voice of God by Dante Bowe Feat. Steffany Gretzinger and Chandler Moore