Just the other day I was talking with someone who is very close to me who is president of an international ministry. I don’t agree with much of his theology. But he really cares about people and pastors. He travels around the world serving churches and pastors to help free them from the “spirit of control” in their churches.
He said that people generally underestimate the prevalence of control in the churches. I asked him if he’s come across many churches that are healthy, functional and free of this spirit of control. He said that in his experience and observation it is very very rare. In the thousands of churches he’s visited over the years, he can literally count on one hand the number of churches he considered healthy. And this spirit of control affects not only members but pastors as well. It is the system that forms a culture in which control can thrive.
I agree. I haven’t seen as many churches, but I’ve seen and pastored enough to know that control is the church’s drug of choice. Even in churches I pastored and tried to keep free of this desire to control, it always finds a way to sneak in a poison a community.
So if you find a community where you are not being controlled or violated or manipulated or coerced, then enjoy it. It is a rare treat. If you haven’t, keep looking, or start one.