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Why Not Start My Own Gathering?

I was asked in a forum that I participate in why don’t I start my own gathering since I have problems with organized religion?

This is a very good question. The reason why I refuse to start another gathering is because I am a firm believer in the priesthood of all believers. I have seen that anytime a person takes charge of a group of believers (no mater how well meaning) people just begin to look to them as almost a "go between" to God. The best intentioned of them becomes a crutch for other believers to lean on. Instead of learning to lean on Christ, hear Him and follow His lead, they look to that leader to give them the words of God and to tell them what to do. Christians become weak and never learn to take the initiative in their walk with God. They never learn to be proactive about hearing Him and growing in Him. They begin to look to that man to feed them rather than learning to go to the river and drink for themselves. It is fine for a baby Christian and the weak to lean on the strong. In fact, it is my heart to be there for the weak. But when people have been Christians for years and they still have to hear sermons to grow or recharge their batteries, something's very wrong. It's like they’re not graduating. Leaders are supposed to equip the saints, but there seems to be a problem with the release.

I see it from two sides: one is that the people want to remain dependant. (Some of it is laziness and some of it is they've been trained through tradition to remain dependant.) And the other side is that, quite frankly, some leaders (for whatever reason) want to be needed so they encourage continued dependence on them and never release the saints. And release doesn't mean giving them a measure of authority or a job to do anymore than releasing a young adult from your house means giving them a bigger bed room. Release means "hands off" let go of them completely and let them go follow God.

And on the other side, what kind of ungodly pressure are we putting on men to be leaders (pastors and such) and then we look to them to be our "go betweens." According to my Bible that is a role reserved for Jesus and Jesus alone. No man is big enough to carry that load! But men who really love Jesus have been taught that if you really have a passion to follow Jesus then you are supposed to be a pastor type. That has been held up as the ultimate goal and mark of maturity. But many of these men are simply overwhelmed as they attempt to be "Jesus" to everybody. The saints look to them to feed them, minister to their every need, comfort them, organize them, and train them. They place heavy demands and expectations upon them that they should only be placing upon Jesus. Then these leaders wonder why they suffer from burn out and wonder where the joy of their salvation went. They fail to see that they are suffering because they have stepped out from simply being brothers in Christ and have been lifted up above the rest of the saints. This carries more burdens with it than any man can handle.

The truth is we have lost sight of the priesthood of the believer and taken several steps back into the Old Testament by reinstituting the priesthood of a select few. This is not biblical. I have found the only way to free people to be priests unto God for themselves is to stop being a crutch to them and simply be a brother so they will learn to walk on their own.

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