Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is 'Church' A Multi-Level-Marketing Business?

2 Corinthians 8:12-15, "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.  13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack."

Is the modern day, business entity, corporate-run, entrepreneurial enterprise for Profit 'Church' a multi level marketing business? Well, let's take a good look at it and break it down. After I first got saved in 1981, I came home to Florida for a visit. A friend of mine told me about a man who ran a business out of his home. It was a very large multi level marketing (MLM) legitimate business selling soaps. I was newly separated from the military and was looking for a new career, so I took my friends suggestion and met this man. He drew red circles on a legal pad and outlined the business plan. Since I was newly saved, I immediately recognized the pattern he was showing me. It seemed an awful like the way 'Church' is formed and run.

The advertising was a combination of word of mouth, social gatherings, print advertising, and door to door canvassing. On occasion, even fliers were put on peoples windshields for Promotions. I noticed that 'Church' did the same things. While he and his wife were showing me this new style of a business concept I said, "This sounds like a 'Church'." His wife said that it was much the same as a 'Church'. They told me of a book called, 'The Greatest Salesman In The World' by an author named Og Mandino. I bought the book and read it. I was amazed to find out that this author outlined the same business principles in his book from a Biblical New Testament time period and perspective. Here I learned that this MLM business outline was from Biblical principles! Being a new Christian, I was sold! I bought a Starters Kit and held my first meeting with my family and some friends in my Mom's home. No one bought anything or signed-up even though my mentors gave the presentation. I felt embarrassed because I didn't want any of the people there to feel any pressure to join or buy anything, but here I was trying to do just that.

I was a young twenty three when I got out of the military. My plan was to move from Florida to Virginia and go to school. My father lived there and I was to enroll in a local community college and live with him while I took classes. But after my meeting with my new MLM up-line down in Florida I was committed to follow through with my new business venture. My up-line said that many people get a job to support themselves and do what is called, "Diversification". They would work a regular job while building their "business" on the side. When the income from the "business" matched the full-time job's income, they would discontinue their regular job and go full-time with the "business." That sounded like a 'plan' to me! My Dad didn't think it was very wise. As a matter of fact, he was mad. I forsook college because I figured I would be getting a secular, evolution-based education. The Problem with that is this type of education didn't fit with my new persona as a Fundamentalist Baptist. I didn't want to be influenced by the 'world' any longer; including it's type of 'schooling.'

I told my Dad that I would make a deal with him. I would get a job and work my tail off with whatever I chose to do. After six months, if I didn't start making a good Profit from my new job and begin to reap some of the same building my new "business," I would quit and go to school. He agreed. So off I went to diversify. I'll stop my story here because it has already reached it's relevance point.

It occurred to me, many years later, that this is the way Pastors are taught to start a 'Church'. They diversify! They go to school. work a job to support themselves and their family. After graduation they move to their new mission field, get a job, and start to build and organize their 'Church'. As they teach their 'converts' the principles of 'Church', and that tithing is an essential part of growing, the money starts to come in. After many converts are added, and the pastor's 'support' becomes equal to his regular job's income, he quits his regular job and becomes the full-time pastor of his 'Church'. The people who follow this man become very committed to him and defend him like he had attained 'Sainthood'. After all, they are the ones who bought into his plan and doctrine. They've invested time and money in this man, his 'Church' and organizational Plan. They are not willing to sacrifice their 'Church' and pastor's good name for anything. They'd defend it to the point of martyr-ship.

Years down the road these pastors become somewhat known in their 'camp' and attract Professional workers to be on staff. These range from secretaries, finance managers, teachers, assistant pastors, music ministers, etc. All of these actually receive a salary or an hourly wage. The Problem arises sometimes where the tithes go down and because of economics, someone has to be let go of. If there's no longer room in the budget to afford an Assistant pastor, he get's moved to another 'Church' that may be looking for one. Guess who decides who is to be let loose? The Pastor! Why? It's his 'Church', isn't it? He is the entrepreneur that started this enterprise to start with. He, through the tithes, paid for the Yellow Page Ad which cost $5,000 for the year! He's the one who got his converts to co-sign with him on a new building Project. I knew of one pastor that refused to handle any money in the 'Church' he was "called to". He wanted to be free and clear to move on to another "mission field" without being responsible for the financial woes that might spring up later. But whether he is responsible for the finances or not, he's the one who gives everyone there spiritual and practical advise. Why would he be the one who get's axed? Equality means nothing in this model of a business. What's wrong with that?

Is 'Church' a multi-level marketing business? The parallels are too glaring not to notice. Even though the pastor calls this business, "God's Church," it is far from it. I also discovered that these Multi-Level Marketing principles did not derive from Scripture after all! No matter how many times a slick speaker woos from the pulpit that this is God's model for a 'Church', they are grossly mis-lead, mis-indoctrinated and mis-informed. Jesus taught that His true church is one of equality, without a building or a paid staff. It doesn't include the tithe or a steeple. His church meets in homes without an expense to those who assemble in fellowship. There are no dues to be paid. No membership roll to be joined. No class of peoples to be separated as clergy and laity. No Pyramid structure to climb. Just equality. If a brother has a want, and we have the abundance to supply that want, we should give out of a willing heart. But this doesn't mean to support an enterprise with an entrepreneur who decides to cultivate it and name it a 'Church.'

The public has been lead down the wrong path. The pastor is eased and we have become burdened. We've been told that this is God's plan for His church to be built and that He will build it. That He has and does; but not from this angle. These business pastors, whether they know it or not, are misleading people because they have been mislead themselves. They have been taught and trained in Bible College that this is the recipe to build a 'Church'. So that their consciences are clear, they are indoctrinated that this is God's method and is supported by wrested Scripture. They say. "But we are winning souls!" Amen to that! But, they also become recruits led into the workings of a business concept. It wasn't from a Biblical principle standpoint at all! These people have used the Bible to try and prove that it is from God. They even write books and give seminars using the Bible to support their 'business'. When I finally put all of these facts together and realized that I have been cleverly played all these years; boy, was I ticked!

A home church assembly wins souls too! But that doesn't mean we recruit them to join a corporate entity and pay ten percent of their income to remain a member! It's structure is the same as the pyramid. Many at the bottom supporting the few who control everything at the top. That is just how a multi-level-marketing business is set up. A home church doesn't have 'members.' To the business- pastors of today's corporate, Institutional 'Church' I ask one question; "Where do you get the nerve? Chapter and verse, please?" They use many Scriptural parallels, but they are all distorted to fit into a particular theme. They make a verse say what it was never meant to say to Prove their point. This technique is after Satan, and not after God. I submit to you that the modern day, business-'Church' system is a multi-level-marketing business and has no place in Christ's model for His assembly of fellowship. It is a device made up by man for gain.

3 comments:

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, whoever you are. This was one of my earlier posts. I was writing for only a month when I published it. I was still trying to get my thoughts down regarding my new discoveries without becoming bitter. I've calmed down quite a bit since then. Hopefully, my articles have gotten more interesting and less trenchant. I hope that you'll browse more of ChurchPros and glean from my later pieces. God's blessings on your day.

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