Christianity 201

April 29, 2013

When Computers Set Ministry Agenda

Romans 8:14 (NIV)

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Most of you probably have some type of agenda/organizer that came with your computer. There are also programs available to pastors and churches that are more specialized; more specific. They are capable of setting the agenda for all sorts of things from a one-year preaching arc to visitation to church finances and everything in between.

In A. W. Tozer’s day the personal computer or laptop had never been envisioned, let alone the smart phone. Instead, he wrote about the most progressive office organizing tool of his day, what we know now as the Rolodex. The article he wrote was titled, “Beware the File-Card Mentality.”

It is part of human nature to want to organize, to put things in boxes and people into categories. It’s part of our DNA to compose lists, make charts and have a diagram for just about everything. Our ability to visually simplify things is not all bad; where would we be without maps? But there are dangers implicit in doing this in a church or ministry environment.

A W TozerTozer wrote:

  • The essence of true religion is spontaneity, the sovereign movings of the Holy Spirit upon and in the free spirit of redeemed men.
  • When religion loses its sovereign character and becomes mere form, this spontaneity is lost also, and its place comes precedent, propriety, system — and the file-card mentality.
  • Behind the file-card mentality is the belief that spirituality can be organized. Then is introduced into religion those ideas which never belong there — numbers, statistics, the law of averages, and other such natural and human things. And creeping death always follows.
  • The danger comes from the well-known human tendency to depend on external helps in dealing with internal things.
  • [This mentality] divides the Bible into sections fitted to the days of the year and compels the Christian to read according to rule.
  • From the road in, it looks like a good idea to work out a system of sermon coverage, mapping out the doctrines of the Bible as a farmer divides his acres, allowing a certain amount of time during the year for sermons on the various Bible truths so that at the end of a given period, proper attention will have been paid to each one. Theoretically, this should be fine, but it will kill any man who follows it, and it will kill his church as well and one characteristic of this kind of death is that neither pastor nor people are aware that it is come
  • It is a deadly thing and works to quench the spontaneous operation of the Spirit.
  • The glory of the gospel is its freedom. The Pharisees, who were slaves, hated Christ because He was free. The battle for spiritual freedom did not end when our Lord had risen from the dead. It still goes on…

All of the above is mostly word-for-word, but for Tozer’s final paragraph, I have to paraphrase this to make it relevant to our century:

  • It will indeed be a cause for mourning when the work of God is entrusted wholly to the webmaster, the ‘tech pastor,’ and the IT department.

1 Comment »

  1. Very good points/warnings.
    I am a goal-setter, a list maker. My first task (after devotions) each day when I was VERY active in ministry, was to review my to-do list and prioritise it. My efficiency more or less depended on it – BUT – that list had to be re-prioritised many times each day, as circumstances changed. I believe a program and planning are essential, but they are not #1. Number one must always be dependence on and direction from our God and we must always be seeking and open to His leading.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — May 1, 2013 @ 5:12 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: