December 2016 Column

When the Church Becomes a Cartel

One of the definitions for church is a body or organization of religious believers. A cartel is defined as a combination of political groups for common action. In the church, we can view a cartel as a combination of people who come together for specific action which benefits those who are a part of the cartel. Likewise, a church cartel is an alliance of bullies, bully-followers, carnal Christians, and even non-Christians in the church. Its ultimate goal is to get its way. It feeds off selfish power.

We don’t like to talk about church cartels. After all, it’s not the Christian thing to do. Nevertheless, they exist in too many churches; and if they are not exposed, they will continue to wreak havoc.

Here are five of the very dangerous realities of the church cartel:

  1. When a cartel is allowed power, the church is already unhealthy. The cartel is, by its definition, self-centered and power-driven. A church is already very sick if members remain silent and do not confront this evil directly.
  2. A church cartel leaves carnages of wounded and dying people. If you have any doubts about this danger, please read the book, Autopsy of a Deceased Pastor. See the pain, questions, and defeat the cartel leaves behind.
  3. Church cartels drive away healthy leaders. Some of these leaders are driven away by the cartel. Others leave on their own accord because they want to be in a joyous and healthy church. Their departure exacerbates the problems in these churches.
  4. Church cartels cause church leaders to work from a posture of fear. Instead of moving forward in faith, church leaders often spend more time worrying about how their decisions will impact the cartel. These leaders know the cartel will come after them if they act in contrary ways to the cartel group’s wishes.
  5. We are told in Scripture to manifest the fruit of the Spirit. The church cartel causes the church to do just the opposite. Galatians 5:22-23 is clear about the fruit of the Spirit. It includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Church cartels bring hate, discord, anxiety, impatience, evil, fear, brutality, and chaos.

Churches that have cartels usually know they are present. They know the bully. They know who follow the bully. They see them. They hear them. Often, they fear them. The challenge is to ask yourself if you are guilty of being part of the church cartel. In addition, is your organization a part of the cartel? Give thought to the health of your local church or organization.

“Courageous leaders must confront and stop church cartels. If no one is willing, the church is already on a path toward decline and death.”  THOM RAINER

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