I am still as much convinced as ever that the smaller [house churches] are the ideal. I am just as much opposed as ever to large churches, over-sized congregations and their cumbersome, burdensome machinery and their impersonal conglomerate fellowship where leadership loses that personal touch, intimate fellowship and close attention to the individual. No pastor can be a good shepherd to so many sheep! He cannot give each the individual attention that is necessary.
This is one reason most Christians like big churches, they can hide in the crowd and avoid the close scrutiny of them and their lives by the pastor's NOT all-seeing eye. They can live as they please, do their own thing and still call themselves a church member on Sunday, although the pastor doesn't even know who they are, much less anything about their individual lives. There are just too many people, too many calls to make and it's too confusing and impossible to get around to everyone.
So like a doctor, calls are not made to keep the people healthy, but individual attention is only given in the most dire emergencies, when someone is very sick. No pastor, even with a small group of assistant pastors can do a consistently good job of giving personalised, individual attention to so many in one congregation in one place, no matter how well-organised they are. Some are bound to escape the watchful eye of the shepherd and go astray.
Even Jesus didn't attempt it! He preached to the multitudes and He fed and healed them and ministered to them, but when it came to actually pastoring them, teaching them, and giving them the individual care and watchfulness of their growth that's necessary, even He couldn't properly care for more than 12! I'm convinced that a congregation of 12 is the ideal, God's ideal. I don't know how He taught the 70, but if you'll divide 70 by 12, you'll find that each of the 12 Apostles could very well have had a little handful of half a dozen each, which is perhaps all that weaker undershepherds in training are properly able to supervise. They're not even ready for a load of 12, because they're still being taught themselves by the Master Shepherd.
Even in modern educational psychology, we are taught that the ideal school class size is about a dozen, and never more than two dozen at the most. Even the teachers whose business is education, have discovered this through years of experience and we should be able to take a tip from their common sense. This is also one of the secrets of the famous Montessori Method!
Enormous high schools and mammoth universities have become heartless machines, producing unguided little monsters which are going to destroy them--the Frankenstein that made them--and the churches are the same. The ideal school system was that of the early settlers and pioneers, in which the local pastor used the simple little church house, which tripled as a town hall, church and school with full 100 percent usefulness all week long as his schoolroom, housing only a dozen or two students in several different grades, with the older students being taught to help, teach and care for the younger, as assistant teachers even in so small an operation.
There was more individual attention--much more than in the schools or churches of today!--And this little one-room school system produced America's greatest statesmen, leaders and heroes of those bygone days, which are no more, along with no more great statesmen, leaders or heroes either. You just can't produce that kind of product with the massive machinery, mass production and rapid, hasty, impersonal assembly-line type of an operation of our present educational and religious systems! It's impossible!
The poor common people have lost that personal individual touch and interest--with their pastors, teachers and politicians, even the children with their parents, because the selfish parents have abdicated their responsibility as individuals and turned their pitiful little living sacrifices over to the greedy clutches of the mammoth god Moloch to be cast into its gaping, massive, fiery maw to their eternal destruction--to come out in identical molds of dead, lifeless, mindless, leaden robots!
My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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