Here’s a blog post from Reason to Stand. In it, Wes Widner examines some problems with the way churches operate today, and makes some recommendations for improvement.
In the first place, a hierarchical system where non-preachers are viewed as less spiritual, where the gift of preaching is exalted above all other gifts is plainly against many passages found in scripture including Jesus’s own admonition that his own disciples not follow the pattern of the world in setting up hierarchical “power over” systems.
Secondly I would point to the perpetual spiritual immaturity that is fostered and festering in most churches (particularly Southern Baptist and Methodist churches as those are the ones I have the most experience in). When people are told that rigorous study of the word of God is limited to an elite few “chosen” men the end result is a logical abdication of serious study on the part of the “average” churchgoer. This is one of the reasons I believe areas such as apologetics have historically had such a hard time making inroads into the local church because most pastors feel threatened by the prospect of their congregation actually being educated and able (empowered?) to ask serious questions. Sadly it doesn’t have to be like this and I’ll explain in my third line of reasoning below.
Finally, I believe that the system we’ve manufactured (sure, as early as 300AD, but early errors are still errors) and have come to accept as an unquestionable fact is harmful to the Body of Christ is because it leads directly to pastors either being burned out or becoming dictators (I believe in some cases merely for self-preservation). Nowhere in Scripture are we presented with a description of a man who is supposed to shoulder the load that we expect the average “professional” pastor to carry. Nowhere in Scripture are we told that one man in a local group of believers is in charge of visiting the sick, ministering to all the members, responsible for the bulk of spiritual instruction, etc.
J.P. Moreland also recommends having a team of pastors instead of just one main pastor in his book “Love Your God With All Your Mind”, or LYGWYM, for short.
I chose this post to link to because I’ve experienced the problems he talks about here personally. But I’ve also noticed some practices I liked while listening to sermons online. One thing I like about Mark Driscoll is that he gives the sermon then takes questions from the audience. I also like Wayne Grudem because he preaches in a normal voice and isn’t afraid to talk about politics and other serious issues. And I like it when William Lane Craig surveys all points of view on interesting topics when he teaches Sunday school.
And I have some ideas of my own, too. Speaking as a man, I learn better when things are presented to me as an overview of conflicting viewpoints. I get bored when only one point of view is presented. It makes me sleepy. I like to fight, so that would be my recommendation to improve church – more apologetics, more debates and more disagreements. And I think having events where the church hosts debates for the public to attend at the local university is also good.