Thursday

Prostitution in the Church

Because of my nom de plume (“Northwest Prophetic”), people associate me with prophetic ministry. And as a result, I get a number of requests that I really don’t love.

Fairly often, someone – and it’s almost always someone I don’t know, very often someone whose Facebook friend request I’ve just accepted – will send a private message out of the blue. “I want a prophetic word. What is the word of the Lord for me?”

And it’s nearly always that abrupt. No “Hi, how are you doing?” No introduction to who they are or to their life and ministry, no respect for me as a human being, or as a child of God. Nearly always, the phrase “please” or “thank you” is not involved. Just “Gimme a word!” (and yes, sometimes it is that blunt). I’ve talked with some other prophets, and a number of them – especially those in social media – report similar experiences.

Our culture has a vocabulary for this, for when someone wants people to meet their urgent needs, but has no interest in relationship, or even common courtesy. We use words like “prostitute,” or “hireling,” or “servant” to describe the people that we disrespect, but we want them to meet our needs.

Honestly, I have to tell you, I don’t love prostitution. I really don’t love being propositioned to prostitute myself and my gift.

[I need to interject: asking for help from others in the body is NOT prostitution. But demanding that others meet your need, without the barest pretense of interest of them as a person, as a brother or sister, well, that sound a lot like prostitution to me.]

I was praying about this the other day (OK, fine! I was grumbling!) and Father listened quietly before he spoke. “It’s not just you, you know,” and he brought some others before my memory.

He pointed out that yes, prophetic people are dealing with this, but because the prophetic movement is relatively new, this prostitution of prophets is also relatively new. But the church is not new to prostituting her people.

Worship leaders, for one, have been prostituted for much longer than prophetic folks have been. Whenever Christians get together, there’s this urgent need that we Must Have Worship. Larger churches hire one (or more), and expect them to always be ready! I would argue that if our interest in them is only in what they can do for us, and not in them as a person, then we’re guilty.

It’s tragically funny when smaller groups, or outside-the-building groups get together, watching as they scramble to find someone able to Lead Worship. I can’t tell you the number of worship musicians who have described one measure or another of the prostitution syndrome. Recently, I invited a worship leader to a gathering in my home. When I suggested leave his guitar at home, but bring his family instead, it sounded like he almost cried.

We could go on and make a list, and it would include children’s workers, intercessors, youth pastors, sound guys, and others: the “little people,” people who often aren’t seen or thought about until somebody has an urgent need for something.

And of course, some groups, some people, some churches are more abusive and others are far more civilized. And of course, nobody (or perhaps “nobody in their right mind”) aspires to be a prophet or sound guy or children’s pastor or an intercessor for the money or for the respect. They follow that path because they can’t NOT follow that path, lest they shrivel up and die.

But it’s remarkably rare that these servants are respected anywhere nearly as the “real” leaders of the group. And if one of these folks has other gifts, those are pretty much ignored, unless that other gift is also on this list. (I’ve heard church boards look for youth pastors with a wife who can lead worship, so they can meet two urgent needs for the price of only one! I want to … speak firmly … with them for demeaning God’s children fn favor of their own desires!)

Lest this become a full-fledged rant, I’m going to change directions here.

First, I want to express my appreciation for the good people who serve God in these roles, despite the dishonoring ways of the people among whom you serve. Thanks for honoring our Father, and where you could, honoring your brothers and sisters.

Then I want to tell you that you are, in fact, every bit as important and as valuable as the trustees or the home group leader or the senior pastor or the TV preachers or the author or guest speaker or whoever. Your value as a child of God – your value as a human being – is equal to their value.

Finally, I’d like to invite all of us to treat our brothers and sisters with honor, with respect, with value. Our Father does. They deserve no less.







2 comments:

Angela Sprester said...

Thank you for writing this! I have said the same thing many times! Blessings and love... And yes that is all my heart... Let us love and honor one another..

Unknown said...

I'm an artist and my own abuse experience was hideous and spiritually deeply painful. I know this subject very well, and I have numerous creative friends who've been abused, often severely. This prostitution (perfect choice of words) is rampant in our churches and is driving many good people to stay away from church. It took me 3-years to consider returning, and I refuse to do my art for any other than God Himself. Thank you for sharing this.

Lew Curtiss/ http://creativeharmonies.wordpress.com/