Friday, September 4, 2015

Managing the House of the Lord

What is the house of the Lord? Obviously in the New Testament it is the people, the believers that make up the church, the body of Christ. But people live in space and time (one of my Masters students did a thesis on this). Early church met in homes of believers. By 4th century basilicas and cathedrals were built. Today most believers meet in buildings designated for worship. Usually when Christians call church, it is the building where we worship the Lord. The church building is normally managed by church leaders. At the church office the head is usually the pastor or senior pastor if he has a few pastors working with him. So the pastor is the manager of the house of the Lord. Most churches have church offices, often in the same building or adjacent to the worship hall. Sometimes, it is some distance away from the church, where the pastor and his staff work in the office when there are no services in church.
Most pastors keep office hours except that they probably have Mondays off since Sunday is a work day for pastors. Pastors also normally live in a manse or church house provided by the congregation that engages the pastor. The pastor is normally married (1 Tim 3, a man of one woman/wife - in Greek, gune can be woman or wife depending on the context) and usually that means he has a family. So the pastor's house if it is provided by the church is usually large enough with 3 or 4 rooms to accommodate the pastor's family. So the modern house of the Lord involves managing the church building for worship, the church office or offices and the pastor's house. Yes, some pastors own and live in their homes and in such a case a housing allowance is factored into the salary package. Managing the house of the Lord normally falls on the pastor since he is a full-time worker and sits in the church office. He may be assisted by other staff or lay leaders but overall he is in charge. It is important that church or congregation understands that the house of the Lord is not just the Worship Hall but the church office and the pastor's house as well. In the OT, priests are given chambers in the Temple precinct. Levites are not allowed to work and they are provided for by the offerings of the Israelites. Several times in the Israeli history, when the offerings are not forthcoming or there is just too little, the Levites were forced to return to their fields and work their land. So looking after the church building, the church offices and pastor's house are part and parcel of managing the whole edifice called the house of the Lord.

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