Instilling Protocol & Structure in Church (with Pst. Carlo Parisi)
Pastor Carlo pastors Emmanuel Church in Montreal, Canada and leads the church in Downtown. Here’s him sharing some keys and how important it is to instil protocols and structure in the church.
Pastor Priji: Could you share briefly a little about your ministry and what God has been doing in your ‘Emmanuel Church’?
Pastor Carlo: I’m Pastor Carlo, I’m one of Pastor Shyju’s sons in the Lord. I Pastor the Emmanuel church in Montreal, Canada. God is moving in such a powerful way in Montreal – 260 baptisms, people from the streets, people who never thought they would come to church, atheists, Catholics etc. show up in church.
I was a Catholic by background, just went to church for Easter and special occasions only. I never lived as a Christian, just lived by the flesh only, everything Galatians 5 talks about, I was pretty much living in that.
God slapped me over the head one day when I was reading the Bible and I came to know that Jesus is the real deal and then, the rest is history, now I’m here.
Pastor Priji: Praise God! Tell us a little bit about your family.
Pastor Carlo: My wife and 2 boys, we love the Lord, serve the Lord, even with a busy and hectic schedule, we serve because its the only thing that pays dividends and peace.
Pastor Priji: You’ve been exposed to church culture in America, India and Africa. Tell us a few things you’ve observed as similarities and differences in church cultures across the world.
Pastor Carlo: The biggest thing I see is the honor system in Africa and India compared to North America. In Africa its a no-brainer, they understand protocol, structure, men of God, that represents who God put and appointed for the church, that we all work under that leadership and covering, like Jesus was in charge and He had disciples.
Pastor Priji: You mentioned these two important words – Protocol & Structure, let’s discuss a little bit about this. You said Jesus had this in His leadership, that even kingdom of Satan has structure that he copied from God and how to be. So, every church, no matter how big or small, how important is it to have structure in place and to follow a proper protocol? Is it dangerous for leaders to not put that in place?
Pastor Carlo: It is extremely important to put that in place, whether its a mega church or mega mega church or small constitutions, it’s from the Lord. Lord said this ‘a house divided cannot stand‘, He never mentioned what ‘size’ of house, so that is the structure we must keep in hand. If we are divided among our leaders or the leaders are divided among the pastors then there is a problem here and there is an enemy at work here. The only power the enemy has is the one that we allow him to have. If we can fight against each other, what Satan is doing is keeping us busy with each other and our own issues, keeping us occupied from the main objective, the main objective being that there is a lost world that God has chosen us to bring ‘on earth as it is in Heaven’. According to Psalm ‘the highest Heaven’s belong to God but He gave man the Earth’, so God gave it to us to be responsible with it and He set up a system for us to follow, a church system, so it is up to us as His children to uphold that system and run it to its best. The structure is that Jesus is the head and what follows the head is the body.
Unfortunately I’ve seen way too many churches without proper structure, the legs go before the neck, the arms are out of place, people who need to play their role in specific parts want to do other things and go out of place, seek unwisely, become discontent and this disrupts the structure of the church.
Pastor Priji: Let’s talk about how practically pastors and elders can set up a protocol in place from day one. What are some of the practical tips for new church planters or newly planted churches?
Pastor Carlo: A background tip I can share is that we were involved with 2 church planting scenarios where one run a certain way differently and our spiritual father had to come and restructure the whole thing in 3 years, so it’s much harder to do it if you don’t do it right away.
So I have witnessed the hard way and the easy way. Easy way is to get the structure right away from day 1, if not you’ll have to instil a change to the mindset, down the line, in the church which you helped create initially. So it’s a new born baby, as a new born baby you can teach the child, same thing with church, you need to put protocols right way within the church. Pastor being the leader, then his elders and then the members. Put people in charge of different things and different roles, it’s not that everybody should go to the pastors but the pastor should have a team and delegate the work, you don’t want to over stress the pastors and wear him or her down where he cannot even play his own role. So protocol is extremely important for that.
Pastor Priji: I’m not sure how it is in Canada but in India people get really offended if the pastor doesn’t visit their houses and everybody’s home. As much as I enjoy visiting homes and spending time with them, but the more we grow, the more difficult it becomes to visit all homes and the quality of ministry that is given to each home and family keeps on reducing because you’re spreading it so thin and that’s why especially if you learn to respect other elders and leaders in church, it becomes easier. Any concluding thoughts on this message?
Pastor Carlo: Same thing in Montreal with people being offended from pastors not coming home all the time, it’s just not personal though, the men of God that is being put in the church need to seek the face of God, not the face of people, for example it’s not like he’s got a fixed free schedule that Monday afternoon and Thursday evening he’s got free, it’s not that simple. Which is why as the church grows, it becomes more complex, a structure is very significant. Pastors also have families, responsibilities, the need to be spending time in the word of God, seeking His face, growing in the Lord, doing His will, chasing His heart, carrying out God’s vision in the world and much more.
My conclusion is – don’t give into offence, that is not from God. Why are you offended, search your heart, does the pastor work for you or for God? Does the pastor owe you anything? No, but are you being blessed by the word he brings from God, week after week, making you grow spiritually, inching closer and closer to Jesus because of this pastor & leader? If your answer is YES, YES and YES, then ask yourself, how can I honor this Pastor or how can I honor this leader? How can I help? How can I help strengthen this structure?
Don’t be someone who’s looking to enable the church but be someone who’s helping and building up the church.
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