Jurong Bird’s Park is a popular tourist attraction in Singapore. It has been designed in an area of about 20.2 hectares in the Jurong hill slope. In this aviary there are about 5000 birds from 400 species. The free-flight aviary is designed in such a way the bird could fly up to a certain height. Beyond that are nets the birds may touch or hit but cannot go beyond. In other words, it is huge enclosed iron nest for birds. Within the enclosure is a huge park with whole natural topography. Yet, the birds are restricted if not caged.
Sadly, many local congregations look like this park. The birds in Jurong Park have limited freedom. They can fly to a certain height and a certain distance. Many believers in the church are like that. Within the congregation they may engage in ministry, beyond that they cannot and even forbidden to do so by the pastor or denomination. Hence, they do not experience true freedom in Christ Jesus (John 8:36). Many have experienced in Christ, but again caged in a choking system. Lazarus rose from the dead, yet he had to be let loose from the corpse clothes. (John 11:44) Pastors instead of loosening those grave clothes, they tighten them.
Recently, one pastor boasted that he does not even allow the ‘ordinary’ believers to touch the ‘holy’ vessels used for serving Holy Communion. He also declared that believers cannot give baptism to new people who profess Lord Jesus as Saviour. In essence, he was denying ‘priesthood of all believers,’ a cardinal doctrine of Protestant movement founded by Martin Luther. (I Corinthians 4:1)
There are good believer couples who could be excellent counsellors; evangelists who could reach to children, educated who could be motivated to reach out intelligentsia, creative people who can produce awesome content in digital media; all are in the limited free-flight aviary. The loss is great for the Kingdom of God. Harvest is plenty, labourers are few, sadly, many labourers are tied with dead person clothes.
Do I experience my freedom and minister widely as God enables?