Good Structure/Bad Structure
A short commentary on the importance of Scriptural structure in our fellowships
by Teri Lee Earl

As human beings, we all have a natural bent to be either:

 OR Neither natural bent is wrong or right, but both must align to the intent of God or get swallowed up in complete imbalance according to our natures.

The conflict between 'structure' and 'no structure' is as old as the conflict between 'law' and grace'.  The 'good news' is that we have the Holy Spirit and Scripture to help us with what is appropriate and what is not. The 'bad news' is that we as a Church have not been paying attention to Scripture or scriptural intent for a very long time. We have invented all kinds of ways to put structure where it doesn't belong or leave it out where it does, all according to our natural mind and not according to the mind of Christ.

Many of us have been hurt by experiencing the effects of this, whether over-structure or twisted structure, otherwise known as just plain bad structure. We may have blamed it on the people involved and tried to move on to somewhere else, not realizing that bad structure allowed a great deal of the imbalances and excesses. People will sin and there will be excesses whether in good structure or bad structure, but bad structure certainly makes it all the more likely for man's foolishness to take hold and abound. This includes the foolishness of tolerating it, too.

The 'good news' is that God has been announcing to many lately that He is purposing an upcoming major change, and He is actively calling some people to devote their time and energy to rediscovering this intent. Below is an example of these types of 'announcements' by God:

"Things that I particularly have been studying and hearing from the Lord lately seem to be: That God is going to rip away the 'formal' and 'man structured' way the church has been for years, and that He will have the New Testament way of 'leadership' and accountability, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, and not man's design."           --Deborah J. Young - Nigbor

There's no 'bad news' in what God has purposed at all.

But we cannot end with the fact that bad structure is what we don't want. No new wineskin can function without an actual wineskin, and so to decry all structure as bad is to miss the point. In order to avoid reactionary measures, we must: a) be able to discern what bad structure is and b) not stop there. The Lord recently gave me this word of wisdom: "If the good structure is not erected, the bad structure comes in." In other words, although it is vitally important to learn how to discern and to guard diligently, any guarding would be in vain without the proper structure in the place.  'Structure' is really about boundaries, and without boundaries we end up inviting anything and everything.  If we were to use the 'watchman' analogy, then we are saying that it is futile to guard against bad structure on top of nonexistent walls around the city, because you have already lost the battle. The vacuum is already there and you cannot help but be run over. You may not notice it at first because it can happen subtlely, but it will still happen.

If you are need of help to discern 'bad structure,' go to our 'Hierarchy/Control spirit' section or our 'Spiritual Authority' section.
This article may be posted and distributed without charge for nonprofit use, with the following copyright information:
 by Teri Lee Earl, Copyright 1996, HarvestNETwork (

See also:
Why House Church Isn't the Answer at
By Wayne Jacobson of Lifestream ministries
A sobering warning that our focus and dependency must always be on Jesus, and not on any 'structure' or 'de-structure'
Blazing Trails Too
('initial' dissertations/ leaving IC)
Onward and Upward
(for the trouble spots afterwards)
    To HarvestNET main page