Christian Leadership Mistake #1 – Fruitfulness over Purity

For many years I’ve beat the drum of “character matters” for Pastors and other ministry leaders.  I’ve done so in various ways – and have fought hard to make sure it’s true in my own life as well (You can ask my wife how I’m doing, if you’d like.  I could probably use the accountability).

Anyway…

When I saw this article by Michael Oh over at DesiringGod.org – I heard the same thing said by another person, and am so glad to hear it again for myself as well.  Enjoy reading.  And if you’re a Pastor or other ministry leader… read prayerfully and slowly.  Ask the Lord to search you…

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2 thoughts on “Christian Leadership Mistake #1 – Fruitfulness over Purity

  1. First time visitor, but drawn to this particular discussion:

    I think Oh does well in “quoting” the word fruitfulness; I think the lesson is less about purity over fruitfulness, and more about how we as believers define fruit. Yes, if we begin to ignore purity of character because the ministry machine is producing something, it is easy to convince ourselves that this in fact is “spiritual fruit.”

    Christ’s intent is that we bear fruit, but he indicates that this is an impossibility apart from remaining in Him (John 15). Good fruit can’t be faked, because only He can produce it. Thus, it is true that He would have us pursue holiness and remain in His love, with fruit being the natural outcome, and not the pursuit in itself. A common sin in every area of ministry is to fabricate an effect without the cause.

    The deception is when the church begins to falsely recognize the other stuff that is being produced as legitimate fruit. The discerning man can distinguish between the fruit that indicates His disciples (15:8), and the fluff that justifies our ministry to the world — “fruit” of no eternal significance.

    When ministers believe that they can be “fruitful” while lacking Godly character, they deceive themselves in believing that He is honored by their production, rather than humbly submitting to the wonderful truth: they can accomplish nothing of value apart from the Father. Like the Pharisees, they receive their reward in full.

    But if we really want ministers to pursue holiness over everything else, we would do well not to esteem the “fruit” or efforts of man. In America, we are granted an infinite number of options for leadership, and in that, believers are offered the privilege (and responsibility) to submit to Godly authority.

    As a 32-year-old, I am part of a generation that has largely dismissed spiritual authority altogether because of lacking character in leadership; clearly, this is just as much a sin. Instead, we must be wise and discerning in choosing the leaders we are willing to follow, and then fully and gladly submit. For those that “bear good fruit” are making disciples of the same Godly character (rather than merely filling seats), and minister for His glory rather than their own.

    • A.W. – thanks for your comments.

      I couldn’t agree more! The “abiding” principle of John 15 is so vital to this issue (and many others). You hit it right on the head… I’m honestly very touched by your insights and the expression of them. Thanks for chiming in… the reminder you give is very timely and needed – for me as much as for anyone else.

      Blessings!

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