Rethinking Church #6: Christian Leadership Questions

Christian leadership questionsChristian Leadership Questions

In this very concise article the author talks about the dangers that come to young Pastors who are enticed by the possibilities of becoming well known conference speakers or authors.

I don’t think it is only the young Pastors who have that struggle.

The sin that resides within us has wired all of us toward ambition. We want US to be noticed, appreciated, and ultimately, loved.

In my ongoing series of posts about “rethinking church” I’ve been considering how the WAY we’ve attempted to structure our Christian fellowship and interaction may be limiting our ABILITY to truly grow into the likeness of Christ and therefore BE what we are intended to be as a church.

I wonder if the issue of Pastoral ambition and self-fulfillment through ministry is fed by some of the same structures and mindsets?

A recent commenter to this blog mentioned that many in Christian leadership become “power mad” (his words) and pointed out that the tendency is not exclusive to either large or small Christian fellowships. Agreed… and that phenomenon among Christian leaders flows out of two things:

  1. Sin resides in Christian leaders just like it does in the rest of us… Christian leadership does not exempt a person from being a card-carrying member of the “it’s all about me” club.
  2. The structures we’ve put in place typically elevate (literally and figuratively) the Christian leader into a place that he’s distanced from the rest of the body.

The second point feeds the first. And it’s a deadly combination.

My questions:

I am very much in a process of discovery on these “rethinking church” issues. I’d love to hear your feedback. Here are the questions that are bouncing around inside my head right now regarding biblical leadership in the church…

  • What are the healthy, biblical attitudes about leadership within the true church that we need to freshly recognize and amplify within our fellowships?
  • What fears about leadership (on both sides of the coin) do we need to admit and repent of? (Fear is not faith… and is therefore sin.)
  • How can we heartily acknowledge and benefit from Christian leaders (as we are instructed to do in the New Testament) without putting them in a place where they are unable to truly connect with others and be genuinely connected with?
  • How can we keep a high view of the importance and vital need of Christian leadership within our fellowships without making one man, or a group of men into leaders who are feared (because of their God-given authority) rather than loved as fellow members of our communities?
  • How can we better carry out authentic relationships with our Christian leaders that enable them to be honest about this struggle with exalting themselves?

 

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3 thoughts on “Rethinking Church #6: Christian Leadership Questions

  1. Carey,

    Here are a few thoughts:

    1. “Leaders” have a gifting and calling (or they SHOULD), but all members have their gifts that should be encouraged and recognized. I’ve been ministered to GREATLY by people who are nowhere near being recognized as “ministers” or leaders… more so than by Pastors.

    When a body rises above 15-20, seeing people’s gifting will become more and more difficult.

    2. True leaders will serve their people, and their main “job” is to see to the perfecting of the saints… FOR the work of the ministry… FOR the edifying of the body of Christ. They are to help facilitate the growing up of the people into the perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. If Christ isn’t being formed in us, corporately, there’s little point to our faith and church endeavors.

    3. You speak of “The structures we’ve put in place..”. I see this as a major part of the problem, and please understand I’m not advocating that church life be a “free-for-all”.

    We want form and structure and certain things done at certain times. We get “comfortable” within the framework of these structures. They help keep things safe and can shelter us from the burden of the high calling and responsibility God has placed on us.

    This is a problem Israel had too, and it led to their huge spiritual demise. It’s also a major element we see in the Laodicean church.

    • Hey Geno… good to hear from you again…

      1) Agreed. Wholeheartedly. Nothing to add.
      2) Ditto
      3) Once again… no arguments here. I’d only add the the “comfort” we find in the structures flows out out of a human desire to be “in control.” That’s God’s job, not ours. Though we are to be good stewards, wise, and orderly, we are not to be straight-jacketing our meetings so that we feel better about them. God is wild at times… we need to accept that and embrace it.

      • That’s one of the things I saw and learned when I was overseas… that God, when given place to do things HIS way… will often do what we consider to be wild, strange or weird things.

        I also learned that I absolutely love this.

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